Texas Instruments is one of the most reputable companies when it comes to manufacturing graphing calculators.
Graphing calculators are indispensable tools for many students and teachers. They allow you to not only perform many basic computations but also graph various functions using the calculator’s graphing application. Additionally, graphing calculators usually can perform a number of other advanced functions.
In this article, we discuss a specific graphing calculator form the company Texas Instruments, specifically the TI 83 calculator. First, we give an overview of this product before emphasizing its benefits and drawbacks. Then, we give our final thoughts on this graphing calculator, noting when it might be a worthwhile purchase and where we think the calculator industry is heading in the future.
An Overview of the TI 83 Calculator
The TI 83 calculator can be purchased on Amazon for $104.99.
This is an older generation of Texas Instrument’s graphing calculators. The TI 83 Plus is the newer iteration of the TI 83 calculator and has flash memory, allowing for the software on the device to be updated as well as new applications downloaded.
The TI 83 calculator was originally released back in 1996 and is the preferred graphing calculator for many advanced math and science students.
The TI 83 Calculator is powered by 4 AAA batteries and displays information on a 3-inch screen with 96 x 64 pixels.
The TI 83 calculator is about 7.3 inches in length and 3.5 inches in width, as well as 1 inch thick. It also weighs about 10 ounces.
It has been approved for usage on the College Board’s college entrance exams, like the ACT and SAT.
The TI 83 calculator can store, graph, and analyze up to 10 functions at once as well as 6 parametric and polar functions and 3 sequence functions.
This calculator can also be used with TI-Graph Link software in order to transfer files from the calculator to a computer.
There is also a cover that accompanies this calculator. It can slide over the front of the calculator for protection or slide over the back for more support.
The Benefits of the TI 83 Calculator
Students have lauded the TI 83 calculator as superior to other graphing calculators on the market due to its durability.
The TI 83 calculator is not like a sensitive smartphone that is designed to degrade after several years of usage. This is a calculator that will continue to function efficiently since the day you purchased it. Many students report purchasing a TI 83 when they first needed a graphing calculator in High School and never needing another one in their life.
Granted, many students only use a graphing calculator in high school and college. But still, it’s clear that the TI 83 has a life of at least 10 years or so if properly taken care of.
This is an important distinction given how the price on this calculator might seem high to some. Yet, when you realize that the calculator can perform for at least 10 years, it seems even more affordable. Essentially, the TI 83 calculator costs about $10 a year, which amounts to only several cents a day.
Even if budget wasn’t a factor, it can still be annoying to constantly replace a tool that is crucial for academic success. Imagine replacing a graphing calculator and having to wait several days for a new one to arrive in the mail. This time could impact how you study for some upcoming math test, leading to a less than optimal grade.
In this sense, the TI 83 is a reliable calculator. It’s durability guarantees that it will be ready to use whenever inspiration strikes.
The Benefits of the Sliding Cover
It’s easy to take care of this calculator given the sliding cover that it comes with. Even though this is a simple addition, many students use this cover when carrying their calculator in their backpack, allowing it to be protected from heavier textbooks or items.
This cover also has rubber on the outside so that the calculator will be stationary if used on a desk surface. This is perfect if you are using the calculator to multi-task, as sometimes this requires moving your hands quickly from item to item, potentially putting your calculator at risk for falling off your desk. By situating the calculator firmly in the sliding cover and placing the cover on your desk, users can prevent accidents from occurring and thus maximize their productivity.
Many covers that come with advanced graphing calculators break down over time, becoming cracked or withered, no longer providing maximum support for the calculator. Or, the rubber mechanism used to hold the calculator still becomes faded, no longer functioning effectively. This makes the calculator more vulnerable to breaking down, which could be inconvenient if you rely on a graphing calculator every day.
While it might seem insignificant, every detail matters when it comes to calculators. This is an investment that will be fruitful for many years, so it’s important to analyze every nuance of the product before purchasing. No product can disconnect itself from the quality of its parts. Thus, if these parts are tawdry, the calculator will likely provide a compromised experience.
Since the sliding cover is so well made and useful, customers can be assured the TI 83 calculator is also trustworthy and durable, able to handle their needs regardless of the situation.
The Drawbacks of the TI 83 Calculator
Even though the TI 83 calculator has many obvious benefits, it’s by no means a perfect product.
The most obvious drawback is this calculator’s age. Even though it’s still functional for many modern applications, this calculator was designed and released over 20 years ago, making many newer calculators available with more upgraded features.
If you’re very sensitive to older technology, then we suggest spending an extra $40 and getting a newer model of the TI 83 calculator, specifically the TI 84 Plus CE or the TI-Nspire CAS from Texas Instruments. Both of these calculators feature color screens with newer applications designed for modern users.
