- What Graphing Calculator Should I Get? Back to School 2022 by dr-carlos
- Calculator Street Racing II: Evolution (TI-84+CE, TI-BASIC) by Oxiti8
- Sophmore Year School Schedule/General Recommendations by arusher999
- macOS MonTIrey Library (Iron XCoder) by ProgrammerBobSmith
We're back with the latest guide to what graphing calculator to get for Back to School 2022. Since we first started producing this guide in 2011, the world of graphing calculators has evolved from simpler handhelds with black-and-white screens powered by AAA batteries, to color-screen devices with more powerful software, rechargeable batteries, and more. Building on our past guides, this year we once again present a guide helping you select from the baffling array of graphing calculators now available to high school and college students. We'll help you figure out which calculator is right for primary school, high school, or college students, whether you're buying for yourself, your child, or researching for your students.
We'll be covering five main calculators in this guide:
- TI-84 Plus CE (Info/Buy)
- TI-Nspire CX II (Info/Buy)
- TI-Nspire CX II CAS (Info/Buy)
- HP Prime (Info/Buy)
- Casio Prizm fx-CG50 (Info/Buy)
All three of these calculators are accepted on the SAT, but of these three, only the TI-84 Plus CE is allowed on the ACT. Although we don't actively recommend it, if you still have a TI-84 Plus Silver Edition, don't throw it out: it does 95% of the math the TI-84 Plus CE can do, and while graphing is less user-friendly on its black-and-white screen, it's still a good calculator. Finally, while the TI-Nspire CX II is a fairly popular high school math and science calculator, we feel that the TI-84 Plus CE is a better, easier-to-use choice, and the general student, teacher, and programmer consensus appears to overwhelmingly agree.
|Learn to use your TI-84 Plus CE with Using the TI-84 Plus, from math and graphing to statistics and programming. Learn to program your calculator with Programming the TI-83 Plus/TI-84 Plus.|
The HP Prime is also a very powerful CAS calculator, albeit with a few growing pains like a smaller support community. It offers a multitouch screen, and extensive graphing features that expose more options that the TI-Nspire CX II CAS (once you learn to use them), and CAS features similar to those on the TI-Nspire CX II CAS. The HP Prime's OS was polished over several versions from a slightly rocky start, and with a beautiful design, powerful hardware, and an extremely fast BASIC programming language, the Prime is our favorite tool for college students and professional engineers. Given the traction that the HP Prime has gained in our community, we were surprised that our members voted the TI-Nspire CX CAS as the superior calculator for engineering and college. In short, the HP Prime is a sleek, powerful, and improving touch-screen calculator with a symbolic CAS that makes it a great choice for college students, especially STEM majors, and for professionals.
The Final Verdict:
If you need a new calculator, here's our advice:
- If you (or your child) are a middle or high school student, your teachers may recommend a TI-84 Plus CE or a TI-Nspire CX (or very similar TI-Nspire CX II), in which case you should follow their advice. For high school students getting a new calculator, the TI-84 Plus CE (currently $105 at Amazon) is our favorite choice, combining well-documented math and graphing features with a slim case and a color screen.
- If you're looking to take college classes in higher math, science, or engineering, the HP Prime (currently $129 at Amazon) is our favorite choice, with the TI-Nspire CX II CAS (currently overpriced at $202 at Amazon) a close second.
- If you're a programmer, or you want to encourage your student to learn programming and STEM skills, the TI-84 Plus CE is the best option. Every TI-84 Plus CE has TI-BASIC, the TI-84 Plus CE Python Edition has Python, and if you jailbreak the calculator, you can also write ez80 ASM and C. The HP Prime also has a very fast BASIC language, and the Casio Prizm fx-CG50 (on sale for $80 at Amazon) was the original C-programmable calculator.
Good luck with the hectic rush that is Back to School, and I hope this guide helped make at least one decision easier. If you need help picking a calculator, getting games and educational programs for your calculator and onto the device, or you want to learn to program, just stop by Cemetech and chat with us. We're always happy to help. Finally, if you prefer this information in visual form with some calming narration, here's our Back to School Graphing Calculator Guide 2022 as a video, with everything you need to know to select your first (or next) graphing calculator: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtWZqrmbKD0.
Notes about the ACT:
Remember, all models mentioned herein are accepted on the SAT, and most on the ACT, so there are no winners or losers on that count. Don't forget to double-check the SAT calculator policy or the ACT calculator policy to ensure your calculator is permitted! In particular, note that the TI-Nspire CX CAS is not allowed while the non-CAS version is acceptable.
Affiliate links in this article support Cemetech.
July of 2021 was full of progress on all sorts of projects by Cemetech members. Let's take a look at them:
- 1555 Color Picker: RoccoLox Programs has created a website that allows you to pick colors and find their RGB 1555 color values. Give it a try next time you're making a palette!
- Adventure from the Atari 2600: RoccoLox Programs has released his clone of the classic Atari game Adventure. If you're in the mood for a retro castle-exploring, dragon-slaying adventure, be sure to check it out.
