By Andrew Liszewski
Even with laptops and PDAs that are almost as powerful as desktop computers, there still seems to be a market for dedicated graphing calculators. Texas Instruments has been a leader in this field for quite a long time now, and continues to innovate with their new TI-Nspire line.
The most obvious improvement is a new keypad that includes a full alphanumeric layout using smaller in-between keys, basically like the Fastap system used on cellphones. But the TI-Nspire also includes a snap-in keypad based on the older TI-84/83 Plus calculators, which I assume is a university standard and allows you to follow along with professors still using the old version. Besides this backwards compatibility and the upgraded keypad, the TI-Nspire includes other new features like the ability to ‘grab and move’ points or lines on a graph while seeing the effects in real time, as well as a computer-like file system for saving and loading your work.
The TI-Nspire (including the snap in keypad) will set you back $138. Not exactly cheap, but a bargain compared to all those textbooks you’re supposed to