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I am looking for a calculator to use purely in exam or tutorial situations where I don't have access to a computer and need to solve algebra problems (usually hydraulics (mannings, specific energy equations solving for flow depth) or geotech related) where the variable is repeated more than once in the equation, and would result in a quadratic or a cubic. All I want is to be able to enter the equation algebraically as its written and say solve for x, press enter, and all solutions are there in front of me.

I'm surprised as to why there isn't already a query like this out there as it seems to be the one thing those in my situation need in a 'higher level' calculator. I am in third year civil engineering and the only reason why anyone would need anything more than a simple $20 Casio scientific is the ability to solve the above mentioned problems. None of us civils, students or engineers, that I know of has any use for either graphing or programming on a calculator - we'd use excel or a design program. I don't understand the fascination with the programming of a calculator (I have no programming background and wouldn't have a clue where to begin - I own 3 old school HPs, but only for their RPN and build quality).

So I have come up with four calculators that would appear to be able to serve my purpose, with pros and cons for each:

1. TI 89 Titanium (Pros: low cost (2nd hand), build quality. Cons: trig functions are shifted keys)

2. TI Nspire CAS (Pros: low cost (2nd hand). Cons: Unusual keyboard layout)

3. HP 50G (Pros: RPN. Cons: high cost, not sure if this calculator can even handle the above problem, seems to have same limited solver functionality as the HP 48G I already own)

4. HP Prime (Pros: RPN. Cons: high cost, not a fan of touch screen, low battery life(?))

Just seems wrong to have a regularly worry about a calculator's batteries just to have a pretty screen to look at (but if someone says its really worth it then I'd consider it).

So if anyone can make a recommendation that would be great (even one I have not mentioned), given the use I have in mind for it.

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# Which calculator purely for algebra solver (with quadratics, cubics)

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