Calculator Comparison

If you are planning to be in a higher level math class like pre-calculus or statistics, there’s a high chance you are in the market for a calculator. In this review I am going to write about my opinions on what I think are the best fit for these classes.

Ti-84 plus ($103.47 on Amazon; ~$60 on eBay)

The Ti-84 Plus was released in 2004 and is the oldest of the bunch. This has been the go-to in graphing calculators for many years. The calculator features an analog green and black screen similar to the original Game Boy.

Pros:

The Ti-84 Plus is the most well-known calculator which makes learning how to use it easier because most teachers have already learned how to use it. It is not rechargeable, which means whenever the battery runs out, all you really have to do is replace the battery. Another advantage the Ti-84 plus are the buttons; they are easy to use which means you will rarely press the wrong buttons.

Cons:

When graphing, the outdated screen is hard to use because a point on the graph is smaller than the actual pixel. Another limitation of the dated screen is the ability to see lines, meaning the lines are staggered. Some may say that the screens pixelation is an issue, but it isn’t a deal breaker. Another issue though with an older calculator is performing different functions may be many menus deep compared to new calculators.

Ti-84 Plus CE ($123.29 on Amazon; ~$90 on eBay)

The successor to the Ti-84 Plus, with the biggest difference being a much higher definition and color screen. Released in 2015, the calculator also received a much needed physical upgrade in almost every aspect.  

Pros:

Don’t let the playful color selection fool you, this is that same reliable go-to calculator for over 10 years but only better. Having a higher definition screen and color has a big advantage versus the original Ti-84 with its monochrome block-y font. Also with the updated screen comes excellent brightness, allowing you to be able to see it even in a bright room.

Cons:

One of the deal breakers for some would be the calculator’s battery, you have to charge it. There are times where you may forget to charge it, leaving you with nothing to use in class. Similar to the other Ti-84 plus, getting to its many functions can take several button presses, which can get cumbersome.

Ti-Nspire CX ($129.99 on Amazon; ~$95 on eBay)

The Ti-Nspire is the next generation of Texas Instruments. The Ti-Nspire was a complete redesign compared to the Ti-84 because of its computer-like operating system. The defining feature would be its touch pad, meaning you have a cursor to point whenever you want on a screen (just like your laptop).

Pros:

The ability to navigate the calculator like a computer makes the calculator more capable than the others in the line. Updated hardware allows the calculator to store more things and even connect to the internet (with an adapter), allowing teachers even to show what’s on their calculator. As with the Ti-84 Plus CE, the color screen allows for an easier to understand calculator with the ability to label graphs with color.

Cons:

With new technology, it usually comes with a few kinks. An example would be the calculators enormous learning curve. Since most teachers came from a time of analog calculators, the overall structure of the calculator is drastically different from the Ti-84s. But once you get the hang of the calculator, you will find out that it is much quicker and more useful. One thing that still bothers me about the Ti-Nspire is the button design. The buttons are so minuscule and sharp which makes inputting a little harder.

 

Aesthetics

        4       

        5        

        3        

Screen

2

4

5

Ergonomics

5

4

2

Usability

4

4

5

Features

4

4

5

Price

4

4

5

 

 

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