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(Rant) The Digit Calculator: Why

Although I don’t support many with my wallet, I’m idealistically supportive of many highlight Kickstarter projects I see. Despite its recent popularization, Kickstarter has preserved its original vision to be a platform through with consumers can openly and easily push forward their new products or concepts to other consumers, and easily gauge how successful a product is going to be before releasing it.

Most times, crowdfunding brings to light a number of smart innovations ranging from”cool-but-useless” to “hey-that’s-pretty-smart” to the elusive “why-didn’t-I-think-of-that”. And most times, I could see myself dolling out a few dollars onto some of these earnest little projects, if only I wasn’t a broke college student and had a stable job.

Most times.

The Digit Calculator is to me, a confusing success from the Kickstarter audience, an audience that, while willing to pay extra for stylish products, usually requires those stylish accessories to do at least one thing the regular version can’t do. But not this time.

For the sake of people forming their own opinions, Here’s a totally unbiased, objective summary of the product and what it offers:

The Digit Calculator is a new high-end retro-mechanical handheld calculator by creator lofree.

The calculator aims to deliver an authentic, mathematical computing experience through an ergonomically friendly design and its finger-friendly buttons. In terms of unique features, the creator focuses on these buttons, stating that their concave shape allows users to have “the best calculator typing experience” that is possible.

The calculator runs on an exterior battery that automatically enters “sleep mode” when not in use. The design is smooth, stylish, and classic, and is just weighty enough to feel like a true mechanical product. The units are available in a number of colors.

The device will retail for approx. $50 per calculator. This Kickstarter offers two options: One is the “super early bird”, available only in limited supply, that offers a calculator for just $29. The second “early bird” is the worse, but unlimited option for those arriving too late to get in on the super tier, still offering a sizable discount, at one calculator for just $35.

After looking over the campaign, I’m left with one lingering question: Why?

Many Kickstarter projects offering a new, better take on an existing classic product have come and gone before. A very recent example would be the Better Backpack project, a design that looks to improve upon existing backpacks by offering a design that carries more, looks better, and causes less back pain than other backpacks.

But the important thing there is that “looks better” is only one out of the three reasons to invest in that product.

This is a calculator. This is a classic, traditional calculator. It’s got a “classic” design, the same “classic” design that the calculators I used in 6th grade had. It’s also got the same number of buttons, making it easily outclassed by, say, many free smartphone calculators with more advanced computing features.

And even the creator emphasizes that the only thing setting this device apart are the massive, concave pushy-buttons. Massive, concave pushy-buttons that supposedly warrant bumping the MSRP of the product from $10 to $50? Those buttons better blow my damn mind.

I don’t even think the “classic design” is a good thing here; it’s not easy to find a handheld calculator that also uses this same “classic design”. Look, I’ll do it right now: done and done and done and done and done. It’s almost like having a “classic design” gave them an excuse not to come up with anything new or original. Or like the “classic design” helped them make investors forget that their paying 5x the price for a product that does nothing special.

Also, notice how cheap those calculators I linked to are? Probably because people don’t buy dedicated calculators these days. Just a hunch.

But hey, if DEM BUTTONS THO is worth $29 or $35 to you, fire away. And if you understand the appeal of such a product other than, “Man, all this money in my pockets is really weighing me down”, then please let me know in the comments. Because as far as this projects’ success is concerned, I’m totally clueless.

Featured Image Via The Digit Calculator Kickstarter Page



  1. Alyssa

    August 16, 2018 at 4:21 pm

    I mean its cool I guess, but very unnecessary

  2. Caroline Walker

    August 16, 2018 at 8:06 pm

    Cute enough design, but for sure not worth $50.

  3. Maya Asregadoo

    August 16, 2018 at 11:27 pm

    This is… pretty unnecessary.

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