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±0 M, Canon X Mark I, and X Mark I Keypad

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Other than Lego, I don’t think I’ve ever collected anything in my life. I've recently started collecting calculators and hope to make it a long term thing. For your viewing pleasure, I’ll post a review every time I acquire a few more, and here’s the first three. There's a couple of requirements to join the club: The calculator needs to be attractive, designed by someone notable or have an interesting feature. If it’s ugly, it’s instantly disqualified.

 
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First is the ±0 M Calculator. M stands for “medium”. ±0 also sells S and XS models although the M model is the iconic model that you should be buying.  

 
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As you may know, ±0 products are designed by the legendary Japanese designer, Naoto Fukasawa. The M Calculator is one of the most iconic works in his portfolio so it’s of particular interest. Most notably, the display is elevated slightly towards the user in a graceful and courteous way - a classic Fukasawa move.  

 
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The calculator is made from cheap plastic but has a sense of solidity thanks to clever part-breaks. It almost looks like a seamless extruded body from some angles.

 
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The solid appearance is achieved by moving the top and bottom part-line to the bottom of the body. For a stationary device like a calculator, it’s a great solution.

 
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The buttons and switches have a very graphical appearance with sharp edges.

 
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The back of the display is fished off nicely with a debossed ±0 logo. The feet feel a bit like an afterthought though.  

 
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We often get carried away thinking that premium materials and expensive processes are essential to good design. The M Calculator is a reminder to be a bit more humble.

 
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The M Calculator’s weakness is poor key feel - it’s mushy like a 90s Ford product. The pretty looks make up for it though.

 
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The next two calculators come from the same manufacturer, Canon. They belong to a line of calculators from the company called X Mark. I still don’t understand why Canon feels the need to sell these premium/quirky calculators. I love the madness of this undertaking though.

 
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First, we have the X Mark I, the flagship model. There are many things that are better made/engineered than this but I don’t think there’s another calculator.

 
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The floating keys are clearly the highlight of the design. I also like the white/silver color scheme.

 
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The base is made from a solid piece of stamped aluminum. It’s bead blast finished and laser engraved - a very Apple aesthetic. Canon went all-out.

 
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Although aluminum is exotic on a calculator, the execution isn’t on par with modern electronic devices like phones and tablets. Canon is crazy but not completely out of their minds.

 
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The best calculator nobody will buy.

 
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I love the small gap between the base and front face. Design is like music, and this gap is like a nice intermission.

 
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The cheap plastic faux-leather case is atrocious though should never have been produced.

 
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To make up for the lack of a backup battery, the calculator has dual solar panels. The retro inset display is pretty cool too.

 
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The X Mark I is all about the tactility of the keys - and they feel glorious. They a have a satisfying feel that isn’t necessarily super clickly but still provides confidence. In terms of functionality as an actual calculator, this one is hard to beat.

 
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I’ve saved the worst for last. This is the X Mark I Keypad.

 
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Aesthetically, it comes from the same world as the X Mark I. It’s clear that it’s a class below the flagship X Mark I though. The keys have a similar floating design but seem far less evenly finished here. The cheap black finish isn’t helping either.

 
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The base is simple painted plastic on the Keypad. Unfortunately, the calculator takes two AAA batteries so has an unappealing hump to accommodate them.  

 
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Things get a bit interesting once you look at the switches though - this is a bluetooth calculator that can act as a computer keypad.

 
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Once you’re done with a calculation, you can press the “SEND” button and have it show up on your calculator. Not something I’d ever use but I can see why it could be useful for some people.

 
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Like it’s bigger brother, it has a very classical inset display. I’ve gotta say, this thing is super photogenic.

 
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Regardless of its underdog status next to the M and X Mark I, the X Mark I Keypad still feels charming. There are a few other bluetooth calculators in the market but this is easily one of the more attractive ones. Most importantly, I can never get enough of those flat floating keys.