112 of 119 people found the following review helpful
on February 27, 2009
This is a calculator with tons of potential, however it is not nearly as user friendly as every other TI graphing calculator is. I'm an AP Calculus teacher and ordered one of these through school funds to test out. It can do everything that the TI-89 does and has much more potential than the TI-89, but the thought of teaching my students to use one of these just scares the bejesus out of me.
1. Large screen with good resolution.
2. little green letter buttons make it easier to enter commands.
3. WYSIWYG typing means you don't have to remember calculator syntax. It's much easier to enter a definite integral or limit.
4. Graphing window allows you to graph rectangular, polar, and parametric equations simultaneously.
5. Click and drag feature on the graph screen is nice.
1. The letter buttons are always in the way while I'm trying to enter numbers.
2. Screen can be difficult to read.
3. There is not a model that hooks up to a TI presenter. It does come with software where you can use a computer version of the calculator (assuming you have an LCD projector), but it's much slower than simply hitting actual buttons.
4. Finding max, min, roots, and intersections takes longer than on the TI-89.
5. When you do find the things from my #4 con, the calculator displays them right in the middle of the graphing screen, so you have to click and drag them out of the way to continue viewing the graph.
6. The "y=" screen is included as part of the graph screen, taking up graphing space.
7. Viewing a function table isn't difficult, but I can't figure out how to view a window containing ONLY the function table. It splits the screen with the graph on the left and the table on the right. This keeps you from being able to see several function values at the same time. Also I can't figure out how to close the table. I'm sure there's an easy way, but due to the completely inadequate user manual I have no idea what it is.
EDIT: I figured out how to view a function table on a different page/tab in the calculator, so the split screen problem is solved and it's much easier to close the function table. It still is not very intuitive at all and if I weren't very tech savvy I'd have never figured it out.
8. I have yet to find a differential equation graphing mode, and internet searches lead me to believe there isn't one. Why in the world would TI include this with the TI-89 and not with their new, supposed top-of-the-line model?
I may edit this as I find more pros or cons. I've had this calculator for 3 or 4 months and I do get it out on occasion to give it another shot, but each time I'm just as disappointed as the last. I keep think it just has a steep learning curve and I'll eventually catch on but it's not happening. That being the case, I have a feeling that if I tried to get my students to use this calculator I would be spending too much time just teaching them to use it.
If this calculator was only $50 and the TI-89 Titanium stayed at about $150 I'd still encourage my students to get the 89.
69 of 74 people found the following review helpful
on April 26, 2008
I've been working with this calculator for more than two months. My advice? Wait! Wait for updates and upgrades. First, I have to agree with another reviewer who was so angry with the documentation: it's awful. Harks back to the early 1980s when the only way to know what a computer could do was to try it. Trying to figure out how to do even the simplest of operations sometimes required an hour's worth of searching, at times with no resolution. The most helpful thing I've done so far is to print out the entire function manual and read through it page by page, but even this won't help you with specific button operations. Also, if I call technical support and they say they'll have to call me back, I expect to be called back. I don't expect to never hear from them again. Very, very annoying. Lacks class and corporate integrity.
I'm also unhappy with the screen. Although it has excellent resolution, it is very difficult to see unless the ambient light is bright, if not you have to tilt it at just the right angle to see anything. I don't know if it's technologically possible, but backlighting might help significantly. Also, they might want to work on providing 3D graphics.
There are also some operating system tweaks they need to make. For example, in the calculator mode Tab key will move you to the next part of the expression, but in graphing mode it appears to function the same as the Enter key and prematurely enters the expression.
There is also an operating system bug. It appears that if you "grab" something and you allow the calculator to auto power down it locks up. Doing a "soft reset" by pressing the button on the back will not unlock the system. You have to do a "hard reset" by removing a battery.
So what do I like? Almost everything else. I love the wysiwyg interface! It's as if you could actually do calculations with the MS equation editor. I haven't had a problem using the buttons. Also, the calculator is incredible powerful, there are a huge range of functions and operations. Final word: wait for them to solve the problems I've outlined above and then buy one.
46 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on August 18, 2008
After using this calculator throughout 10th grade Algebra II, I thought I might as well get around to writing a review of this newest TI product.
