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Best Graphing Calculator for College – 2018 Buyer’s Guide and Reviews

Antonio Evans March 20, 2018
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Best Graphing Calculator for College 2018The Casio FX-7000G was the first calculator made for commercial sale in 1985.
Since then, we have seen the rise of graphing calculators which are essential tools for the college student.

Graphing calculators are designed to help students solve complex math and scientific problems. They can plot points on a graph and display the graph for better understanding.

These devices can have a few features to advanced functions to suit each user’s level of learning. In this industry, the price reflects on the advancement expressed in a calculator.

But not every student will benefit from a high-tech calculator. That’s why you need to know what to look for before picking a graphing calculator for college.

Here’s our list of the best calculators for college 2018. They feature wide display screens, intuitive interfaces, large storage capacity, and long battery life.

Let’s see why they made it to this list.

Best Graphing Calculator for College 2018 Reviewed

ModelStorage Memory:Screen Size:Resolution:Permitted Exams:RatingReview
Texas Instruments T1-84 Plus CE Graphing Calculator21KB RAM
480KB ROM
2.8-inch LCD320 x 240 pixelsSAT, ACT, PSAT, IB, and AP⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Check our Review!
Casio FX-CG 10 PRIZM Color Graphing Calculator16MB3.7-inch LCD384 x 216 pixelsSAT, PSAT/NMSQT, ACT, and AP tests⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Check our Review!
Texas Instruments TI-89 Titanium Programmable Graphing Calculator2.7MB ROM
188KB RAM
3.2-inch LCD100 x 160 pixelsAP tests, PSAT/NMSQT, SAT, and Praxis exams⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Check our Review!
Texas Instruments Nspire CX CAS Graphing Calculator20MB ROM
16MB RAM
3.2-inch 16-bit color LCD320 x 240 pixelsSAT, PSAT/NMSQT, and AP exams⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Check our Review!
HP Prime Graphing Calculator32MB RAM3.5-inch LCD320 x 240 pixelsPSAT/NMSQT, SAT subject tests in mathematics exams, SAT, and select AP exams⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Check our Review!

Texas Instruments T1-84 Plus CE Graphing Calculator – Best College-Board Approved Calculator

Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus CE Review, Pros and Cons. Check our Best College-Board Approved Calculator 2018

If you are just joining college, you know you have gone beyond the basic math solving.

That’s where a graphing calculator comes in.

The Texas Instruments T1-84 Plus CE is designed to help students understand concepts in advanced math, science, engineering, and other high-level academics.

This particular model is a sophisticated make of the T1-83.

It features more memory, more apps, improved display, and better performance.

MathPrint Technology

This calculator uses MathPrint Technology to ensure that students can enter equations and fractions using the proper notation. This means your input will be displayed as it would in printed text or on the board.

You will be more engaged in the problems you solve thus you’ll understand better and perform well in your exams. It is approved for use in tests by many testing organizations including ACT College Entry Exams, SAT, PSAT, AP, and IB tests.

Relate Math with the World

It’s not a matter of reading for the sake of exams, with this calculator; you can deepen the connection you have with the world. You can understand math much better by importing photos from a computer to the calculator. This way, you can easily graph on those pictures for an all-around understanding of the concept.

Functional Design

This calculator comes with preloaded apps and images. You will have Polynomial Root Finder, Conic Graphing, and Vernier Easy Data. You can view an equation alongside its graph and coordinates with this calculator. In it, you will have all the help you can get for statistics like data analysis, graphical, and regression.

Optimal Display

If color helps you to visualize concepts, the T1-84 Plus CE is your best friend. You’ll be able to separate equations, objects, and plots by color coding them. This way, you can distinguish between multiple plots and diagrams. It has a backlit display with high resolution to enhance readability. This makes it easy and comfortable for your eyes.

Mastering its Usage

Graphing calculators are not simple devices, and the T1-84 Plus CE is no exception. But this calculator follows in the navigation and menu structure of the T1-84 Plus series where it will be easy to learn after a little while. The MathPrint functionality allows you to view and input math symbols as they would appear in the textbook.

