Best Graphing Calculator Review

Best Graphing Calculator Review

Whether you're trying to get a grade to be proud of on that next algebra test, helping students better understand mathematical problems in the classroom or designing a blueprint for a mechanical device, finding the right graphing calculator can help. There are three major brands vying for your attention: Texas Instruments, Hewlett-Packard and Casio. At first glance, each of these calculators appears very similar. Dig a little deeper, though, and you'll find that each one has unique features that set it apart.

In this buying guide, we break down the features of some of the most popular graphing calculators and help you answer some basic questions. What are the different types available? Which are permissible on the ACT and SAT? Which ones are easy to use? Choosing the right one doesn't mean finding the one with the most features; some may offer things you don't need. We'll present you with info on many popular models and let you decide which one best suits your particular needs. You can also visit our Learning Center for articles about Graphing Calculators.

Types of Graph Calculators

Finding the right calculator to help you solve mathematical and scientific equations in the classroom or at work depends on the features you might need. First, understand that these are different from scientific calculators, which offer an easy way of finding answers to basic equations. Scientific calculators typically have smaller screens than graphing calculators do, and they perform basic scientific notation, trigonometric, exponential and logarithmic functions.

While the biggest difference between a scientific and a graphing calculator is the screen size, other features, such as graphing capabilities, color displays, and the ability to write and store algorithms and programs set graphing options apart from scientific ones. Graphing calculators can also be used for drawing scatter plots, calculating probability and creating tables.

CAS vs. Non-CAS Models

There are two different kinds of graphing devices available: Computer Algebra Systems (CAS) and non-CAS. Both CAS and non-CAS calculators include advanced features that let you manipulate variables and solve equations. Some non-CAS versions, however, are suitable for only basic math problems.

One of the biggest differences in using these two types of calculators is how they display an equation. CAS calculators let you enter variables and then simplify them into a format known as Pretty Print or Natural Display. The result is a mathematical equation similar to what you see in textbooks. Pretty Print often makes an equation easier to understand for both students and teachers. Calculators of this type are also capable of evaluating symbolic expressions, making them useful for scientists and professionals. The addition of this capability also increases the price of the calculator. Non-CAS graph calculators display expressions in syntax format but are usually less expensive.

RPN vs. Algebraic Modes

If you use your graphing calculator or scientific calculator for advanced calculations, you may want a choice when it comes to the type of mode you use to input equations and functions for electrical engineering, chemistry, physics and even astronomy. There are two basic modes: algebraic and Reverse Polish Notation (RPN.) Most calculators use the algebraic input method, which uses the order of operations in a way naturally taught to students by professors in school.

Some, like the HP 50g, give you the option of using RPN. RPN makes complex calculations easier by removing the parenthesis and brackets in the equation. It then places the calculation in the correct order of operation. This saves steps and reduces the amount of storage space each calculation uses.

Online Options

What About Online Graphing Calculators?
A cost-saving alternative to a hand-held calculator is an online version. There are many available, both free and with paid subscriptions. Some, such as the Calculator+ app, are free but require a small purchase to unlock all modes, while others, such as Tydlig, have upfront costs.

One of the most popular free online options is the Desmos graphing calculator. Students, professionals and teachers can use this application on PC and Mac as well as Apple and Android devices such as tablets or smartphones. The application lets you plot tables, graph functions and find quick answers to equations. You can also create an account and save your past equations.

There are drawbacks to using a free or paid online graphing calculator because internet access is necessary at all times and not all are capable of handling complex equations. You also need a computer, tablet or smartphone when using the graph calculator online, and these are often banned from testing sites and in most classrooms.

Common Graphing Calculator Apps
Both CAS and non-CAS calculator graphing options, like the TI-Nspire CX CAS, the TI-84 Plus, TI-73 Explorer, and the Casio FX-9750GII, include apps that make learning, teaching and working easier. Some devices include NoteFolio, which lets you use the calculator's keyboard to take notes in any class and transfer them to Microsoft Word files. StudyCards is an app that lets you create digital flash cards for any class – even those not related to math or science. Many calculators also feature LearningCheck, an app that lets students and teachers create their own review questions and practice tests and share them with others. There's also the Spreadsheet app, which lets you analyze statistics using rows and columns and the eActivity app, which helps teachers create discovery-based lessons for their students. While many graphing calculator apps come preloaded, most calculators are compatible with additional applications.

