Which Calculator is Best for College Math Courses: TI-83, TI-84, or TI-89?

In summary: My daughter is taking calculus II this semester and I'm a little worried about her.The TI84 is a good calculator, but if you're taking calculus II I would recommend getting a TI89 or a TI-84 Plus Silver Edition. They are both very good calculators and are allowed in most calculus courses. Bear in mind that the 89 is not allowed on some tests (at my school, at least), but that shouldn't be a big deal.
  • #1
Hey all. I'm a freshman in college. I'm in the Computer Science BS course, and am just about to start our 2nd semester.

According to my suggested scheduling for my course I will be taking Tech Math II, Calc 1, Calc 2, and Differential Equations.

I do not own a graphic calculator, and with Christmas right around the corner, I figured it would be a good time to start looking for one. Could someone please post a couple reviews on these calculators? I want something that is easy to learn and something that will get me through those classes without having to purchase another.

I've heard a lot of good stuff on the TI-89 Titanium but I'm wondering how easy the user interface is?

Could someone give me a hand! Thanks a bunch! :smile:
Computer science news on Phys.org
  • #2
I am a junior in high school, and use a TI-84 Plus Silver Edition every day. It is a very good calculator, but gets some getting used to.
  • #3
The TI-89 is very different from the 84/84 Plus Silver/83/83 Plus/86 in that it has a more complex interface and is more powerful, amongst other differences. That alone will make it harder to work with if you're used to the other models, but once you learn how to use it, it becomes a great calculator. Rest assured, if you go with the 89, you won't need to buy another calculator throughout the course.
  • #4
Bear in mind that the Ti-89 is not allowed on tests at some places (like my school ASU).
  • #5
Commie, I'll bet the 83 and 86 aren't allowed on those tests either.

I'd recommend the 89 just because it's what I have. The user interface is very nice. Anyway you're a CS student--you should like learning interfaces.

On the other hand, I don't use my 89 much anymore. I always carry it around with me but I probably only use it once every 2 weeks or so. Usually an actual computer is better for my calculating purposes. That depends on what courses you're taking though.
  • #6
I've seen a few TI-89s, and they have a nice display from what I saw. I just don't want my mom spending an arm and a leg for a calculator.

I think I'm leaning towards a TI-89 T but I'm not sure. Would the TI-84 silver work well? How much faster is the TI-89 than the others? I know it has like 128k mem and others have like 24k but what is the actual difference? has anyone noticed?
  • #7
I don't think you'll notice any speed differences between the two. I also have the 89 (not Titanium). I once owned a Titanium but in my experience the 89 is better for me. I've also recently owned an 83 Plus and an 86, and the 89 is by far the best calculator I've used.
  • #8
It is not really about speed. Its more about functionality. You can do a heck of a lot things with a Ti-89 than with 83 or 86. You can take integrals, do partial fractions, take derivatives, factor real and complex polynomials, take limits, evaluate sums, and a lot of other operations that involve vectors and complex numbers. 82 and 86 are nothing compared to 89.

But DieCommie made a good point. Some teachers might not allow 89 -- but, like Orthodontist said, if they don't allow 89 then they would probably not alow any other graphing calculators either because they want to be fair. Also, 89 would help you a lot in your homework too, especially if you are a lazy lad. :rolleyes:

BUY 89 AT ANY COST! -- Its only like $30-40 more. It is a good deal!
  • #9
Swapnil said:
But DieCommie made a good point. Some teachers might not allow 89 -- but, like Orthodontist said, if they don't allow 89 then they would probably not alow any other graphing calculators either because they want to be fair. Also, 89 would help you a lot in your homework too, especially if you are a lazy lad. :rolleyes:
Exactly. At Penn State, math courses are non-calculator based anyway. I use my 89 to help me with homework, but it's useless in class or on tests and quizzes.
  • #10
For the money, which is considered the best (pertaining only to differential equations and classes below)?
  • #11
On TI's website, the 89 is $150 while the 84 Plus Silver is $130. For $20 more I'd say the 89 is more for your money, considering how marginally better the 89 is. You could find them for cheaper on the Internet--I got a regular 89, new and sealed, for $98 on eBay.
  • #12
? Your professor should answer this

My wife and daughter are both using the TI84 because about 90% of the professors at their university will not allow much more than a TI83 or TI84.

I do have a bit of advice CHECK THE PAWN SHOPS
no lie man, we got a TI84Plus complete package for $59, it is like a student used it for one class and pawned it.

Take a day and hit every pawn shop in the phone book, don't buy the first one you come across unless it is saving you about 30-45% and it includes all cables and the CD.

Do not call them, pawn shop people tend to be stupid and do not know much about technology stuff. Most of the pawn shops we called said they did not have any and yet most of them did have more than one them in the glass cases less than 10 feet form the phone they used to answer our question.

Just remember to ask the professor, also they might say you need the TI86 but they will also say they will accept the TI83 and TI84. Heck I seen a TI81 for $19 and a TI82 for $29 in a pawn shop today. They are good for a gift to a J.R. High student to introduce them to a scientific calculator.
  • #13
I've had a TI-83+ for a long time and a TI-89 for about one and a half years. I suppose you already know the difference - the first one is numeric while the second one is symbolic (it can do algebra and integrals for you) and faster.

I haven't had much use for my TI-89, and I'm a bit disappointed with it. It can't solve general cubic equations, can't plot anything other than first-order DEs, and it mysteriously plots usual plots noticably slower than my old TI-83 (though more accurately, I'd assume).

