My son needs one for school, my friend who is a government scientist said Casio, however the last Casio watch I owned probably lost 5 minutes a day how could I possibly trust them to make an advanced calculating device?
If High school, the TI-84 is probably the best option. I use lab sensors that interface with student's calculators for data logging, and the 84s have always had the least glitches.
If for college, especially engineering, the TI-89 is probably better. It's capability of graphing 3 dimensional vector fields makes me cry (when I remember the math I had to do back in 1985, while these things spit out a matrix in a click, I just sob).
I clicked HP in the poll when I meant to click TI. My preferred (non graphing) calculator for my own general use is an HP RPN calculator, but my recommendation for you is the TI 84.
The only problem with the TI-89 is that it's often banned for some of your freshmen/sophomore level math classes. I think a TI-86 is overkill for high school, but it could carry one all the way through college and beyond, and definitely through the first year or two of college if one wanted to eventually upgrade to the TI-89.
Of course, a TI-83 or 84 could also carry one all the way through college. In fact, you could still get through college using a slide rule. (Not much fun working with matrices, though).
In college, there were probably one or two problems a class where a graphing calculator really came in handy and maybe two or three classes where where a good electronic calculator was nearly indispensable. A spreadsheet or CASS program such as MATLAB works a lot better than a graphing calculator, but, obviously, a student probably isn't going to be able to use their laptop in place of a calculator on tests.
I finished my EE degree just a couple years ago and I used either a Pickett N4-ES Dual Base Hyperbolic Speed Rule or my standard Post 1460 Versalog at least 90% of the time (the N4-ES was better suited for electrical engineering, but the bamboo of the Versalog just had a special feel to it), excel spreadsheets for most of the calculations I did on the computer, Matlab for problems I couldn't set up very well in Excel, and used my TI-86 barely at all in most classes.
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