Main Features:

  • 30% lighter and thinner than earlier generation TI-84 Plus models
  • Vibrant backlit color screen
  • TI Rechargeable Battery
  • Available in a variety of fun colors
  • Pre-loaded Apps and Images
  • MathPrint™ functionality
What we like
  • Its software supports PCs and Mac computers
  • It uses the T1 rechargeable battery
  • It has applications that extend the functionality of the calculator
  • Uses the menu and navigation system of the T1-84 Plus line for simple learning
  • Approved for use on SATs, ACT, PSATs, IB, and AP exams
  • MathPrint functionally creates a more engaging experience for the student
  • It has a color, backlit display with a high resolution
  • It is 30% thinner and lighter than other models in the T1-84 line
What we don’t like
  • It may need sometime mastering how it is used
  • It can be slow to display some graphics
Review TI 84 Plus CE Graphing Calculator look at the video:

Unboxing Texas Instruments TI 84 Plus CE Graphing Calculator look at the video:

Casio FX-CG 10 PRIZM Color Graphing Calculator – Best Full Color Graphing Calculator

Casio FX-CG10 PRIZM Review, Pros and Cons. Check our Best Full Color Graphing Calculator 2018

This is another sought graphing calculator. The Casio FX-CG10 PRIZM features a full-color LCD.

You will be able to plot different graphs and distinguish them since they will appear as they would in your textbook.

It’s a new addition to the Casio FX line, bringing you revolutionary features to make your leaning in college much more relaxed and enjoyable.

Large Keyboard

You will be working with a large keyboard which makes it easy to input variables and numbers without making mistakes. It is an intuitive way of learning to use the calculator more so if you are just using a graphing calculator for the first time. You can plot many equations on the screen since the color will allow easy distinguishing between them.

You get to choose from 65,000 color options with the LCD screen. This means you can have sharp images of graphics, formulas, and graphs.

It has the classroom functionality to create a realistic method of teaching and learning. With the icon-based display system, it will only be a matter of time before you are familiar with every function of this calculator.

USB Connectivity and Large Internal Memory

Now you can share concepts with other students or connect it to a computer when you need to transfer graphs. This makes it easy to print out homework as you can display your working formula and graphs alongside your work.

It also has 16MB memory to help with storing and recall of plenty of formulas.  You’ll be able to use the same formula over and over again.

Multiple Applications

Casio FX-CG10 PRIZM integrates many applications including eActivity. It allows you to input your notes alongside the graphs so that you can comprehend as you solve the equation. It also has In-Depth Conics application, pre-loaded geometry application, and a built-in spreadsheet application.

It can handle calculations in pre-algebra, Algebra I & II, Geometry, Trigonometry, AP Calculus, AP Statistics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Business, and Finance.

The simple interface on the Casio FX-CG10 PRIZMO makes it an ideal pick for a freshman who does not want to deal with a complicated calculator on your first classes.

Main Features:

  • Easy to use, Icon-Based Menu System
  • Dynamic Graphing, Dual Graph & Table Display
  • Natural Input and output of Inequalitiy graphs
  • Natural Display allows entry and output of mathematics just like in a textbook
  • Built-in spreadsheet application
  • In-Depth Conics application
  • Pre-loaded Geometry application
  • USB connectivity, 1.5MB of flash memory / 62KB RAM
  • 140 hours of battery life (AAA x 4)
What we like
  • High-speed CPU is much faster than conventional calculators
  • Large Storage allows recall of formulas
  • Large keyboard with an icon-based menu system
  • Multiple applications provide input of numbers and plotting of graphs simultaneously
  • Can connect to a computer via USB
  • The four AAA batteries provide over 140 hours of life
  • It has a downloadable Quick Reference Guide
  • High-resolution LCD has up to 65,000 color choices
What we don’t like
  • Navigation can be hard if you are used to a Texas Instrument
  • May not be permitted on all exams
Review Casio FX-CG 10 PRIZM Color Graphing Calculator look at the video:

Texas Instruments TI-89 Titanium Programmable Graphing Calculator – Best Affordable Graphing Calculator for College

Texas Instruments TI-89 Review, Pros and Cons. Check our Best Affordable Graphing Calculator for College 2018

The Texas Instruments TI-89 is a versatile graphing calculator best for students who are joining college.

