Texas Instruments TI-83 Plus review

If you’ve made it as far as Algebra in high school there’s a good chance that you’ve reached the point where a graphing calculator is a necessity. While a regular old simple $20 business calculator is good for quickly multiplying 72 x 7 (504) or doing the square root of 73 (~8.544), it’s no good for helping graph the function y = 7x + 3 and finding the x-intercepts of the function. The Texas Instruments TI-83 is one such calculator that will easily perform this type of graphing and equation solving for you and indeed much more sophisticated tasks. It’s not the most powerful of graphing calculators out there, but for most math and science students in college and high school, it is certainly good enough and is very reasonably priced. Those in finance, accounting, stats, or economics can also benefit greatly from this calculator.

ti 83 plus calculator
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TI-83 Plus Overview

The TI-83 Plus includes features for storing, graphing, and analyzing up to 10 functions. One great feature is the fact the TI-83 is able to evaluate and display a graph and corresponding table of results on a split-screen which you to trace the graph and scroll through table values simultaneously.

The TI-83 is especially good for statistics, it has a lot of built-in stats functions. Strangely, it is better for stats than the more expensive TI-89 is. The TI-83 does not support doing integrals and derivatives though, so it’s not as great for Calculus. It’s recommended to upgrade to the TI-89 if you’re taking Calculus.

The display is clear and readable, though since it’s a fairly basic LCD screen off it does of course only display black colored pixels, no multi-color pretty graphs here. The TI-83 has been out since 1999, it’s mildly surprising that Texas Instruments hasn’t updated the offering to have a colored screen or faster processor (it uses a 6 MHz processor).

TI-83 Plus Usability and Durability

A great thing about the TI-83 is that it comes with an excellent manual that’s quite easy to read (as far as manuals go). The TI-83 is also very durable and has an easy to use a keyboard. Most people own their TI-83 calculators for years, through high school and then college, and will never have them break.

TI-83 PC Cable Link and Backing up Data

The TI-83 is not a full-fledged computer by any means, but it is programmable and you can link it to your PC in order to transfer files and data with the purchase of an extra link cable (note, this does not come standard with the purchase). Backing up programs and data from the TI-83 is a good idea, it’s fairly stable but you never know when disaster may strike and it would be painful to lose a bunch of formulas and programs you might have created. The cable link gives you the added advantage of downloading updated ROMs for the TI-83, downloading useful types of programs for Geometry, Physics, Calculus, 3D graphing, and of course a number of games!

For an extensive look at programs available for the TI-83 visit ticalc.org or the Texas Instruments official TI-83 applications page

Programming

Anyone who is familiar with the BASIC computer language can program the TI-83+ with ease. The calculator supports the use of almost every function through a program. Programs can be typed directly into the calculator, or on a computer, if you have the cable link and necessary software it comes with. The TI-83+ also supports a special form of programs called Flash Applications. Flash Applications are generally quite complex and are written in a special language using the PC and not the TI-83.

Use on Standardized Testing

The TI-83 Plus includes features for storing, graphing, and analyzing up to 10 functions. One great feature is the fact the TI-83 is able to evaluate and display a graph and corresponding table of results on a split-screen which you to trace the graph and scroll through table values simultaneously.

Battery Life

The TI-83 requires 4 AAA batteries. The battery life on the TI-83 is pretty outstanding, expect at least 1-year even with heavy usage, and most people will find the batteries lasting up to two years.

Conclusion

The TI-83 was released way back in 1999 and so at this point is reaching nearly 10-years old without much change. That’s good in the sense that it was designed so well originally that it leaves little to be desired or improved on. It is starting to show it’s age though, a faster processor and updated screen might be in order. The TI-83 is great for Algebra, Geometry, Stats, Finance, Chemistry, Physics, Accounting, and Economics. If you get into higher-level math or Engineering you’ll want to get a more advanced calculator such as the TI-93. The price of $99 is pretty reasonable given the fact it’s probably going to last you throughout your school years and never need replacing. However, if that’s too much for you it’s easy to find a refurbished TI-83 for cheap on eBay, Amazon, or Craigslist.

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