In a series of the TI-84 calculators released by Texas Instruments, the TI-84 Plus CE is the latest. It is one of the most famous graphing calculators widely trusted by teachers and students in American classrooms and highly ranked on the market. WoWPencils is going to find out what is special about this version and what has stayed the same. If you are not a mathematician, this TI-84 Plus CE review will be a flashback to your math classes in college.
Texas Instruments seems to be obsessed with the idea of improving the technology of its famous 84 family. Let’s recall the TI-84, TI-84 Plus C, TI-84 C, or TI-84 Plus. Every new version has common features with its predecessor and exhibits certain updates.
In the last 10 years, the TI-84 has been very popular in the public school system. A lot has remained the same in the Plus CE. This is good because if a user has owned an older version, he will jump in on this release with no problems. The arrangement of buttons is identical, the menu is the same, and there is a similar color screen as in the previous model. Everything will be familiar.
This hardware features a better color screen, software, battery life, and it is more compact. It also includes a new operating system. The main difference is that it is impossible to transfer an application of older models to the CE.
For this purpose, new versions of the most popular apps (like Conics, Finance, PlySmlt2, and others) have been issued by Texas Instruments via its official website. The company even gives an ability to do an upgrade of several apps at one time by receiving the latest version of the operating system.
This calculator allows you to select a language localization you want directly in the “mode” menu without going through apps (for example, for users who are not native English speakers).
This device is able to keep track of the date and time. This is a one-function calculator, and it has no internet connection, so users will not be distracted during operation.
This device has such a great success because it is easy to use. Some brands offer calculators which are able to do many outstanding things, but these features can hardly be found in these devices. The Plus CE has no confusing menus. For example, in the graphing interface, all the necessary buttons are located in the top row, and users can toggle through viewing the graph and entering equations.
The most important thing is that Texas Instruments continues to support this model after it has been released. It constantly reviews its operating systems and offers additional updates.
The Plus CE features a rechargeable battery which has allowed the manufacturer to make the calculator slimmer. This model has been much redesigned and is 30% thinner and lighter than its previous generations. This is the biggest change that you will notice. The device looks like a smartphone and weighs only 7 oz. (200 g).
The location of the buttons is similar to its older version, while the buttons have become smaller and have a rectangular shape (not rounded). This gives the calculator a modern look. There are 46 keys, and almost all of them have three functions (standard, blue, and green).
There is no “equals” sign which is a bit confusing. If you want to add 2+2, you press “enter” instead of “equals.”
The calculator has a plastic cover and can be easily tossed into a bag or backpack.
This hardware is available in a variety of colors – pink, red, black, purple, light blue, dark blue, and gray. There are a lot of them. The company probably bets on the fact that color sells.
All the previous models of the TI-84 had batteries with a wire connection. The Plus CE uses another type of contacts which are found in cell phones – a removable lithium-ion battery. This is a rechargeable device which doesn’t require ordinary batteries. The only thing you need is plug it in via a mini USB-cable (which is included). Any handy USB-connector will do, like a car or computer charger. With normal use, the hardware can run on a single charge for a month.
It also has a function of a “deep sleep.” Due to this mode, the calculator hibernates if it is not in use for long. This preserves the battery and helps maintain a full charge over the whole college summer break.
The calculator features a backlit display of 360 pixels wide and 240 pixels tall. This is almost HD quality, and it does a good job. The display can fit 26 characters across the screen and 10 lines down.
The color screen affects the processing speed of the device, and this may seem like a downside, but still other benefits outweigh it. Some users consider a color screen as something unnecessary for a calculator, but when you see multiple lines on a graph, this is super nice. This high-res display is perfect for graphing menus where a lot of information is shown at the same time.
This device can store and view pictures. Any image can also be set as the background to the graph.
Speed of Processing
The Plus CE version has the fastest processor among all the TI-84 calculators. However, in some cases, it may seem different. This depends on the fact that the calculator has a color screen with many pixels. If you perform a task which requires internal computing, the device will process the data very fast. When a task requires graphing or printing something on the screen, this will take more time. Of course, this lasts several seconds, but on exams, every second counts.
Accessible Applications and Functions
The Plus CE has a bunch of applications typical for a graphing calculator like tables, graphing, matrices, and lists. If you press the “apps” key, you will find a ton of other useful apps which you may not expect to see. These apps can solve graph conics and algebraic equations, find roots, etc. If you do a certain type of math, you can put your calculator in a particular mode – calculate real or unreal numbers, change from degrees to radians, and many others.
The included apps are CabriJr (geometry), Finance (basic), Prob Sim, Periodic (table), Conics, PlySmlt2, Transfrm (dynamic graphing), Inequalz, SciTools (constants, vector operations, and conversions), and others.
One more function which is worth pointing out is that this calculator has MathPrint. This is the ability of a hardware to print expressions which appear as written in math textbooks or by hand (express calculations by means of templates). This makes reading the expressions much easier.
This device can also simplify fractions (if they don’t contain complex operations), but it cannot simplify radicals.
The calculator has an updated system of graphing piecewise functions which are useful for students in Calculus. Choose “piecewise” in the “math” menu when you are graphing, and then choose the number of pieces in the function. You will see a template of a piecewise function to fill in.
Every graph that you draw has a different color which makes it easier to read. When you have graphed, you can zoom in on your graph or calculate an intersect, etc. A table function will help you jump to or scroll through a specific “x” value.
One of the most prominent features of the Plus CE is its ability to be programmed. You are free to use programs directly from the device or create your own. You can use them from the home screen at any time.
The programming on this calculator is easier than for its older versions and doesn’t require much learning.
Where It Can Be Used?
The opportunity to use a graphing calculator on college tests is a crucial thing to consider before buying one for a college student. The Plus CE is ok on all the major standardized college tests and is allowed on Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), ACT, PreACT, PSAT, Advanced Placement (AP) test Biology, AP Physics, AP Math, AP Chemistry, AP Statistics, and other related tests.
Pros & Cons
When we compare the Plus CE with its predecessors, we can notice several useful upgrades and improvements.
- Due to a slimmer design, it feels comfortable in the hand
- Hi-res color screen
- Continues to get software upgrades
- Larger amount of RAM (154, 000 bytes), archive 3 MB
- Faster processing speed
- Rechargeable battery
- Implementation of MathPrint
- The keys are easy to read and press
- Comes in a rainbow of colors
- Can be used on major college tests
- The graph screen has a border as in older editions (and not the entire screen)
- Vector functions don’t make the “vector” and “math” menu
- Trigonometric functions don’t handle complex numbers
- The processing speed can be lessened because of a color screen
These features cannot be called drawbacks, and they are rather suggestions to the manufacturer for future updates.
This is an impressive device. With the 84 Plus CE, Texas Instruments keeps everything that was great in previous models and improves the most significant things like battery life and screen quality.
This hardware is not cheap, but it has been used and loved by teachers and students for many years. This is certainly worth the money. This is the best representative of the 84 family which will last a really long time.
The whole generation of the T-84 has been a quality standard for many years. The TI-84 Plus CE is an incredible calculator which is able to blow away even the smartest student with its capabilities and power. There are a lot of great tutorials designed to help you manage this sophisticated device, so mastering it will be a real pleasure.