Calculators are convenient tools for dealing with numbers, but scientific and graphing calculators like TI-30XS Vs TI-84 Plus can do much more. These calculators are perfect for students who need the calculator for their classes. These two are also usable on typical tests and do their jobs well without being overly expensive. If you wonder which calculator to buy, let’s see what else they can offer and whether they fit your applications.
In this comparison, we will talk about:
- What is Graphing and Scientific Calculators
- What are TI-30XS and TI-84 Plus
- How are the Designs of TI-30XS and TI-84 Plus
- What is the Mathprint on TI-30XS and TI-84 Plus
- How is the Interface of TI-30XS and TI-84 Plus
- How is the Graphing Function in TI-30XS and TI-84 Plus
- How is the Ease of Use of TI-30XS and TI-84 Plus
- How are the Apps in TI-30XS and TI-84 Plus
- How are the Screen in TI-30XS and TI-84 Plus
- TI-30XS Vs TI-84 Plus
Graphing and Scientific Calculators
The human brain is very powerful, but we can’t rely on our memories alone as it is often tired and produces unwanted mistakes. Calculators were simply a tool to help humans deal with many numbers more accurately. But, it also evolves into a more capable tool that handles mathematical problems and carries many other features. Graphing and scientific calculators are two of the most powerful because they have more complex features to solve more complicated mathematical problems. A graphing calculator can solve a variety of equations simultaneously.
These calculations produced a result, and the calculator plotted them on a graph. The easy way to notice a graphing calculator is a display because they are wider than typical calculators to facilitate the plotted graph. Depending on the model, a basic graphing calculator will have limited functions, while the more advanced models like Casio FX-CG500 Vs TI Nspire CX CAS will have more complex features. On the other hand, scientific calculators are not as complicated as graphing calculators. The device has Trigonometry functions like Sine, Tangent, and Cosine, as well as logarithms and exponentiation calculations.
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About TI-30XS and TI-84 Plus
The options for calculator types are abundant, and you can choose the ideal choice. Not everyone wants or needs the same tool, so it is wise to consider what you will use the calculator for. While graphing calculators are perfect for students taking advanced classes, the scientific calculator is ideal for any child from grade nine to twelve who took science or math classes. Scientific calculators are also more affordable than graphing types as you can find one at around $10, while the graphing calculator usually costs more than $100.
If you are unsure which calculator to buy, we recommend getting the most popular options like TI-30XS and TI-84 Plus. Having the popular choice ensures you can find the resources when facing an issue or how to work with the calculator. The TI-84 Plus is probably the most popular calculator among high school students in the US and many other countries. Texas Instruments launched four different versions of this model, but the TI-84 Plus is still the most widely used.
The main difference between TI-30XS and TI-84 Plus is the functionalities because the latter is a graphing calculator while the former is a scientific calculator. The price difference is significant; depending on preference and class, you can invest in a graphing calculator instead. A calculator will last for years, so you don’t have to buy another one in the future. A graphing calculator is essentially a scientific calculator with the ability to graph. It is wise to ask the teacher what calculator to buy before deciding.
Teachers who ask their students to use a specific calculator will specify what calculator is allowed for the class. Overall, the TI-84 Plus is a more capable calculator as it is both a graphing and scientific calculator with functions like sin, log and taking the square root of any number. However, the model also costs much more than TI-30XS, so not everyone may want to buy it before the class requires a graphing calculator.
TI-30XS and TI-84 Plus Design
TI-30XS and TI-84 Plus are traditional-looking calculators; many Texas Instruments models have similar designs. They are not slim but not too bulky either, still manageable as a school supply. The robust construction is familiar if you have used other Texas Instruments calculators before. If you want a slimmer graphing calculator, we recommend checking the TI-84 CE, which should be 50% thinner. You can quickly tell these calculators apart by the model name and display because a graphing calculator always has a wider screen.
As you can see, the TI-30XS has a small panel above the display which means this calculator can use either battery or solar power, while TI-84 Plus can only use batteries. The newest TI-84 CE comes with rechargeable batteries. Like most graphing and scientific calculators, these two come with a protective cover. Texas Instruments claimed the TI-84 Plus has the impact-resistance slide case, but we cannot find the difference as it seems like a typical slide cover, which is fine.
Both calculators are available in a Teacher Pack which includes ten calculators of your choice. The TI-84 Plus gives you USB computer cables and unit-to-unit cables. Both calculators provide a getting started guide and one classroom poster. Overall, the TI-30XS and TI-84 Plus design and build quality are decent and the most important is that they are durable. Still, you can find many more modern options by spending more.
TI-30XS and TI-84 Plus Mathprint
Now let’s see what the TI-30XS and TI-84 Plus can offer and why these calculators are still a favorite even with many new models from Texas Instruments and other brands entering the market. Most TI calculators have the Mathprint feature, but it is still worth mentioning. For those unfamiliar with this feature, it is an ability to print expressions precisely as they appeared in the textbook or when solved by hand. This feature is not new anymore but can make reading and interpreting a breeze.
