Sometimes, searching for a particular thing you need can take a lot of effort. Searching for a graphing calculator is no exception. Thus, WoWPencils took care about friends and spent more than 32 hours in order to compare all the existing calculators, and create the detailed reviews that identify the best graphing calculator. Go on reading if you want to have one of these utensils.
Top Graphing Calculators: Popular Models
TI-84 Plus CE: Best for Engineering
If you are an engineer, you have probably seen this device before since it is highly appreciated by many of your colleagues. Thus, TI-84 Plus CE is considered to be the best for engineering.
Unboxing shows that there is a charger and a cable for it, a cable for transferring data between two devices, manual guide, and the device. The device itself comes in a plastic case. There is a port for charging and an indicator light for tracking charging status on the left-side edge. Consequently, when it’s done the light turns green, and while it’s in progress, the light is orange.
This device has a high-resolution color screen, thus all the graphs will be depicted without any distortion. In addition, comparing the previous versions, the processor is relatively fast, so there is no need to wait for a long time for building a new graph. Furthermore, the operation is intuitively easy to use.
- It’s thin and sleek, which makes this calculator good-looking
- Screen is high-resolution
- Comes in a variety of colors
- Fast processor and quick-building graphs
- Battery breaks down totally after a few months of use
- There might be some issues with charging the battery
TI-84 Plus: Good for College
While predecessor is good for engineers, then the lower model from Texas Instruments would be the best for students.
The manufacturer decided not to implement a color screen, but a monochrome display for building graphs will be enough for college. The processor is not so powerful as the upgraded version, but in a few seconds you will receive an exact graph of any equation. Indeed, this calculator sorts everything out, so you can be sure that you will get correct answers for algebra. However, creating your own graph is pretty cool, despite being a little bit difficult.
- Good for high school and even college
- It is accepted for SAT and for AP tests
- Durable battery life
- Easy to handle UI
- It works with regular batteries
- It lacks some features because it doesn’t have the Computer Algebra System
TI-Nspire CX: Ideal for SAT
TI-Nspire CX is a flagship calculator with a 320*340 pixel color display. It is a lightweight machine that is like a racecar among other graphing calculators. The features that Nspire CX has are considered to be the top ones.
What’s more, the manufacturer cares about its customers and always keeps the system updated according to teachers’ and students’ requirements. Thus, the up-to-date operating system was installed in Spring 2018, and it was updated up to version 4.5. As a result, one of the most significant updates is the ability to collaborate with the TI Innovator rover.
As it stated above, it has a color screen, and that is awesome. It is quite bright and the resolution is good enough to depict anything on it. For sure, it is not the same as the screen on modern a cell phone, but it’s pretty nice for such a device. The device is not the only thing that comes in the box; in fact, it comes with a charger, cable, plastic cover, and a user guide.
- It’s lightweight and has a sleek design
- It is accepted for SAT, AP, ACT, IB tests
- Touchpad navigation is comfortable
- It has easy operated UI
- The battery is not long-lasting comparing other competitors
- It takes quite a long time to process data
Casio fx-9750GII: Best for Physics
Well-known brand Casio has one of the best sellers – it is the Casio FX-9750GII. This is not the top model, however it is a decent one, which performs very well, and is also one of the cheapest.
The main fact that distinguishes this model among the others is that it has a USB cable for faster OS updating. Another thing that accompanies all Casio devices is the simplicity of usage. Thus, you can be sure, that holding this calculating machine will never embarrass you with a lack of knowing how to navigate it. However, some of the experienced users have admitted that it’s better to read the guide before starting to use it.
Although, this model is not as expensive as a top model from Casio, it solves all the tasks for physics, for calculus, and even for algebra 2, so if you urgently need a graphing calculator, this will be the best option.
- It’s quite miniature, however it’s enough to see the screen clearly
- It comes with a USB cable, which performs data transfers
- It is relatively affordable
- It’s difficult to use without previously read guide
- It’s battery powered
- Modern versions of Windows don’t recognize this device
Texas Instruments TI-Nspire CX II CAS
TI-Nspire CX II CAS must be considered the most comfortable and portable model. First of all, its body is thin and lightweight. Moreover, it comes with a protective lid that can be taken off and placed at the back when it’s not needed. The rechargeable battery can hold power for up to 2 weeks.
Another valuable feature is its color display that allows users to see the graphics in detail. Besides, the operation is wonderful thanks to touchpad navigation.