Tips For Students

Many calculators provide similar functions, but not all provide those needed for every course you take in high school or college. Some, like the TI-83 Plus, are appropriate for courses like pre-algebra, algebra, trigonometry, business and finance, and AP calculus. However, other graphing calculators, like the TI-Nspire CX, TI-84 Plus or TI-89 Titanium, tackle the needs of these courses and are also better suited for geometric calculations, like finding the area of a triangle using Heron's Formula.

Some calculators work well for high school classes, but these may not always translate well into college classes. When looking for the best graphing calculator for your needs, pay close attention to what the calculator does. Basic options for high school courses like algebra and statistics may not offer functions for creating scatter plots, finding absolute values or basic graphing.

In addition to these capabilities, advanced graphing calculators offer other scientific and mathematical functions, like graphing derivatives, finding the min and max, and comparing exponential and power dispersion. These capabilities are necessary for advanced high school and college courses.

Before purchasing any graph calculator as a student, always check with your school and see what devices they allow in the classroom. Some schools don't allow certain advanced versions. Due to their popularity, many classes allow Texas Instrument calculators. Also, consider whether the graphing calculator is usable on AP tests or standardized like the PSAT, SAT, ACT, IB or Praxis. As of this writing, using the TI-83 Plus and Casio FX 9860GII S on the ACT and SAT is acceptable, but the TI-Nspire CAS and HP Prime are not permissible for most exams.

Tips For Teachers

When using calculator graphing devices in the classroom, teachers must understand how the calculators work. Many brands offer excellent resources that help teachers learn the functions of these devices, and they offer ideas for using the calculators in the classroom. Such resources include:

  • Pre-planned activities and lessons
  • Instructor-taught courses and webinars
  • Easy-to-understand materials

Texas Instruments offers a ViewScreen panel product. This product works with an overhead projector to enlarge your TI calculator screen while you teach. You can project the image of your screen onto a whiteboard or projection screen, so your students can see and understand the calculations you input as you teach the concepts.

Some brands also offer free software trials that let you explore how the graphing calculators work before making a purchase for your classroom. The software emulates a hand-held calculator and lets you perform all the same functions the device would.

For teachers purchasing 2D and 3D graphing calculators for the classroom, cost-saving options are often available. You may have the option of buying a bundle of calculators from a retail or store distributors at a lower cost than the individual price. Many calculators intended for classroom use also come with colored cases and sliders. This makes distinguishing between student-owned and school-owned calculators easy.

Graphing Calculators: What to Look For

When looking for the best graphing calculator, consider everything from the display to the memory to software integration. Here are a few elements you should look for.

The most basic graphing calculators offer large LCD displays, with many featuring backlit screens for ease of viewing. Some have high-resolution color displays, like the Casio PRIZM FX-CG10, that let you quickly see the difference between two similar graphs by formatting one as orange and one as blue. Character displays – or the number of characters and lines you can see at one time – vary among calculators. The TI-84 Plus, for instance, features an eight-line by 16-character display, while the Casio PRIZM has an eight-line display, and each line displays a max of 21 characters.

Processing Speed & Memory
Two of the most important elements of a graphing calculator are memory and processing speed. Fast processors let you perform and save equations quickly. Texas Instrument calculators boast ARM, Zilog Z80 and Motorola 68000 processors with different speeds, measured in megahertz (MHz). Advanced calculators, especially CAS versions, typically feature faster processors.

Many graphing calculators let you save equations, solutions and common problems for later using the integrated memory. The capacity for each calculator varies. For instance, the Casio FX-9860GII S boasts 64KB of RAM and 1.5MB of ROM, and the TI-Nspire CX CAS has 100MB of RAM and 64MB of ROM.

All calculator graphing devices operate using batteries. To avoid having to replace the batteries frequently and reduce the chances of the calculator dying in the middle of your class, consider a graphing calculator with rechargeable batteries. Many come with USB cables that connect to any USB-compatible device for charging low batteries. You can use these rechargeable devices with optional wall chargers or docking stations as well.

Ease of Use Features
Whether you use graphing calculator professionally or in the classroom, look for features that make using them simple. Some have touchscreens or dedicated buttons that let you quickly switch to different views or programs. To save you time, others let you program keystrokes and shortcuts. There are even some that offer split-screen views, which let you see multiple graphs or equations at the same time.

