I have reviewed some LEGO accessories on this blog, as well as discussed LEGO clones a little. Some of you may have noticed something new decorating the Lion Knight’s math article, namely a calculator with a distinctly LEGO look and feel to it.
First things first, this is totally a “clone” product. While many online stores include the misspelled “Lego” in the product name, this is not a LEGO product. It is a Homade product, a Hong Kong operation mostly famous for releasing a bunch of brick themed accessories (MP3 player brick, USB flash drive brick, iPod speakers that look like they are made out of bricks) around the turn of the decade – they have also released some non-brick products, small gift items kind of stuff.
The calculator comes in several colors, such as red, green and black (I have also seen pictures of white and yellow). Mine is blue. The “roof tile” which houses the ten-digit display is white in all color versions. Button labels are the same color as the buttons, which makes reading them a bit hard, so the device is not really suited for heavy use. The keyboard layout and the basic calculator functionality is just that, very basic, the kind you get in any cheap, throwaway calculator. There is memory, percentage calculation and square root, but that’s the extent of it. It works.
The overall feel of the thing is solid, button presses are sturdy with proper return. Quality-wise the cheaper origins can be seen in the finishings of some of the parts, such as a few uneven plastic cuts and slightly off rubber bands on the bottom, but overall, the glossy (ABS?) quality is good enough to look like a pretty nice and colorful table decoration. It comes in a nice cardboard box, so it should work as a gift too (as long as the recipient is not allergic to unofficial brick products).
Note: You can click the images for larger versions.
In case you wonder, no, you can’t actually attach LEGO bricks to this thing. The studs are too big. Even though the promotional pictures make the calculator look fairly small, the studs and their spacing are actually a tad bit larger than LEGO DUPLO studs (no, you can’t fit DUPLO on them either). The calculator is slightly wider than a 4-wide DUPLO brick.
The Homade brick calculator (Homade has used names iCalculator and Decorative calculator) is already a few years old and by the looks of things, didn’t actually set the world on fire. I’m not sure how long it will remain available, but in case you are interested, look around the Internet and you will find. The Amazon.com marketplace should have some, for example.
As for me, I actually like the Homade calculator. It has more style than purpose, but as an interactive decoration it works.