The software is ideal for all math-based subjects and the science including programming and chemistry. Besides, newly added features such as tick-mark labels and TI-Basic upgrading for programming will surely come in handy for students.
There is one more thing that will help you decide on the ideal calculator for you – exams it’s recommended for. In particular, TI-Nspire is perfect for AP, PSAT, SAT, and ACT.
- The rechargeable and voluminous battery
- There is a single cord for charging and connecting to a computer
- Numerous functions
- There is no option for users to choose how they want to get the answer (radical or irrational)
- There is no plug for charging, so the device must be charged from a computer
HP Prime: Easy to Use
HP has created something unique for these types of devices. This is a perfect conjunction of design, technical features, and performance. Obviously, all these factors allowed this device to be one of the easiest to work with – thanks to intuitive UI and its power characteristics.
Actually, HP Prime is equipped with a color touch screen that provides a decently good picture. In addition, all the graphs appear on the screen faster, since the processor is quite powerful. It means that this device can work with various tasks and calculations, and the user won’t even notice if there is a glitch.
What’s more, the pre-installed operating systems have lots of applications that will be life savers. Indeed, lots of users admitted its advantages rather than cons. However, along with high performance and awesome design, the price is going up as well.
- Stylish design
- High productivity
- Touch screen
- The back cover is difficult to remove
TI-73 Explorer: Cool for Middle School
This is another item from the Texas Technology family. And looking at its appearance, it’s very easy to assume that this tool will be appreciated in middle school. And it’s not only the design that indicates that this would be a good option for middle schoolers, but its features and abilities will definitely make sure that it’s worth it.
First of all, the technical performance is decent, thus the TI-73 can solve the majority of tasks and equations that appear in Algebra. Another thing is a technology that makes upgrading applications much easier.
- It works well
- Big display
- It’s permitted for SAT and AP exams
- It uses batteries
- It’s not capable for high school level
Casio fx-CG50 PRIZM: Best Color Screen
Casio fx-CG50 PRIZM is the middle rated graphing calculator that provides users with unrepeatable experience, thanks to its large color display. In fact, it performs well with lots of operations, but not as good as devices with Computer Algebra Systems.
The user interface is quite understandable and won’t take eternity to figure out how it works. Thus, the textbook printing will be a convenient feature for all users. There are also enough pre-installed additional apps, which will make your experience more positive rather than frustrating.
Another feature, which is considered to be the most important, is depicting graphs and diagrams. In fact, it does such operations with flying colors. In addition, there is a feature to draw 3D models too. This device is portable, and it comes with a plastic cover. However, because of being battery operated, the device itself is a little bit bulky.
- Permitted for the majority of exams
- Nice color screen
- Intuitive UI
- Battery operated
- It doesn’t have CAS
Casio fx-9860GII: Great for Algebra
Casio fx-9860GII is the older brother of Casio fx-9750GII, thus it must have more useful features than the younger one. Indeed, the most valuable feature is an easiness of understanding, so it can be operated without reading a guide. Another thing is that depicting graphs is as easy as pie, so filling in all the data and then pressing “draw” will show you the exact result.
In addition, there are installed applications, which unfortunately are basic, but all of them will be useful for algebra. As a bonus, you can write your own programs.
It’s obvious that this item doesn’t have color display, however, it has a light that can be turned on or off any time. Besides, the set consists of a USB cable, CD, and a plastic cover.
- Affordable option
- Provides exact answers
- Provides fast response
- There is no CAS
- Operated with batteries
HP 50g: Perfect for High School
HP 50g is a nice option for high school since it combines a computer algebra system and 3D modeling. However, it is not allowed for use on the ACT exam, while it is permitted for AP and SAT exams.
The button layout will be familiar for the majority of people, thus they will never screw up by accidentally pressing another button. Another feature that highlights this device among the others is having a slot for an SD memory card. This means that this machine will work way better than with built-in memory. There is one more feature, which allows users to write digits and symbols in random order, and this feature is called RPN. However, if you don’t need this feature you can easily get rid of it by turning it off.
- The screen accuracy
- Slot for extending memory through SD card
- It’s not compatible with MacOS
- Battery operated
Casio fx-CG10 PRIZM: Great for Calculus
Another Prizm device from Casio would be a nice helper for those who are dealing with calculus. Indeed, many users can confirm how good it works, and it will be useful even for calculus 3.