It does not feature a color display, but instead, it offers 3-D graphing and rotation making it easier for graphing and solving AP and advanced mathematics.

It comes with an inbuilt Computer Algebra system which helps to manipulate and explore mathematical expressions in symbolic form.

Pre-loaded Graphing Software

This calculator features sixteen preloaded software applications. This includes NoteFolio, CellSheet, and EE Pro for engineering students.

With it, you’ll be able to solve differential equations and linear and non-linear equations. For differential equations, you can choose to graph them or solve them numerically, or symbolically.

This calculator offers a powerful CAS platform where you can factor and expand variable expressions, and solve any quadratic expression by completing the square, finding anti-derivatives, computer limits and even the exact solution in an irrational form.

 

Translate and Visualize Expressions

This graphing calculator helps you to solve and visualize complex expressions. It has a pretty print feature which enhances the display into radical notation. It is what you would usually see in a textbook. It offers scatter plots, inverse matrix operations, XY-lines, and simple numeric equation solvers.

Connectivity

The T1-89 comes with a TI connectivity cable plus a USB cable. You can connect it to other Texas Instruments devices as well as to other computer devices. It has an incredible 2.7MB flash memory for a device that comes at such an affordable price.

You’ll like that it can store data and you can add more apps for your upcoming classes. Although it is a useful tool for college and high school students, it is not permissible for ACT or IB exams. But you can use it for AP tests, PSAT/NMSQT, SAT, and Praxis exams.

Main Features:

  • Sixteen preloaded Graphing Calculator Software Applications (apps), including EE*Pro®, CellSheet™ and NoteFolio™
  • Calculate with precision
  • Display expressions in proper notation
  • Simplify collection and analysis of real-world data
  • Built-in USB port with cable
What we like
  • It has 16 preloaded apps
  • Translates equations into pretty print similar to textbook print
  • Ideal for many courses in high school and college
  • Comes with a USB and TI connectivity cable to link other TI-89 or Voyage 200
  • It has an icon menu
  • It has a history screen and a deep recall
  • Useful for both teachers and students
  • It provides up to 99 graphing equations
  • Comes with an impact-resistant case
What we don’t like
  • It does not have a color display
  • It is not recommended for business and finance

Texas Instruments Nspire CX CAS Graphing Calculator – Best Graphing Calculator with a Natural Math Display

Texas TINSPIRECXCASFF Review, Pros and Cons. Check our Best Graphing Calculator with a Natural Math Display 2018

The TI-Nspire is considered the most powerful of the Texas Instruments line.

It has some very intuitive and innovative features that support a wide range of teaching strategies.

From the initial look at it, you can tell it is a slim design which you can take anywhere even with a backpack full of books.

It comes from the need to help students solve complicated mathematical and scientific problems.

Why is this graphing calculator unique?

Computer Algebra System (CAS)

This calculator is an essential hands-on tool. It is adequate for mid school and college curriculum requirements. You can make real-world connections by importing your own digital images such that you can graph on them so that you can make comprehensible solutions.

This makes it easy for students to connect and visualize what they learn in class and what is in the real world. It has multiple graphing options where you can define equations, save, graph, and analyze at the same time.

The calculator allows performing computations and entering equations, expressions, and formulas in proper math notation. You can plot and explore equations, functions, and inequalities. Not to mention, it also allows plotting animate points on graphs and objects, and you can use sliders to make explanations on your work.

