Unless you use handheld
calculators on a regular basis, you might be inclined to wonder why someone wouldn't
simply use a computer, tablet, smartphone, etc., for routine calculations. After
all, the software available for and the computational power of even a nothingspecial
computer greatly outperforms the most powerful handheld calculator, right? The simple
answer is that when you are working in a confined space as is often the case at
a classroom desk or in a research and development lab, finding a place to sit down
and use a notebook or tablet computer can be challenging. There is also an advantage
in having a device specially built with a custom ASIC and populated with optimized
software that covers a wide range of computational needs.
Equivalent mathematical
and graphical capabilities of some highend calculators  such as fitting a curve
over a graphical background image  can only be found in computerbased software
that costs as much or more than a calculator. USB interfaces and in some cases WiFi
connectivity makes transferring data to/from the calculators easy for use in reports,
further research and printing. Often, computerbased software that emulates the
calculator functionality is available for use for classroom instruction or to be
able to use while back in the office. BTW, these highend calculators are interchangeably
referred to as "graphing" or "graphic" calculators because they support graphic
images (icons, symbols, and usersupplied) as well as chart plotting.
Christmas
is coming and you might be trying to figure out what to get your favorite student,
engineer, scientist, mathematician, accountant, or hobbyist this year. A new calculator
would make a perfect stocking stuffer. I found what appears to be the topoftheline,
stateoftheart handheld calculators on the markets as of November 2013 (see below).
Texas Instruments
Nspire CX CAS Graphing Calculator
The sleek TINspire CX handheld is the thinnest and lightest TI graphing calculator
model to date Overlay and colorcode math and science concepts on digital images
or your own photos The installed TINspire Rechargeable Battery is expected to last
up to two weeks of normal use on a single charge Colorcode equations, objects,
points and lines on the fullcolor, backlit display Graph and rotate (manually and
automatically) 3D functions, Oneyear limited warranty. Standardized testing organizations
have approved the TINspire CX CAS handheld for SAT, PSAT/NMSQT, AP and Praxis
highstakes exams. It is also approved for some state exams.

Hewlett Packard
Prime Graphing Calculator
HPPrime™ is a featurerich calculating experience with familiar HP keypad and
a large 3.5inch diagonal, multitouch full color display. Explore math concepts
with Dynamic Geometry, CAS, Advanced Graphing, and spreadsheet applications. HPPrime™
employs familiar RPN, Algebraic and textbook entry system logic. HPPrime™ comes
with an integrated tool suite: HP Equation Writer supports multiple linear and nonlinear
equation solving. HP Solve is timesaving application that allows you to store equations
and solve for variables. Easily switch between symbolic, graphical, and numerical
table views with dedicated buttons. Instructors can turn the calculator into a testing
tool with TestMode configuration that makes only preapproved functions available.

Casio
Fxcg20 Graphic Calculator
Picture Plot enables users to create their own graphs over pictures displayed
on the color LCD. The fxCG10/20 comes with 55 types of color pictures that users
can create graphs over, such as a picture of the parabola of jets from a water fountain
and an image sequence of a clock’s pendulum movement. Users can perform regression
calculations from the completed graphs to enhance their understanding of math functions.
Expanded matrix allows addition of vector processing features. Makes learning exactly
according to your textbook possible. Addition of population standard deviation,
population variance and new random commands.

Posted November 26, 2013