Fx-CG10 PRIZM has 3.7-inch color screen that provides a vivid picture. The manufacturer claims that creating graphs based on real life pictures will help people understand how the mathematical functions can be applied to everyday life. Perhaps, this idea has a right to life.
The huge disappointment is that this device is still operated by batteries, despite having good technical characteristics. However, there is one thing that will cheer up a student – this calculator is similar to a cell phone, so at least, it can be used for pulling someone’s leg.
- Easy understandable UI
- It is approved for ACT and SAT
- Battery is not long-lasting
- The keys are squishy, and they are too close to each other
Guide for Graphing Calculators
Don’t know how to choose the optimal model according to your requirements? Check out these tips that will definitely reveal all the secrets of which one should be your device. Find out which are allowed for use on various tests.
Therefore, for sure, all the additional features will be considered as advantages, but do you really need them? Sometimes even the most basic features are enough to complete all the tasks.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you are still in doubt and you have some questions related to graphing calculators, then these frequently asked questions will help you find answers. Here you can figure out what is the difference between some types of calculators, what are they used for, etc.
What Is a Graphing Calculator?
A graphing calculator is a portable mini computer that helps users solve equations, depict graphs 📈, and to do some tasks related to variables. They also allow users to customize some scientific programs, which will run according to you requirements.
Types of Graphing Calculators
There are two types of graphing calculators: standard and with computer algebra systems. Standard calculators can do simple tasks such as arithmetic, equations, and variables. Standard calculators are also known as programmable, which means that their built-in memory allows the users to create their own programs and save them on the memory card.
Computer algebra systems, with the shorter name CAS, are the most advanced devices. They provide users with the ability to do more calculations than a standard calculator can solve. In fact, CAS has additional applications that are designed for complicated tasks such as analyzing and creating diagrams for related sciences, hence they are recommended for geometry, trigonometry, physics and statistics.
CAS can also be connected to other devices and computers 💻, and can share some documents through the Internet.
What Is a Graphing Calculator Used For?
Generally, graphing calculators are not allowed in school, only for particular exams 📝. However, they are used for solving some particular tasks such as calculating trigonometry things etc. In addition, they can be used at home for home tasks or can serve as a helper for engineering calculations.
How Do Graphing Calculators Work 👀?
Actually, a graphing calculator does the same work as a regular one, which means that there is an installed program that provides the user with calculations. However, the tasks can be more difficult for a graphing calculator. Thus, the processor is more complicated.
The main challenge for graphing calculators is to draw the solution of a calculation, particularly, a graph or diagram. To be more clear, there are installed formulas, which are designed not only to calculate, but to create a graphical picture based on the given data. That is why these operations require more memory and a brain that can process the data – the processor.
What Is the Difference Between a Graphing Calculator and a Scientific Calculator?
The comparison shows that the main difference between these calculating devices is an ability to provide the user with a graphical solution. While the scientific calculator can perform only calculations, the graphical one can do both: do calculations and draw graphs and diagrams 📊.
Awesome Facts About Graphing Calculators
If you have just started using these fascinating calculating machines, for sure, you will have so many questions. In fact, you may know nothing about them. Here are some interesting facts that will encourage you to use them and maybe you will find something that you are familiar with.
- The first adding machine was invented in 1623. In 1773 the first true calculating machine was created by Philip Matthäus Hahn.
- Despite being invented in 1773, the calculating machine was shown only in 1778. This was due to the unstable work of the tens-carrying mechanism.
- The most successful commercial version of calculator was created by Charles Xavier Thomas de Colmar in 1851, and it was called arithmometer.
- The arithmometer was the only machine that was commercialized during the last fifteen years of 19th century. Apparently, as a result, it was used by lots of people until World War I.
- The first transistor-operated machine was created in 1954 by IBM and it was literally huge. In fact, it was situated in several cabinets.
- The first portable, programmable, and hand-sized calculator was created in 1974 by Hewlett Packard.
Hopefully these facts revealed some secrets of creating calculating machines. Actually, if the calculator had never been invented, nobody knows what would have been nowadays. Perhaps, nobody would even have a cell phone.
Indeed, the graphing calculator was invented not without a purpose. It underwent lots of modifications (technical and design) since it received portability and good looks. However, it’s been a helper for lots of users for a really long time. Even despite the technical progress and mentioning that there are lots of replacements, thanks to special applications for cell phones, graphing calculators are still considered to be the most popular and handy tool for more complicated calculations. Want to know about similar devices? Then join the WoWPencils family.