A common problem many statistics student encounter is the choice of the best statistical calculator. There are many models to choose from, with each having many advanced features. As of now, the TI-83, TI-86 and TI-89 are the commonest models that are widely used by large number of students in different parts of the world. A few other models by HP, Canon and others have also gained good reputation and admiration as well.
The TI-83 model is a handiwork of Texas Instruments and came as an upgraded version of the TI-82. In addition to the basic functions that every scientific calculator has, the TI-83 possesses a good number of extra features such as parametric, sequence and polar graphing modes, function graphing, statistics, algebraic and trigonometric equations and functions. It does not have many calculus functions but provisions are there to download extra applications and programs from their website.
In 1999, the TI-83 was enhanced with a more modernized and technologically upgraded TI-83 Plus. The TI-83 Plus includes flash memory which makes it updatable. In addition to this, it also enables larger flash applications to be manually stored on the calculators. Later in 2001, the TI-83 Plus Silver edition came onto the market that boasted of a huge amount of flash memory; almost nine times compared to TI-83 Plus and a double processing speed of the former models.
The TI-86 is an upgraded version of TI-85 and includes an assembly support quite similar to that of TI-83 models. The TI-86 model has a much greater memory capacity while maintaining compatibility with the TI-85 programs. This is undoubtedly one of the most stylish models with a large screen size of around 128*64 pixels supporting 21*8 characters. It has a CPU size of 6Mhz ZiLOG Z80 with 128K RAM, of which 96K are available to users. It is used by many but never enjoys the same share of popularity like that of TI-83 and TI-89 models.
The TI-89 is one of the most technologically advanced calculator models that is available on the market today. It is the most powerful graphic calculator that offers several innovative features that are not present in any of the previous models. In addition to this, several new applications have been included to add to its versatility and capability. With the TI-89 model, students can create animations, graphical 3D rotations and contour plotting.
Along with the normal features, the TI-89 includes a large number of associated functions such as statistics and data plots, symbolic manipulation, text editor, split screen functions, programming capabilities, variable management and provisions to connect to some other computers or calculators. The models have large, color-coded keys which makes it extremely easy to read. It also has an I/O port with a cable and is allowed on the SAT/AP/NMSQT and PSAT tests.
This is a modified version of the TI-89 that has almost three times the memory present in the TI-89 model. It is a powerful tool for Calculus, Physics, Mathematics, and Chemistry. It also has a flash memory three times that of its previous models.
As far as statistics is concerned, the best choice seems to be the TI-83 model, though the TI-86 and TI-89 models come close.