This is a versatile model which has hundreds of functions. You can also use it for constructing and exploring geometric figures, creating animations, and enter notes and other relevant comments. It has applications like the Vernier DataQuest, List and Spreadsheet, and applications for data and statistics.

Eases the Understanding Process

You can enter values in proper notation. It has an integrated mathematics template so you can see symbols, figures, stacked fractions, and formulas like they are on the board. It also has a Chem Box Feature to allow input of chemical formulas effortlessly.

The user-friendly menu features a drop-down menu where you can navigate like you would on a computer. You can scroll, create, and save your input fast and easy. It has been standardized for many test organizations including SAT, PSAT/NMSQT, and AP exams.

Main Features:

  • Permitted for use on SAT, PSAT, AP and Praxis exams; 100MB of RAM, 64MB of Flash ROM and 3.2″ color display
  • Exact values in variables when doing step-by-step arithmetic, algebraic and calculus calculations
  • Symbolic algebra and calculus as well as standard numeric calculations; color-code equations on backlit display
  • Chem Box for chemical notation; graph and rotate 3D functions and change surface color of 3D graph
  • Includes rechargeable battery with wall adapter and slide-on, hard case
What we like
  • Uses a TI rechargeable battery
  • Satisfies both mathematics and science curriculum needs
  • It allows multiple representations for quicker understanding of concepts
  • It allows dynamic linking
  • It has numerous applications for both teachers and students
  • It can import images and provide the overlay of graphs
  • Intuitive computer style interface
  • Can link directly to other TI-Nspire and TI CAS or computer for back and forth transfer of documents
  • Large memory 20MB ROM and 16MB RAM
What we don’t like
  • It may be confusing when using it for the first few times if you are not familiar with TI devices
  • Some users have complaints about the packaging as some units arrive with cracked buttons. Texas Instruments could improve on this.
Review Texas Instruments Nspire CX CAS Graphing Calculator look at the video:

HP Prime Graphing Calculator – Best Graphing Calculator with a Touch Display for College

HP Prime NW280AA#B1S Review, Pros and Cons. Check our Best Graphing Calculator with a Touch Display for College 2018

Handheld calculating has come a long way, and the HP Prime is here to bring all that into perspective.

It is a graphing calculator that features a flat design in brushed metal.

It is such a small package that performs even better.

You will enjoy working with a 3.5-inch color LCD screen with a familiar HP keypad for a fulfilling calculating experience.

User-friendly Interface

With the HP Prime Calculator, you can use the keypad or touchscreen to input formulas and graph equations. The touchscreen reacts to the touch of your finger to quickly activate the functions of the calculator.

You can move graphs by sliding your finger which saves you from the tedious process of navigating through keys to achieve a precise overlay.

Powerful Applications

You can quickly switch from graphical, symbolic, and numeric table views by navigating on the keys. It provides both the textbook input mode and HP Typical RPN input mode on the Home screen. This means you can round off numbers, probability matrices, and gain access to complex numbers, trigonometric functions, and hyperbolic functions.

The CAS mode allows symbolic input of all arithmetic operations. The CAS menu has sections for algebra, analysis, number theory, polynomials, graphing, solving, and converting.

IB and College Board Approved

This is a time-saving calculator that is acceptable by many test organizations like; PSAT/NMSQT, SAT subject tests in mathematics exams, SAT, and select AP exams. It is also acceptable for use on IB Diploma programmable exams.

Creates an Exciting Learning Process

The Casio HP Prime allows visualizing of experiments since you can stream data live using the HP Streamstart 410. It is a companion device which you can bring along to capture sound, motion, light, temperature, etc.

This makes your calculator especially useful in pre-calculus, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, earth science, and many others.

This product helps students to explore math concepts with CAS, Dynamic Geometry, Spreadsheet, and Advanced Graphing Applications. It has compatible devices and apps like the HP Prime Mobile App 2 which together offer a wholesome learning experience.

