28 November 2018

Review: Staples BD-6108 Scientific Calculator


I often ponder the development cycle for a calculator. Every product is created to fill some need, and for the past decade or two, it could be argued that calculator innovation hasn't exactly been booming. A lot of the devices in my collection do the same things, so what inspires a company to put forth the time and resources to create a new model? This is the question that today's calculator raised for me.

Staples BD-6108 Scientific Calculator
The Staples BD-6108 Scientific Calculator is ugly. It's thinner than many scientific calculators, sure, but what were the designers thinking when they decided to go with a clear button scheme? Taking a step back, the black back plate and white face plate is a bold choice, and I don't know of another device that uses this level of contrast. With just the red Staples label, this could have been a bold calculator that would look awesome on any desk.

But they went with clear buttons. This design not only annihilates the aesthetic, but makes finding the button you need a chore. Black buttons with white text would have looked outstanding and make this easier on the eyes.

I'd have been happier with this calculator if they'd decided to go with bright, obnoxious colors and made it absolutely hideous. At least then it would be interesting. As I keep taking glances at the device while writing this, I just get more annoyed with it. I don't like it.

The display isn't particularly great either. Any time light hits it directly, or it's tilted just slightly too far, the digits become unreadable. This might be useful to keep someone sitting next to you from cheating, but why would anyone bother if they saw you using this thing?

Then Staples had the nerve- the NERVE- to forgo a solar panel and use a non-standard battery type (CR2025) with a pain-in-the-ass series of screws to get inside this calculator to change said battery.

They still sell this on their Canadian website for $7. Who is the market for this calculator? With so many other great- even crappy- calculators, why on Earth would anyone bother with the BD-6108?

Fortunately, I didn't pay much for my BD-6108. It was $3 at a used book store, and I can totally see why its previous owner ditched it. As a calculator collector, I will keep and care for this device, but that won't stop me from giving it dirty looks whenever I see it.

Internal components.

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