Texas Instruments' graphing calculators are very popular among students in
high school, junior high school, and college. This is especially true in the
United States, where they are practically the standard for math courses in the
higher grades. TI's models range from inexpensive calculators with basic
functionality to sophisticated calculators suitable for use throughout
college-level math courses and beyond.
Playing a large part in their popularity is the fact that TI's graphing
calculators can be programmed in a language closely resembling BASIC and, in
many cases, in low-level assembly language. On calculators with link ports,
these programs can be copied to other calculators of the same type. Many
students learn to program on these calculators and eventually move up to
Each available model has a different combination of capabilities, memory
capacity, programmability, and price. See below for descriptions of each
Click on a model's name for a picture and detailed information on that
» TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition
The TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition is based on the original TI-84 Plus Silver Edition, with a new backlit color display added and software enhancements to take advantage of it, such as highlighting different functions on a graph in different colors for easier comprehension. It also replaces the conventional AAA cells with a rechargeable battery pack.
» TI-Nspire CX & TI-Nspire CX CAS
The TI-Nspire CX is the most recent evolutionary step. Almost resembling a smartphone, it is the first TI calculator to sport a backlit, color LCD, as well as featuring a removable Wi-Fi module and a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. RAM and storage memory are increased to 64 MB and 100 MB, respectively. The CX no longer features TI-84 Plus keypad support, but it otherwise maintains the features of the earlier Nspire models.
The TI-Nspire is a significant departure from previous graphing calculators with its grayscale screen and PDA-like appearance. It uses an ARM processor and features 16 MB of RAM and 20 MB of storage space. With the exception of a TI-84 Plus emulation mode, is not compatible with any of TI's previous calculators. When originally released, it completely lacked programming capability. This was incrementally improved with new OS revisions over the next few years, and currently, development in TI-BASIC, Lua, and ASM/C is possible.
» TI-Nspire CAS
The TI-Nspire CAS is the brother of the TI-Nspire. It is intended to be TI's new flagship
graphing calculator with all of the features of the TI-Nspire plus the inclusion of a
Computer Algebra System. Unlike the TI-Nspire, the Nspire CAS does not support the TI-84
Plus keypad and so no backwards compatibility exists with the 84 Plus.
» TI-89 Titanium
The TI-89 Titanium includes all the built-in functionality and power of the original
TI-89. It has an increased amount of Flash ROM which is now equal to that of the Voyage 200 except the TI-89 Titanium is in a traditional handheld design. Along with the Voyage 200, it is TI's most sophisticated calculator, with such features as 3D graphing, upgradable flash ROM, built-in assembly language programming, and a generous amount of user-available memory. It now includes a mini USB port in addition to the standard I/O port.
» TI-84 Plus Silver Edition
The TI-84 Plus Silver Edition is the successor to the TI-83 Plus Silver Edition. Its new
include a new built-in clock and a new mini USB link port in addition to the standard I/O
port. The TI-84 Plus SE was the first calculator made by TI to include their new interchangeable faceplates and a kickstand, both of which add to the overall latest stylistic design from TI.
» TI-84 Plus
The TI-84 Plus is an upgrade to the TI-83 Plus. It remains completely compatible with
the TI-83 Plus. Its features include a new built-in clock, a new mini USB link port
in addition to the standard I/O port, added clock speed over the TI-83 Plus
and an increase in Flash ROM size. The TI-84 Plus has a newly designed case.
» Voyage 200 PLT
The Voyage 200 PLT was the most advanced calculator Texas Instruments made prior to the introduction of the TI-Nspire. It keeps all of
the qualities of the 92+ while increasing the amount of Flash ROM to 2.7 MB. It also
comes in the latest stylistic case from TI.
» TI-83 Plus
The TI-83 Plus is nearly identical to the TI-83, maintaining backward
compatibility but greatly increasing available memory and allowing for
flash-upgradable ROM and commercial calculator-based applications. This model is the "base model" of the highly popular 83/84 Plus series.
» TI-73 & TI-73 Explorer
The TI-73, like the older TI-80, is designed for middle school classes, but
features flash-upgradable ROM like the rest of TI's newest calculators. It
also improves upon the TI-80 with additional statistics functions and a link
port for transferring programs and other data.
Click on a model's name for a picture and detailed information on that
» TI-83 Plus Silver Edition
The TI-83 Plus SE is nearly identical to the TI-83 Plus, maintaining backwards compatibility but greatly increasing available memory. Like the 83 Plus, it allows for flash-upgradable ROM and calculator-based applications. It was the most popular among Texas Instruments Z80 calculators, but TI has now discontinued it in favor of the TI-84 Plus and TI-84 Plus Silver Edition.
» TI-92 Plus
The TI-92 Plus was available as both a standalone calculator and a module
upgrade to the TI-92. It added additional memory, flash-upgradable ROM, and
advanced mathematics software. A TI-92 Plus is functionally almost identical
to a TI-89. The Voyage 200 has since replaced the TI-92 Plus, since it offers additional features.
The TI-89 sported all of the power of a TI-92 Plus, but in a traditional
handheld design. Along with the TI-92 Plus and Voyage 200 it was one of TI's most sophisticated
calculators, with such features as 3D graphing, upgradable flash ROM, built-in
assembly language programming, and a generous amount of user-available memory. The TI-89 Titanium has since replaced this model.