Main Features:

  • A feature-rich calculating experience with familiar HP keypad and a large 3.5-inch diagonal, multi-touch display
  • Select AP® ExamsExplore math concepts with Dynamic Geometry, CAS, Advanced Graphing, and spreadsheet applications
  • Easily switch between symbolic, graphical, and numerical table views with dedicated buttons
  • Add an image as a background and sketch and manipulate a function with your finger to create a blended learning environment
  • Support blended learning and 1:1 device environments with the optional HP Prime Mobile App2, which has all the same features as the calculator so students can easily switch between the calculator and the Windows®-, iOS-, and Android®-compatible app
  • Create a STEM ecosystem with the HP Prime Graphing Calculator, HP Prime Wireless Kit, and HP Connectivity Kit
  • Connect to calculators to poll students, send data, and project screens
What we like
  • It is a sleek and slim design that comes with the cover
  • It is College-Board Approved
  • It has many applications
  • It has a touchscreen and a keypad
  • It offers views in numerals, symbols, and graph tables
  • It has CAS, dynamic geometry, and advanced graphing
  • Supports wireless connectivity
What we don’t like
  • It has a steep learning curve for college students
  • The screen is glossy so it can pick glares
Review HP Prime Graphing Calculator look at the video:

Best Graphing Calculator for College – Buyers’ Guide

If you are moving towards advanced math solving, you will need a calculator that is up to the task. A graphing calculator serves as the best choice for any student who is joining college and wishes to own a calculator for math, science, engineering, business, and finance, etc.

The calculator will also be a gadget you use when sitting important exams like the SAT, PSAT/NMSQT, AP tests, and IB exams.

Which Calculators are allowed on the SAT?

If you are about to sit the SAT, one question in your mind is whether you’ll be allowed to bring your calculator. The answer is YES, regarding the type of calculator you bring, SAT has some features stipulated on the calculator you bring.

Your Calculator will be banned if:

  • It can communicate wirelessly like an iPod Touch, a phone, or infrared port
  • It is a stylus-based device like the Casio Touch
  • It has a QWERTY Keyboard like that on the computer
  • It has a tape printout feature, and it produces a sound as you use it
  • If it has to be plugged into an electric socket
Almost all Texas Instruments are allowed for the SAT except the TI-92 and Ti-Voyage which have QWERTY Keyboards. Many Casio and HP models are allowed including the HP Prime and Casio PRIZM.

 

Advantages of Graphing Calculators

Speedy Math Solving. When you master a skill, it is easier to compute, create, and graph a table of values quickly. They allow students to understand complex mathematical problems by having an easy method of calculating and connecting the problems with real-life activities.

Better Understanding of Concepts. For many students, achieving high-tech skills is a must if you want to gain employment in a demanding company. A graphing calculator helps to lay the foundation for solving problems in a much more realistic way.

How to choose graphing calculator for college // Graphing calculator for college buyer’ guide

Approved by Numerous Educators. These calculators are built with the support of many educators all over the world. They are therefore approved as ideal in achieving the education level and meeting curriculum requirements in schools. That’s why they are permissible for sitting various exams.

Disadvantages of a Graphing Calculator

It may have a Steep Learning Curve. Graphing calculators can be complicated to use for many students in mid school and the first college year. It can take time before you finally understand the menu and user interface when trying to solve problems so you may lag behind if you are using a very advanced graphing calculator.

Various Uses of the Graphing Calculator

By Students. The graphing calculator is an influential piece of technology. For many students, it is vital to reduce the complexity of a math or science problem when solving it to enhance understanding of a concept.

For Algebra. If you are trying to multiply or factor algebraic expressions, a graphing calculator will help you to use several approaches to solve that problem.

For example: Calculate y= 2x+1

The algebra calculator will help you graph the equation as:How to choose graphing calculator for college // Graphing calculator for college buyer’ guide

How to find the minimum and maximum values using the TI-84 Plus CE Graphic Calculator, look at the video:

For Trigonometry. Make short use of a graphing calculator to solve complex trigonometric equations.

