The Abatron 803 is an early handheld calculator from around 1974. Manufactured by Business Electronics Ltd in England, it features a sleek, unique design and provides basic four-function calculations.
The Abatron 803 measures 75mm x 148mm x 19mm and weighs 132g without batteries. It is powered by two AA batteries and has a battery life of 3-5 hours. An AC adapter can also be used to power and charge the calculator.
The Abatron uses red LED digits for its 8-digit display. Numbers are entered from the right with no leading zero suppression. Calculations are displayed from the left, with a minus sign in the leftmost digit indicating a negative number.
Simple plastic casing houses the interior components. The oversized, typewriter-style keys are recessed below the surface for a distinctive look and feel. An angled red filter provides clarity for the bright LED display.
Features and Operation
As a basic four-function calculator, the Abatron 803 can add, subtract, multiply and divide. It also allows for a constant value to be used with any of the functions.
The logic system has some quirks. The clear key (C) will delete the last number entered, but a second press is needed to fully clear the calculator. Negative numbers up to 8 digits long can be entered and displayed properly. Input overflow is ignored rather than causing an error.
Although limited in functions, the Abatron 803 was well built and designed for portability. Its unique style and handy slide-on case made it a robust, practical calculating option in its day. For calculator enthusiasts, it represents an interesting transitional period in electronics miniaturization and innovation.