Graphing calculators may not be as popular today as before but they are still a big help to students and some professionals in the field of Mathematics. Texas Instruments, the leading brand of graphing calculators still producing and upgrading their TI lineup.
Their latest TI calculator is the Texas TI-84 Plus CE which is a big upgrade of the popular TI-84 Plus. They still have the CX CAS which is one of the best out there. This review might help you if you’re planning to buy a graphing calculator: Calcustar’s Best Graphing Calculator Reviews of 2017.
TI calculators are also the most recommended calculators in most universities and colleges. In fact, one of my nephew recently bought a TI-Nspire CX CAS because their professor recommended it.
Besides Texas Instruments, there are also some big names when it comes to graphing calculators and calculators in general. Top TI contenders are HP and Casio. Some of the professors I know fell in love with their calculator line up.
The HP 50g is the most popular graphing calculator of HP. It is much affordable than most TIs yet it still offers great performance. Although, not as powerful as the high end TI models like CX CAS and TI-89 Titanium, the HP 50g can perform really well in certain conditions and some high level computations.
The Casio FX-9750GII is the probably a lot closer counterpart of the HP 50g. It costs less than the HP 50g and the performance is quite good.
Are they worth your money?
I can say that YES, they are worth your money. Graphing calculators have different price points. The lower end models can cost you about $40-$50 while the higher end models can go up to $130. It is really depends on your need and budget. Calculators that has a CAS feature tend to be more expensive because it can calculate higher degree much faster.
Do take note that you should always choose a calculator that is accurate and easy to use.
But graphing calculators are complex tools!
Yes, they are definitely hard to use and make your head hurt during the first time you use them. But with enough practice you can learn it fairly quickly. Some graphing calculators are easier to use like the HP and Casio models. TI calculators on the other hand, are much powerful and complex thus requires a daily practice to use them comfortably.
Do you really need to buy one?
The answer here is quite simple. If the subjects requires you to get a graphing calculator then you should not hesitate and buy one right away. I suggest read a few reviews online like the one I mentioned above and probably order one from Amazon and have it shipped right at your doorsteps.
But in some cases, a scientific calculator or a financial calculator is just enough for your needs. There are some subjects and majors that needs a scientific or financial calculators only.