- Folders: Frederik has been hard at work improving his file management program for the CE, adding the ability to give folders custom icons and to see how much room is left in a folder.
- HASHLIB - Cryptography Library for the CE: ACagliano has released version 6 of his cryptography library, improving performance and adding support for MGF1 hashes and AES ECB-mode ciphers.
- HexaEdit CE: On-calc hex editor: Captain Calc has improved his hex editor to allow you to write to memory-mapped ports, and also added a "superuser" mode to give you the hex-editing power you deserve while still protecting you from unintentionally crashing your calculator.
- Programmer's Calculator CE: Have you ever felt that a calculator was just the program your calculator was missing? If so, then check out DrDnar's programmer's calculator. It includes many developer-oriented features like hex and binary modes and bitwise operations.
- Snorlax's Lunch Time port to TI-84+/SE: TIny_Hacker has started recreating this Pokémon Mini game for the monochrome TI calculators! So far, it can show falling food and even an occasional falling Pichu.
- [C] CEdit editor for the TI 84 plus CE: Michael0x18 released the first beta of his text editor for the CE this month! He also added more customization options and the ability to cut and paste.
- [C] Convertion from TI-Basic to C: stbradley has started rewriting INTRPOL8, one of their TI-BASIC programs, in the C programming language.
- [On Hold] VYSION 2 CE: the ultimate CE shell: epsilon5 has been making major improvements to his shell for the CE, adding many new GUI features and a directory system, and squashing some bugs.
- [PAUSED] Xenon Development [C]: But VYSION isn't the only shell being developed this month - Alvajoy123 is also working hard at building Xenon. He's implemented a mouse system, program icon display, and custom backgrounds, and fixed some bugs with the filesystem.
- [TI-68k] CBLM, a Modular CBL/CBL2/LabPro Interfacing Program: CVSoft has added support for the TI-92 to his TI-89 CBL program. Be sure to check it out next time you need to use a sensor with a 68k-based calculator.
Make sure to give your vote for the best completed project in this month’s poll!
Lots of amazing progress was made this month (and by 'this month' I mean June of last year) by Cemetech members! Lets jump right into them!
- A dragon on the CE!: Privacy_Dragon has gotten many of the game mechanics working for taking care of a dragon. Go check it out!
- Adventure from the Atari 2600: RoccoLox Programs has made great progress, dragons are now working on his port of the classic game. He even collaborated with TIny_Hacker to create an awesome title screen!
- Alien Breed 5 Episode III: Impact: JamesV is in the home stretch of developing his awesome looking game! There's 30 levels just in Episode III and it includes a full story. There's a lot to this game so go check it out!
- Alvajoy123's Projects: Alvajoy123 has worked on a plethora of projects showing off his Cemetech Contest 24 and 25 entries. He also released concept art of Xenon, his shell for the TI-84 Plus CE.
- Banchor II (TI-84+CE): JamesV has begun work rewriting his 3D looking engine for Banchor! Graphics have been improved and a custom level editor has been made!
- BasicNote CE Progress Thread: Michael2_3B has made some progress on his notes program written entierly in TI-Basic. He has added the framework for sorting notes and encryption.
- BOS (OS+ROM) for CEmu: beckadamtheinventor made tons of improvments to BOS. It now implements the CE C toolchain so C programs can be run on it! A package manager and new icons are among the many new features.
- Calculator game in c: Coding_guy___ created his first game in C for the TI-84 Plus CE. It's a chat based game where you try to create a thriving civilization!
- Designer bug report: Frederik has improved his sprite creator by adding dark mode!
- Folders: If you've ever wanted to improve the organization of your programs, Frederik has created a very useful tool that lets you create folders! Any number of folders can be created and can store any programs you want.
- HASHLIB - Cryptography Library for the CE: ACagliano's awesome project has added AES-128, AES-192, and AES-256 support. Visit the thread for all the details!
- HexaEdit CE: On-calc hex editor: Captain Calc released a new update that vastly speeds up the search algorithm (6 times faster!). If you want a hex editor for the TI-84 Plus CE, this is the program for it!
- HexGridEdit - a cross-platform app to control hexagon tiles: School assignments don't have to be boring so PT_ worked with his sibling to create individually addressable RGB hexagon tiles! It can even be controlled with a new GUI on your phone! Go check out the thread for a demo video.
- Prototype 3d Engine[TI84+CE]: Zaalane has made her 3D Engine even better! This month she focused on boosting performance and allowing more textures to be displayed at once!
- [C] CEdit editor for the TI 84 plus CE: Michael0x18 has begun work on a text editor written in C. He has made great progress and already has a development release ready for you to try out!
- [On Hold] VYSION 2 CE: the ultimate CE shell: epsilon5 has been working hard on the graphics library OPTIX 3 which will power his Windows-esk shell. The library is so intuitive the screenshot below was made in just 20 minutes!