Either of these would be ideal if you want to maximize your educational experience, especially if color is an important part of the learning process. Many math students benefit from using color when learning because it grounds the abstract concepts in something more familiar.
In this sense, using a black-and-white calculator can detract from the educational process by not giving students enough tools for mastering concepts.
Furthermore, since the TI 83 calculator is so old, it doesn’t use a rechargeable battery. Not only is this bad for the environment, but it makes replacing the batteries on this device both costly and stressful. Even though the status of the battery can be checked on the calculator, many customers claim this indicator is ineffective and should not be relied on.
Thus, many students carry AAA batteries with them when their calculator is near the end of its battery life in order to avoid it dying during some important task.
This is especially important on time-sensitive exams like the SAT. If your calculator died during one of the sections and you didn’t have spare batteries on you, then you might perform worse on the test. Alternatively, some testing environments are so strict that you won’t be allowed to replace your calculator’s batteries during the section.
Of course, you could always just freshly replace your calculator’s batteries before any sensitive event. But, this is a nuisance that can be as stressful to keep in mind as remembering to bring batteries with you.
All of this is to say that many students need a calculator that will never let them down, not even once. While the TI 83 calculator is certainly reliable, calculators with rechargeable batteries are now the norm on the market due to their greater reliability.
The Drawbacks of the Appearance
While this calculator might be more rugged than your smartphone, it’s nowhere near as sleek or sexy.
Many users consider their school supplies to be an extension of their personality. This is why many students love shopping at the beginning of each school year, as they are able to choose specific items that match the persona they want to express. Some students spend hours selecting folders based on their colors or personalizing their binder with stickers and drawings.
The TI 83 calculator does not allow this level of modification, making it less ideal for certain aesthetically sensitive demographics.
Some customers think the TI 83 is a clunky eyesore, preferring the 9 color options of the TI 84 Plus CE. These customers love putting a signature touch on all of their devices, as this satisfies them on a deep artistic level. This personalization could also be considered practical, as influencing the appearance of your devices could make them easier to return if they are lost.
In this sense, many customers avoid the TI 83 calculator because its design is so antiquated when compared to modern electronics. Even though the TI 83 calculator is still functional, these customers claim that the inability to personalize its color is a deal breaker.
Even though you could decorate the back of the TI 83, many students express feeling like they still own just another black calculator, especially since so many students own this model. This can make it difficult to feel unique, which is often an important desire for students.
Our Final Thoughts on the TI 83 Calculator
At the end of the day, we think the TI 83 calculator is an effective device that will perform admirably in most academic settings.
We think newer models in Texas Instrument’s arsenal offer more appealing features, like a color screen, a sleeker size, and a rechargeable battery.
Additionally, many of these newer calculators offer an improved user interface due to a more advanced operating system. This makes them easier to use for many users, which can be important considering how undesirable school is for some students.
Even though they often won’t admit it, many students are overly stressed and at their breaking point. Sometimes using a simple, intuitive calculator can be all that is needed to calm you down and remind you that the little things in life do matter.
This could be especially important during a stressful exam week. During this time, students are often studying all day, potentially using their calculator for long periods of time. In these situations, you want to have the most dynamic, efficient, reliable calculator as possible to keep your mental state stable.
If the calculator malfunctions even once or annoys you for a brief moment, it could lead to some kind of emotional explosion of pent-up energy. These events are best avoided by simply investing in the latest calculator in Texas Instrument’s lineup.
The Future of the TI 83 Calculator
We think the TI 83 calculator will continue to be used in the near future since it can often be purchased second hand for very cheap. This appeals to many budget-minded students who cannot afford a new calculator but still need an advanced graphing calculator.
Eventually, we think all calculators will become obsolete, at least with regards to their hardware. We think future calculators will be downloaded as applications on our wearable technology, integrating perfectly with all our devices.
This can already be seen with current smartphones, as there are many mobile applications devoted to providing users with an advanced calculator. However, these applications are limited by the hardware of the phone and many of them are hit-or-miss. Furthermore, many teachers don’t allow smart phones to be used during tests or class time, making these kinds of mobile calculators still not ideal.
Regardless of how the future pans out, we think Texas Instruments will continue to innovate within the calculator industry. We think their wisdom is unprecedented, which is why most students rely on their products in order to enhance their minds.
Ultimately, we think calculators offer a sneak peek of a technologically unimaginable future where our machines serve our needs the second they arise, or even before they arise.
Perhaps the calculators of the future will not even require input from a human hand but rather the mere blinking of an eye, the breath from a nostril, or the firing of a neurotransmitter. Our future devices might be controlled in radical ways using different parts of our body.
Whatever happens, we think it will truly be revolutionary.