Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Calculators Good non-graphing calculator

  1. Jan 26, 2012 #1


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    (Not sure where to post this, so please feel free to relocate if needed)

    I am hoping someone can give me some advice on a good calculator for my Calculus class. I am currently using my trusty TI-83+ as my go to device, but my instructor will not let us use any graphing utilities on the test.

    I have an old TI-30Xa Scientific Calculator, but it really isn't very user friendly when it comes to storing variables and memory recall. I have gotten into the habit of storing my x value, and then just typing the function.

    Any advice on a good calculator that can act more like my 83, yet not have graphing capabilities, would be greatly appreciated.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 27, 2012
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 27, 2012 #2
  4. Jan 27, 2012 #3


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Thanks Greg, this one looks like it has all the bells and whistles. I'm going to run it past my instructor and if he's good with it then I'll order it from Amazon. (via PF Affiliate, of course.)
  5. Feb 25, 2012 #4
    The HP 35s is supposedly the best one on the market, but at $50, I am not sure that it is really a justifiable cost except maybe to collectors, those who are going to have a lot of classes with this restriction, or engineers and others who plan to take certification tests that only allow select calculators.

  6. Feb 25, 2012 #5
    I'm sure you've purchased a calculator by now, but I'd like to say that I own the TI-36X Pro and it's a phenomenal machine. It's also very easy to store and recall variables and copy/change functions.
  7. Feb 25, 2012 #6


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Actually, I haven't purchased it yet. My instructor is letting me use my regular TI-83, but I believe I will have to purchase that TI-36X for the final.

    I'm glad to hear another positive review about it.
  8. Feb 29, 2012 #7
    HP has a pretty good track record as far as calculators, and I recently ordered the remake of the HP 15c (the original costs something like several hundred dollars due to its rarity) which was originally scheduled to be shipped out in mid-April later this year due to limitation/backorders, lol.

    In any case I've read very excellent reviews of its functionality, but you have to be careful about reading the reviews for different versions of the same calculator because certain remakes are built with less quality than sometimes even the older versions.

    One thing I found odd was that even though the technology exists, HP doesn't seem to put in faster processors into their best calculators because the general feedback about faster calculations making the users feel uneasy about the calculations' accuracies...really confusing as anyone that has studied EE should know speed doesn't necessary reflect higher margin of errors and can be very stable..
  9. Feb 29, 2012 #8
    I bought a bunch of HP 12C's really cheap and resold them on Amazon. I kept one. I have not really used it and I do not know if it is as good of quality as the original, but the overall design seems to be pretty solid by modern "made in China" standards and I imagine the 15 C is the same.

    Of course, for $100, you could buy an HP 50g or TI-89 which is a lot more sophisticated calculator, or a netbook and some open-source CAS software.
  10. Feb 29, 2012 #9
    The 12c is a financial-based calculator, and is nowhere near as good as the 15c in terms of scientific/engineering functions.

    The 12c is also more widely available than the 15c and you can purchase several different versions on the official HP site, but the newer editions don't have a very nice build to them in comparison to the older models.

    The originals were built in the U.S.A. (as it says on the back of the original 15c) but the new ones don't have that mark anymore so I guess they are being produced in some other outsourced country's factory. There have been more complaints about the new ones compared to the old ones that people have used for more than a decade.

    As far as portability/mobility goes, I don't think any calculator exists that is smaller than the 15c and can perform the volume of functions it can do.

    If you want a really powerful calculator, you would be better off with something a tad larger that modern technology has to offer, such as a netbook as previously suggested. I don't know how small you want your calculator to be, but pocketing something the size of a graphing calculator really isn't my thing. So in terms of size:capability ratio, I think the 15c is probably the best that is offered today.
  11. Feb 29, 2012 #10
    Yeah, I mentioned the 12C since physically it looks to be identical to the 15C, a re-manufacturing of a "classic". Obviously the button labels and programming are different. I think all of HP's products are assembled in China these days.

    I put it up against my HP 35s and the 12C/15C is just a tiny bit thicker and about an inch less in length, so not a huge difference, although I suppose that extra inch would matter to some.

    Technically, a smart phone is a lot smaller and a lot more capable than any of those calculators but some people want or need the real McCoy with honest-to-goodness hardware buttons and long battery lives and for those people I could see why having something easy to carry around with you would be useful.
  12. Feb 29, 2012 #11
    For the love of HP I don't understand why they just don't put the 15c back into production. I mean, they brought back a limited supply due to popular demand, but are their intentions really to milk profit from its popularity or something?

    But yea, the battery power usage for a typical chemical engineering undergrad student seems to last for about 50 U.S. cents/year worth of batteries so that's a plus.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook