Difference Between Calculator and Computer

The elementary foundation of both calculator and computer is the same because both these were developed to solve problems associated with complex calculations. At a basic level, we can state that a computer is an extended version of a calculator. A calculator can perform mathematical operations only, whereas a computer can perform various tasks like arithmetic operations, logical operations, sorting, inserting, comparison of different types of data and information and many more.

In this article, we will discuss all the major differences between calculator and computer. Let's start with some basics of calculator and computer so that it will become easier to understand the differences between them.

What is a Calculator?

A small electronic device that is used to perform the mathematical operations is commonly referred to as a calculator. As its name implies, it is a device that can calculate. A calculator can perform mathematical operations only, it cannot perform the complex operations like data storage, data sorting, comparison of different kinds of data, etc.

Therefore, a calculator is not suitable for executing operations based on some logical decisions. Historically, the ancient human uses tally sticks, knots, pebbles, etc. as calculating and recording methods. A device named 'abacus' was recognized as the first calculator. The abacus emerged the evolution of several calculation devices such as anemometer, arithmometer, mechanical calculators, difference engine, analytical engine, etc.

Based on the types of calculations performed, calculators can be of several types such as standard calculator, scientific calculator, graphing calculator, financial calculator, etc.

What is a Computer?

A computer is an electronic machine that takes inputs from the user, process them according to user's instructions, and produces the results in a user readable form. A computer is basically an extremely enhanced version of a simple calculator, and thus it can executes all the operations that a calculator can do.

The great advantage of a computer over a calculator is that it can be programmed as per the user's requirements for different applications. A computer can perform a huge variety of operations like arithmetical, logical, comparison, sorting, inserting, etc.

The first programmable, general purpose electronic computer got recognized was the ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer). Till date, there are five generators of computers that indicate the evolution of computers. The first computer was designed using vacuum tube and valve technology, and over the period these vacuum tubes are replaced from the ULS-ICs (Ultra Large Scale Integrated Circuits). The modern computers are very powerful and advanced, and can perform highly complex operations.

Difference between Calculator and Computer

The following table highlights the important differences between a calculator and a computer −

Parameter Calculator Computer
Calculation complexity Calculator has a moderate calculation complexity. Computer has a high calculation complexity.
Memory Calculator has less memory. Computer has more memory.
Task performed Other tasks can't be performed using a calculator. Computer can perform other tasks easily.
Use of programming language Calculator doesn't have the concept of programming language. Many programming languages can be used with computer.
Operations performed Calculator can conduct only arithmetic operations. Computer can perform arithmetic as well as logical operations.
Purpose Calculator cannot be used for general purpose functions like entertainment, documentation, email, etc. Computer can be used for general purpose tasks.


The most significant difference that you should note here is that a calculator just performs arithmetical operations, whereas a computer can carry out arithmetical as well as logical operations. Thus, a computer can solve highly complex problems.

Updated on: 24-Nov-2022

10K+ Views

Kickstart Your Career

Get certified by completing the course

Get Started