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217 of 227 people found the following review helpful
on September 27, 2000
I have used (and own) many of the available financial calculators on the market. I "recommend" the HP-10B to my university finance students, both graduate and undergraduate.
The HP 10B is a directly positioned competitor to the TI-BA-II+, but HP's entry is superior. The keys feel more solid, the machine itself "seems" better made. Having worn out more than one of each, my experience has been that the HP has more staying power. And, the TI-BA-II+ often requires more keystrokes to accomplish the same tasks (i.e., NPV calculations). Oddly enough, when there is a difference in price, the HP often sells for around $1 less; though I would gladly pay more.
The Like the HP 10B, the TI-BA-II+ has a well written manual, including examples on using the functions. TI has the manual available on-line on their website for the inevitable time that the user needs it and has lost the original.
While there are cheaper financial calculators, it seems that this particular level is the minimum I would recommend to professionals or students. Less expensive versions, while saving a few dollars, miss important features. As a general rule of thumb, if the calculator can perform the "IRR" function, as this one can, it will be able to handle pretty much any calculation into which the finance student, professonal, or banker will run. Lesser machines do not have this function. So, skip the cheaper TI, HP, or other financial calculators.
Ironically, even larger fancier calculators, such as the venerable HP-12C, are in my estimation inferior as well. The 12C uses RPN logic which, while saving even more keystrokes, is simply foreign to most students. More importantly, some functions, such as the Time Value of Money functions, on the 12C require interpretation. On the 12C, for example, solving for the number of periods in an annuity, the value gets rounded UP to the next integer. Not so in the TI-BA-II+ or HP 10B.
While I can recommend the TI-BA-II+, it is second only to the HP 10B as the best value in inexpensive financial calculators.
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246 of 264 people found the following review helpful
on September 10, 2002
The TI BA Plus II is a better calculator than most of the current TI models.
It's a nice conservative brown color and not a day glo blue or some other candy color.
The button feel (button feel a critical factor in buying a calculator) is much better than most TIs but it still could be improved. (It is not as good as the HP 12c). One shouldn't have to keep looking at the display to see if the number was keyed correctly.
The different colored keys make it easy to find the various functions.
The display is uncluttered and easy to read.
The alpha characters on the left side of the display make it easy to know what data you are entering and what the resulting number from a calculation refers to.
It has a backspace key.
The manual is well written and very complete.
The number of key strokes that you need to do the simplest things is unbelievable. For example, to change the decimal format you have to press 2nd, format, [the number referring to the number of places], enter, 2nd, quit. Compare this to the HP 12c where you just press F and the number referring to the number of places. Six steps on the TI verses 2 on the HP.
The calculator has no weight to it. It seems flimsy. I would be very afraid of dropping it. The HP 12c is a tank by comparison.
The hard plastic slip "case" doesn't fit securely.
There is no way to change the contrast of the display.
Extra steps are required to do TVM calculations as compared to the HP 12c since with the TI you have to press the CPT key to get an answer. If you forget to do that then the display number becomes a new, unintended variable.
It doesn't retain the display when you shut the calculator off.
The arrow on the backspace key points the wrong way. Compare it to the backspace key on your computer.
It's easier to change the battery in your watch than it is in this calculator.
The "cheat sheet" in the plastic cover is only paper and very easy to loose. The HP has it printed on the back of the calculator.
No rubber feet! How much can these cost? That means you have to use two hands with this calculator; one to hold it so it doesn't slide around the table and one to enter data. You can't enter data with one hand and keep track of your place on a list of numbers with the other.
Not noticeably faster than the HP 12c which was designed over 20 years ago.
Conclusion: This calculator is better than most on the TIs in this price range mostly because of the improved button feel and the quality of the display but it would do well to take some lessons from the 80's and incorporate some of the features of the HP 12c. It's the little things that make a good calculator a great calculator. A calculator should be like an extension of you and not something that you have to constantly think about in addition to the business/math problems that you are working on. My first choice for a business calculator is the HP 12c but, if you are short on money, this is a good second choice.
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153 of 172 people found the following review helpful
on June 25, 2002
Texas Instruments, inventors of the pocket calculator, have done it again with the BAII Plus. This is an extremely fast little beast with a lot of functionality. It outstrips even the more expensive competition with a higher number of functions. You have to look to the HP 17BII to cover all the same bases and even then in some case you will have to work around problems. For instance, the BAII Plus allows differing compounding periods to payment periods. You can even calculate bonds to call as well as yield.
Sadly there is one serious problem with the machine. Strictly speaking it is not year 2000 compliant. Your date range is 1950 - 1949 and can only be entered as two digit years. TI have no work around for this either.
If you just want to number crunch all day long, this calculator gets my vote. Everything is in front of you on the keypad, you don't have to navigate around registers or menus. The keyboard is light and sensitive and easy to use. And the way the functions work together is very flexible.