For quick use, options like the TI-Nspire CX CAS and HP 50g come with built-in equation libraries. These programmable libraries let you select from thousands of common equations. Most also feature functions that help with complex graphing and calculations, such as:

  • XY-lines

  • Absolute value

  • Min and max

  • Tables

  • Mean, mode and medium

  • Factoring

Some, like the Casio PRIZM, integrate real-world connections by letting you use pictures with your equations. By overlaying equations or graphs onto the pictures, you may more easily understand the problem you're solving.

Other Helpful Features
3D graphing calculators help you better understand the way functions work by displaying them in 3D. These models let you choose the steepness and height of your 3D graph, alter the colors of various sections and create several different 3D graphs using the same axes.

Many graph calculators come with USB cables that let you connect the calculator to a computer or compatible device. This makes sharing files between devices easy. Most let you integrate equations into Word and spreadsheet programs.

A USB cable also lets you download updates and new applications. Even some basic calculators designed for middle-school use, like the TI-83 Plus, feature USB cable compatibility for updating the software and operating system for extended use in later school grades.

Price & Resale Value
Graphing calculators vary in price, with some as low as $50 and others in the $150 range. The cost of the calculator greatly depends on whether it's a CAS system and the features it has. If cutting costs is a priority, consider non-CAS systems and calculators that come preloaded with the apps you need in the classroom or at work. Downloading apps individually, at a cost, can end up increasing the overall price of the device.

You may want to sell your graph calculator at some point down the road, especially if you purchased it for a particular class in high school or college. Be sure you consider the resale value of the choice you make now.

Texas Instrument calculators typically have a higher resale value than other brands. This is because the brand is popular among teachers, students and professionals, even though Casio models are generally less expensive and easier to use. In fact, some schools even require TI calculators for the classroom. The TI-84 Plus is the most popular when it comes to resale value because of its approval for use on standardized tests like the ACT and SAT.

No matter what brand of graphing calculator you choose, see how long the warranty is. The majority come with a one-year limited manufacturer warranty. Be sure you understand what the warranty entails before purchase. Some only cover manufacturer defaults, while others are more comprehensive and cover everyday damage. Most calculators also feature durable exteriors and optional sliders and cases that help it withstand the daily abuse of being carried around and occasionally dropped. However, a warranty covers you if something goes wrong.

Graphing Calculators: Our Verdict and Recommendations

When tackling algebraic, geometric or even statistical equations, the right graphing calculator makes a difference. Finding the ideal one for your needs depends on how you plan to use it. After looking over some of most popular on the market, our recommendations are:

For Students
The Texas Instruments Nspire CX includes almost all the features you want in a graph calculator for high school as well as many features that transfer well into college courses. While it doesn't have CAS capabilities, it uses mathematic templates that translate expressions into a textbook form that's easy to understand. It's also usable on most standardized tests and features a backlit color display that lets you easily see your calculations. The Casio PRIZM is also useful for students. It offers many of the same features as the TI-Nspire CX, and it is more user-friendly. However, it isn't as widely accepted or used in the classroom.

For Teachers
The TI-Nspire CX is also a good option for teachers. Using a calculator in the classroom that is compatible with many standardized and AP tests lets you teach students how the calculator works before these big exams. It also comes with rechargeable batteries, which help keep you going through every class period. Texas Instrument graphing calculators are ideal for teacher use in the classroom because this brand offers multiple teacher resources, like workshops, webinars and learning software. As a teacher, you may take advantage of the TI ViewPanels as well, which work with overhead projectors and let project your calculator screen so all your students have the ability to view what you are doing. Texas Instruments also offers EZ-spot yellow slide cases, which help you easily identify which calculators belong in the classroom and which belong to students.

For Professionals
While many advanced calculators are suitable for professionals, whether electrical engineers or professors, the HP 50g stands out with its CAS capabilities, along with its RPN and algebraic formatting options, massive equation library and large storage capacity. This option lets you do more than a traditional scientific calculator and makes finding the solutions to equations easy for professionals in astronomy, electrical engineering and physics.

Casio FX-9750GII

With its icon-based menu, the CASIO FX-9750GII is an easy-to-use graph calculator. It offers most basic and some advanced functions that make it suitable for middle school and high school math, finance and science courses, but it doesn't feature CAS or natural display capabilities. The CAS, or computer algebra system, allows the graphing calculator to manipulate mathematical expressions symbolically and return symbolic expressions as answers. This allows you to input the equation as it would be seen on paper.