For example, solve Cos 2x=2Cos x.

You’ll just need to graph the two functions as y1=Cos 2x and y2=2Cos x.How to choose graphing calculator for college // Graphing calculator for college buyer’ guide

y=Cos 2x and y= 2Cos x where the intersections will help you solve for x.

For Physics. Analyzing data in Physics experiments is also easy with a graphing calculator. It is used to calculate the maximum value of a parabola in an investigation like the bouncing ball shown in this graph.How to choose graphing calculator for college // Graphing calculator for college buyer’ guide

Placement Tests. First-time users of the graphing calculator are advised to buy a calculator with an exact/appropriate mode. This gives you accurate answers instead of an estimate of the solution like in decimals.

Placement tests usually test for elementary to college-level geometry, algebra, and trigonometry. A graphing calculator at this stage is only used to check your work since you will be required to show your work by hand.

 

Tax Refund Students

If you are learning how to prepare tax returns, the graphing calculator provides modes for inputting figures and numbers for tax computation, depreciation methods, calculating bad debts, and many other calculations surrounding taxes.

Teachers

You can use your graphing calculator to determine a teacher’s salary and how much goes into federal payments, Medicare, Taxes, and social security. Teachers can also calculate how students spend their hours and present the information in a graph to assist students to manage their time properly.

Investors

As an investor, you can use a graphing calculator to solve a certain parameter of a particular investment plan. You can calculate the return rate needed to reach a certain amount like your kid’s college fund. These calculators can have a return rate tab to help with the calculation of CDs, Bonds, Stocks, and many others.

Which Calculators are not accepted in College?

Calculators that are not accepted in College:

  • Every college has a calculator policy, but most rules apply across many colleges.
  • Calculators that are not battery-operated
  • Cell phones, laptops, tablets, smartphones, and computer calculators
  • Calculators with a computer-like keypad or use a stylus for input
  • Calculators that have a paper print or make noise during use
  • Some touchscreen calculators are also not acceptable

Features to Expect in a Graphing Calculator

Table and Points. They allow you to view tables and points so that you can trace a graph when solving a problem

Factorial, piecewise Functions, and Trigonometric Functions. These are calculators that support operations like sin (x), cos (x), tan (x), etc. and factorial solving. It is usually the exclamation mark (!) which represents a much more complicated math solving identity.

Graphing calculators will allow you to explore piecewise functions such as:How to choose graphing calculator for college // Graphing calculator for college buyer’ guide

Coordinates, Imaginary numbers, Matrix. Arriving at an answer can be in many ways when using a graphing calculator. They offer methods of solving equations using coordinate points by giving you a plane with the x and y-axis. A point in a complex plane is in the form (a+bi) where a represents real numbers and b the complex part of the equation.

You can then follow through by plotting real numbers on the x-axis, and imaginary numbers on the y-axis like you would plot (x,y). Now, you will have the coordinate points to solve that particular equation.

The matrix function allows input of matrices when solving problems involving a system of equations.

Graphing Calculator vs. Phone App

Graphing calculators are handheld devices designed specifically for mathematics and science. Mobile phone calculator apps take the same system that you see on the handheld calculator and create a program for it so that it can be used on the phone.

Graphing calculators are fully developed, and you can use them in classes and exam rooms while phone calculators are mostly in the development stage; so they are not allowed in exams.

Having a graphing a calculator as an app can be good if you can stay away from the need to text, play games, and more. But we are far from seeing these calculators allowed in the classroom setting.

Conclusion

Finding the right calculator for college depends on the features you need for that specific model. There are many capabilities on a graphing calculator from those that use Computer Algebra Systems (CAS) to non-CAS versions which help in solving basic math problems.

We hope we have covered the best calculators for college students. These are models that solve scientific and mathematical problems both in the classroom and exam room. The advanced features will help you understand problems so that you can perform better and advance your career.

We believe you’ll get the most out of these graphing calculators.

Best Graphing Calculator for College 2018

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