Finger Your Way Through Math With This Gesture-Controlled Calculator [Review]

Finger Your Way Through Math With This Gesture-Controlled Calculator [Review]

Adding up goes this way, and taking away goes that way

Sums is a gesture-based calculator for iOS, and whether you like it will, I suspect, largely depend on how much you’re already accustomed to using traditional calculators.

Numbers are entered using a keypad, as you’d expect. But doing anything with those numbers means using gestures. They’re not hard to learn, but a little learning is necessary. Addition means swiping to the right, subtraction to the left. Multiplication requires you to swipe diagonally right and up; division takes you diagonally left and up. Once you have them in your head, they make sense.

If you’re new to calculators (ie, you’re young), I can see this becoming second nature fairly quickly. To an old curmudgeon such as myself, it’s hard to change the habits of a lifetime, and my fingers constantly head for the lower right side of the number keys, seeking out function keys that aren’t there.

That’s my problem, not the app’s. Sums is nicely made, with a minimalist feel and a large, eye- and fingertip-friendly interface. The basic version is also free, without adverts – something that’s increasingly rare on the App Store these days, and all the more welcome for it. Bravo to developers Nebulous Design for making that choice.

Finger Your Way Through Math With This Gesture-Controlled Calculator [Review]

Upgrade in-app for access to memory and scientific functions

Basic, in this case, means a simple calculator for simple sums. If you want scientific functions and access to saved-number memory, you’ll have to pay a dollar as an in-app purchase to upgrade to the full version.

Note that the gesture controls are limited to basic mathematics; once upgraded, a swipe down and to the right opens up the advanced functions keypad, where you can access things like pi, sin/cos/tan, and square roots via traditional buttons. In other words, although this is gesture based app, the gesture support only takes you so far. But that’s probably a good thing, because I can’t even begin to imagine how many different gestures you’d have to invent – and your users would have to remember – if you took things any further than this.


About the author

Giles TurnbullGiles Turnbull is a freelance writer in England. He also writes for the Press Association and The Morning News. You can find out more at his website, and follow him on Twitter @gilest.

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