Talking Calculator

Category: 

Description of App: 

A comprehensively featured calculator that has become a favorite among adults and primary schools around the world. Designed for a wide range of users, this calculator has large colorful buttons, optional high contrast, full VoiceOver support, and unique to this calculator; the option to use speech for answers, button names and formulas!

*** Showcased by Apple Australia at the Association of Special Education Administrators in Queensland Inc. Conference 2011 ***

"We have found it particularly useful to students with developmental delays."
- Apple (Australia)

If you’re looking for a talking calculator with scientific or fraction operators, then please look for this app's big brother, the Talking Scientific Calculator.

Talking Calculator's features include:
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- Select between two user-interfaces: standard calculator, and ultra-simple, which is ideal for young children.

- Reads answers, entered numbers and formulas aloud. For example:
1,234.56 is spoken as "One thousand, two hundred and thirty four point five six."

123,456,789 is spoken as "one hundred and twenty three million, four hundred and fifty six thousand, seven hundred and eighty nine."

2 + 5 x 3^2 is spoken as "two plus five multiply three squared"

- Two entry modes, Standard and Formula. Standard mode emulates traditional calculators: You need to be mindful of the 'order of operations'. Formula mode takes care of the order of operations for you. You enter a mathematical expression, complete with operators and parentheses (brackets), tap the EQUALS button, and the expression is evaluated. This is similar to using formulas in Microsoft Excel.

- Paper log feature, designed particularly for classroom use. Calculations are recorded with a timestamp and can be viewed or emailed.

- Built in recording studio and script. Requires only 5 minutes to record a new voice.

- Optionally integrates with the iOS VoiceOver feature: As you move your finger over the screen, the names of buttons are spoken to you. Double-tap to activate the selected button (or single tap with a second finger.) The calculator's voice will speak the calculation results. The iPad/iPhone’s Home button can be triple-clicked to switch this mode of operation on and off.

- The entire app is accessible to VoiceOver users, including the recording studio for recording your own voice and the use of complex formulas.

- International number formats

- Optional high contrast mode (black on yellow)

Customizable for each level of vision:
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Normal to low vision: Large, clear buttons with optional speech.
Low vision: High contrast display mode, with optional speech.
No vision / blind: VoiceOver reads the button names before they are activated. The calculation results are spoken.

Why record new voices?
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Having your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch talk with your own voice, or that of a friend or tutor will make the calculator sound more natural to you. The calculator will speak with the accent you are used to hearing. Note also that the VoiceOver feature built into your device, while awesome, is not good at reading out large and small numbers.

It can also be fun to experiment with silly voices.

How good is the sound quality of recorded voices?

Excellent: The microphone in your iPad / iPhone or iPod Touch 4G is of very good quality, and this calculator performs digital signal processing to ensure the audio level is consistent across all recorded words.

Note 1: Support for blind users is only available on iOS devices that include VoiceOver. However, the recording and talking features do not rely on VoiceOver, and work on all iOS devices.
Note 2: Earlier versions of the iPod Touch require an external microphone for recording. The current model iPod Touch and all iPhones and iPads have a built in mic.

Apple Watch Support: 

Not Known

Version: 

3.12

Free or Paid: 

Paid

Device(s) App Was Tested On: 

iPhone
iPhone
iPod Touch
iPad
iPad

Accessibility Comments: 

Has support for low vision (large fonts with the option of high contrast mode), and full VoiceOver accessibility. The talking voice helps you be confident that you selected the correct buttons to tap.

VoiceOver Performance: 

VoiceOver reads all page elements.

Button Labeling: 

All buttons are clearly labeled.

Usability: 

The app is fully accessible with VoiceOver and is easy to navigate and use.

Other Comments: 

This is an accessible calculator that speaks the names of buttons as they are tapped and reads out the numeric answers. The speaking voice doesn't sound like a computer. It is very conversational, which makes it fun to use. In fact it sounds just like me, because I followed the script and recorded my own voice directly into my iPhone. I did all this in around five minutes, using VoiceOver to guide me.For those with sight, I'm told it's colourful and easy to read with a large font. There is also a high contrast mode.Instead of using VoiceOver for speaking the numbers, it uses its built-in recorded voice (which is ok), or your own recorded voice (which is awesome.) When recording your own voice, you have to speak the numbers 1 through 19, then 20, 30, 40 to 90, then hundred, thousand, million and so on. The calculator then strings these recordings togther to read out the numbers. The result is far better than the the iPhone's built in calculator which tries to use VoiceOver to read the numbers, and often gets it wrong.Having said that, the integration with VoiceOver for finding buttons to tap works very well. I was able to use all calculator functions, navigate the information panel, have the help read to me, and use the "recording studio."This is a basic calculator, but it has some advanced features like parantheses buttons, roots, squares, cubes and memory functions. In the version 2.0 update, you can turn these off and instead have even larger simple buttons, which works very well with young children. (I have friends using it this way.) It only costs $0.99 my currency, so I presume it's the lowest price-tier in all currencies.If you search for 'accessible calculator' on the app store, there are only two results: This calculator, and a $5.49 priced version called the Talking Scientific Calculator, which apparently is the 'big brother' to this calculator I'm reviewing. Highly recommended.