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Calculators Buying Guide

Even though we may be able to use a mobile phone or a computer to do some basic calculations, there is no real substitute for a fully functional calculator. We can find them in many different varieties, and if you are in the market for a calculator you have to really know what it is you are looking for.

This buying guide is going to review the different issues that you must address as you make your choices among calculators, and the first items is the actual "type" of calculator needed.

Types of Calculators

In the modern era it is possible to purchase impressively powerful calculators with massive processing capabilities. They can be found as:

Display calculators

 - Basic models that can be used for the most common calculations but which also have memories and a few optional functions.

Financial calculators

 - Loaded with financial equations and features, these are the perfect tools for anyone involved in the world of finance. They too will have some memory and the capacity for programming.

Graphing calculators

 - Similar to, but far more advanced than, scientific calculators, these have large display screens, many specialty functions, and the ability to perform graph equations and to store all of the data.

Programmable calculators

 - These are extremely advanced units that can handle the basic functions all of the way into graphing functions. They can be programmed in the same ways as many computers and are often identified (erroneously) as graphing or scientific calculators.

Scientific calculators

 - Ideal for college students and professionals, these are capable of dealing with equations, statistics, trigonometry, scientific issues, and more. They have two lines of display, large screens, and an overwhelming array of buttons and functions.

Other Issues

In addition to knowing the type of calculator needed, you should also consider the way you intend to power the device. The most common method in this era is the solar calculator that uses a tiny solar cell to capture all available light and power the device. However, the higher functioning calculators, such as the scientific and financial models may need a larger power source for long hours of use, and that means small batteries are also required for some of the devices.

There are also a lot of specialized features that appear in the different calculators and which are related directly to their use. For instance, some financial calculators are "printing" calculators that can create small printouts as calculations are made. The printing feature can be enabled or disabled as needed.

There are also some devices with touch screens that rely on a stylus to allow for faster use or for adjustments in graphing functions. Many of the scientific, programmable, financial, and graphing calculators can also be connected to a computer. This allows any saved data to be sent to the computer or for the calculator to integrate with the computer to perform higher calculations across the platform.

Pricing Points

The prices for calculators can vary quite widely depending entirely on the features selected. Famous names such as Casio offer the entire gamut of pricing and models that include the standard or basic display units through the highly complex touchscreen and scientific models. World famous computer component maker, HP, is also a popular name for calculators because they too make enhanced models and affordable basic models.

Sharp, Texas Instruments, and Canon are also extremely reliable makers of different types of calculators as well. Though pricing does often seem similar between the different makes and models, you must perform a side by side comparison to be sure you are getting the options needed.

For example, several scientific calculators may be priced the same and appear to have a lot of the same features. However, if a modern and costly unit is not capable of being updated (through software options) or does not have any memory, it is not actually going to be in the same level as those with such features.

Just as buying a high-end computer requires some time spent doing comparisons and identifying the models that will perform all of the required functions, so too does buying a calculator. Many business professionals can benefit from the advanced functions they are capable of performing, and though some models are high in price, they often become an essential business tool.

Do not choose any calculator based on price; instead be sure you are getting a model that easily tackles your most common needs or equations.

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