Technology has been advancing at an alarming rate in the industries of telephones, portable music devices, and desktop computers. While you would look foolish talking on a Zac Morris style cellular phone from the nineteen nineties, no one seems to look twice at the decades old technology still in use in Trigonometry classes across the country. Texas Instruments has been the singular name in graphing calculators for the life of the industry and, while updated models are sporadically released, these still have the look and feel of an antiquated adding machine and it is incredibly common for older models, life the TI-83 (initially released in 1996) and TI-84 plus (released nearly a decade later, in 2004, it is still over a decade old).
Though Texas Instruments have released newer models since these two, the TI-83 and TI-84 Plus are still commonly used and, since both can be purchased a relative bargain, it is worthwhile to consider the differences between these two graphing calculators.
Features and Specifications of TI-83
The TI-83 was a popular upgrade to its predecessor, the TI-82 (Texas Instruments have been as innovative in naming as they have been in adopting new technology). At the time of its release, the TI-83 was one of the most popular graphing calculators in use among students. The calculator did everything a traditional adding machine did but also had the functionality for parametric graphing modes, statistics, function graphing, trigometric and algebraic functions, and a host of other applications. A notable drawback to this generation of Texas Instrument calculator is that the standard TI-83 calculator did not include any calculus functions, limiting its application in certain higher fields of math. From a hardware perspective, the TI-83 suffered from a lack of flash memory (introduced in Texas Instruments’ 1999 model, the TI-83 Plus) which would allow for updates and large applications.
Features and Specifications of TI-84
The TI-84 Plus graphing calculator was introduced by Texas Instruments in early 2004. Despite its name, there was no basic TI-84 model and this calculator was the immediate successor of the TI-83 Plus and TI-83 Silver product line. The key layout and basic operating system of the TI-84 Plus is nearly identical to the TI-83, making an easy transition for anyone seeking to upgrade from twenty year old technology to ten year old technology.
The TI-84 Plus had a number of improvements over the TI-83 line of graphing calculators. The TI-84 Plus had flash memory as a standard feature, allowing updates to be downloaded and considerable program sizes to be run. The CPU, which is largely responsible for system speed and complexity, was approximately two and a half times faster than the standard TI-83 model. Especially important to modern users is the inclusion of a USB On-The-Go compliant port which allows the calculator to easily connect to devices for updates and downloads, as neither the TI-83 or TI-84 Plus had a means of wireless communication and needed to rely on external devices (like desktop computers) for any new information.
At current prices (both models are easily available used), either of these calculators can be a value. However, the convenience of the later model make it a clear choice where prices are similar.