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HP Prime Graphing Calculator Review

HP Prime Graphing Calculator Review

There is nothing particularly better about any of the TI calculators to explain why they have such a stranglehold on the graphing calculator market. Comparing calculator to calculator, both HP and Casio can stand on their own. What TI  offers is a tremendous diversity to its lineup, so that you can pick the features, feel, and functionality you want at the price that’s right for you. If you’re in the market for a nice color display, entry-level graphing calculator, this is a great place to start. The HP Prime stacks up well against its similarly priced competitors (the TI-84 and TI-84 Plus lines) and probably offers even better bang for the buck. At $105.99, this calculator is a steal.

This calculator is made by a (once mighty) computer company, and they certainly know a thing or two about hardware and programming. While the HP Prime is easy enough to learn for the high school student, it certainly offers enough advanced features and sophistication for more advanced users in college and beyond. One feature we really liked is the input of matrices. Entering a matrix on the HP Prime is as easy as can be, and you’ll love it if you’re taking a linear algebra or quantum mechanics course in college.

Rechargeable battery

Just like the latest lines of Texas Instruments calculators, the HP Prime also offers a rechargeable battery. As we’ve mentioned elsewhere, this means that you will need to plug in to charge your calculator, and cannot simply swap four new AAA batteries in like you used to. Most students say that one charge can last up to a month with regular moderate use of the calculator. Keep in mind that this means you run into the rare chance of the calculator running out of charge in the middle of an important quiz or exam, and you’ll soon get in the habit of charging your calculator the night before the big test, anyway. And if you’re forgetful, you can always just find a seat next to the electrical outlet in the classroom.

 So should you buy an HP graphing calculator instead of a TI? And what year is it..?

Hewlett Packard vs. Texas Instruments – probably not something you thought you’d be reading in 2015. But, the reality is – graphing calculators are not going anywhere. While tablets and cell phones offer all kinds of graphing apps, the problem with these devices is that they connect to the internet. And for that reason, the vast majority of teachers will not allow them to be used on tests, and they certainly aren’t allowed to be used on major entrance exams or college finals. For that reason alone, graphing calculators are certainly still relevant in math, science, engineering and business courses.

The HP Prime is a fantastic calculator, but it does have its drawbacks and is certainly not for everyone. While it really is a faster and nicer calculator than the price comparable TI-84, what it has working against it is the fact that TI has become so ubiquitous in the classroom. For students just learning the functions and operations for the first time, the majority of the examples will be done on some model of a Texas Instruments calculator, and most of their peers will have a TI calculator as well. As a result, nobody will know how to troubleshoot the errors you are bound to encounter as you navigate the calculator’s menus and functions. This is not a knock against HP – all calculators have a learning curve. The problem for HP is that the learning curve of TI calculators is lessened because everyone else is learning on the same type of device! With a TI, at least you’re all in it together, and likely, your teacher will be familiar with your calculator and be able to switch you in and out of modes you aren’t supposed to be in.

The Final Two Cents – is the HP Prime graphing for you?

If you understand how to troubleshoot on your own and like the challenge of learning something new, this is a great calculator to pick up. If you plan on going on in maths or sciences, you’ll find that this calculator lasts a lot longer than the TI-84. It’s much more sophisticated and offers more functions. It has a beautiful color screen and can certainly do anything that a TI calculator can do. If you want to stray from the norm and try the HP Prime, you’ll be rewarded with a fast, powerful and sleek looking graphing calculator that you will use for years to come.