Tip ‘N Split Calculator and Lighted Magnifier Sheds Light on Diners’ Problems

I can tell you from personal experience, it’s tough getting old. As I approach 50, I often find myself in low-light situations where there is just no way to read the small fonts on menus. In my full-time gig as a food writer, that can be a real problem. Fortunately, the Tip’N Split calculator and lighted magnifier offers a solution.

Tip N Split

I’m not a big fan of “unitasker” tools in the kitchen or in the rest of my life. I look for versatility in gadgets before I’ll dedicate any of the precious space in my kitchen drawers or my already overstuffed pockets. Luckily, the Tip ‘N Split is a basic combination of two tools that diners (especially those in the throes of middle age like me) might find helpful.

The fairly inexpensive gadget pairs a lighted magnifier to help you read small print with a dedicated calculator that is preprogrammed to help divide the bill and figure the tip at the end of a meal. While there are apps that also light and magnify tiny fonts and others that can help divvy up your bill, the Tip ‘N Split doesn’t require everyone (or anyone) at the table to be especially tech savvy.

In other words, it’s perfect for your grandmother. That’s why it is featured on QVC, where consumer products that make the less technically inclined viewers often fly off the shelves. I can speak from personal experience having appeared on QVC twice with one of my books, and I’ll always be thankful to the network for their assistance in moving a whole bunch of copies.

As a magnifier, the Tip ‘N Split couldn’t be simpler to use. Push the button with the light bulb on it and peek through the convex glass window to make any small type easier to read in any lighting conditions. The tip calculator features are a little more difficult to figure out, but after a couple of times it’s pretty easy to get the hang of.

After turning on the device, users enter the total amount of the bill and press enter. Then choose your desired tip percentage (at least 20% people, these folks work hard for a living!) and hit enter again and your tip is calculated and displayed. Hitting enter again will display the new total including tip.

Then you have the option to split the bill, with the default being one person paying the bill. If you enter a different amount of diners and hit enter again, the Tip ‘N Split will finally display the amount that each diner should pay to divide the bill + tip up evenly.

For example:

The bill for three diners is $84.78 (hey, we were thirsty!)
We decide to tip 25% (hey, our server was cute)
The total tip displayed is $21.20 (hmm, we might have to reconsider that tip)
Our total bill is now $105.98 (good thing the wings were so tasty)
Each diner owes $35.33 (we’ll round up a couple pennies for a cute server and good wings)

Could you do this math on your own using the calculator app on your phone? Sure. Could you just give three credit cards to the server and ask them to split it equally? Well yes, but I’ve done that before and found out that one of my cheap friends stiffed the server with a small tip. That always makes me feel bad, especially if it’s an establishment that I frequent.

If these sort of things bug you, or you have somebody on your holiday gift list that might benefit from a dedicated device like this, then the Tip ‘N Split might be for you. At $19.92, it falls right under that $20 limit that many holiday gift exchanges recommend. So that’s nice, too.

The Tip ‘N Split can be purchased at the company’s webpage on QVC.

Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample

MSRP: $19.92

What I Liked: Fairly simple to use. Sturdy and inexpensive. Helps make 9 pt. italic font menu listings at least more legible to my old eyes.

What Needs Improvement: It would be nice if the device also functioned as a normal basic calculator and offered the option to switch between that mode and the specialized tip and total calculations.


About the Author

Chris Chamberlain
Chris is a native of Nashville, TN and an honors graduate from Stanford University (where it should have occurred to him in the late `80's that maybe this computer business thing was gonna take off.) After 25 years in the business of selling flattened dead trees to printers who used them to make something which the ancients called "books," somebody finally slapped Chris over the head with an iPad whereupon he became the Director of Business Development for an internet services company that works with US retailers to help them sell their products overseas. His other day gig is as a food and drink writer for several regional newspapers, magazines and blogs. Chris has a travel/restaurant guide/cookbook coming out next fall which he is sure your mother would just love as a holiday present.