What is the best graphing calculator

Test & comparison of graphical calculators: all top products

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  • Compared to a simple pocket calculator, graphical pocket calculators, also called GTR calculators, have a more powerful display.
  • In addition to complex sequences of numbers over several lines, graphing calculators can also display curves and diagrams as well as spreadsheets.
  • Due to the programmability of many models, it is possible to load certain math programs. These can then be used for the solution.

Current comparison table 2021

Graphical calculators are portable computing devices. Compared to conventional pocket calculators, they offer a display with a higher resolution and more options for presentation.

A graphic calculator can be used to generate and display graphics and diagrams. In addition, most of the graphical pocket calculators are programmable and therefore also solve additional special tasks.

These powerful pocket calculators are used in mathematics lessons in high school, during studies or in corresponding professions such as engineers.

A graphical calculator can do much more than solve simple arithmetic problems and display the result in an input line. Various scientific calculators with different functions are available on the market.

So that you can find the best graphical calculator for your requirements, we have compared numerous types for you in our graphical calculator comparison 2021 and offer you the most important facts about these special graphical calculators: What does an independent graphical calculator test say? Where can I buy a cheap graphing calculator? Which brands and manufacturers are most recommended?

1. What a graphical calculator can do

The first graphical calculator was made by Casio in 1985. This made it possible for the first time to solve curve discussions directly on the computer. Neither rulers, compasses nor other drawing implements were needed for these analysis tasks.

The display of a graphical pocket calculator is very powerful and is able to show representations over several input lines. For example, the Texas Instruments TI-82 calculator has an eight-line display. Many current models, such as the CASIO FX-CP 400, have a high-resolution color display.

2. Types of computers for different needs

Various types of calculators are shown in the tests of graphing calculators that we consulted for this report. All can show function graphs and diagrams and have a high-resolution display, but are used for different mathematical problems.

Here is an overview of the various graphical calculators in comparison:

Type or type of productproperties
Numerical graphic calculator
  • Works purely numerically
  • solves equations, derivatives of functions
  • shows approximate values ​​within the scope of the calculation accuracy
Symbolic graphical calculator
  • Works symbolically
  • can thus solve algebraic equations with variables, determine derivative functions and determine antiderivatives
CAS calculator
  • Combines CAS = computer algebra with dynamic geometry and spreadsheets

Do you like calculators from the CAS calculator category? Take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of this type of product here:

  • the computer can help with a wide variety of tasks such as spreadsheets, dynamic geometry or the evaluation of measured values
  • Time savings when calculating, as frequently recurring calculations are removed from the computer
  • even complicated invoices can be solved quickly
  • expensive compared to other types of graphing calculators
  • Only permitted under certain conditions in school

3. This is what matters when buying

Once you have decided on a type of calculator, there are other criteria to consider when purchasing a graphical calculator. Basically, graphing calculators are not cheap pocket calculators, so it pays to take a closer look and compare.
The main features to look for when purchasing a graphing calculator are:

  • Operating mode
  • Display
  • Programming function

3.1. Battery operation or solar available

Graphics calculators differ in their operating mode. In addition to the conventional use of batteries, there are also solar-powered calculators. This is easy on the wallet and is also environmentally friendly.

The models from one or the other graphical calculator test are mainly operated with batteries or rechargeable batteries. So this still seems to be the most common mode of operation.

Normal AAA batteries or lithium-ion batteries are used. Here the battery is certainly the more environmentally friendly and also more comfortable solution, as it can simply be recharged again and again.

3.2. Select the display size according to the type of use

The displays of graphical pocket calculators differ from computer to computer in terms of resolution and the number of lines and characters per line. The motto here is clearly: the more, the better.

Because whether 16 or 36 characters are displayed in one line, or four or 16 lines are shown, makes a big difference in complex arithmetic tasks. It is usually worth buying a more expensive GTR pocket calculator with a color display.

When buying a graphical calculator, look for a natural representation of fractions, for example. This corresponds to the viewing habits from the books and makes working on the computer easier.

3.3. Programming the computer as an extra

Before buying a graphing calculator, you should also carefully consider whether you need a programming function. Many of the graphing calculators in the comparisons cannot be programmed. However, this does not mean that they are automatically the cheaper pocket calculators.

Programmable pocket calculators have an internal memory for the loaded programs. Mathematics and geometry programs that can be used to solve special mathematical tasks and simplify them can be loaded.

4. Graphing calculator in school

Graphical pocket calculators are often used in mathematics lessons in high schools. However, the regulations are very different in the federal states.

