Review of the TI-84+ Silver Edition

The TI-84 Plus Silver Edition graphing calculator is the preferred calculator among high school and college students who take advanced math, science, statistics, finance, and engineering courses.

Texas Instruments devices are not just for students; many professionals use TI graphing calculators on the job since they are just as powerful as high-level math software programs, but much more convenient to use.

Who Needs a Graphing Calculator?

High school and college students who take advanced math and science courses will learn mathematical concepts faster and more deeply with the aid of a graphing calculator. Why? For one thing, a graphing calculator performs mundane numerical tasks rapidly, letting students focus on the important abstract ideas behind the math problems. Less time doing tedious plug-and-chug arithmetic, more time learning real mathematics.

Second, a graphing calculator lets students see the math via graphs, tables, plots, histograms, etc. This imparts greater understanding of the concepts, and helps students hone their mathematical intuition.

Among graphing calculators, the TI-84 Plus Silver Edition has an incredible number of positive reviews (here), and is noted for its easy-to-use interface and wide range of functions.

Key Math Features of the TI-84 Plus Silver Edition

Like the TI-83 and TI-84 models, the TI-84 Plus is programmable and can perform complicated numerical data manipulation. The core mathematical capabilities of the calculator include handling
 imaginary and complex numbers matrices (up to ten) and matrix operations: determinants, inverses, transposition, conversion to and from lists graphing functions: ten rectangular, six parametric, six polar, and three recursive equations table of values for inputs and outputs computation of function values (including functions defined recursively), integrals, derivatives, roots, limits, and extrema one-variable and two-variable statistics regression curves scatter plots and histograms hypothesis testing, ANOVA, and probability distributions operations in business and financial mathematics, such as the Time Value of Money series and sequences, partial sums, and partial products

Because the TI-84 and lower-numbered models do not perform symbolic calculations or have a qwerty keyboard, they ARE permitted on most standardized exams, notably the SAT, ACT, AP Calculus, AP Stats, and IB. More sophisticated calculators may be prohibited for other exams, so in many cases, the TI-84 Plus is the most advanced device that you can bring to a test.

The TI-84 Plus Silver Edition also has a built-in clock, a display screen that is 16-by-8 characters, and USB connectivity so that you can link your computer and calculator to import/export graphs and free-to-download apps.

What sets the TI-84 Plus Silver Edition apart from lower-numbered models is the bundle of apps, larger memory, and faster processing speed. Among the many non-mathematical apps built into the calculator are
• Fundamental Topics in Science
• CellSheet
• Periodic Table
• Organizer
• Science Tools
• Learning Check
• Puzzle Pack
Students in high school can review fundamental math skills with the area formulas app and chapters 1 through 5 of Topics in Algebra. You can also download extra games and apps from TI and other developers. The TI-84 Plus Silver Edition is compatible with accessories for analyzing quantites in physics, chemistry, and biology. You can hook up the calculator to any of these probe and sensor units which are sold separately:
• Calculator-Based Laborator 2 (CBL 2), which includes sensors for temperature, light, and voltage
• Calculator-Based Ranger 2 (CBR 2), motion detector
• Vernier EasyTemp
Linking the TI-84 Plus to sensors allows you to plot graphs of motion versus time, compute statistics on temperature samples, and perform other useful computations in a practical context.

Easy to Use

One of the most user-friendly attributes of the TI-84 Plus Silver Edition is the one-click CATALOG button, which lets you browse the entire list of functions alphabetically. If you don't remember which menu an operation is stored under, the CATALOG button will save you the time of searching through all of the topic menus.

The device is powered with four AAA batteries and one long-lasting silver oxide battery (SR44SW or 303). You will know when the four AAA batteries need to be replaced because the screen display will appear fainter as the battery charge becomes depleted. As you replace the four batteries, you don't have to worry about losing any saved data; the oxide battery serves as a back up to protect the memory.

The keypad is intuitive with conveniently placed menu and navigation buttons on the top half of the pad, and numerical and operation keys below. You can recall previously entered expressions to re-evaluate equations, which saves you the time of re-entering the expression anew. And because the processor speed is higher pervious models, even the most complex calculations and graphs take no more than a few seconds to load.

User Guides and Tutorials

You can download the complete TI-84 Plus Silver Edition userguide as a PDF. There is a link on the Texas Instruments guidebooks page.

Texas Instruments also publishes a number of graphing calculator tutorials on its website.