Just as the TI-83 succeeded the TI-82, the TI-86 followed up on the TI-85's
advanced functionality while adding a stylish new case, assembly support
similar to that of the TI-83, and greater memory capacity, while still
maintaining compatibility with TI-85 programs.
The TI-83 was released as the successor to the TI-82 and featured a newer,
more contoured case design that has since been used on all of TI's newer
calculators. The TI-83 features backwards compatibility with TI-82 programs
and some newer financial functions, but by far the most notable aspect of this
calculator is built-in assembly programming capability supported by TI
itself. This advance saved curious programmers the trouble of "hacking" the
calculator themselves to achieve this functionality, and marked the beginning
of TI's embracement of assembly programming. The TI-83 was a popular programming platform, but has now been replaced by the TI-83 Plus, an updated model.
When it was released, the TI-92 was a huge departure from TI's previous
graphing calculators. It is held horizontally and has a larger display,
computer-style QWERTY keyboard, graphical user interface, 3D graphing
features, and a Motorola 68000 processor (previous TI calculators relied on
slower Z80 processors). Programmers were anxious to make use of the TI-92 for
efficient assembly programming, and a loophole was eventually discovered to
make this possible. As a result, many impressive games and programs are now
available for the TI-92. Unfortunately the TI-92 is rarely used nowadays, having been replaced by the TI-92 Plus (and later the Voyage 200).
The TI-80 was released with Algebra I and middle school students in mind. Like
the TI-81, it has no link port and is not intended for serious programming.
The TI-80's newer cousin, the TI-73, sports flash upgradability and more
memory, and has completely replaced the TI-80 in everyday use.
The TI-82 was released as a more user-friendly version of the TI-85, at the
sacrifice of many of its advanced features, but with a lower price tag. It
was long believed that the TI-82 could not be programmed in assembly, but, as
with the TI-85, a loophole was eventually found, making the TI-82 a much more
attractive programming platform. The TI-83 Plus and TI-84 Plus have taken the place
of the TI-82 as the standard in math and science classrooms and the TI-82 has been discontinued.
The TI-85 was designed as a powerful engineering and calculus calculator. It
was the first TI calculator to have a link port and assembly programming
capability (through an unintentional loophole). It has since been eclipsed by
the TI-86, which features TI-85 compatibility along with more advanced
The TI-81, TI's first graphing calculator, was designed for algebra and
precalculus. It has since been replaced by newer models which have faster
processors, more memory, and popular features such as linking capability and
flash upgradability. The TI-81 drew little in the way of third-party games
and other programs, since the code must be typed into the calculator by hand.
CHOOSING WHICH MODEL TO BUY
There's a wide variety of TI graphing calculator models you can choose from --
which is right for you? Texas Instruments tends to create calculator models
for a target area of students in certain grade levels. See below for an
overview of who will benefit the most from each currently offered model.
- The TI-73 is intended for middle school students
in basic algebra classes. It performs many basic arithmetic and graphing
functions. However, we only recommend the TI-73 if price is an absolute concern and the calculator will be used only for elementary mathematics. For slightly more expense, the TI-83 Plus will be a far superior buy.
- The TI-83 Plus is intended for most high
school students. It has many enhanced features in addition to those of the TI-82 and 83. This calculator makes an excellent first choice for the average student. The TI-84 Plus has more available RAM and a faster processor than the TI-83 Plus.
- The TI-84 Plus and TI-84 Plus SE are esentially a TI-83 Plus with a few more features, including a clock, USB port, and additional speed and memory. Designed for high school students, these two calculators are for the users wanting to get as much out of their calculator as possible. If you are looking for a calculator based solely on its math capabilities, the TI-83 Plus will do as much as the TI-84 series will at a cheaper price. However, if you can afford the added cost of the TI-84 series, it will provide a better value than the TI-83 Plus.
- The TI-89 Titanium and its QWERTY-equipped brother, the Voyage 200 PLT, are among the most advanced Texas Instruments calculators on
the market. The Voyage 200 PLT is a TI-92+ in a fancy new case with a significant increase in available Flash ROM, and is at the top of the line. If you need the utmost mathematical horsepower, pick up any of these.
- The TI-89 Titanium offers largely the same mathematical capabilities as the TI-89, so there is no major advantage there. However, there is much more available Flash ROM. The regular TI-89 is suggested for gamers because not all of the current programs work on the Titanium, although the situation is improving. However the Titanium has several other features, including a USB port, which makes it much more friendly to the average user. The Titanium is essentially a Voyage 200 PLT but without the QWERTY keyboard. The Titanium has replaced the regular 89 for sale in many stores.
- The TI-Nspire and TI-Nspire CX exist as both CAS (Computer Algebra System) and non-CAS models. As of 2011, these models are still quite new and are drastically different from any prior calculators. It remains to be seen how well they are adopted. We recommend that average students stick to the other models above until the long-term success of the TI-Nspire is proven.
With this information at your fingertips, we hope that purchasing a calculator
will be easier for you. By knowing background information on every Texas
Instruments graphing calculator you can make a more informed decision. It's
recommended to read up on the features of the calculator(s) you've got your eye
on before purchasing just to make sure you're getting what you need.