It's also lacking when it comes to 3D graphing and geometric equations, compared to more advanced models. It does have a shutdown feature that saves battery life. It also has AP statistics functions, making it useful for statistics students, especially those in advanced high school classes.

Because it lacks CAS software, this graphing calculator is permitted for use on the ACT, SAT, PSAT/NMSQT exams and AP tests. It includes many basic and advanced graphing functions, like polar graphing, complex numbers, recursive sequences and hyperbolic functions. It doesn't offer geometric, pie chart or inflection-point capabilities, however. Its functions make it suitable for courses like algebra, calculus, pre-calculus, statistics, business, physics and chemistry.

While it doesn't offer a color display, the calculus graphing calculator does feature an LCD display and multi-colored buttons that make inputting and viewing information easy. It also has prior entry recall so you can retrace steps.

The graph calculator features a fast processor for quick calculations, but it only has 62KB of ROM, making storing equations, formulas and apps difficult. Software upgrades are not available electronically, but the unit comes with a USB cable for connecting the calculator to other devices, like your computer or a projector.

Four AAA batteries come with this graphing device, but they are not rechargeable. To save on power, it does have an auto power-off feature that shuts down the graphing calculator after a certain period of non-use.

Permitted on all standardized and AP tests, the Casio FX-9750GII offers many graphing functions students need for middle school or high school courses in math, science and business. It is lacking in some advanced functions, however, and doesn't have a lot of storage space.

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Casio FX-9860GII S

The Casio FX-9860GII S graphing calculator features an easy-to-use interface and multiple mathematic, scientific, geometric and statistical functions, making it a good choice for high school, college and even professional use. It doesn't have a color display, but it comes with a unique power-saving function that shuts off the calculator automatically after a certain period of inactivity, improving the efficiency and life of the battery.

With an icon menu interface, it's easy to choose from functions like XY-lines, tables, vectors and geometric construction as well as mean, mode and medium functions. The LCD backlit display doesn't have color capabilities, but it is bright and easily visible with a high-contrast readout.

It's a non-CAS graphing calculator, meaning it does not have the software to let the calculator to manipulate mathematical expressions symbolically as it would be seen on paper. However, it features a natural display input that lets you see expressions the same way you would in a textbook. This Casio calculator graphing device works well in the classroom for courses like trigonometry, calculus, algebra and geometry. Because it is a non-CAS system, it is acceptable for use on all major AP tests, as well as the ACT, SAT, IB and PSAT exams.

The graph calculator comes preloaded with geometry, eActivity and spreadsheet apps. It also features 1.5MB of storage for additional applications and new software. The included USB cable allows you to upgrade the software, transfer data to other Casio units (and to your computer) or connect it to a Casio projector.

Four AAA batteries come with the calculator. These are not rechargeable, but a unique auto power-off feature shuts down the calculator after a few minutes of non-use to prolong the battery life. A protective and durable slide case comes with the unit, but no color options are available. If you need more storage, it can use an SD card.

The Casio FX-9860GII S calculus graphing calculator doesn't feature a color display or rechargeable batteries, but it does offer most of the functions necessary for high school and college courses in math, science and business. This makes it a great choice for both students and teachers.

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The Casio Prizm FX-CG10 features a full-color LCD display, an icon-based menu and adjustable display brightness. It uses a fast processor for complex graphs and lengthy calculations as well as split-screen graph and table displays.

It's a non-CAS graphing calculator. The CAS, or computer algebra system, allows the calculator to manipulate mathematical expressions symbolically and return symbolic expressions as answers. This allows you to input the equation as it would be seen on paper. However, even though you cannot enter equations like you’d see on paper, it uses a natural display function so equations look much like they would in your textbook once you’ve programmed them in. This graphic calculator comes with multiple built-in applications and 16MB of storage. There are several advanced graphing functions as well. As a non-CAS system, the calculator is permissible for use on the PSAT/NMSQT, ACT, SAT and AP tests.

The display of this graph calculator is easy to view thanks to its full size and color capability. To save on battery life, the display automatically adjusts the brightness depending on the light conditions. The device uses four AAA batteries or four nickel-metal hydride batteries for up to 250 hours of use. A power-off feature turns the calculator off after a certain period of inactivity.

You can extend the use of this graphing device using some of the integrated apps for geometry, spreadsheets and conics. The unit also features many basic and advanced functions, like tables, scatter plots, recursion formulas and finding tangents. It also uses Picture Plot, a graphing tool that lets you overlap graphs onto real-life pictures. These functions make it useful for high school and college courses like algebra, AP calculus, geometry, trigonometry, physics, chemistry, business and finance.

