A few weeks back, we reviewed a productivity app called Clear, which impressed us with its simplistic UI, as well as clever and creative single- and multi-touch gesture controls. I was recently excited to find a calculator app taking a similar approach to creating a great user experience.
Rechner is a calculator app with just the right amount of functionality to handle simple, everyday mathematical calculations – so don’t stroll into your final calculus exam thinking this is your ticket to an A+.
What makes Rechner Calculator stand out from the competition is that it doesn’t have some of the buttons you would expect to see on a calculator. For instance, you will not find a plus button for addition or a minus button for subtraction. Those buttons, along with a couple others, have been replaced with gesture controls, making everyday mathematics just a little more fun.
This is the first screen presented to the user after launching Rechner Calculator for the first time. Its an Instructional Overlay outlining the five gesture controls available to the user. Form here, you tap the screen and the overlay will fade out so you can get started.
Gesture Controls & Visual Feedback
Even though there are only five gestures to master, they can take a few minutes to get familiar and comfortable with. Initially, I found that even the most simple calculations (such as 1+1), were taking me way too long to execute. However, as I started to get more comfortable with the gesture controls, my speed improved considerably.
One thing I found to be quite useful when I first started using Rechner, was the visual feedback I was given after inputting a gesture command. For example, after swiping to the right, a bright yellow circle with (+) in the middle appeared in the center of the screen and gradually faded. This visual feedback was especially helpful when I first started to use the app and wasn’t totally comfortable with each gesture.
The visual feedback, appearing then gradually fading.
One Hand is Better than Two
The only problem I had with Rechner, was that the gesture for the clear function was a two finger swipe in any direction. Because this gesture requires two fingers, it also requires two hands (one to hold the phone and one to input the gesture command). I think I would have enjoyed the app even more if I could have done everything using just one hand.
200% More Efficient?
In the app store, the creators of Rechner Calculator boldly claim that it is “200% more efficient,” though they don’t specify what exactly this app is two times faster than – a regular iOS calculator app? I assumed as much, so I decided to put the two apps to the test.
I handed my iPhone to a friend and asked her to take five minutes to get familiar with both apps. I then gave her three basic math problems with their answers and asked her to execute all three problems, one after another, while I kept time on a stopwatch. We did one time for the three equations on the iOS calculator app first, and then one time for the three equations on the Rechner Calculator, second.
Here are our very scientific findings:
|6 + 8 – 4 – 3 + 1 = 87 × 4 × 3 ÷ 6 × 7 = 98
5 × 8 ÷ 2 + 8 – 4 = 24
Overall, Rechner is a fun and interactive twist to the conventional calculator app. The simple and uncluttered interface is very easy on the eyes and its use of gesture controls is pleasantly different.
As for the claim that Rechner is “200% more efficient,” if they mean compared to a regular iOS app, our experiment shows they need to re-think their slogan. In fact, we found that it’s around 16% less efficient. However, it is important to note that our test was light years away from even coming close to being considered “scientific,” so perhaps they do have a leg to stand on. It is also important to consider that most of us have been using standard calculators since elementary school and only five minutes with the Rechner Calculator can’t match that.
Even though our speed test didn’t pan out so well, I nonetheless consider Rechner Calculator a great app. I know that with more use, any users’ speed will increase substantially. As far as I’m concerned, Rechner did the job I expected it to do, but in a fun and different way, and all without any unnecessary bells and whistles to clutter the interface and distract me.
Doe you have the Rechner app? What do you think? Tweet us @plasticmobile.