*Some Thoughts on Buying
Graphing Calculators*

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**
DISCLAIMER:
**The
ideas
on this web site reflect the writer's subjective opinion and observations. What
appears here should be considered only as another source
of information. The writer is not endorsing any particular brand or model of
the calculators mentioned or any particular store or shop. The writer does not
warrant the accuracy of this information. Any calculator mentioned may not be a
representative sample of what is on the market, and the manufacturers may change
their products or specifications without my knowing about it.

**
Caveat:**
The following is an attempt to give some help to those who are unfamiliar
with the capabilities of graphing calculators and how their capabilities relate
to courses of study. It is not intended as definitive advice on what
a particular student should buy. I
would appreciate knowing of any disagreements you have with me. Send me an
e-mail at the address listed elsewhere.

** Bottom Line: **Talk with the teachers of the classes
you're going to be taking. Buy the calculator that they're going to be
using in their instructions if you can afford it and don't already have another
type.

I would point out that it is possible to graph functions of more than one variable on a TI-83 Plus, but you have to hold all but one variable constant. For example, if you want to graph e^-(x² +y²), you could replace y² with A, and supply constant values of A from the home screen to get a family of curves. I understand that TI is developing a set of applications that will give the TI-83 Plus some of the capability of the TI-89. If you buy the TI-83 Plus, you get the GraphLink or Connect software that allows you to download applications from the Internet to your calculator.

For finding antiderivatives, partial fractions, vectors and other somewhat more sophisticated math operations, I would suggest a TI-89, or if you have the money a TI-89 Titanium. The TI-89 can be a little intimidating to some students. I happen to think that the TI-89 Titanium is somewhat simpler. It does, however, cost more. I have a User Guide for the TI-89 Titanium on this Website that might simplify using the TI-89 Titanium for you.

If you plan to take Pre-calculus or AP Calculus, and especially if you're planning to major in engineering, science, or math in college; then you probably should buy a graphing calculator if the cost is not a primary consideration with you. A TI-83Plus or a Casio Cfx-9850GB would be sufficient, but I would be remiss if I didn't say that the TI-83Plus or one of the TI-84 Plus models is more often the choice among college students. See the information of the TI-84 Plus series at the end of this topic. Be cautious about buying a TI-86 or TI-89. Although these are excellent for those who have a more than average interest in math, many students never really learn to use these calculators with anything like their potential.

Some schools are migrating to the TI-84 Plus regular or Silver Edition. The major difference between these calculators and the TI-83 Plus is that the newer versions are faster and have more memory, and have more applications loaded. Frankly, you might not notice the speed unless you're a gamer or running some long programs. But you should bear in mind that the TI-83 Plus probably won't be produced much longer. In fact, it may be out of production when you read this. The TI-84 Plus series also have more applications loaded, but you can download

For Intermediate Algebra, you may need a graphing calculator depending on whether your school uses one. In any case, it would be nice to have one to check your answers. Make your decision based on your major as listed in the categories below.

Suppose you absolutely can't afford any graphing calculator. Hang in there and get you a good scientific for no more than $17.95. Go to the Tutoring Lab, Learning Center, Academic Assistance Center or whatever your school (community colleges) calls it and use their calculator to do your homework. They may even have one you can check out and take to do tests. You might also ask your professor about one of the cheaper Casios: FX-7400G Plus or FX-9750 Plus. I have an older FX-9750, and I worked some with an older FX-7400, but I am not familiar enough with the newer versions of these calculator to give advice on them. Read my notes below on the Durabrand that has recently appeared at Wal-Mart for $19.95. Finally, though I'm not endorsing the morality of pawn shops, you can get some good buys on used Graphing Calculators there. I bought a TI-83 Plus for $30 and a TI-89 Titanium for $40 including the obscene 9.25% sales tax we have here.

Now, here's something that may seem a little weird to you, but it works for many of the students who come to me and are pressed for money. I send them to pawn shops. Many pawn shops in this area have used TI-83 Plus calculators for $30 to $43 dollars. I tell the students to make the pawn shop dealer agree to take the calculator back for a couple days or so, until they come in and have me check it out. You might also try to bargain a little by telling the dealer that the TI-83 Plus is now two versions out of date. Now, let me give you a little hint on getting a calculator from the pawn shop: Turn the calculator on; press 2nd, MEM, ENTER. In the middle of the screen, right below the TI-83Plus will be an entry such as 1.19. This is the version of the operating system and

Now, how about the Durabrand calculator that has recently appeared at Wal-Mart for $19.95? Here's what little preliminary information I have on it. (Please read the DISCLAIMER at the start of these FAQs)

**Durabrand **

__ PROS:__ * Has a 50-key keyboard that appears to
be fairly well arranged except, possibly for the SHIFT key.

* Has fraction and Ans keys.

* Has sufficient memories for most any purpose - 26.

* Has about any of the standard algebraic and trig functions that you would want - including one- and two-variable

statistics.

* Algebraic entry of formulas.

* Easily obtained battery - CR2032. This is the same as the battery used for the memory of some other calculators.

* Has some limited programming ability.

screen G-T display is 50 x 46.

* As far as I can see, there is no equivalent of the ENTRY function on the TI-83 Plus. This is very useful when you need to use

a long expression and only edit a number or maybe two.

* Programming is limited to 400 steps divided among ten pre-designated programs. Gamers, forget about it.

*Activation Date: 8/30/09
Revision Date: *