Texas Instruments TI-83 Plus Graphing Calculator Reviews

Texas Instruments TI-83 Plus Graphing Calculator

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TI- 83 Plus Gives Students and Teachers the Edge They Need

Jul 28, 2004 (Updated May 10, 2005)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Excellent

  • Ease of Use:

Pros:Easy to use; Lots of capability

Cons:Display cannot be paged- up or down; Not adequate for advanced students

The Bottom Line: This is a very good calculator and sufficient for most students, but a more advanced calculator is needed for upper- level calculus.

Texas Instruments is one of the foremost names in electronic devices for consumers. Makers of printers, data converters, power modules, interface products, and other electronic/computer items, TI is one of the best-known names in electronics.

My familiarity with Texas Instruments products is somewhat limited, but I have used a few of this company’s manufactured goods. The one I have used most is Texas Instruments’ calculators. And one of its more useful calculators is the TI- 83 Plus, a calculator that solves problems and graphs the results.

Features of This Calculator:

This calculator is a multi- use device that offers the following functions:

Financial Calculations- This calculator can be used to compute time value of money problems, net present value, cash flow problems, regression analysis, etc.

Data Analysis- With these functions, you can create histograms, xy lines, scatter diagrams, matrices, and other more advanced mathematical functions for analysis. Trigonometry, logarithm, and hyperbolic functions can also be entered and analyzed.

Graphing- Equations can be seen on the LCD display in graphic form, including the plotting of coordinates. Multiple functions can be programmed and graphed, to make comparisons.

Special Programming- With this calculator, you can enter data for conditional testing and loops and you can even connect to a computer and use software applications. A special cord is included with your purchase to use for downloading.

TI- 83 Plus has 160 KB of Rom memory. The calculator itself measures about seven inches (18 cm) in length, 3.5 inches in width (9 cm) and just under one inch (2.5 cm) in thickness. The screen display measures about two by two and one- half inches (5cm by 7cm). As many as eight lines of data can be displayed at one time on the screen.


This calculator retails for between $90 and $110, so it’s not the cheapest device on the electronic store shelves. Shopping around the internet can yield some less expensive prices, toward the lower end of the range. But you will probably not find this calculator for less than $90, which might seem high at first but it really isn’t bad when you consider all the capabilities of this processing machine.

Final Thoughts:

Texas Instruments makes many different types of calculators, with a model specifically designed to suit the needs of most every student and/or instructor. I have used TI’s financial calculators, printing calculators, and graphing calculators in various capacities. Depending on what I need, I can find a TI calculator to get the job done.

This calculator performs all sorts of functions and is more technologically advanced than your typical hand- held processor. Far more than just a simple device to add, subtract, compute square roots, factorials, etc., this calculator can be used to solve quadratic equations, create histograms and scatter diagrams, and many other more advanced mathematical concepts. Hypothesis testing and confidence intervals can also be computed with the TI- 83 Plus, and they can be viewed either numerically or graphically. This makes a handy tool for statistics classes where “t” tests, “f” tests, and other statistical analysis are part of the workload. I have utilized this function myself on many occasions, and I like the easy input and the quickness of the computations. I have found that it provides a nice, simple way to double- check my answers and make sure I haven’t made any careless statistical mistakes.

Besides using this calculator for statistics, another area of importance to me is the usefulness to compute financial data. With TI- 83 Plus, I can compute net present value for uneven cash flows, amortization, and other financial measurements. Granted, it is not as deluxe as some of the more advanced financial calculators out there, but it is good enough for most beginning and intermediate classes. And besides, you can graph your results, adding a visual dimension that doesn’t exist on a less expensive financial calculator. Often, the viewing of a graph can help a student or teacher uncover a mistake. What looks accurate on paper can suddenly prove to be incorrect when viewed in graphical form.

As far as the display and the ease of use, TI- 83 Plus is user friendly, for the most part. It is simple to input data and the computations of numeric and graphical answers are quick and efficient. One small disadvantage that I found is the fact that you cannot quickly scroll up or down when presented with a large amount of data on the display. There is no “page up” or “page down” button. You can only move up or down one space at a time. Another thing that could bother some users is the LCD display. This display at the top is flat- it doesn’t offer a “tilt” option like some calculators, so you cannot sit back and tilt the display forward for adjusted viewing. You need to view the display straight- on.

TI- 83 Plus is powered by four AAA batteries. This is a small disadvantage, but it needs to be considered before making a purchase. The reason I say this is a disadvantage is because AAA batteries are often harder to find. Many small convenience stores offer AA, C, D, and nine volt, but they often do not offer AAA. This can make it more difficult to get replacement batteries when you need them most. There is a backup lithium battery that kicks in if the AAA are running low, which is nice because it can give you more peace of mind if you decide to use this calculator on a test. But replacement of these types of batteries can sometimes be more difficult and more time- consuming than other battery sizes.

Many students will buy calculators like this one to use as an aide for test- taking. Before you decide to use a calculator like this on a test, make sure you confirm first with your teacher to see if a graphing calculator is permitted. Some teachers don’t care if you use a calculator that shows graphs, but others will not allow it. With the finance classes I teach, graphing calculators like this one are fine. Students are required to use a financial calculator anyway, as part of my courses and many other Finance courses. So having the added benefit of a graph is no problem. Still, you need to check before you assume. Some teachers are pickier and will not allow students to use any more than the most basic calculators.

For more advanced levels of calculus, the TI- 83 Plus could prove to be inadequate. I don’t need it for this purpose, but if I was going to be taking advanced calculus courses, I would probably choose the TI- 89 or a similar calculator that offers even more advanced functionality. In this respect, the TI- 83 plus is like a beginner’s graphing calculator. For most students and professors, this calculator will be suitable for the problems that you need to solve. However, if you’re a mathematics major, engineering student, or anyone else who expects to be exposed to advanced calculus, you will probably outgrow this calculator in a short time. If you’re an economics or statistics student, you will probably have all the capabilities you need on this calculator.

Overall, the Texas Instruments TI- 83 Plus is a very good graphing calculator and it can perform all sorts of advanced mathematical functions that ordinary calculators cannot. It does cost more than most, but for statistics students, business students, and beginning to intermediate calculus students, this calculator is a godsend. It computes and displays answers quickly, allowing the user to see and compare multiple functions in numeric and graphic form with just a few pushes of the buttons.

Be Sure to Click the Links Below to Read Reviews on Other Calculators:

Texas Instruments TI-89
Hewlett- Packard 10bII
Texas Instruments BA-II Plus
Hewlett- Packard 12c
Hewlett- Packard 49G+

Recommend this product? Yes

Purchase Price: 95

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