Calculator Recommendations for this class

What calculator do I need for this course?

Quick Answer: It depends on what you want to spend and whether you just want a good calculator for this one course or if you want a good calculator for future uses.

Here are my brief recommendations:

  1. The best inexpensive calculator for the course is the TI-36X Pro. It costs about $19 at Walmart and has the features you will use most in this class. It is also the one I will use for examples (along with the TI-83/84) in class. If you have another calculator and need help you are welcome to come by my office and I will help you learn to do whatever you need to do!
  2. The TI-30XS Multiview is another good choice. It is a little less expensive (about $14 at Walmart) and does not have quite as many features as the TI-36X Pro. I personally would recommend the TI-36X Pro for an additional $5. Most of you will use the extra features it has at some point in the semester.
  3. If you want a graphing calculator and don't already have one, I would recommend a TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition. It is a great calculator but it is costly at about $150. If you want a cheaper graphing calculator that has the same features as the TI-84, but will not be supported by our textbook, I would recommend the Casio FX-9750GII for about $50. The main difference between the Casio and the TI-84 is not in features but in the support the TI-83/84 gets in textbooks. You will often find examples and projects in your textbook of how to use the TI, but rarely will you have the examples for the Casio. If you don't mind reading manuals and using the internet, you can do anything on the Casio you can do on the TI, and you can do it for about $50 less money.
  4. If you already have an older TI-83 or TI-84 from high school, then use it. It will do everything you need for this course.
  5. You can always get any number of other calculators that will work fine. The ones I have mentioned all have features that we will use in class. Ask me if you have a question!

Calculator Specs - prices as of Fall, 2013
Line
Brand
Model
Price
Store
Fractions
Graphing
Function
Eval
Notes
1
TI
TI-36X Pro
$18.87
Walmart
Yes
No
Yes
Best non-graphing calculator for this course
2
TI
TI-30XS Multiview
$13.87
Walmart
Yes
No
Yes
Excellent non-graphing calculator for this course
3
Casio
FX260SLR
$6.97
Walmart
Yes
No
No
Good non-graphing calculator for this course
4
Casio
FX115MSPlus
$15.54
Walmart
Yes
No
No
Good non-graphing calculator for this course
5
Casio
FX115ESPlus
$16.45
Walmart
Yes
No
No
Good non-graphing calculator for this course
6
Casio
FX300ESPlus
$12.99
Walmart
Yes
No
Yes
Good calc. Easier to read than the FX115MSPlus
7
TI
TI-30XA
$8.44
Walmart
Yes
No
No
Good non-graphing calculator for this course
8
TI
TI-30XS
$13.87
Walmart
Yes
No
Yes
Excellent non-graphing calculator for this course
9
TI
TI-73 Explorer
$71.00
Walmart
Yes
Yes
Yes
Good graphing calculator for this course
10
Casio
FX-9750GII
$49.88
Walmart
Yes
Yes
Yes
Very good graphing calculator for this course
11
TI
TI-84Plus SE
$99.00
Walmart
Yes
Yes
Yes
Excellent graphing calculator for this course
12
TI
TI-Nspire CX Graphing
$139.00
Walmart
Yes
Yes
Yes
Superb graphing calculator for this course, but also overkill for this course!
13
HP
HP-50g
$105.00
Walmart
Yes
Yes
Yes
Superb graphing calculator for this course, but also overkill for this course!
 
 
14
TI
TI-83
I don't recommend buying this calculator now (buy the TI-84 instead), but if you have one from high school, it will be a great calculator for this course.

Graphing Calculators With Symbolic Solutions of Equations

Note: These are probably not necessary for this class or any other, but the 
symbolic manipulation capabilities are occasionally useful. They would serve
you well clear through grad school. Many students greatly prefer the user
interface of the TI. It seems more intuitive and natural. I have been a big
fan of HP calculators for a long time and it is my personal preference. Either
one will do a great job. If you are seriously considering spending this much
money on a calculator, you might want to spend some time researching them
and, most importantly, using one to try out the user interface. These are very
powerful calculators, but they can take a good bit of time and effort to learn
to use them effectively.


TI-89 Titanium - About 1$35 at Walmart.


HP-50g - About $105 at Walmart.


TI-Nspire CX - About $150 at Walmart. Do NOT get the plain Nspire calculator! Make sure
it says "CX" at the end. The Nspire CX has many more useful features than the plain old Nspire
for very little extra cost. This is a great calculator, but if all you need is 
a calculator for College Algebra, it is a lot of overkill.



Good link for comparing TI graphing calculators



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Created on ... Aug 28, 2007

Last updated on ... Aug 30, 2010