An included USB cable, Program-Link software and a unit-to-unit cable let you connect this algebra graphing calculator to other Casio devices. You can also connect the calculator to your computer for software downloads and data transfer.

While the Casio Prizm FX-CG10 graphing calculator doesn't feature CAS capabilities, it compensates with its natural display function and user-friendly icon menu. It's a good choice for both students and teachers.

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HP 50g

The HP 50g is a computer algebra system (CAS) graphing calculator with multiple formatting functions. It doesn't have a color display, but it does have a large screen with adjustable contrast. There is plenty of storage for upgrades and applications, and it comes with an equation library. While it's useful for students and professionals, this calculator is permitted for use on only a few standardized tests.

There are more than 2,300 integrated functions in this graph calculator, including advanced functions like scatter plots, 3D graphing, angle conversions, hypothesis tests and symbolic differentiation. This makes it useful in high school and college courses in math, science, statistics and business. It's also a great tool for professional math-heavy jobs like engineering, surveying and computer science.

The system uses CAS and features three input options: RPN (Reverse Polish Notation), textbook data entry and algebraic formats. These functions limit its use on tests, however, since many testing services won't allow it. Students may use this graphing calculator only on the SAT Reasoning Test, SAT Math Level 1 and Level 2, and the PSAT/NMSQT. It may not be allowed in AP tests. If you or your child is taking an AP class, you should check before purchasing it or look for a non-CAS calculator.

The 50g features a large LCD adjustable-contrast display. Although it's not color, it is easy to read the screen. The menu corresponds to six function keys on the calculator. It can only display those six functions at a time, so the menu changes depending on what you are doing in the calculator itself.

It also offers plenty of storage with 2.5MB of total memory and an SD card slot that gives you enough space for multiple applications, equation saves and future upgrades. A USB kit comes with the calculator, along with four AAA batteries. An auto-off feature conserves battery power by shutting the device off after five minutes of inactivity. It also features a slide case but no color options.

While its use on tests is limited, the functions of this powerful device make the HP 50g a great graphing calculator for both students and professionals. It offers a large storage capacity, multiple format options and a built-in equation library.

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Texas Instrument TI-73 Explorer

The Texas Instruments TI-73 Explorer introduces middle schoolers to graphing, data analysis and conversions. It features a large LCD screen and a scrollable home screen. It offers basic graphing and scientific functions as well as English and metric conversions. It's durable and uses four AAA batteries.

This graphing calculator covers many needs of sixth- to eighth-grade students, including graphing functions like pie charts, bar charts and pictographs. It also features multiple graph styles, tables and angle conversions. Although it lacks some of the higher graphing functions found in other calculators, the TI-73 Explorer can go beyond middle school. It’s a non-CAS, or computer algebra system, calculator that allows you to manipulate mathematical expressions symbolically and return symbolic expressions as answers. This allows you to enter the equation as it would be seen on paper. As a result, this graphic calculator is allowed on most standardized tests, including the ACT, SAT, PSAT/NMSQT and AP tests.

It's compatible with a ViewScreen LCD panel for teaching purposes. You can also upgrade the unit for continued use and update classroom materials. The LCD display doesn't feature color, but it is large and easy to see as you scroll through the home screen to access a complete catalog of the calculator's operations, which is helpful for students and teachers.

There are no built-in apps with this graph calculator, but it offers 25KB of RAM and 128K of ROM for data storage and app downloads. It comes with a unit-to-unit cable, which lets you transfer data between this device and other TI calculators.

Four AAA batteries power this calculator. While these batteries aren't rechargeable, the calculator features a lithium-ion backup battery that protects your stored memory when changing the batteries becomes necessary. An impact-resistant slide case comes with the calculator, and it's available in multiple colors to suit your personal style.

While the TI-73 Explorer is a basic calculator and doesn't offer many of the functions that other TI graphing calculators do, it features a large LCD screen, several graphing capabilities and a battery backup. It's a useful tool for middle schoolers and middle school teachers.

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Texas Instruments TI-83 Plus

The Texas Instruments TI-83 Plus is a non-CAS graphing calculator with an upgradeable operating system. It comes with four apps, a Texas Instruments connectivity cable and a lithium-ion backup battery. There's not a lot of ROM available, but it does feature several basic and advanced graphing functions. It is suitable for most high school and college courses in math, science and business. It's also approved for use on standardized and AP tests.

