Ross Ipsa Loquitur Blog – Low-Tech meets High Tech Gadget – Best $15 I’ve Spent in Ages

I don’t know about you but I’m constantly performing math calculations – money math, that is. What that’s meant is typically using either an operating system’s built-in inadequate calculator or if I’m working on a Windows system, I always use Moffsoft’s wonderful Freecalc for years (unlike built-in calculator apps/utilities, it runs a scrollable tape – invaluable).

But still, unless I size my on-screen windows just right or drag the calculator into my second or third display, it’s kind of a pain with the calculator disappearing behind my Word or PowerPoint window. Egads, quelle frustration! (sorry about the lapse into French – dredging it up for a summer visit to Montreal).

Purely by accident, I stumbled across the curiously named Canon  X Mark I Slim combo Bluetooth mouse AND calculator. This not some $2 flimsy Chinese made disposable mouse. It’s a solidly built device that ingeniously blends calculator functions and a mouse in a physically comfortable and elegant device with good hand “feel.” The calculator has an LCD display on the top center section of the mouse. A button turns the calculator off (but there’s no real reason to since it doesn’t interfere with mouse functions and its hard to accidentally press the sturdy calculator keys.

The device has a switch underneath for pairing with Windows or Mac systems. It paired with both my Toshiba Portege Z835 Windows 8 laptop and my MacBook Air running Mountain Lion – within a couple of seconds – and then worked flawlessly. It runs on two AAA batteries and battery life is so far unknown. As a Bluetooth device, that means it doesn’t require a dedicated “Nano Receiver” which can easily get lost.

For me, the point is that if I had to remember to bring a physical calculator, I’d always forget to travel with it. But I never forget my mouse. Brilliant in a very down-to-earth way.

The killer feature is the “Send” button. Once you’ve performed your calculation and the total is displayed, pressing the “Send” button will send the displayed figure to your computer at the cursor point. As a thirty-plus year gadgeteer, I’m not easily impressed, but this is SO useful for what I do, I’m sure I displayed a very silly grin if anyone had been watching me.

And the best part is that I bought it at Amazon for $15 with free Prime 2-day shipping. I’m going to order another one so I have a spare in case I lose it or break it. Oh, and as a nice additional touch, it comes with a drawstring protective bag.

Highly recommended gadget almost anyone would find useful every day!