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Old August 1st, 2018 #1
Jerry Abbott
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 942
Jerry Abbott
Default Best handheld electronic calculators

In any market, there's a lot of hype for sleazy wares. That's certainly true of calculators. But when you examine a lot of wares, you will occasionally find a true gem.

My main study of currently available calculators can be found here.

I was especially favorably impressed by two calculators:

The HP Prime
The Casio fx-CG50

On that latter calculator model, the number is 50, not 500.

The HP Prime is the speediest calculator that I've ever owned. Its CPU runs at 400 MHz, or about the speed of desktop PC's sold around 2000. While you'd laugh at 400 MHz today in a PC, it's as fast as it gets for a calculator today.

During most of my definite integral tests, the HP Prime returned the correct answer without any discernible delay. The HP Prime is noticeably faster than the calculator that comes in 2nd-place for speed, the TI Nspire.

Although the learning curve is steep for using the HP Prime, it's worth the effort.

If you don't need the very quickest device to do your math homework, the Casio fx-CG50 is probably the best choice. It's Casio's upgrade to its redoubtable fx-9860gii and fx-9750gii models, compared to which the fx-CG50 is between three and five times faster with numerical integration.

The Casio fx-CG50 also upgrades the earlier fx-CG10/20 Prizm calculators. Other than the two top-tier calculators (HP Prime and TI Nspire), the Casio fx-CG50 is probably the best graphing calculator all-round.

Of course, if you are on a tight budget, the best value in a calculator is still the Casio fx-9750gii. It's reasonably fast (faster than its upscale brother the fx-9860gii), and it's very inexpensive, selling for about $35 most of the time.

If you don't need the speed and graphing ability of a graphing calculator, the best scientific calculator that I've examined is the Casio fx-991EX, which upgrades the earlier fx-115ES, relative to which the fx-991EX is five times quicker at numerical integration.

There are calculators to avoid, also. The HP 50g and the TI-36X Pro, in particular, are real stinkers. The Casio fx-CG500 (that's 500, not 50) ClassPad is supposed to be a top-tier model, competitive with the HP Prime or the TI Nspire -- but, alas, it is not. The Casio fx-CG500 is inferior to either of them.

I haven't ever owned a TI-84, so I can't comment on it's relative value.

But I do own a TI-89 Titanium. Although the TI-89T was once a go-to workhorse for science students and professionals, it has been outclassed by other models since.

See my page (at link above) for more details and benchmark tests.


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