Graphing Calculator Comparison
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Graphing Calculator Buying Guide
What is a Graphing Calculator?
A graphing calculator is designed to do things that regular calculators cannot do, and with speed and efficiency. They’re not one particular calculator, but more so a classification of calculators, and they give you the ability to perform advanced mathematical and scientific tasks while also allowing you to plot graphs, draw, and even create complex programs.
These kinds of devices are small and will easily be able to fit into the palm of your hand. They come in at about 4 ounces in weight, and they’re also adaptable to work in conjunction with other instruments including pH gauges, light meters, and specific communication devices. When you have the proper input, these devices can give you immediate and visual answers to equations while you plot along the x and y axes of your chart. If you are someone engaged in advanced mathematics such as algebra, geometry, or calculus, then you’re going to find that this kind of calculator is a necessity. It’s also great if you’re limited on time, because you’ll be able to complete your calculations on the device rather than by hand.
You’re going to find that most graphing calculators have a minimum of 500 built-in functions, but some will have more. These devices are battery operated and they give you options in terms of font size. There are memory capabilities that vary from 24 KB Random Access Memory, or RAM, to over 200 KB RAM with the ability to upload additional memory when it is needed. We’re going to go through the history of the graphing calculator, and what questions you need to ask yourself before you buy. With so many calculators on the market, it can seem daunting when it comes time to buy the right one for you. But take heart, we’re going to highlight what it is that you need to know to make a sound decision.
History of the Graphing Calculator
Did you know that calculators date all the way back to the 1600s? Over the past centuries, the use of calculators has gone from just the domain of the scientific world, to being common devices that everyone can use. The earliest calculators were quite cumbersome and also costly. These old devices evolved over the generations, and today they’re incredibly lightweight and affordable. Until the 1960s, mathematicians mostly used slide rules to complete their work, but finally the technology industry began to develop handheld calculators. It wasn’t until 1985 that Casio introduced the first graphing calculator, and the industry was transformed.
Since that introduction, graphing calculators have become even faster and easier to use, and they give you the ability to perform a number of complex tasks in a very short period of time. Today, they are a standard piece of equipment in the classroom and in the workplace, and they allow you to better utilize your time, thanks to the speedy results that you get.
Types of Graphing Calculators
There are basically two specific kinds of graphing calculators.
- Computer Algebra System: The CAS calculator is specifically designed for the manipulation of symbolic expressions. It is engineered to evaluate, factor, integrate, and eventually solve all roots, as well as simplify equations with the easy touch of a button. This model of calculator is perfect for advanced mathematics students and scientists who need to handle symbolic expressions. With the continued advancement of technology, this kind of device is becoming the standard.
- Non-CAS: This kind of calculator is a numerical calculator that computes basic numerical equations. This is the kind of simple device that you’ll find at most homes and offices, and it allows you to perform basic functions.
Both of these kinds of calculators are going to require a graphic display screen, but this is the only similarity that they share.
What you’ll find on most graphing calculators
- Conventional Display: Also known as a natural display, you’ll be able to see mathematical expressions shown exactly as they would be written manually.
- USB Capabilities: This allows you to maintain programming and updates, and it makes it adaptable to other devices.
- 3D Graphing Capabilities: The 3D function allows the graphing calculator a variety of functions within the x-y-z area. You’re going to see that most graphing calculators have 2D capabilities at least, but 3D is quickly becoming the standard to look out for.
Calculators continue to evolve as technology improves, and the demand for more complex calculators is continuing to increase. Before you purchase a graphing calculator you need to research the top rated products so that you have a firm understanding of what features are standard, and what additional tasks your new calculator will be able to tackle. Some standardized tests are going to allow you to use graphing calculators, but this will depend upon the specific model of calculator and what its capabilities are. Before you make a purchase, be sure that you know what kind of calculator is allowed in your school, and if you’re professional, be sure the calculator is going to perform all the functions that you will need it to perform.
No matter what kind of calculator you buy, you’re going to see how beneficial it is for all your advanced mathematical problems, aiding both math students and scientific professionals. Some standard features that you’re going to find include a USB cord for updates and additional programs, as well as so much more to assist you in your endeavors. A high quality graphing calculator is going to help you to minimize the time that is spent on specific tasks, as well as by aiding you in all mathematical and scientific equations. Consider the purchase of a graphing calculator to be an investment that is going to last you for years to come. For this reason, you need to be willing to spend a bit more than you otherwise would have, to obtain a device that is of the highest quality and sure to stand the test of time.
Finding the right graphing calculator for you comes down to knowing how advanced you need it to be in form and function. If you’re a calculus student, the model that you should purchase is going to be different than if you’re a scientific professional that uses the device on a daily basis. Understand what key functions you need the device to perform, and which are obsolete. With the advancement of technology, there are some calculators that can perform Herculean tasks, but these functions may not be necessary for you. If you’re in school, it’s a smart decision to ask your teacher what model of calculator they suggest, as they most likely know of a certain brand that will perform all the functions that you need it to perform.
If you’re a scientist, then it’s smart to ask your colleagues what model they use, as this will most likely suit your needs as well. When it comes to finding the right graphing calculator, it’s all about understanding your specific needs, and what you’d like the device to accomplish.
A graphing calculator is essential for those that need to perform complex mathematical tasks, and most of the models on the market today are not only affordable but also easy to use. There are so many graphing calculators to choose from that it can seem daunting at first when you’re looking for the right one for you, that’s why our buyer’s guide is designed to help you to understand what kinds of features are out there, so that you can make the most informed decision. Once you find the right calculator for you, you’re going to see that your mathematical tasks are easier and more efficient than ever before, saving you valuable time and energy.