They're both very easy to use. Get a TI-82/83/84/86 if you don't need it to symbolically solve equations or do integrals (or if that's not allowed in your classes).
  • #14
What is a good calculator that is very convinient to carry and has quite a bit of functionality. I am looking for one that can graph in three dimentions for me. I don't like drawing things out in 3 dimentions. Do you guys think it is necessary beyond Calculs III or vector calculus that there is more use of 3d graphing calculator? I am going for electrical engineering. I want to get the most use out of something like this. If I don't need it in the future there is no need for me. I need a highly functional calculator for my major.
  • #15
As an owner of the TI-89 titanium, I strongly suggest it. I am only a senior in high school (taking AP physics/AP calc), and have used a numerous of features that are available in the calculator that are not available in any lower models.

It's functionality is very widespread, easy to use, and easy to see. The way it displays equations is incredible--everything is perfectly understandable with no confusing super-nested parentheses. It's got some useful features that are on only the TI-89ti+ such as an explicit differentiation function (only found on certain software versions), 10 times more functions to graph, multi-variable differentiation (not sure how well this works. I don't know how to do this kind of math!), and the ability to add a slew of different plugins.

It's got an awesome built-in program editor with very basic, easy to understand code style (not sure exactly what language it is, probably Basic). I've used it many times to make my own functions such as a vector addition program, cross multiplication program, etc.

I strongly suggest this calculator, it's DEFINITELY worth your money. I found it to be one of the best purchases I've had.

P.S. We actually tested the calculators in a speed-run. We had each calculator find sqrt(1+sqrt(1+sqrt(1. . . for a bunch of iterations. We found that for that particular test, the TI-89 was substantially faster. Whether you'll notice this for any regular calculations, I don't know.
Last edited:
  • #16
Hello. I wanted to know is if the ti 89 was the EXACT same as the ti 84+ except the ti 89 had more added things? Or is it a completely different calculator? Please Help! Thanks! :)
  • #17

the TI 89 is a lot different than the 83, 83+,or the 84+ in more ways than one.
there are lots of things that people add to the 84+ to try to make it more like the 89 though the 84+ can never be anything like the 89 because of the processor that they use.

the 89 has a stronger processor that allows it to do other mathematical functions. also from my understanding from other people i know you can not do numbers larger than 1*10^100 on a 84 though it is well beyond that on the 89.

the 89 has a few things that are nice.

like the solve(), factor(),expand, zeros, complex solving, and much much more in its algebra section.

i know that you can use a 84+ and 83+ to do 3d graphing but that does not come out of the box. you need to program it to do so.
the 89 does it out of the box.

the 89 also has a nice menu system and folder system that you can use. not to mention one thing that i love is a text editor. you can save text on your calc.

if your used to an 83+ or 84+ it will be a little difficult to move to an 89 though if you do it will speed up your math and with also allow you to focus on more complicated math.

i have used the 89 sense my freshman year in high school which made it hard for me back then because my teach did not know the 89 and only the 83. which made me have to search for my self. so make sure that your willing to put the time into learning your calculator. you will not just be able to follow the key strokes of your teach when they show it. though when you learn yours you will have to do less steps and you will be able to do it faster with less mistakes.

Last edited:
  • #18
TinyTuba123 said:
Hello. I wanted to know is if the ti 89 was the EXACT same as the ti 84+ except the ti 89 had more added things? Or is it a completely different calculator? Please Help! Thanks! :)

TI 89 has the features for multivariable calculus and some Linear Algebra. Whereas 84+ will only solve for definite integrals with boundary, 89 can just give you integral solution. In addition, 89 has the 3D capabilities. But because of these advances, most classes won't allow 89 on exams because it just gives you the solution. So, find out whether you are allow to use it...if yes..89 definitely gives you an "advantage"

Now with that said, I still use a Ti-83 Plus and I've used that up to Linear Algebra without much problems. I feel it actually encourage learning.

Related to Which Calculator is Best for College Math Courses: TI-83, TI-84, or TI-89?

What are the differences between TI-83, TI-84, and TI-89 calculators?

The TI-83, TI-84, and TI-89 are all graphing calculators commonly used in math and science classes. While they have many similarities, there are some key differences between them.

What is the main advantage of using a TI-84 over a TI-83?

The main advantage of using a TI-84 over a TI-83 is its larger screen and increased memory capacity. The TI-84 can store more programs and data, making it better suited for complex calculations and graphing.

Is the TI-89 worth the extra cost compared to the TI-83 and TI-84?

It depends on your needs. The TI-89 is more expensive, but it offers more advanced features such as symbolic manipulation and calculus functions. If you are a math or science student who will be using these advanced functions, then the TI-89 may be worth the extra cost.

Can programs be transferred between the TI-83, TI-84, and TI-89?

Yes, programs can be transferred between these calculators using a link cable or through a computer. However, some programs may not be compatible with all three calculators, so it's important to check before transferring.

Are there any notable differences in the user interface of these calculators?

While the basic functions and layout of the user interface are similar, the TI-89 has a QWERTY keyboard and the TI-83 and TI-84 have an alphabetical keyboard. This can take some getting used to if you are switching between calculators.

Similar threads

  • Computing and Technology
  • Computing and Technology
  • Computing and Technology
  • Computing and Technology
  • Computing and Technology
  • Computing and Technology
  • Computing and Technology
  • Computing and Technology
  • Computing and Technology
  • Computing and Technology