The HP 12C. What can I say about this beautiful piece of craftsmanship. This not just a calculator, but an example of fine engineering. Sort of in the same league as a vintage car. You can almost here the engine purring gently when you turn it on. In comparison with the BAII Plus and the 17BII it lacks functionality. You will also see criticisms of its speed. But in reality this is untrue. What the 12C lacks in processing speed (and the difference is so slight that your calculations won't be affected) it makes up for in form factor and ruggedness. Don't underestimate this. The keyboard is industrial strength and so is the case. You can sit there banging away in RPN with one hand without even looking whilst you follow columns of figures with the other. You gain the best of both worlds between a heavy duty desk top calc and a neat pocket calculator. There is one other big advantage, which is the wealth of tutorials guides and papers about using it available for free on the internet.
But for uncompromising power, the HP 17BII is, for me, the ultimate financial calculator. It isn't as cumbersome as the 19BII but has everything I need from that calculator. The functionality is comprehensive, and where you might find limitations it gives you accurate work-arounds. The solver is indispensible. You can enter a formula and set up variables to enter as if you were using built in functionality. And it will solve for which ever variable is missing. Did you get that? - it actually does the algebra for you!!!
The 17BII is fast and rugged and I haven't yet found something I can't solve either through the built in functions or by programming it.
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2003
Bought this calculator a few months ago and it has already paid for itself many times over. I also own the HP12C and the 19B for a number of years (as well as other TI calcs) but prefer the BA II for high pressure situations i.e. CFA exam and purchasing any item with financing.
Was recently at an auto dealership helping my girlfriend buy a car and saved lots of $ and frustration by having this little jewel along. The finance mgr started quoting some strange monthly pmts and I was able to sit him down with the BA II and show him that his numbers made no sense based on our agreed purchase price. After a few rounds of this he gave up the tricks and started dealing straight. Yes I could have probably done the same thing with the 12c but in a situation with real $ at stake I reverted to thinking in Algebraic io RPN: Its very easy to get confused with several salespeople pressuring you to sign on the dotted line.
While the 12C will always be a classic compared to the BA I appreciate the BAs straightforward design.
Cons: Construction is a little weak, reverts to 2 decimal places after power is turned off
Pros: Excellent manual, menus for cash flow calcs, no need to learn RPN, faster than 12c
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2003
It's hard for me to give anything 5 stars, but for about $30 this calculator is such a great bargain. If it was more expensive, I would give it 4 stars. The other calculator I tried was the HP17BII+. My HP stopped working after 3 weeks. I will probably stick with the BAII+, but I did like the HP's ability to store functions.
- Lots of built-in functions. Seems like as many or more built-in financial functions than the HP17BII+.
- Better statistics functionality than the HP17BII+. Statistics is very important for business classes. The HP suprisingly lacks some basic functions, like population standard deviation.
- Has some trig functions. It can actually be a decent scientific calculator. Overall it's more versatile than any of the HP business calculators.
- Better build quality than the new HP's.
- Can be used for many standardized tests. You will not be accused of storing functions because you can't.
- In my opinion, not as user-friendly as the more menu-driven HP17BII+. The BAII+ usually requires more keystrokes and is not as intuitive. However, it's not so difficult that a good student can't learn it.
- Cannot store functions. Of course, if it did it would cost more and could be banned from certain tests.
- If you're one of the few out there that like RPN, it is not an option. The new HP's let you choose between Algebraic and RPN.
One thing that suprised me about the HP was how much their quality has gone down. They used to be the best built calculators. Now they are the worst. Look at the reviews of the new HP's. It's true! If HP doesn't get their act together, I think they will be out of the calculator market.
It would be nice if TI had a business calculator that could store user-defined functions like the HP17BII+ and have a more menu driven interface. The solver function would justify the price of the HP17BII+ if only the build quality was up to par. The quality of the newest BAII+ is not quite as good as the older ones, but it is much better than the quality of the new HP's.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on May 1, 2000
I have used the BA-II in my business for over a decade and it is a very good calculator for relatively simple financial applications. I have since purchased an HP-10B that has greater capabilities on more complex problems, but I find myself still using the BA-II for many simple ammortization and Time Value of Money calculations. It is a great calculator to "cut your teeth" on financial problems with. It has a well written manual and the calculator's logic is easy to pick up. Someday you may want greater capability - multiple ledgers & etc. In that case you will need to "graduate" to the HP-10B. But in the mean time, if you are doing calculations where an average rate of return is adequate, the BA-II will not fail you. Like I said, I have both of these calculators in my office, but I still use the 'ol BA about half the time.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 2004
This BA II Plus is my third BA calculator in 14 years and my second BA II Plus. They are an awsome value for the money, costing only a third of the HP 12C and can be used with little training right away by anyone, which is absolutely NOT the case for the HP financial calcualtors using reverse polish input (it has that name for a reason and certainly feels "reverse" to me too). The BA II Plus is definitly more intuitive and easier to learn for the general layman user than the reverse polish input HP calculators. The BA II is loaded with functions to calculate anything a personal household or some small business analyst will want to do.

