Calcbot 2

App review by
Keri Wilmot, Common Sense Media
Calcbot 2 App Poster Image
Calculator and measurement converter; consider pro version.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Calculator performs complicated math equations, and a "tape" lists recently performed calculations and their answers. App also makes it easy to convert measurements within various categories such as speed, temperature, time, mass, area, etc. When used purely as a utility, learning is more limited than when used in conjunction with direct instruction.

Ease of Play

Colorful and organized, numbers and functions easy to find. It's simple to convert from one unit to another.

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Consumerism

In-app purchases available without parent gate.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Calcbot 2 is a utility app enabling users to not only solve math problems and scientific equations with a calculator, but also convert numbers from one value and unit of measurement to another. A "tape" -- a white space above the calculator numbers -- is created when using the calculator; it stores up to 10 equations to be saved and referenced for use.  Equations can be identified as a favorite, too. In-app purchases include an upgrade that expands the capabilities of the calculator to custom-convert units much faster, and the list of equations shown in the tape history is unlimited. Kids can also customize the way the app looks. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the information collected and shared.

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What's it about?

CALCBOT 2 is a calculator app that performs basic and scientific math functions. In the free version, up to 10 calculations can be saved on the "tape" history, which is a great reference to help those who like to see which functions they have just completed. The converter, which is hard to find at first, is accessed by swiping to the right on the black answer bar of the calculator. In the converter tool, the categories include currency, data size, fuel, length, mass, speed, temperature, time, volume, work, and area. Users can easily scroll through the lists to change from one unit of measurement to another. For example, when selecting mass, they can choose one pound in the middle column and see that it is 16 ounces in the far column. In the free version, users will need to copy the value into the calculator and then perform the equation, if they are using a value other than one. This could offer more educational value for those learning to understand conversions. Users can copy information, save to files including PDFs, email, message, or post on Facebook. In the upgraded pro version, users can input any value into the calculator and then convert it. For $0.99, additional in-app purchases also include the option for customizable background themes.  The app also supports various languages including English, Arabic, German, Japanese, Russian, and Simplified Chinese.

Is it any good?

In general, a calculator is a great tool to help kids with new concepts, especially as a way to check their work and build confidence -- but it's best used with supervision and with all of the features. Colorful, organized buttons make using the calculator in Calcbot 2 simple. Since conversions from one unit of measurement to another can be challenging to remember, it might be worth it to pay for the pro version since it offers easier access to conversions with varying numbers. While this is a great strategy for those who just need to know the answer, younger kids will need to learn the basics first. On the calculator, having a way to see a favorite or frequently used calculation is an excellent strategy for users who have difficult remembering which numbers they input into the calculator. For kids with dyscalculia, a disorder that impacts their ability to learn new math concepts, the app can be used as a learning tool to build confidence in solving problems and in measurement conversions. As with any app that can provide answers, parents will want to monitor use so that kids aren't using it as a shortcut and bypassing steps in between.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the usefulness of apps like Calcbot 2. When is a good time to use it? When isn't? What do you need to know first before a calculator is helpful without just generating answers?

  • Talk about in-app purchases and your rules around them. Is it important to have the pro version of this app? Why or why not?

  • Discuss different ways of learning. Using a conversion app can help reinforce visually seeing the difference in values. Talk about whether seeing it helps you understand the calculations and perform them faster and with confidence.

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
  • Subjects: Math: addition, algebra, arithmetic, calculus, counting, division, equations, estimation, fractions, functions, geometry, measurement, money, multiplication, numbers, probability, ratio, sequences, statistics, subtraction
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, collecting data, making conclusions, problem solving
    Tech Skills: using and applying technology
  • Price: Free to try
  • Pricing structure: Free to try (in-app purchases of $1.99 for pro version and $.99 for theme packs)
  • Release date: June 15, 2010
  • Category: Utilities
  • Topics: High School, Middle School
  • Size: 9.70 MB
  • Publisher: Tapbots
  • Version: 2.3.1
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 11 or later

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