The King of Scientific Calculators

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aeanderson
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The King of Scientific Calculators

Postby aeanderson » Mon Feb 14, 2011 3:46 am UTC

[I did some searching for a similar topic, but I was unable to find one. Do please tell me if this would be better placed in another forum, or has Been Done Before, as my search-fu is weak.]

I am in no need to acquire such a device rapidly, but every scientific calculator I have used to date has something wrong with it. Squishy, unreliable keys, lack of functions, jacked-up displays, hard-to-read keypads - nearly every model that I have used features some combination of the above.

So, I ask you, what is your personal favorite scientific calculator, and why? I would like to limit the scope of this discussion to scientific calculators, not graphing calculators.

My personal input: my main requirement in an everyday-use calculator is that it fit in a standard jean pocket. I currently use a TI 36X Solar, because it seemed to be the most functional thing on the rack, requires no batteries, and isn't what my school purchases in bulk (I don't want a mix-up to happen or for me to be accused of theft). For me, cost is not a big issue (scientifics are dirt-cheap), but availability is (having to ship a $20 calculator from Taiwan is much more inconvenient than purchasing a slightly lesser calculator from Office Depot).

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Velifer
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Re: The King of Scientific Calculators

Postby Velifer » Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:04 pm UTC

I do mostly arithmetic and trig with mine, typical household figuring-stuff-out, woodworking layouts, and the like. Some stats and science homework through HS and a couple college degrees.

If it can't be done on a Ti36x solar, it's not worth doing. That's my go-to calculator: affordable, bulletproof, easy to use for common tasks, capable of quite a bit in a pinch. I lost one once--replacements can be had at the grocery store. My current one has lasted more than ten years.

I then scale up to a netbook with Stata and R installed.

Can't iYou get iMathmatica for the iPhone?
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Pinky's Brain
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Re: The King of Scientific Calculators

Postby Pinky's Brain » Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:27 pm UTC

Oops missed the bit about not including graphic calculators (was going to suggest FX-9860G slim, it will fit in your pocket).

PS. the Wolfram iPhone app goes for 50$.

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Endless Mike
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Re: The King of Scientific Calculators

Postby Endless Mike » Mon Feb 14, 2011 3:09 pm UTC

Pinky's Brain wrote:PS. the Wolfram iPhone app goes for 50$.

They lowered it to $2 awhile ago, actually. I think when they updated it with iPad support.

aeanderson
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Re: The King of Scientific Calculators

Postby aeanderson » Tue Feb 15, 2011 12:00 am UTC

Velifer wrote:If it can't be done on a Ti36x solar, it's not worth doing. That's my go-to calculator: affordable, bulletproof, easy to use for common tasks, capable of quite a bit in a pinch. I lost one once--replacements can be had at the grocery store. My current one has lasted more than ten years.

The TI has plenty of great features, but personally, it's weird to not see either a pretty textbook display, or even all of my parentheticals at once. Does that get better?

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canoemoose
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Re: The King of Scientific Calculators

Postby canoemoose » Tue Feb 15, 2011 12:08 am UTC

I have a Casio fx-85ES and its slightly older friend, a Casio fx-85MS. The older one gets chucked around in the workshop and so is regularly covered in dust etc, it's been going strong for at least 9 years now. The ES has a "Natural" display - fractions/brackets/powers/roots get scaled properly, which is awesome.
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GenericAnimeBoy
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Re: The King of Scientific Calculators

Postby GenericAnimeBoy » Tue Feb 15, 2011 3:17 pm UTC

How do you feel about RPN? The HP 35s and its brothers have a lot of fans on here. I haven't used it, but I had it's older brother, the 32SII and have never failed to be amazed by how quick and easy it is to handle deeply nested parentheticals in RPN. The keyboard was fantastic, it was actually programmable, and I found the learning curve for RPN quite shallow (but I'm a bit of a nerd, so YMMV :roll: ). Sadly, it outlived my ability to keep track of it (read: I lost it before it had a chance to break).

For a simple non-graphing calculator, I currently carry a TI-30XIIS. It's solar powered, cheap, and the 2-line display (one for input, one for results) makes it easy to double-check for typos. Unfortunately the keys are a bit mushy and since I type with both thumbs, I find it all too easy to input faster than it can respond (it won't accept a keystroke before the previous key is completely released). I only ever use the scientific calc on tests where my TI-89 is not allowed, so I just live with it. I miss my HP, though.
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mosc
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Re: The King of Scientific Calculators

Postby mosc » Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:49 pm UTC

If you want to look like a real nerd, put an HP12c on your desk.
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L337R3dN3k
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Re: The King of Scientific Calculators

Postby L337R3dN3k » Mon Feb 21, 2011 8:23 pm UTC

What kind of phone do you have? Since you're concerned about it fitting in your jeans pocket, putting something on your phone might be an option. I have a nice TI-86 emulator on my N900. That won't really help you on tests, though, since it sounds like you're still in school.

Way back in the day, I had a TI-35. If you can find one of the older ones, they used to have solid, easy to use keypads and were indestructible. I eventually had to replace it with a graphing calculator and bought a TI-86. I guess these are pretty obscure now, but back then it had the features of both the TI-85 and the TI-83 with a higher resolution screen. Eventually I overclocked it, downloaded a 3-d graphing program someone made, and started to write a symbolic CAS for it. I think by the time I quit developing I had finished all the polynomial operations. I got sick of teachers resetting my calculator before the tests and having to re-load everything from my computer, so I wrote an override for the reset command. It simulated a reset and, the first time you checked the memory after a reset, it would show there were no files. After that everything was normal and I could keep playing games in class.

But now I'm just reminiscing. Seriously, check ebay and the like for an older TI-35 from before they went to soft rubbery keys.

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CHR1110
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Re: The King of Scientific Calculators

Postby CHR1110 » Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:40 pm UTC

For my basic functions, I use a TI-36X...I had the "II" Version of it for a while, which had a more advanced display, that would show all your parentheticals and such at once. However mine went MIA a couple years back, and I've decided I didn't need the extra features, and just reverted to my standard 36X.

For more advanced functions, I use Andy86, which is a TI-86 emulator for Android, and it works like a charm.
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Re: The King of Scientific Calculators

Postby stephentyrone » Thu Feb 24, 2011 11:43 pm UTC

mosc wrote:If you want to look like a real nerd, put an HP12c on your desk.


*Ahem* 15c or 16c. The 12c was the "financial" model, which nerds have no use for.
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