The reason I cannot give this calculator a "5" is the fact that TI has cheapened it up quite a bit over time. My first BA in 1990 was by far the best built and lasted the longest. I exchanged it for the BA II in 1997 only because the letters wore off the buttons. The calculator in all aspects has become more flimsy with each new revision. So with intensive daily use, figure it will last about two to four years. After that time the buttons start to malfunction and it is time for a new one. Even my previous BA II Plus from 1997 was better in quality than this one. It had a tilted display for better readability, rubber stoppers on the bottom for working one-handed on slick surfaces and a small battery door. All of these features of the older model are not installed in this newest model. This newest version is also again lighter than the old one. I would pay subsantially more if TI would make this calculator in a better (metal!) housing with better buttons and more longevity, but price on these items obviously sells first and foremost in our society. Another issue I have with all BA II Plus calculators (the older one too) is the fact that the display is apparently supposed to be read from a 45 degree angle lookin from the bottom of the calculator. If you look straight down on the display, the numbers almost vanish. The contrast of the LCD display is in general not the best. It's annoying and I have never figured out why TI designed it that way.

Don't be worried about this "quality issue" too much since with occasional use this calculator will last forever. Don't be distracted by some of the reveiwers here giving the BA II Plus a bad review. It looks to me they have been individuals using the HP 12C or similar reverse polish input HP calculators for a long time and can't hack the TI BA II Plus. The HP financial series and the TI BA II are very different beasts from a user interface and people used to the HP will not (or never) warm up to the BA II Plus easily. Besides, I learned for our company's finance dept. (all HP users) that HP 12C users are quite the snobs about their "classic" financial calculators.

The BA II Plus calculator is definitly worth every penny it costs and will do more than the average consumer will need to do with it.

