TI Graphing Calculator Buying Guide

TI graphing calculators come in a variety of models, with the biggest differences between devices being symbolic math capabilities and the amount of RAM and ROM space available. (To learn more about RAM and ROM, take a look at our article on RAM vs. ROM on TI Calculators.) This article describes the differences between the most popular models.



TI-83 Plus/TI-84 Plus Family

This family of calculators is mainly aimed at those needing a calculator for statistics as well as basic graphing capabilities. These calculators also all run programs and Flash applications. They include built in functions for trigonometry, financial mathematics, data analysis and statistics, and more. They are all compatible with each other, so programs and data can be transfered between them. All have 24 KB of RAM for running programs, but include different amounts of storage space. They all offer on-device programming capabilities and can run programs and applications. These calculators are accepted on most common standardized tests including SAT, ACT, PSAT, AP, and IB, and are somewhat easier to use than the TI-89/Voyage 200 series.



TI-83 Plus

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The TI-83 Plus is still one of the most common graphing calculators on the market despite having been around since 1999. The TI-83 Plus Silver Edition, an expanded version of the TI-84 Plus, has since been discontinued and replaced with the TI-84 Plus Silver Edition.





TI-84 Plus

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The TI-84 Plus is the successor to the TI-83 Plus and includes a faster processor, more storage space, and a built-in clock.





TI-84 Plus Silver Edition

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The TI-84 Plus Silver Edition is the successor to the TI-83 Plus Silver Edition and features many of the same advantages, including vastly expanded storage space and the same improvements made by the TI-84 Plus over the TI-83 Plus.





TI-89/Voyage 200 Family

The TI-89/Voyage 200 family feature many enhancements over the TI-83 Plus/TI-84 Plus family. These include improved displays, more RAM and storage space, and, most importantly, the ability to do symbolic math. This means that these calculators can evaluate integrals, derivatives, limits, and algebraic expressions in terms of variables, and can also solve differential equations. Newer versions include statistics software which is similar to that on the TI-83 Plus and TI-84 Plus. These calculators are more useful for calculus, advanced science, and engineering than the TI-83 Plus and TI-84 Plus.



TI-89 Titanium

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The TI-89 Titanium is the current version of the outdated TI-89 and is one of the most feature-rich calculators on the market. One feature enhancement over the older version is that the TI-89 Titanium offers implicit differentiation. It is accepted on most common standardized tests with the notable exception of the ACT.





Voyage 200

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The Voyage 200 offers an improved screen over the TI-89 Titanium, as well as a QWERTY-style keypad to make programming and typing easier. Unfortunately, because of this feature, the Voyage 200 is not accepted on most standardized tests.



TI-Nspire Series

The TI-Nspire was released in 2006 and offers greater speed and an enhanced screen over the TI-83 Plus/TI-84 Plus Series, while offering much of the same functionality. It also includes a TI-84 Plus keypad which can be snapped in to emulate the original TI-84 Plus. It is allowed on most standardized tests. The TI-Nspire CAS was released in 2010 and offers symbolic algebra functionality like the TI-89 Titanium as well as features to make it more like a computer. Because of this similarity, the TI-Nspire CAS is not allowed on most standardized tests, except for the SAT and AP tests. The TI-Nspire and TI-Nspire CAS are not as widely used as the other families of calculators, in part because the TI-84 Plus and TI-89 series are considered the standard for classroom calculators.



Overall Comparison


Model TI-83 Plus TI-84 Plus TI-89 Titanium Voyage 200
Processor Zilog Z80, 6 MHz Zilog Z80, 15 MHz Motorola 68K, ~16MHz Motorola 68K, 12MHz
ROM 160 KB 480 KB/ 1.5MB (Silver) 2.7 MB 2.7 MB
RAM 24 KB 24 KB 188 KB 188 KB
Display Resolution 96×64 pixels 96×64 pixels 160×100 pixels 240×128 pixels
Standardized Tests SAT, ACT, PSAT, AP, IB SAT, ACT, PSAT, AP, IB SAT, PSAT, AP, IB NO
Symbolic Math NO NO YES YES
Retail Price $100 $110/$130 (Silver) $140 $180




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