Elegant and efficient solver screen. This calculator does everything: it solves equations, matrices (in pretty print, no less), factors, solves systems of equations...just about anything you ask it to. I could *almost* use this calculator exclusively in algebra class and sleep through the lectures. The only problem I ever had with it was when I wanted it to "complete the square;" a rather obnoxious process in Algebra that takes forever to do by hand. The prevalent pretty print is nice, and I agree with the reviewer who said that parentheses errors are a thing of the past with this calculator...as well as fractional errors, radical errors, order of operations errors, etc...
Just like most of the other reviews said, terribly documented. Figuring out this calc is a real hit-or-miss, guess-and-check process. I cannot access half of the graphing features on this calc, and I don't even know where to begin when doing stat plots. The ability to run split-screen programs is nice; especially if your problem asks for the XY chart of a graph. However, finding intercepts, linear-or-quadratic regression, stat plot trends, etc, are all pretty much lost in translation, and I don't have the time to figure the features out in the middle of a test. Thus, even though I have the calculator that can do everything, I still need to use my TI-84 at times, which draws jeers from my classmates (as in "Geez, how many calculators do you NEED?!"). Also, this calculator is prohibited on almost all standardized tests, as well as most school tests, due to its ability to solve equations, so it loses value right there. Minor issues include screen contrast and button placement (I have big thumbs, and often times, the side of my finger inadvertently hits those annoying little letter keys). One further problem is that the N-Spire's keyboard features different keystrokes from the scholastic standard TI-84, so you have to adapt to classroom demonstrations on the fly, which can get annoying while trying to take rapid notes.
Overall, I love this completely illegal piece of cutting edge technology, but be forewarned: get your PhD in rocket science first if you want to use all this calculator's features, because you sure will need it. Or else, bring your TI-84 along as backup and endure the jeers of your classmates.
36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on September 3, 2008
I probably would have given this product three stars, but I feel that I must balance some of the overly generous grades given by other reviewers. I do not believe that a product that merely works merits a five star rating.
The Nspire CAS has the hardware potential to be a quantum upgrade to the aging TI-89, which is based upon late 1980's processor technology. And yet, at the time this review is being written, the TI-89 is a generally more powerful and easy-to-use programmable calculator than the Nspire CAS.
The built-in software of the TI-89 is very mature, and has much more programming capability than the Nspire CAS. This enables it to run thousands of free user-supplied programs, which can be readily downloaded into the '89 from the internet (via a PC) using only software freely available from TI. The Nspire CAS, by contrast, has no "free" connectivity to the PC or internet. Even if it had this, it cannot run programs written for the '89 due to the lack of many programming features, like input/output and menus.
Possibly TI will remedy the deficiencies in the Nspire CAS programming capability in time, but one should not purchase a product that might be upgraded at some indefinite time when a product that already has the needed features is available right now.
I believe that TI is aware of the foregoing and other deficiencies in the Nspire CAS (many mentioned by other reviewers here). That's why they've priced the Nspire CAS about the same as the TI-89 Titanium, despite the Nspire's superior processor (potentially 3x faster execution), massively larger (20x) user memory capability, and somewhat better display.
In the end, it's the software that does the work, whether on a calculator or a full-fledged computer. The TI-89 has proven to be an enduring example of superb hardware/software integration and value engineering, whereas the Nspire CAS, mostly due to immature software, is a beta product masquerading as a production release.
I am hopeful that the TI Nspire CAS will eventually supercede the TI-89. Given software capability that is merely the equal to that available with the TI-89, the Nspire CAS would today be the superior value proposition. Alas, that's not yet the case.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on September 27, 2009
I bought this very hard to find unit because I needed to complete a College Algebra class. At first I thought I could get away with my old TI-36X Solar Scientific Calc- and it might do a lot of what I need but the graphing capability is really important when working with advanced math. Not only graphing but the TI nSpire CAS allows you to switch to dual screen mode to see the x,y table for each value in the graph. If that's not enough for you you can use the navigation pad to point and click like a mouse on the graph and move it around while capturing the data in the table view.
