Does an Online Calculator Differ from a Traditional One?

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A Brief History

It was in the 40s and 50s that computers started emerging, and they were used for a lot of different functions, including doing calculations. The famous Abacus was then turned into a physical, handheld devices with buttons and a screen to perform operations, which is now the traditional calculator that we all know. And with the steady advancement of modern technology, the next step in the evolution of calculators was using software-based ones that can perform all the usual operations, plus a host of other functions. People can be quite intelligent, but a human would never be as efficient and meticulous as a calculator. 

Even the operations you can do on a regular calculator could be much better done on an online one, but do they really differ from one another? The answer is yes; here is how.

Digging Deeper

More efficiency 

The fact is, an online calculator is much more efficient than a regular one because it is basically being operated by software, which means the entire process gets done much faster. No matter how sophisticated a traditional calculator is, it will never be a match to an online one that is operated based on hundreds of algorithms and a lot of data. This ensures that any calculations done are done with the necessary precision and accuracy that are important in a discipline like mathematics. 

Less possibility for errors 

With a traditional calculator, human input is quite significant and it could completely alter the outcome and cause errors, but an online one doesn’t have that problem because the human input is significantly less. You just need to plug in the data, and it will do all the work for you, which means the possibility of errors is much less. And an online calculator would alert you if you input the wrong data; your average handheld device simply will not. This naturally contributes to a much-improved accuracy and better results. 

Memory options 

This is perhaps the biggest and most important option in online calculators. They get to store equations and formulas so you could access them whenever you need to, which makes your life a whole lot easier if your work entails using a lot of formulas and equations. As you can see on this website, an online calculator can help you store and process information and data relating to anything from chemistry and finance to physics and even health. You simply get so many more options to do a variety of different tasks, whereas a traditional calculator doesn’t have those options and can basically present you with basic equations. An online one can give you the necessary formulas to calculate things like net profit and your daily calorie intake, which can be very useful. 

Saving time

Having this many options saves you a lot of time because everything you need is in one place. You do not need to look up equations and formulas, or even worse, memorize them! Everything you need is available on the online calculator, and you can access all that data in no time to get the outcome you need. This naturally saves you a lot of time and effort looking for the right resources, which might not even be correct. But the data stored in an online calculator are definitely accurate and can help you find the answers you’re looking for in basically any field that includes dealing with numbers. 

Options for online businesses  

One of the most popular uses for online calculators is in online businesses, which proved to be quite beneficial for almost any online store in this day and age. It allows users to do any calculations they might need before they decide to check out, which saves them time and effort and does wonders for the business owners. If the customer wants to calculate the customs and shipping fees, it’s an online calculator that does it. If they want to know what’s included in their cart and what the total cost is, it is also an online calculator that does the job. Sure, the customer could grab the nearest traditional calculator and do the math themselves, but this is obviously not convenient and would consume too much time and effort needlessly on the customer’s side, while the online one does not have those complications. 

Online calculators are simply the obvious evolution of calculators. The fact that they are available on smartphones, as well makes them the next logical step, and soon they probably would replace the good old fashioned ones. The abundance of options, storing abilities, efficiency and speed, and overall improved accuracy make online calculators an important tool for mathematicians and a definite favorite over traditional devices. 

Question for students (and subscribers): Do you prefer online or traditional calculators?  Please let us know in the comments section below this article.

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Historical Evidence

For more information, please see…

Pasewark, William R.  Ten-Key Skill Builder for Calculators.  Cengage Learning, 1999.

The featured image in this article, a photograph by Ray Reyes, is licensed under the Unsplash License.


About Author

Abdul Alhazred

“But I don’t want to go among mad people," Alice remarked. "Oh, you can’t help that," said the Cat: "we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad." "How do you know I’m mad?" said Alice. "You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn’t have come here.” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland