That said, they didn't even use test mode when I took the SAT, so I don't know.
I would actually take it a step further and say that graphing calculators aren't even that useful in instruction, especially now that students all have computers and can run Desmos, MatLab, or whatever. I had a TI-86 in high school, and the only class in which I found it indispensable was A.P. Statistics. Maybe I'm being narrow-minded, but I always thought those things were a bit silly and gimmicky and sort of resented that my parents had to buy me one for school.
I hated it while in school, but retrospectively i think it was a pretty good idea actually :)
Ideally it would be an SD-card plugged in at the top edge of the calculator. The area around that connector could be clear plastic, with visible circuit traces running to the CPU.
Of course it is always possible to fully replicate the calculator. I'm sure there is a Chinese factory that could do it. Stopping a trademark violation like that is the job of the port inspection and customs enforcement people. The situation becomes like illegal drugs, but with much lower demand and much more difficult production.
Simply replacing the chip is some serious electronics work. These aren't socketed DIP chips. They aren't even BGA. TI puts the bare naked silicon chip right on the board, bonds wires from it to the board, and then covers it with a blob of black glue.
My suggestion of clear plastic makes this even harder. Modifications would need to look normal. The part of the board between the SD card socket and the CPU should have a minimum of clutter and a colorful boarder box, making it easy to see where one should look for modifications.
The Ti83 is how I learned to program.
Note that some TI calculators are specifically branded as restrictive enough to be compatible with standardized tests such as the ACT or SAT.
Although it features an outdated OS (up-to-date OSes weren't even vulnerable), TI made a move to protect the reputation of exam mode. :(
Possibly among other things.
I'll have to give this a spin!
This is a big blast from the past. I can't wait to try running some of my old code on this emulator.
Which runs great under Emscripten:
I managed a few simple games but there was no way to read keyboard input without pausing execution so they had to be turn based. The best game was probably a simple reaction timer which waited a random time then told you to press AC, and when re-run let you know your approximate time for the last run.
I also used the memory for storing my timetable for the week and and notes for tests, but I was always too nervous to use the stored test data. Also the laborious effort of entering in text had embedded the small amount of text into my memory well.
If you want to do complex number arithmetic then a simple Casio scientific calculator is fine. For graphing you basically have to be on Wolfram alpha or similar.
GP is right, Casio does have more features for cheaper (compared to TI.)
My mini review of the FX-CG10 (I've had it for around 8 years): fun to write little programs for when you have no other computing devices around, various very nifty features, pretty durable, UI is pretty intuitive, color is super nice to graph multiple things at the same time, nicer than a normal calculator for plain calculations (easy to visualize parens/division/etc), spreadsheet is very nice to have.
It does not have a CAS (computer algebra system), but it does have a few features that people might associate with one, such as (IIRC) some form of a simplifier, both for equations and numbers (so the result of the calculation 3/9 can be displayed as both 1/3 and 0.333 with the press of a button.)
My only gripes are the buttons (which can feel somewhat mushy) and, occasionally, the screen brightness (outside, on very sunny days, can be a little annoying)
Apparently the newer FX-CG50 is basically the CG10 with a moderately faster CPU and a smaller form factor, so nothing too revolutionary. The CG500 is a mostly-touchscreen version of the CG50, which seems weird to me. Never used it. I would guess that your two best choices for modern graphing calculators are the CG50 and the TI-NSPIRE.
That said, in general I'm not sure if I'd really recommend a graphing calculator to anyone period. It could be a useful tool if you were a math teacher, but most anyone else I think would be better served by a simpler scientific calculator or a laptop. Really, a graphing calculator is for operations like graphing and spreadsheeting and so on that are much, much better on a laptop. If you don't need the more advanced operations, then definitely go for a scientific calculator: you'll save a hundred bucks and get clickier keys, a clearer screen, unlimited battery life...
I'm trying to think of a profession that would really benefit from a graphing calculator, and I really can't think of one aside from math teacher/student. Ultimately, if you need frequent complex calculations (such as for a shop), you're probably better off with the improved ergonomics and display of a simple scientific calculator. And if you really do need graphing and spreadsheeting, then a laptop is probably the way to go.
Aside from academic use, a graphing calculator is one of those weird bridge devices, like a phablet or a netbook or a 20" laptop (in my opinion.) I would love to be proven wrong though, so anyone reading this, feel free to comment about your own graphing calculator workflow :)
As far as modern scientific calculators I know personally, the TI-30XS is decent, with clicky keys, for $15 (but has an annoying scientific notation issue, you always need parens.) The TI-36X is the upgraded beefy version with fixed scientific notation. I used a Sharp EL-531XBGR years ago and enjoyed it, non-clicky keys (which is a bit of a disappointment) but had tons of features and seemed to be built well. Looks like its 2020 replacements are the Sharp EL-W535TGBBL and Sharp EL-W516TBSL, but you can get anything really, make sure it has WriteView though, that's how you get the nicely displayed parens/division/exponents.
Special mention goes to the generic Chinese-made scientific calculator that has been taking dollar stores by storm. It's an excellent option, honestly, and it costs around $2 a piece in bulk and $3 in dollar stores. Has all your trig functions, combinatorics, nth roots... runs forever off of two tiny cell batteries, and can take a beating. If you just need something to use occasionally, to lend, or you just think you need one, it's perfect. If you're looking for something for serious use, well, it does not have as good ergonomics as the $20 TI-36X but it is incredible for what it is. (It appears to be a copy of the Casio FX-300MS.) Here's a photo: https://i.imgur.com/x7uB5g8.png - it has a million rebranded brand names, to find it just go to any dollar store to get it for $3, or type "graphing calculator" into Amazon until you find something that looks like it (will probably be more like $5 on Amazon.) I got mine for €2.99 (normal price) in the Netherlands.
One thing I would not recommend is a TI emulator for your phone. 2/10, never again. It's slow and painful and the emulators aren't great.
Whoops, wrote a page. Anyway, good luck on your calculator journey - they're fun little machines! And feel free to comment here weeks later once you've ordered something. HN can use more calculator talk :)
I personally learned to program on a TI 84+ Silver Edition in 10th grade. I got _so good_ at writing TI-Basic on the calculator, pressing 2nd->catalog & scrolling to a specific command... because you didn’t type function names or keywords, you selected them from a list.
I even put some games & programs on ticalc.org — I just checked, and they’re still around! One of my apps is “zz” at the bottom of this list... man, the good ole days: