Some Thoughts on Buying a Scientific Calculator

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DISCLAIMER: The information on this web site, and especially particular FAQ #1 here, reflect the writer's subjective opinion and observations. The FAQs 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 any FAQ. 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.

**(1) What's the best scientific calculator to buy, and where's the best place
to buy one.
**I prefer not to make
specific recommendations about manufacturers and vendors on this website, but I'll tell you what to
look for and where you can find some good prices.

First of all, don't buy one of those six- or eight-function calculators that are little more than an adding machine. Definitely do buy one with a two-line display, and one with algebraic entry. (That's called V-S.P.A. M for the Casio and EOS for the TIs.) The two-line displays keep both your entry and your answer on the screen at the same time. Make sure it has "Replay" or some such provision for moving the cursor so that you can make corrections. You'll also need an INS, insert, for entering things you may have left out in your entry. Make sure it has a fraction function. That looks like this: ab/c. It should have provisions for entering powers of 10. That would be something like EE or EXP. It should also have these: Trig functions, log, e

If you're attending an electronics technical school, you might look for a calculator with BIN, HEX, and OCT. Some calculators have the logic functions AND, OR, and XOR. Again these might be of some use to electronic technicians or those aspiring to be. You can also evaluate a logic expression such as ~(p.~q). But I've found that most teacher don't use a calculator for evaluating logic functions, and most students don't go to the trouble to learn how to use a calculator for that.

I still believe that the best method for those on a tight budget is to buy something like a fx-300MS and when you need the extra power of graphing, matrices, and financial applications, go with a used TI-83 Plus Graphing Calculator.

__A NEW OPTION:__

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 this document.)

__ 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 in the TI-83 Plus.

* Has some limited programming ability.

* I'm told that the User Manual is in Spanish as well as English.

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.

* I'm told that the User Manual is in very small print and can be tedious for some to read.

programming functions. This calculator is more on the order of the old Casio 7000G Graphic calculator. I have no direct experience with either

using it or with its reliability.

*Activation Date: 8/20/06
Revision Date: *