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HP 50g Review

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.