It is especially recommended for personal households or individuals who want to calculate loans, mortgages, interst spendings and savings annuities for personal financial planning. Even if you have never held a financial calculator in your hands before, you will calculate amortizations, loans, savings annuities, interest cost and any other so called "Time-Value" calculation easily and within minutes. The manual is easy to read and well organized for the layman to get going right away.

Bottom line: this calculator is geared towards the student and personal household user. There is no other financial calculator anywhere on the market today that will provide you with this amount of functionality and utility for this low price. PERIOD.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on February 27, 2005
This review is directed toward those taking the CFA exams. The TI BA II plus calculator is more straight forward than the HP 12C for the range of questions asked on the CFA. The BA II Plus calculates faster than the HP, and is less expensive.

If you need the button quality and durablity of the HP 12C unit, upgrade and buy the TI BA II Plus "professional" - this unit has a brushed aluminum case and buttons similar to a HP 12C and costs around $50 - similar to a HP 12C.

When doing uneven cash flow problems the registers to the TI are all labeled so you can quickly enter data giving greater confidence with improved speed to your answers for NPV and IRR calculations.

I still have two or three HP 12C's around, but they aren't as intuitive as the TI for the CFA Exam. If you are taking the exam - the TI is the way to go.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on January 21, 2002
I highly recommend this calculator. It is very easy to use, packed with features, and FAST. The only negative is that is lightweight, and doesn't have the sticky keys that the HPs have. HP diehards will say that it looks "cheap." The battery compartment is a joke, and you need to be careful when changing batteries on this one. Very poor engineering, you might say, but then if you go to Office Depot, most HPs don't even work because the battery door is broke or gone... So in a way, TI really wanted people to not mess with the battery too much... Now the fact is that nobody is using the 12C anymore, and the TI BAII Plus is now the standard among real estate and business students. Furthermore, TI is the only game in town, since HP has stopped all calculator development and is preparing to exit the calculator business!
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36 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on November 13, 2001
My friends, if you're looking for a financial calculator capable of calculating basic TVM functions, amortization, NPV, IRR, statistical analysis, deprection (SL, DB, SYD, and DBX), break-even analysis, bond calculations, markups and margins, interest-rate conversions, and even the number of days between two specific dates, then look no further than the TI BAII Plus. Here's why in a nutshell:
(1) Ease of Use: Look, anything that's new to you will require some time set aside to learn about it. It will take no more than 15 minutes of perusing the manual before you know this calculator like the back of your hand. I don't know what the goofballs in the previous reviews meant when they said this calculator was hard to use--they don't even sound like people who work in finance. And whenever you need to lookup a function, just refer to the manual--what's so hard about that?!!
I used the HP 10Bii calculator. This thing actually used REGISTERS for input. In other words, it's not like entering data into a "spreadsheet"-style list that the TI has. You actually have to remember all the cash flows and data that you enter into the registers of the HP; there's no viewing, inserting, or deleting of data like the TI allows you to do. It doesn't have all that the TI has, and yet it costs exactly the same. Huh?
(2) Cost: Folks, if you want an HP calculator that is comparable to the BA II plus, you will have to shell out anywhere from (dollar amount). This is nothing new; HP always had this arrogance in pricing their calculators high--come on guys, they're all pieces of plastic made in China. What, you like the rigid feel of the buttons on HP? Well whoop-dee-doo, I thought we buy these things to perform calculations...
(3) It's got everything, Need I say more?: For instance, did you know you can perform statistical regression analysis, where you can input an "X" variable and have the calculator compute the corresponding "Y" value on a least-squares regression line? You've even got trigonometric functions (SIN, COS, and TAN) as well as the inverses of those functions.
Trust me, this is a serious calculator packed with all the basic financial tools you need, all for a REASONABLE price (read: affordable). If you want something more serious, then by all means, screw the HP, and just use Microsoft Excel.
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