This graph calculator features many graphing, mathematical, geometric and scientific functions, including determinant matrix operations, logistic statistical analysis, scatter plots, histograms, tables and XY-line plots. It's suited for algebra and calculus, business finance and statistics, but not for geometry. In the sciences, it can be used for biology, chemistry and physics, including AP-level classes.

The TI-83 Plus is not a CAS-enabled calculator. CAS allows the calculator to manipulate mathematical expressions symbolically and return symbolic expressions as answers. This allows you to enter the equation as it would be seen on paper. This is actually an advantage for high-school students because, as a non-CAS calculator, it's allowed on AP tests, the SAT, the PSAT/NMSQT, the IB, the ACT and Praxis exams.

This Texas Instruments graph calculator doesn't come with a color display, but it does feature an LCD screen with split-screen capabilities for viewing two graphs side-by-side. There is only 160KB of ROM available, which is enough for up to 10 stored graphs.

Four apps come with the algebra graphing calculator, including StudyCards, Science Tools, Vernier EasyData and Probability Simulation. You can download additional apps as well as software upgrades using the included TI connectivity cable, which is designed to be compatible with other TI models and your computer. The cable is a serial cable and not a USB one, though. TI Connect software also comes with a device so you can link it to your computer to transfer data.

Texas Instruments' TI-83 Plus uses four included AAA batteries for power. A lithium-ion backup battery protects your calculator's memory when you replace the batteries. It also comes with a slide case, which is available in multiple colors to suit your personal style.

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Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus

Acceptable for use on several different college entrance exams, the Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus is a non-CAS graph calculator capable of displaying seven graph styles, as well as performing matrix operations and business functions. It includes several apps and is ideal for most high school business, math and science courses. Included with it are a durable slide case and a connectivity cable.

Typically, the best graphing calculators include both basic and advanced functions. This device offers a bit of both, letting you calculate basic equations and use business functions like amortization and cash flows. While it is a non-CAS calculator, its MathPrint functionality lets you view equations as you would in a textbook.

Many applications come preloaded on the graphing calculator, including the Area Formulas, Cabri Jr. Geometry, CellSheet and Inequality Graphing. These, along with its basic and advanced functions, make the device ideal for high school courses like algebra, calculus, chemistry, and business and finance. You can also use it on AP, IB, SAT, PSAT and ACT exams.

For durability, it comes with an impact-resistant case. A TI connectivity cable, which lets you transfer files to and from computers and TI devices, is also included. The cable also makes upgrading the graphing calculator's software easy. Other optional accessories, like TI-SmartView emulator software, are downloadable for use by teachers in the classroom. The emulator software works with existing projection technology in the classroom to let teachers display their calculator screen for students on a large screen, whiteboard or blackboard and up to four different representations of an equation, such as a table, graph and chart, at a time.

This calculator has 24KB of RAM memory. A lithium backup battery protects the RAM memory if the device's four AAA batteries fail.

This algebra graphing calculator doesn't offer the necessary advanced functions for technical college courses. However, it does help solve complex equations related to high school math, business and science, and it features a battery backup that keeps your RAM memory safe. It also comes with plenty of apps and optional software that makes it ideal for both student and teacher use.

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Texas Instruments TI-89 Titanium

Texas Instruments' TI-89 Titanium is a computer algebra system, or CAS, graphing calculator approved for use on most AP tests and exams. It features preloaded apps, an icon desktop and 2.7MB of flash ROM for storing data, apps and more. It comes with a USB cable and a TI connectivity cable, but it doesn't have a rechargeable battery. It also lacks a color display, but it delivers on multiple graphing functions that make it useful for some high school and college courses.

This graphing calculator uses CAS capabilities that translate equations to Pretty Print, or what you would usually see in a textbook. It offers 3D graphing, scatter plots, XY-lines, inverse matrix operations and interactive numeric equation solvers. Its functions make it ideal for courses like precalculus, calculus, physics, college math, and electrical and mechanical engineering. However, it’s not the best choice for standard algebra (although it performs well with linear algebra). Texas Instruments does not recommend this model for statistics or business and finance use. It's not approved for the ACT or IB exams, but you can use it for AP tests as well as the SAT, PSAT/NMSQT and Praxis exams.

This graph calculator includes 16 preloaded apps that extend its use. You can also download additional apps, including some that teach matrices and vectors, calculus, differential equations and statistics. It features 2.7MB ROM for storing new apps as well as upgrades.

