The Brother 201 is a mid-1970s handheld calculator measuring 88mm x 153mm x 33mm and weighing 184g without batteries. It has a sturdy two-piece white plastic case with a flat bottom and rounded top. The keyboard has a brushed aluminum surround matching the display panels, one printed with the model identifier. The angled blue vacuum fluorescent 8-digit display also features digit and sign reminders.
Power comes from 4 AA batteries providing 6V DC or optionally an AC adapter plugging into the side. Current draw is 60mA. The battery compartment has a ribbon pull tab for easy changes.
The 201 offers standard math functions – add, subtract, multiply, divide – along with percentages, square root, sign change and a two register memory. Overflow is suppressed and full 8-digit negative results are shown via a dedicated sign digit. However error conditions like divide by zero are not recoverable beyond clearing. Low battery indication and an automatic power saving mode are provided.
Internally the logic runs on a NEC μPD276C microprocessor with peripheral transistors, diodes, resistors and other supporting components. The keyboard connects via ribbon cable for easy servicing. Build quality is very good with a solid feel and nice display. The 201 balances functionality, robustness and quality in a mid-range offering of its era.