The original TI nSpire with the TI-84plus slide in keyboard was my first purchase and while the nSpire's native keypad worked great when I slid in the TI-84 I was dismayed to see that lo and behold I had a high res screen of the nSpire showing giant blocky and hard to read data, just like th TI-84 does. And much like the other models after it up until the nSpire series. Not only did this make me uncomfortable but I did some reading on what the CAS had to offer over the regular nSpire. Please, take what I have to say to heart here- if you're working with Algebraic notation most calculators will simply spit out error or undefined codes whereas the CAS is flexible enough to work through. You can easily set the float number up to Float 12 or Fix 12 if you need it- and there were times when I needed the whole range of numbers to be returned. This CAS helped me ace my class. It didn't do the work for me- but it helped me to understand why I got the answers I found by modeling the data in a meaningful way, plus those magic tables are a life saver when you need to confirm your findings..
Spend the money on the right tool- TI has since updated their CAS software to v1.7 which resolves a load of peoples concerns plus you do have free connectivity to your computer for updates and to back up data from the calculator. This was well worth my investment- and I plan on keeping it around long enough to pass onto my daughter when she's in school.
Another quick note: You can find this unit cheaper if you don't buy the retail kit. Buy the student kit which comes with everything, Unit, case/shield, batteries, manual, software disc and cables for USB connectivity for about $139.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on June 21, 2011
The Ti Nspire CAS is the best graphing calculator available. There are currently three Nspire CAS models the 'clickpad', 'touchpad', and 'CX', each with the same OS, but different designs. The new operating system OS 3.0 is well-designed, well-developed, and now includes 3D graphing. The Nspire calculators feature a very intuitive menu setup for new users with a wealth of mathematical options.
Between the CAS and "basic" Nspire versions, the CAS version allows symbolic integration, differentiation and numerous other advanced Ti-89 features not found on the basic Nspire. The basic Nspire is similar to the weaker Ti-84, while the Nspire CAS is the successor to the respected Ti-89 Titanium. The Nspire CAS has all the mathematical features of the Ti-89, and it has a much faster processor (90MHz versus 16MHz), much more memory (64MB vs. 2.7MB), and a much nicer display with 5x as many pixels (320x240 vs. 160x100). There is no longer any need to get a Ti-89 as the Nspire CAS is superior in every metric. If you have a choice, get the full power of CAS (computer algebra system). Personally migrating from a Ti-89, this calculator is worthy of the next-generation title bestowed upon it.
From reading old reviews, the early Nspire releases from years 2007 and 2008 had an immature operating system, understandably. But, from 2010 onward the OS is mature, easy-to-use, glitch-free, fast, and it operates perfectly. Moreover, the early releases are completely correctable with a simple, free operating system upgrade from Texas Instruments. You just need to connect the calculator, download the OS, and follow the instructions. All prior complaints from the early years 2007-2008 have been fixed by OS 3.0, including 3D graphing, which is icing on the cake.
From a price perspective, the Nspire CAS 'clickpad', 'touchpad' and 'CX' all allow OS 3.0 to be installed, and the decision depends on price/design. The new CX expands the line with a backlit, color display, more memory, and a slim design. There can however be a considerable cost savings, $100+, if you don't need the color display of the CX. At the current CAS 'clickpad' price of 60, it is a steal compared to the other CAS versions. The clickpad version was around $150 a year ago, and it offers the same mathematical functionality as the newer versions. The touchpad is only slightly easier to use and offers marginal improvements over the clickpad. If you are having difficulty deciding between the CAS 'touchpad' and the 'CX', opt for the CX unless the price is much cheaper.
Overall, a superb calculator that is in every way a worthy successor to the venerable Ti-89. From a calculator standpoint, this is almost Utopia. This is MathCAD in the palm of your hand.
Update: The calculator came with a perpetual license for student software, but the enclosed CD only contained teachers software. To correct this, simply download the student software for free from TI's website. Also be sure to upgrade the calculator's OS for free to 3.0+ to get 3D graphing and other enhancements. Also, rechargeable AAA batteries have worked well in my calculator, despite what the manual says:)
One question, why are people still buying the Ti-89? When the Ti-89 was designed, the Pentium 200MHz processor was being released. Yes, back when AOL was almost popular!
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on October 22, 2008
Purchased this item a few months ago. I'm currently taking calculus, and wanted a reference tool to solve more of the difficult problems that were not explained in the solutions manual. I didn't really listen to the negative reviews about the product on this site, and honestly I'm glad I didn't...this is a powerful tool. I guess my only complaint is I would like to import and export data from Excel into the Spreadsheet program on the calculator. I haven't figured out how to do this yet.