For sharing data between devices and downloading software, it comes with a TI connectivity cable and a USB cable. You can also connect it to other TI devices using the Presentation Link adapter. While it lacks a color display, it does have an icon menu and a history screen with deep recall.

This Texas Instruments calculus graphing calculator comes with four AAA batteries, which are nonrechargeable. It also includes an impact-resistant slide case with several color options, including pink, purple, blue, gray, white and red.

Although you can't use it on the ACT or IB exams like other graphing calculators, the Texas Instruments TI-89 Titanium includes many advanced functions and apps that make it useful for a variety of educational purposes. It's suitable for both teachers and students taking advanced math and engineering courses.

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Texas Instruments TI-Nspire CX

The Texas Instruments TI-Nspire CX is a non-CAS graphing calculator that features typical functions like XY-lines, graph plotting, equation computations and geometric animations, making useful for courses like algebra, geometry and statistics. It also offers advanced functions and a backlit color display. It is compatible with most standardized tests, and the calculator comes with an equation library, 3D graphing and a rechargeable battery.

Unlike many graphing calculators, the TI-Nspire CX features a full keyboard, with buttons for numbers, letters and symbols. This saves you confusion trying to remember the right combination of keys to get the letter or symbol you want.

This TI calculator displays equations and expressions in syntax format instead of the more easily understood Pretty Print, making it a non-CAS graphing calculator. Its non-CAS status makes it acceptable for use in most classrooms as well as for standardized tests including the SAT, PSAT/NMSQT, AP, Praxis, IB, ACT and most state exams. There is a CAS-capable version, which includes mathematics templates that let you input expressions as they are seen in your textbook.

This algebra graphing calculator offers many basic and advanced functions, all of which you view on a color, backlit 3.5-inch display. The calculator can import digital images, which lets you use included images, or you can import your own and overlay equations and graphs on them. This gives you real-world insight into how your equation works. The device also features 3D graphing, chemical-formula input and multiple applications like Vernier DataQuest, which delivers table, graph and meter views and lets you manually enter data for analysis or use Vernier sensors to import and collect data.

With an included USB cable and rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, TI's graphing device lets you learn or teach without power interruptions. The USB port also lets you connect to other TI units or to a computer. For durability and style, colorful cases and sliders are available.

While the Texas Instruments TI-Nspire CX is a non-CAS graph calculator, it includes many elements that make it much more than a basic graphing option. It has a color display, is compatible with almost every AP and standardized test, and it features advanced functions like mathematical templates and digital picture import.

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Texas Instruments TI-Nspire CX CAS

The TI-Nspire CX CAS is a hand-held calculator graphing tool with many different basic and advanced graphing, mathematic, geometric and scientific functions. It features a color display and a rechargeable battery. It works well with matching computer software, making it ideal for high school and college courses, and you can use it on some standardized tests, but not all.

With six different graph styles and zoom features, this calculator lets you quickly create 2D and 3D graphs. Other functions help you find the mode, median or mean of different values. There are even XY-line functions that help define vectors and display three-dimensional coordinates. This calculator also features scatter plot capabilities, which let you see how one variable is affected by another. The computer algebra system (CAS) translates syntax to Pretty Print, which is similar to the way an equation appears in a textbook, making the equations easier to understand than they might be otherwise.

This calculus graphing calculator features a large color display that's easy to see plus drop-down menus that help you navigate documents within the device. The system comes with personal computer software so you can use your Mac or PC with the CAS calculator as well. Teacher software is also available, along with a free resource center, webinars and workshops.

This is a good calculator for most high-level math uses, including trigonometry, geometry, calculus and differential equations. It may be more advanced than you need for algebra, but it does well with linear algebra. It’s also good for statistics, business and finance, and engineering. Unlike online graphing calculators, this device is usable on some tests, including the SAT, PSAT/NMSQT, Praxis and AP tests. Students may not use it on IB and ACT exams. It has a non-CAS version that you can use for these.

A rechargeable lithium-ion battery comes with the calculator, so you can charge the battery when it runs low rather than replace it. The batteries recharge via the included USB cable. Also included is a durable slide case, with several color options that are available.

The TI-Nspire CS CAS is not suitable for IB and ACT exams, but it is ideal for other tests and many high school and college courses. It offers both basic and advanced functions as well as software options, making it a good choice for both students and teachers.

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