*Another post in my series comparing Casio calculators to TI:*

I just came from a meeting at Casio America’s headquarters where we discussed ways to help parents, teachers and students get their hands on Casio calculators. In thinking about the message that Casio is trying to instill in it’s customers – that of “Functionality and Affordability”, I thought perhaps I would clarify what that message means.

Affordability – well, obviously that has to do with cost. Basically, if you go into a store such as Walmart, to buy your child calculator, you see a wide assortment of calculators with varying prices. The prices are remarkably different as you progress to graphing calculators, and TI calculators clearly top the list in expense. It can be confusing if you don’t really know anything about the calculators and are just comparing prices – the obvious choice for our cost-conscious consumers is to go with the less expensive choice, but what often happens is schools/teachers name a specific calculator type or brand, which more often than not is the most expensive one. The question then becomes what’s the difference? Parents probably ask themselves “Will my student be at a disadvantage if we choose to save money and go with the more affordable option?” Here’s where “Functionality” comes into play.

Functionality has to do with ease-of-use, processing speed, menu options, memory, etc. When a student has to use a calculator to do mathematics, how hard is it to figure out the steps, to find the menus, etc. Here is where Casio definitely has the advantage over TI, because Casio calculators don’t require students to remember complicated processes or where menus and operations/calculations are – rather the options appear right on the screen as students are working, not hidden in an app or a button. The processing speed is also significantly faster. So, the more affordable calculators function more quickly and are more intuitive and easy to use and remember compared to the more expensive options. And are allowed on all standardized tests, just like the more expensive options.

As an example, here’s a quick comparison of Casio’s 9750GII graphing calculator, at $47, compared to the top-selling TI graphing calculator, the TI-84, at $102, or the TI-84 +, at $122 (these are all Walmart Prices). You will see that the Casio is menu driven, performs quicker and graphs prettier, than the more expensive TI-84+ option. This is a fairly simple problem – graph a quadratic function and find its root (s). The TI has much more complicated functionality, requiring students to find the right menu, create ‘boundaries’ around the root, and make a guess before getting the coordinates of the root. Then repeat the process if there is more than one root. Also, notice that on the Casio, you can toggle back and forth between the roots (if there is more than one), it shows the function on the screen, along with the root (s) and word “root” so you know what you are looking at.

So – to answer the question: NO your student will NOT be at a disadvantage if you choose the more affordable option because you are getting better functionality. Seems like an advantage to me.