While the use of a graphical calculator is mandatory in the curriculum in Baden-Württemberg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Lower Saxony and Saxony, in other federal states it is up to the respective teacher whether or not the appropriate graphing calculator is used.

Schools and universities often mandate a specific graphing calculator. Before buying a GTR computer, you should first ask and clarify which devices are required. The advantages of standardized computers are simplified, standardized teaching in which all computers are equipped with the same functions and are operated in the same way. This also guarantees that the graphing calculator is also permitted during the tests.

There are also different regulations for major exams such as the Abitur, depending on the federal state. In Baden-Württemberg, for example, a GTR computer is forbidden at high school.

In this online tool from Casio you can find out in which federal state which approval conditions apply and which graphical calculator is approved where.

The use of graphic computers in schools is a contentious issue. In particular, the high expenses associated with such a powerful GTR computer and possibly incurred by the parents are criticized.

But also the lack of representation of the respective calculation method up to a solution are denounced. The reproach: the computers show the solution too quickly without the student realizing how the calculation is to be done.

5. Questions & Answers about graphing calculators

5.1. Is there a graphical calculator test from Stiftung Warentest?

Stiftung Warentest has unfortunately not yet carried out a graphical calculator test, so we cannot report on a corresponding test winner. Even simple pocket calculators are not included in the test offer from Stiftung Warentest.

Although there are numerous online calculators on various topics such as building society savings and real estate loans on Stiftung Warentest, the experts have still taken care of the corresponding devices.

5.2. Can games be played on the GTR calculator?

Games can also be played on programmable calculators such as those from Casio. These are saved on the internal memory and shown accordingly on the display.

Since the high-quality graphic calculators usually have a corresponding display and processing options of the software, games are also possible on the graphic calculator.

To do this, special games for the calculator have to be found. The games can be uploaded using connection software that is installed on the CAS computer.

Before loading games onto your graphing calculator, you should check that there is enough memory available.

Often, more graphical games are offered for the graphical calculator. But in the meantime there is even the Nintendo classic Pokémon as a corresponding pocket calculator version.

Different game versions are offered depending on the calculator. If you are looking for suitable games, you should enter the name of the calculator plus the game you want into the search engine.

Games are preinstalled on some graphical calculators.

5.3. How do I care for and clean my graphing calculator?

As with all pocket calculators, the graphical pocket calculator does not require any special maintenance. However, if you use a battery-powered model, you can significantly extend its service life with regular maintenance and appropriate behavior.

Batteries should be protected from extreme temperatures and moisture. Batteries work best at dry temperatures between 0 and 25 degrees Celsius.

The battery should be charged regularly and, if possible, not completely discharged. You should also take advantage of the updates of the operating system that are offered. Because these contain, among other things, programs for the graphical calculator that can improve the battery life.

5.4. What manufacturers and brands are there for graphical calculators?

In the comparisons of the graphical calculators, Casio calculators with different models are very often represented. Texas Instruments pocket calculators can also be found at the very front of the tests.

Texas Instruments offers innovative products with the Ti-Nspire technology, especially in the field of CAS computers. This also applies to the Ti-Nspire CX graphic calculator, a graphic calculator with a color display.

The American company Hewlett-Packard is also represented. For example, the Hewlett Packard HP 50G does quite well in one or the other graphical calculator test. The good keyboard feel and the clear software are emphasized.

The electronics company Sharp also offers corresponding GTR computers.

5.5. Is there a graphical calculator app?

Anyone who thinks now that a graphical calculator app on my smartphone would be enough for me will of course find an offer for this too. Because with the corresponding pocket calculator app, every smartphone becomes a high-performance computer.

Some graphical calculator apps for Android phones are offered in the Google Playstore. Free graphical calculator programs are also offered. For regular use, it is certainly worth purchasing a scientific graphics calculator, and appropriate apps are helpful for occasional use.

The prescribed graphical calculators must be used in schools and universities.

5.6. What does a graphing calculator cost?

Graphing calculators can do a lot more than conventional pocket calculators, which is why they are not very cheap or even free of charge as a promotional gift. The prices for a graphical calculator as presented in the various tests are between 60 and 200 euros.

The test winner is not always the most expensive graphing calculator; cheaper graphing pocket calculators also impress with their very good performance. Here it is important to take a close look at which requirements must be met and which performance features are offered.

(28 Ratings, average: 4,20 of 5)
Test & comparison of graphical calculators: all top products
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