This post reviews Tydlig, a great alternative calculator app for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.
Sometimes you just need a calculator. I frequently pop open the stock calculator app on iOS to do quick calculations when I’m budgeting throughout the week or shopping for groceries. One of the best things about the stock calculator app is its simplicity. But there are some situations where I need more options. Of course, I could turn my iPhone into landscape mode to access a lot of extra features in the calculator app, but then the buttons are very small and somewhat difficult to use. And what if I’m using my iPad? Apple doesn’t even include the calculator app with the tablet version of iOS. Enter Tydlig, a great alternative calculator app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.
The developer of Tydlig, Andreas Karlsson, describes the app as the “calculator reimagined.” Tydlig is built on the idea that calculators on an iOS device can be more than just a clone of a physical calculator – the touchscreen opens up new possibilities that can be capitalized on.
On launching Tydlig, you will see an interface that is reminiscent of the stock iOS 7 calculator. After entering an equation, though, you will quickly realize that Tydlig is capable of much more. Tydlig lists the equation out as you type it. Once complete, you can tap on any number or function in the equation to go back and change it. Thus, for example, 12+3=15 can be easily changed on the fly to 12+5=17 or 12-3=7 with the answer updating automatically. This system renders memory +, memory -, and memory recall, features that I use a lot in the stock iOS calendar app, essentially obsolete because you can see an equation all at once and edit it on the fly.
Furthermore, Tydlig allows you to tap and hold on any number in an equation to link and use that number in another equation. For example, notice in this screenshot that the colored numbers are linked from the previous equation as you move from top to bottom. This feature makes it really easy to play with different scenarios and quickly find answers to many different equations.
Beyond just simple functions, Tydlig comes fully loaded with tons of advanced functions like percentages, square roots, factorials, exponents, squares, cubes, logarithms, Pi, and absolute values. Furthermore, there are many functions that lend themselves to graphing such as sine, cosine, tangent, and even things like arcsine and hyperbolic sine functions. Tydlig handles pretty much any equation you can throw at it with ease and it also makes it easy to see what is happening in a given equation all at once rather than one entry at a time.
The icing on the cake is Tydlig’s graphing capabilities. This feature makes the old Ti-84 graphing calculator I use to use in high school look like an abacus. Tapping and holding on any coefficient or a constant in an equation will bring up a menu bar and allow you to select the add to graph button. This will automatically create a colorized graph that displays the equation visually. What’s more, the created graph is editable; you can easily change its scale. Tapping and holding on the value you based the graph on allows you to select a slider option from the menu bar. This slider dynamically adjusts the value up and down the graph, making it really easy to see how the equation adjusts based on different factors. Tydlig’s graphing features are incredibly dynamic, rich, and intuitive. Having the ability to visualize everything from simple calculations to advanced equations in a beautiful presentation is fantastic.
Here is a real-world example of how I used Tydlig’s graphing feature. I’m saving up for a refurbished iMac, and I built this equation to tell me how many months it will take me to save enough money. I first entered the amount of money I’ve saved so far ($584.477). Next, I added to that the monthly spending income I get from a variety of sources (the figures within the parentheses). Then, I set a default constant of 2 months which showed me the total amount I will have saved in the next two months. I was then able to graph the equation using Tydlig and adjust the constant using the slider until the answer hit the value of the iMac ($1100). By doing this, I was easily able to determine that it will take me about 3 more months to save enough money to purchase the iMac. Figuring this out would normally be something I’d need a pencil and paper to do, but Tydlig made figuring this equation out on my iPad a piece of cake.
I have used both the iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad versions of Tydlig and I will say that the extra screen real estate on the iPad makes the app much easier to use, particularly with longer equations and graphs. The iPhone/iPod Touch version does include a landscape view feature that allows you to flip your device sideways to view more of your equation from left to right, but while you can drag parts of your equation around and interact with menus in this view it doesn’t allow you to bring up the calculator’s keyboard. For that, you must flip your device back into portrait mode. Fortunately, the app is a universal purchase so if you have both an iPhone/iPod touch and an iPad you’ll get the best of both worlds.
Tydlig has found a permanent place on my iPhone’s home screen, replacing iOS’ stock calculator app. It is intuitive, beautiful, and packed with powerful features. On top of that, it makes math fun (and that’s saying something coming from me). Give it a try and I’ll bet you’ll find yourself playing around with equations for the next hour or so. Tydlig is a universal app download for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch and is available on the App Store for $4.99. For more info, check out the app’s website here.