However, many more modern calculators can show you the simplest form, while these two will show the decimal. The TI-84 Plus is a graphing calculator, and one of its advanced features is programming, so you can fix this issue by programming a function to simplify radicals. On the other hand, the TI-30XS has this feature called exact numbers that not many graphing calculators had back then. This feature simplifies expressions and keeps them in radical or fractional form. This feature is handy as it is built into the calculator.
TI-30XS and TI-84 Plus Interface
The TI-30XS is pretty straightforward as a scientific calculator, and the most advanced ability in this model is probably the table function. As the name suggests, it is a function to create an X and Y table, which means you can scroll through the coordinates and tell the table where you want to start the X value and jump to a specific place. To choose this function, press the Table option, and enter a function. The functions allow up to one level of fractions.
Choose the table start, table step, auto, or ask-x options, and enter. The Start option is to specify the starting value for the independent variable, x. The Step is the incremental value for the independent variable, x. This step can be negative or positive but not zero. The Auto option automatically generates a series of values based on the table start and step. Ask-x lets you build a table manually by entering specific values for the independent variable, x.
TI-30XS and TI-84 Plus Graphing
As for the TI-84 Plus, this is a graphing calculator, so it must be able to graph. Still, this function is pretty straightforward. Users can input up to 10 equations at a time and draw each on the same graph. This calculator can graph sequential, polar, and parametric graphs. The performance is good, and the graph is still very easy to read. However, since this calculator and the hardware have been around for almost two decades, you can expect to feel inadequate, especially regarding screen quality and size.
After the graph is plotted, users can zoom in and out of the graph, change tick mark frequency, calculate an intersection, and other things. Additionally, the TI-84 Plus has a table function like the TI-30XS, allowing you to scroll through or jump to a specific X value.
TI-30XS and TI-84 Plus Ease of Use
One of the best advantages of TI-30XS and TI-84 Plus is the ease of use. You will mostly use these calculators on their Home Screen where the calculation happens. You can choose other modes from the Home Screen depending on what you want. Both calculators have several modes, but TI-84 Plus has more options as it is the more powerful and complicated model. The screen can’t contain all options simultaneously, so you may scroll to the next page to find the options.
In addition, if you press the Math key in TI-84 Plus, the display will show templates and functions you may need. After selecting one, a template will appear on the calculation screen, and you can proceed to enter the numbers. The available templates range from simpler ones like fractions to more complex options like summation notation.
TI-30XS and TI-84 Plus Apps
As a graphing calculator, the TI-84 Plus also has other functions unavailable in a typical scientific calculator like TI-30XS. Apps are standard handy features in graphing calculators, and this calculator has nine main apps, excluding the screen, table, and graph. We will not cover all of them but a few that many people may use. The first app is “PolySmlt2,” which is the app for working with polynomials or simultaneous equations. The calculator will find roots with a polynomial of degree 10 or lower.
The calculator can solve up to 10 equations with 10 unknowns for the simultaneous equations. The TI-84 Plus has an app for conics so you can graph the shapes that are not functions and don’t work on the standard graphing feature. This app also allows you to enter equations in the natural conic form. As for the science part, this calculator has a “Periodic” app to provide you with a periodic table layout. You can navigate around, select the element, and press Enter to find more information like full name, atomic weight, etc.
Another valuable tool for science class is “SciTools,” as this app has a sig-fig calculator, a converter, a data analysis app, and a vector calculator. Each section in the app has the same function as the name. For example, the unit converter covers using nine different sets of units like energy, length, or velocity.
TI-30XS and TI-84 Plus Screen
TI-30XS and TI-84 Plus are pretty old calculators, so the biggest drawback is their hardware. The most noticeable element is their screen. None of these calculators have color or backlit features, and the resolution is not very high either. The screen’s quality may not affect the performance, but it will affect the experience. Since TI-30XS only shows basic and simple information, the screen doesn’t need to be fancy, while TI-84 Plus will produce a much better experience with an upgraded screen.
Like every graphing calculator, the TI-84 Plus has a bigger display. This calculator has twice the lines in TI-30XS because the scientific calculator only has a four-line by 16 characters display, while the graphing calculator has an eight-line by 16 characters display.
TI-30XS Vs TI-84 Plus
The TI-30XS and TI-84 Plus are very different calculators, and you can choose whether the class requires a scientific or a graphing calculator. A graphing calculator like TI-84 Plus is also a scientific calculator because it has all the abilities to perform as a scientific calculator and more. Both calculators have a Mathprint feature to show the expressions as they appear on the book or when written by hand. This feature alone is handy as it helps understand the problems better.
As a scientific calculator, the TI-84 Plus misses exact numbers or can’t simplify expressions and keep them in radical or fractional form. However, you can create a program to do this exact function. The TI-84 Plus as a graphing calculator offers more such as the graphing ability and apps which are not available on scientific calculators.
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The decision is yours as it is easy to choose between TI-30XS and TI-84 Plus. Depending on what the class needs, we can use a scientific calculator like TI-30XS or a graphing calculator like TI-84 Plus. As a graphing calculator, the TI-84 Plus is more expensive and capable, with advanced features missing from typical scientific calculators. But, you can still use the TI-84 Plus as a scientific calculator.