Don't plan on bringing this thing on test day...it solves everything, including simplifying trig identities, graphs inequalities and piecewise functions.
Another cool features is the SI unit capability. For example, you can save variables with units, like x can equal 1 Volt. Divide this by 1 Amp, and the calculator displays Ohms! Pretty powerful tool.
Recommended buy for anyone needing the real answer to math problems.
48 of 60 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2007
I've been teaching for over 10 years and have used the TI-82,83,84, and 89 in my math and science classrooms. Finally, there is an upgradable learning tool that has better resolution and dynamic linking capabilities that is perfect for every high school (and beyond) math class, INCLUDING geometry. I could go on for some time about all the things that I like about it, but space doesn't allow. Clearly, the first and possibly favorite feature students will notice is that the input actually looks like the mathematics in the textbook. It has "pretty print" on the input as well as the announcement. "Parentheses errors" will become a thing of the past; no more getting the wrong answer because you entered it in wrong.
19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on November 4, 2007
I like the larger, higher resolution screen, but I'm not sure that this is a great advance over my old favorite, the TI 89. Will the whole idea of using files and folders on a calculator catch on? Maybe, especially if programming is well-supported, the calculator could be a great tool for getting younger people interested in computer programming. I wish they had included something like an SD slot for memory cards, but perhaps they had good reason for excluding it. I have had no mechanical problems so far, but it's too soon to comment on reliability.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 10, 2011
Coming from the ti84, I was amazed at what this calculator could do. The ability to instantly solve double integrals saved me so much time on my college statistics exam. I was a bit overwhelmed at first by all of the tinspire cas' functionality, but after playing around with it for a few hours, I finally got the hang of it. Once you know where everything is, it's really easy to use because of the clean interface. For solving things like summations and integrals, you are given the actual symbols rather than functions, so you don't have to memorize what order the variables need to go in.
It's unfortunate that all of the outdated reviews are on the front page and haven't been updated since the release of the new operating system. I was about to pull the trigger on a ti89, but found this calculator for 70 dollars less. With the new 3.0 operating system, this calculator can do everything that the ti89 calculator can do, including 3d graphing and differential equations. Although I don't have the ti89, I have used my friend's ti89 extensively, and even he admits how much better the tinspire cas is, mostly because of its clean interface and better hardware (more speed and storage). It also has much better screen resolution, which is extremely important and often overlooked. The higher resolution allows more "stuff" to fit in the screen.
The one and only advantage of the ti89 is that because it is more mature, it has more apps written for it. If you need those apps and you think it's worth $70 more, then that would be the only reason to get the ti89 over the tinspire cas. That being said, with the release of the tinspire cas cx, which is pretty much the same calculator as the tinspire cas but with color and a better keyboard for $80+ more, I wouldn't be surprised if people started to switch over to writing apps for the tinspire cas.
-with the 3.0 operating system, the tinspire cas can do everything that the ti89 can do in terms of functionality, and it has much better hardware (faster and ALOT more storage), screen resolution, and interface
-the clean interface makes input very easy and you don't have to memorize how to input commands
-the extra storage over the ti89 allows you to store way more notes and programs
-MUCH cheaper (cost $65 when I bought it) than the ti89 ($130 at the time) and other versions of this calculator (ie. touchpad and cx; $140 for touchpad and $150 for cx)
-keyboard isn't as good as the other versions of this calculator because the letter buttons get in the way (but I wouldn't pay 80+ dollars for a better keyboard)
-no color like the cx version (but again, not worth 80+ dollars in my opinion)
-not as many available apps as the ti89, but that might change soon
-you can transfer pictures from your pc to this calculator, but the picture quality is terrible
-software only has a 30 day trial (or maybe I haven't looked hard enough, but I can't find the license number anywhere on the packaging)
some other notes:
-the calculator came with the 2.0 operating system, but you can easily upgrade to the 3.0 OS for free by going online and connecting the calculator to your pc
-be careful that you don't buy the wrong version of this calculator. There is the tinspire, tinspire touchpad, tinspire cx, tinspire cas, tinspire cas with touchpad, and tinspire cas cx. The tinspire cas is an upgrade to the ti89 and may not be allowed on some high school exams, whereas the regular tinspire is the upgrade to the ti84. The touchpad versions just give a better keyboard and the cx versions give a better keyboard+color.