- [PAUSED] Xenon Development [C]: Alvajoy123 added a ton of new concept art for his shell for the TI-84 Plus CE. A login screen, a cool GUI for displaying all your programs, and even notifications! He has also shared a rough early prototype of the shell!
Since Folders by Frederik was the only completed project this month, there will be no poll. Folders will automatically move forward to PoTY! That's all for this month, see you next time!
Let's continue our PoTM blast-from-the-past series where we figure out what is the best project that was released almost a full year ago?
- Adventure from the Atari 2600: RoccoLox Programs has started a faithful port of the classic Atari 2600 game, Adventure! The map is nearly done already and collisions are even better than the original game!
- Alien Breed 5 Episode III: Impact: JamesV has made steady progress on the fantastic looking Alien Breed port. A few of the updates include same-calc two player has been added along with laser turrets and landmines!
- Alvajoy123's Projects: Alvajoy123 has been working hard on a variety of programs including Xenon, his shell for the TI-84 Plus CE, along with a port of Duck Hunt. He even got Oxygen, a library for creating Xenon's interface, into an alpha state already!
- Bad Apple on Google Docs comments: commandblockguy and _iPhoenix_ discovered a way to create animations using comments in Google Docs. What's the first thing commandblockguy animated? Bad Apple of course! Check out the thread for the animation and how they did it and how you can make an animation yourself!
- Banchor II (TI-84+CE): JamesV has brought a small update to his first person game Banchor II! It's looking really good so check out the thread for more about the project.
- Calc2KeyCE: Dmalenke has created an awesome utility that allows you to fully control your mouse and keyboard on Windows computer with the calculator. Not only that, but it include screen mirroring your computer as well! Check out the thread for a demo video of the program working along with the Github download link!
- DuckHunt Development [C]: Alvajoy123 made some decent progress on his port of DuckHunt for the TI-84 Plus CE. The graphical glitches already have a known fix. Check the thread for more information!
- DungeonCE Development Thread: Pieman7373 has kept working on the code to generate dungeons. He has a lot of cool plans laid out for the project so go check out the thread and show your support!
- HASHLIB - Cryptography Library for the CE: ACagliano stress tested his hashing program for the TI-84 Plus CE and got some promising results! He's also added Blowfish encryption and Base64 encode/decode. RSA is also in the works. Check out the thread for all the details of the project!
- ICE raycast (paused): Therad2 has begun work on a raycasting engine and already got some cool results! There's an awesome list of features planned so go show your support!
- iPhoenix's Cemetech Userstyles: _iPhoenix_ has improved his custom style that gives Cemetech new features and a fresh look! This month Source Coder 3 got a full screen button, improved the emoji table, and several tweaks to make the style run better. It's compatible with Firefox and Chrome so go check it out!
- Jetpack Joyride for the TI-84 Plus CE: King Dub Dub made great progress on his port of Jetpack Joyride! Mostly behind the scenes optimizations were finished. The game runs well now but there's already solid plans for how to speed it up even more!
- Latest News on TI-Trek: ACagliano's awesome, online real time MMO game for the TI-84 Plus CE has gotten more secure this month! Lots of security related features were added such as a special login key you use for the calculator program that becomes invalid if you ever change your password. Visit the thread for all the updates.
- Prototype 3d Engine[TI84+CE]: Zaalane has begun work on a 3D engine for the TI-84 Plus CE! They've already made amazing progress in the span of this month so 3D models with textures can be rendered!
- Ricardo's game (rpg ive wanted to make for a long time): Wavejumper3 finished a cutscene for his RPG for the TI-84 Plus! Go visit the thread and show your support!
- RoulCE: Ever wanted to lose money against your calculator? With ZebraVogel's Roulette game now you can! Placing bets (using fake credits, not real money) now works and the last 5 numbers are now saved in history.
- Story game for the TI-84+ CE: Privacy_Dragon
- Ti-Basic Fortnite: Famos has created a text based port of the popular battle royal game! Go see if your sick skills in the real game translate to good skill in this!
- tipycomp - Compiler and disassembler for TI-Python modules: commandblockguy has created a tool for compiling Python programs into modules Python Edition calculators will accept! It creates smaller and faster programs than TI’s first party tools.
- Trello CE [C]: Alvajoy123 has been improving his port of the board managements system! Concept art was this month’s highlight.
- Userbar SAX Client: commandblockguy has created a special way to view the SAX chat just through a few clicks of his user bar image. Go visit the thread and give it a try!
- Writing FallingTiles now in ICE!: DAVID-19 has started his first ICE project, porting the cool FallingTiles game from TI-Basic! His progress is incredibly detailed, go check it out for some eye candy!
- [PAUSED] Xenon Development [C]: Alvajoy123 has been periodically revisiting his shell for the TI-84 Plus CE. This month he released an alpha of Oxygen, the library that will power Xenon’s GUI! It’s free for anyone to use so go check it out!
Be sure to vote for your favorite project! Just to update you guys, in order to catch up on our year of backlogged PotM the process and format may change in future PotM articles. See you next time!