Symbolab Calculator

App review by
Keri Wilmot, Common Sense Media
Symbolab Calculator App Poster Image
Solves complicated equations; iffy ads, watch for cheating.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Offers quick answers to complicated math equations related to algebra, calculus, trigonometry, and other higher level math problems, but steps to solve, which would offer more educational value, are only included in the paid-for version.

Ease of Play

Kids may need assistance to input problems into the text grid using the online calculator. Young kids may be distracted with many options. In the free version, kids will need to navigate around many inappropriate pop-up advertisements.

Violence

Within pop-up ads, links to violent apps were included, such as a photo showing body parts hanging from a ceiling.

Sex
Language
Consumerism

Pop-up ads in the free version may include inappropriate content such as links to mortgage companies, gambling apps, scary story apps, and puzzle games.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Pop-up ad included a picture of a bar scene, featuring a blender and glasses of beer.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Symbolab Calculator is an educational app that provides users with answers to complicated algebra, calculus, and trigonometry problems.  You can use it to solve simple addition and subtraction problems, but it's a more useful app for tweens and teens who will benefit from using the app to check their work.  After allowing the app to access the device's camera, users can take a photo and solve a unique problem, but this feature's performance is inconsistent. Adults will need to monitor the use of the free version of the app due to a lot of inappropriate pop-up ads. A paid version eliminates ads and demonstrates how to solve problems in a step-by-step format, which might provide more educational value. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the information collected and shared.

User Reviews

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What's it about?

In SYMBOLAB CALCULATOR, users type algebra, calculus, trigonometry, geometry, statistics, and graph equations into a calculator. Examples in each category offer templates that assist with correctly inputting numbers within challenging problems. A pop-up advertisement, which may contain inappropriate content for kids, will appear prior to revealing any answer in the free version. By offering access to the camera, students can take a picture of the problem to solve. Consistent errors occurred during use of the camera, indicating that the feature was unavailable or that lighting was inappropriate. Users most appropriate for this app are middle school, high school, and college students. Solutions can be shared through email, message, and social media. Users seeking more educational value will need to consider upgrading to a paid version of the app, which offers help in figuring out how to complete complicated problems following the necessary steps. 

Is it any good?

In general, a calculator is a great tool to help kids with studying and learning new concepts, but the paid version will eliminate iffy ads and add educational features. Symbolab Calculator offers answers to very complicated math subjects that not everyone is able to solve, quickly and easily. Templates included in the free version assist users with inputting numbers in the correct location when solving equations that require parentheses, fractions, and exponents. Visual representations of graphs and charts can also aid learning. 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 if they answer correctly. While the photo feature allows for customization, effective use of it can be inconsistent in achieving an answer. The biggest issues for parents are the ads in the free version and the risk of cheating. If you opt for the full version, the ads are gone and kids can access the steps in each problem, which may be a good investment if the app seems to be a good fit for your kid.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how they can use Symbolab Calculator as a learning and studying strategy to check answers, after first trying their best to solve the problem on their own. What might happen if someone only uses this app to get answers but doesn't understand the steps?

  • Discuss how despite use of technology, legibility of handwriting and accurate input of information is important for use during math to prevent careless mistakes. Is their handwriting of math problems legible enough for the camera to read with this app? Did they input the problem accurately?

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
  • Subjects: Math: algebra, arithmetic, calculus, division, equations, fractions, functions, geometry, graphing, measurement, multiplication, probability, ratio, statistics
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, defining problems, making conclusions
    Tech Skills: using and applying technology
  • Price: Free to Try
  • Pricing structure: Free to try (access to all features $6.99 via in-app purchase)
  • Subscription price: $6.99
  • Release date: October 26, 2017
  • Category: Education
  • Size: 61.50 MB
  • Publisher: Symbolab
  • Version: 3.3.3
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 8.0 or later

For kids who love math and homework help

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