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Which Calculator is Right for You?

Written on 08/26/2009 by Andrew | 0 comments

Texas Instruments produces a variety of calculators, all designed for different people with different needs. Of course, this may leave you wondering– which calculator should I buy?!

TI-83 – From $45.00  – Purchase TI-83 from Amazon

Pros
Affordable, and can be used anywhere where a TI-83+ can
Cons
One of the oldest graphing calculators from Texas Instruments.
No longer sold in stores, must buy second-hand from places like Amazon.com

Specifications
6MHZ Z80 Processor
27KB RAM
First produced in 1996

TI-83 Plus – From $55.00 – Purchase TI-83+ from Amazon

Originally released in 1999, the TI-83 Plus is essentially an upgraded version of the TI-83. The Plus version includes several new features, such as Flash Applications, Flash ROM memory, and a faster processor. This model has the largest amount of user-created programs and applications available, including anything from equation solvers, to Mario clones. This is currently the recommended calculator for junior highs and middle schools.

Pros
Faster trigonometric and graphing functions
Currently stocked in stores

Cons
Older model calculator
Limited memory, which may affect usability for games

Specifications
8MHZ Z80 Processor
24KB RAM, 160KB Flash ROM
First produced in 1999

TI-84 Plus – From $75.00 - Purchase TI-84+ from Amazon

The TI-84 Plus is one of the newest calculators designed by Texas Instruments, first produced in the year 2004. The TI-84 Plus features more memory (3 times more than the TI-83 Plus), a faster processor, and a clock (along with some programming functions that use the clock). This calculator also boasts an upgraded screen and new button colors, although the keyboard layout is the same as the TI-83 Plus. This calculator is 100% compatible with the TI-83 Plus and the TI-84 Plus Silver Edition.

Pros
Compatible with the TI-83 Plus
Upgraded screen
Memory is 3X larger than TI-83 Plus
Clock
USB port, in addition to the standard I/O port

Cons
Slightly more costly
Screen driver may cause issues with games, such as Mario. There IS a fix, however.

Specifications
15MHZ Z80 Processor
24KB RAM, 480KB Flash ROM
First produced in 2004

TI-84 Plus Silver Edition – From $77.00 - Purchase TI-84+ Silver Edition from Amazon

This version of the TI-84 Plus is customizable. The Silver Edition features customized, removable, faceplates (the piece of plastic behind the keys), and a custom cover. This calculator is ideal for the student who wants to be unique– it even comes in pink. The Silver Edition packs even more memory into the calculator– 9 times as much as the TI-83 Plus (1.5MB).

Pros
Even MORE memory for games
Custom colored (or designed) faceplates
USB Port is more friendly than the I/O

Cons
Slightly more costly than the TI-84 Plus, but just a mere $2.00
Same screen driver issue as the regular TI-84 Plus, but it is fixable

Specifications
15MHZ Z80 Processor
128KB RAM (24KB Useable), 1.5MB Flash ROM
First produced in 2004

TI-89 Titanium – From $100.00 - Purchase TI-89 Titanium from Amazon

Unlike the TI-83 Plus series (which includes the TI-84 Plus), this calculator is generally used at the high school level. The TI-89 Titanium features 2.7MB of Flash memory (2 times the TI-84 Plus), 3D Graphing, and a completely different home screen layout. Included, is a USB port, which is easier to use than the I/O port that was built into the earlier calculators.

Pros
Much more memory, and it is more powerful than a TI-83 Plus
Advanced math functions, mainly used in high school

Cons
May be confusing to use after using a TI-83 Plus

Specifications
12MHZ MC68000 Processor
188KB RAM, 2.7MB Flash ROM

Voyage 200 PLT – From $160.00 - Purchase Voyage 200 PLT from Amazon

The Voyage 200 is essentially a TI-89 Titanium, except it includes the standard ”QWERTY” format keyboard. This may be convenient for typing, but some state and college exams do not permit this keyboard format during test taking.

Pros
“QWERTY” keyboard
Interesting, pocket dictionary-like layout

Cons
Not permitted on most exams

Specifications
12MHZ MC68000 Processor
188KB RAM, 2.7MB Flash ROM

TI NSpire TouchpadTI NSpire – From $115.00 - Purchase TI NSpire from Amazon

The TI NSpire is the newest, most advanced, and most feature-filled calculator on the market. This version of the TI NSpire includes two keypads– the default NSpire pad, and the TI-84 Plus keypad. By switching the pads, you get FULL compatibility with the TI-83 Plus series. The calculator includes advanced math functions, individual letter keys, an advanced display (unlike anything else on a calculator), and much, MUCH more. On the NSpire, you can draw shapes, add text, create spreadsheets, and calculate decimals with amazing precision (12 decimal places).

Pros
Amazing gray scale screen
Easy to use
Large number of features

Cons
More expensive than most of the TI Calculators
Small, integrated alphabet keys can be awkward to use

Specifications
150MHZ ARM Processor
16MB RAM, 20MB Flash ROM

Math Level Permitted on SAT/ACT Overall Rating
TI-83 Middle School Yes 6/10
TI-83+ Middle School Yes 7.5/10
TI-84 Plus Middle School Yes 8/10
TI-84 Plus Silver Edition Middle School Yes 8/10
TI-89 Titanium High School – College Yes 8/10
Voyage 200 PLT High School – College No 7/10
TI NSpire Middle School – College Yes 9/10

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