Unless you use handheld calculators on a regular basis, you might be inclined to wonder why someone wouldn't simply use a computer, tablet, smartphone, etc., for routine calculations. After all, the software available for and the computational power of even a nothing-special computer greatly outperforms the most powerful handheld calculator, right? The simple answer is that when you are working in a confined space as is often the case at a classroom desk or in a research and development lab, finding a place to sit down and use a notebook or tablet computer can be challenging. There is also an advantage in having a device specially built with a custom ASIC and populated with optimized software that covers a wide range of computational needs.
Equivalent mathematical and graphical capabilities of some high-end calculators - such as fitting a curve over a graphical background image - can only be found in computer-based software that costs as much or more than a calculator. USB interfaces and in some cases WiFi connectivity makes transferring data to/from the calculators easy for use in reports, further research and printing. Often, computer-based software that emulates the calculator functionality is available for use for classroom instruction or to be able to use while back in the office. BTW, these high-end calculators are interchangeably referred to as "graphing" or "graphic" calculators because they support graphic images (icons, symbols, and user-supplied) as well as chart plotting.
Christmas is coming and you might be trying to figure out what to get your favorite student, engineer, scientist, mathematician, accountant, or hobbyist this year. A new calculator would make a perfect stocking stuffer. I found what appears to be the top-of-the-line, state-of-the-art handheld calculators on the markets as of November 2013 (see below).
Nspire CX CAS Graphing Calculator
The sleek TI-Nspire CX handheld is the thinnest and lightest TI graphing calculator model to date Overlay and color-code math and science concepts on digital images or your own photos The installed TI-Nspire Rechargeable Battery is expected to last up to two weeks of normal use on a single charge Color-code equations, objects, points and lines on the full-color, backlit display Graph and rotate (manually and automatically) 3D functions, One-year limited warranty. Standardized testing organizations have approved the TI-Nspire CX CAS handheld for SAT, PSAT/NMSQT, AP and Praxis high-stakes exams. It is also approved for some state exams.
Prime Graphing Calculator
HP-Prime™ is a feature-rich calculating experience with familiar HP keypad and a large 3.5-inch diagonal, multi-touch full color display. Explore math concepts with Dynamic Geometry, CAS, Advanced Graphing, and spreadsheet applications. HP-Prime™ employs familiar RPN, Algebraic and textbook entry system logic. HP-Prime™ comes with an integrated tool suite: HP Equation Writer supports multiple linear and non-linear equation solving. HP Solve is time-saving application that allows you to store equations and solve for variables. Easily switch between symbolic, graphical, and numerical table views with dedicated buttons. Instructors can turn the calculator into a testing tool with Test-Mode configuration that makes only pre-approved functions available.
Fx-cg20 Graphic Calculator
Picture Plot enables users to create their own graphs over pictures displayed on the color LCD. The fx-CG10/20 comes with 55 types of color pictures that users can create graphs over, such as a picture of the parabola of jets from a water fountain and an image sequence of a clock’s pendulum movement. Users can perform regression calculations from the completed graphs to enhance their understanding of math functions. Expanded matrix allows addition of vector processing features. Makes learning exactly according to your textbook possible. Addition of population standard deviation, population variance and new random commands.
Posted November 26, 2013