Difference Wiki

Computer vs. Calculator: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 2, 2023
A "computer" is a multifunctional electronic device for various tasks; a "calculator" is a device mainly for arithmetic calculations.

Key Differences

The "computer" and "calculator" embody distinct functionalities and capacities in the domain of electronic devices, with the former providing a plethora of functions and the latter primarily focusing on numerical calculations. The computer has the capability to execute an extensive range of operations, from basic computational processes to intricate program running, data management, and internet browsing, establishing itself as an essential tool across numerous industries and personal uses.
Whereas the "calculator," on the other hand, is predominantly confined to executing arithmetic and, in some advanced models, scientific and statistical calculations. Calculators are often compact, handheld devices, or software that limit themselves to offering solutions to mathematical problems, hence being significantly more specialized and limited in scope compared to computers.
The "computer" typically embodies a vast array of functionalities, including but not limited to, word processing, internet browsing, gaming, and multimedia management, making it a universal tool that can adapt to a myriad of tasks and cater to numerous user requirements. From professional workstations to personal devices, computers stand as a pivotal element in modern day-to-day operations and professional pursuits.
However, the "calculator" retains its uniqueness and importance by providing quick and accurate numerical calculations, proving itself crucial in fields and situations where swift arithmetic solutions are required. Despite being chiefly restricted to mathematical operations, calculators serve as a vital accessory in educational, financial, and scientific settings.
Thus, while "computers" and "calculators" might intersect in the arena of arithmetic computations, they diverge sharply in capacities, functionalities, and applications, each carving out its indispensable place in the technological and electronic landscape.

Comparison Chart


Multi-functional, versatile device.
Primarily for arithmetic calculations.


Can run various applications and programs.
Limited to mathematical operations.

Usage Scope

Used in diverse professional and personal fields.
Mostly used in educational and financial fields.

Physical Attributes

Varies in size, often larger.
Generally compact and portable.

Complexity & Price

More complex and typically more expensive.
Simpler and generally more affordable.

Computer and Calculator Definitions


A device capable of executing various software.
His computer ran the latest video editing software seamlessly.


A device specifically for performing calculations.
She used a calculator to tally the total expenses.


A tool for creating, storing, and managing data.
The computer stored years' worth of research data.


Often portable and battery-operated.
He pulled out a small calculator from his pocket.


Utilized for software development and design.
The programmer developed a new app on his computer.


Used widely in educational settings.
Students were advised to bring a calculator for the exam.


Used for internet browsing and communication.
She sent an email from her computer.


Capable of basic arithmetic operations.
The calculator quickly provided the sum of the two numbers.


Enables multimedia usage and gaming.
The computer delivered stunning graphics during gaming.


Can be physical devices or digital applications.
The calculator app on her phone was very user-friendly.


A device that computes, especially a programmable electronic machine that performs high-speed mathematical or logical operations or that assembles, stores, correlates, or otherwise processes information.


An electronic or mechanical device for the performance of mathematical computations.


Such a device along with peripherals, especially a monitor, keyboard, and mouse.


A person who operates such a machine or otherwise makes calculations.


One who computes.


A set of mathematical tables used to aid in calculating.


A person employed to perform computations; one who computes.


A mechanical or electronic device that performs mathematical calculations.


A male computer, where the female computer is called a computress.


(dated) A person who performs mathematical calculation


A programmable electronic device that performs mathematical calculations and logical operations, especially one that can process, store and retrieve large amounts of data very quickly; now especially, a small one for personal or home use employed for manipulating text or graphics, accessing the Internet, or playing games or media.
I spend around 6 hours a day at the computer.
As well as saving the photos on my computer, I have them backed up on a USB drive.
David is a computer expert.
Janet works at the computer store.


A person who calculates (in the sense of scheming).


One who computes.


(obsolete) A set of mathematical tables.


An electronic device for performing calculations automatically. It consists of a clock to provide voltage pulses to synchronize the operations of the devices within the computer, a central processing unit, where the arithmetical and logical operations are performed on data, a random-access memory, where the programs and data are stored for rapid access, devices to input data and output results, and various other peripheral devices of widely varied function, as well as circuitry to support the main operations.


One who computes or reckons: one who estimates or considers the force and effect of causes, with a view to form a correct estimate of the effects.
Ambition is no exact calculator.


Same as digital computer.


A small machine that is used for mathematical calculations


A machine for performing calculations automatically


An expert at calculation (or at operating calculating machines)


An expert at calculation (or at operating calculating machines)


What is a computer?

A computer is an electronic device that processes data and performs tasks according to programmed instructions.

What are the main components of a computer?

Key components include the central processing unit (CPU), memory (RAM), storage, and input/output devices.

Can a computer connect to the internet?

Yes, computers can connect to the internet for browsing, communication, and data transfer.

What is a supercomputer?

A supercomputer is an extremely powerful computer, often used for scientific research due to its high computational capabilities.

Are calculators used in education?

Yes, calculators are commonly used in education to assist with mathematical learning and problem-solving.

Are calculators electronic?

While many are electronic, there are also mechanical calculators with manual operation.

What is computer software?

Software is a set of instructions that directs the computer on how to perform tasks.

What is hardware in the context of computers?

Hardware refers to the physical components of a computer, such as the CPU, monitor, and keyboard.

Are there different types of computers?

Yes, including personal computers, laptops, servers, and mainframes, each with varying capabilities and purposes.

What is a graphing calculator?

A graphing calculator can plot graphs, solve equations and perform more advanced computations than standard calculators.

How is a calculator powered?

Calculators may be powered by batteries, solar cells, or via a direct power source.

Can calculators handle complex problem-solving?

Basic calculators manage simple arithmetic, while advanced models can handle complex mathematical problems.

Who invented the computer?

Charles Babbage is often credited with conceptualizing the first computer, while Alan Turing greatly influenced computer development.

What is a computer network?

A computer network connects multiple computers, enabling them to communicate and share resources.

What is a calculator?

A calculator is a device used to perform arithmetic and certain mathematical operations.

Who invented the calculator?

Blaise Pascal is often credited with inventing the first mechanical calculator in the 17th century.

What is a scientific calculator?

A scientific calculator can perform advanced mathematical and scientific operations, like trigonometric functions.

Can computers perform complex calculations?

Yes, computers can execute highly complex calculations and data analyses.

Can a calculator store data?

Basic calculators cannot store data, but some advanced models have memory functions.

Can a calculator connect to the internet?

Standard calculators cannot, but some advanced or specialized models might have internet connectivity.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons