Smartphones and tablets pack an incredible amount of computing power into a compact package, making them great portable calculating and mathematical tools. The right apps can take the headache out of dealing with mundane or complex calculations, or even make learning math *gasp* fun. If you're looking for great calculator replacements, detailed math reference tools or just plain fun math games, check out this list of our 10 favorite math apps for Android and iOS devices.
PCalc Lite (iOS)
PCalc Lite for iOS has a well-deserved spot on this list as a free, extremely flexible scientific calculator armed with powerful features. There are also numerous add-ons. The basic package gives you a fair amount to work with, such as trigonometric and logarithmic functions, a radian mode, undo and redo operations, as well as unit conversions and constants. Users looking for more power can purchase additional features and operations through in-app purchases, or spring for the complete version for $9.99.
If you're looking for a tape style calculator that keeps track of your operations and results, check out Digits on iOS, or CalcTape on Android. Both apps operate like smarter versions of the classic tape calculator, keeping track of operations and results, while adding provisions for text labels, and the ability to go back in your calculator history and change operations or figures, with the app automatically adjusting all other operations down the line.
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MyScript Calculator comes to the rescue of those of us accustomed to writing down equations on pen and paper rather than transcribing them into a calculator. A handwriting recognition system allows users to write down equations and have the app calculate results. MyScript supports basic arithmetic, as well as percent, square roots, trigonometric (and inverse) functions, logarithms and constants such as pi and Euler's number.
If you're taking up algebra and calculus but can't afford a fancy dedicated graphing calculator, don't fret, as there are great options for free graphing calculator apps on iOS and Android devices. Free Graphing Calculator (iOS) and Algeo Graphing Calculator both provide great graphing calculator functions, as well as many scientific calculator operations and constants.
For a more practical, DIY tool for quickly calculating measurements and amounts for home renovation or construction purposes, check out Handyman Calculator (Android) or Home Improvement Calcs (iOS). Both apps come with a variety of custom equation presets to make short work of construction calculations. Whether you need to figure out how much concrete you need for a circular column, the amount of carpeting or linoleum you need for a particular area, just plug in the values into either app, and it will do the math for you.
Wolfram Alpha's computational knowledge engine is a wizard when it comes to a wide array of subjects, so it's no surprise that it's also fantastic at queries involving math, numbers, calculations and statistics (along with 29 other disciplines). Not only will Wolfram Alpha help you do the math, it'll also give you formula details, graphic representations, and explanations for how the app got to the solution.
Another fantastic math reference app, Math Ref lets users look up more than 1,400 formulas across a number of math and science disciplines. While it isn't as expansive in scope as Wolfram Alpha, Math Ref's coverage of the basics makes it perhaps easier to navigate for those looking for fundamentals. Math Ref covers formulas from Algebra, Calculus, Trigonometry, Physics, Chemistry and more. The app also comes with extras such as a unit converter and calculator functions.
PowerOne fields a variety of specialized calculator apps, and a particular standout is one oriented towards financial calculations. PowerOne Finance Pro Calculator includes a variety of tools designed to facilitate a variety of financial calculations, whether you're dealing with mortgages, bonds, estimating investment returns, currency conversions, Black-Scholes model calculations and more. Equations can be graphed for easy visual reference. Not only does the app come with numerous calculation templates, but users can even script their own, allowing you to customize the calculator for your working needs.
Save the world with the power of Math! Math vs. Zombies is a kid's educational game that helps practice basic arithmetic skills for a variety of elementary school levels. Using basic addition, subtraction, division and multiplication, players defeat zombies and transform them back to regular people. The Android version is free (ad-supported) and comes with four basic worlds themed around each math operation, while the iOS version offers extra challenges at a premium price.
Elementary school arithmetic would probably be more amusing if you know you were going to use that knowledge to avenge the Earth. Calculords is an interesting fusion of lane defense, deck building, but most importantly, basic arithmetic skills. You add, subtract and multiply numbers in order to play your troop cards to destroy the enemy base. Each victory earns you new cards and numbers to customize your deck. It also brings you that much closer to tracking down the dreaded Hate Bit as you seek revenge for Earth's destruction. Do you have what it takes to become the galaxy's greatest Star Nerd?