Solutionist ($2.99) by Domnic Francis is an app that is the perfect tool for anyone who deals with multiple calculations on a daily basis. This isn’t just another calculator app for your iPhone, it’s an app for creating and storing formulaic calculation templates for easy reference later.
With my job, I don’t normally deal with calculations as say, a math student would. However, I do have to quite a bit of calculations when it comes to money, making monthly payments, dealing with taxes, and the like. No matter what you do, chances are you have to deal with some kind of formula equation for something in your daily life, even though it may not be as noticeable as a calculus class. No matter what it is, you could probably get some use out of Solutionist.
Solutionist features a very iOS 7-like interface, so that’s a bonus. The app sports a very simplistic design, despite the complexity of the app itself, and it makes use of a lot of whitespace and light, but easy-to-read fonts. It also features a gorgeous, darker keypad design when you need to input a number for a calculation, so it provides a bit of contrast to an otherwise all bright white app.
Before you get started, there is a nine minute video that will show you how the app works. It’s optional to view, though, and you can always refer back to it later through the Help section in the “More” tab. Solutionist is split into three different views that you can navigate to through the bottom toolbar: Calculate (%), Editor, and More.
To get you started with the app, Solutionist will have a folder of some common calculations that you may have wanted to add anyway, which was nice. To get a feeling of how the app works, I recommend going into the Calculate view and trying out one of the sample formulas. Just tap on the calculation you want, and then plug in the necessary values, which are indicated by the blue text; results are shown in red. As you input the blue values, the red output will be updated in real-time.
The keypad in Solutionist not only looks fantastic, but it also adds in some buttons to make the experience even simpler. You can quickly navigate between input fields with the arrow buttons, as well as the basics like changing the value to positive or negative, reset the field, clearing it, and deleting one digit at a time. Your calculations can also be sent directly to others through AirDrop, Message, Mail, Twitter, Facebook, or just copied directly as text.
As you begin to understand what the app does, it will be time to add in your own calculation templates for using later. For this, you’ll need to be in the Editor view. There’s some options when you get here, such as Locking the app with a password for security, editing existing folders (delete or reorder), and adding a new folder. All of your formulas need to be in a folder, which is probably better for organizational reasons anyway.
When you go to add a new formula in a folder, you’ll need to give it a name first. Then, things get a little complicated, so it’s recommended to watch the video, or just learn as you go. Each formula you create will need you to manually enter in the fields, which you can further define by tapping it. When defining a field, you will need to indicate the field type (input, immediate, output), the display name shown in the calculate tab, a default value, indicate if it’s a prefix or suffix, and a prefix/suffix value. For output methods, you can also include text, because sometimes you need to know more than a number.
If there’s anything that’s missing, or doesn’t add up, the app will show an “Error?” in the top right, so make sure that you double check your variables to make sure everything is correct before finalizing it. Of course, you can always go back and edit your formulas as well.
When you’re viewing your collection of folders or formulas, you can easily swipe left to delete them, or tap on “Edit” for more options. Again, you can delete or rearrange the order of them, but if you’re editing the formulas, you can also clone or move them to a different folder.
In the More tab, you have the option to toggle the keyboard clicking sounds or clear on top when in the Calculate tab. You can always view the demo video from here as well, if you need more help.
It has a bit of a learning curve, but Solutionist is a powerful tool for anyone who needs to constantly make calculations. It definitely saves time over trying to figure things out with a traditional calculator, and these calculations can be extremely versatile. For example, you can use them for financial calculations, such as monthly payments, return rates, and how much interest you’ll be getting, to other things, such as health (BMI), taxi fare, quantity cost, and more. I only wish that Solutionist had some kind syncing or backup method for keeping your calculation templates intact, so I hope that this is added in a future update.
I still recommend checking out Solutionist if you have to make calculations daily, or at least on a semi-frequent basis. It’s quite handy to have, and definitely a time saver. You can get Solutionist from the App Store for your iPhone for $2.99.