TI-Nspire CX CAS vs. CX: Ultimate Calculator Review And Comparison

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Are you looking for a calculator that you don’t have to replace within the year?  Are you looking to purchase the TI-Nspire CX CAS and wondering if it is the best option for you?  With school back in session, it’s time to think about what calculator you can use to perform the functions you need and get the most bang for your buck.

Imagine walking into class prepared for your ACT or SAT only to find that the calculator you have been studying with is not permitted.  If only you would have checked the calculator guidelines before purchasing your calculator, you’d be in the clear.

This list will work to not only provide you with the best TI-Nspire CX review but also provide information for the best calculator for the SAT or ACT. If you are looking for real-world information concerning this calculator and the TI-Nspire CX CAS, then you have come to the right place.

Not only will we provide you with information on both calculator types.  We will also give you the similarities and differences between each model, information on why you would choose each kind, and even some tips to consider when making your final purchase.

Keep reading to get the scoop on these two calculators.

If you’d prefer to skip reading and get back to studying, or a TI-Nspire CX here.

What is CAS, and is it Important for Excelling in Math Classes?

CAS in the calculator world stands for Computer Algebra System.  CAS is a piece of math software which allows for the manipulation of mathematical expressions most closely aligned with manual mathematics.

There are two types of CAS classes; these include specialized and general purpose.  Number theory, elementary math and group theory all fall into the specialized class.  This type is devoted to a specific part of math.  General-purpose classes include a multitude of features.  These include the input of math functions, a library of functions and algorithms as well as many more technical features.


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CAS Systems are essential because they provide a more realistic view of math than handheld or paper calculations. Though these types of calculators are generally not permitted on standardized tests, they are being adopted in higher education.

Computer Algebra Systems can be used to solve a variety of types of equations.  These include rational functions, polynomials, finding limits, and much more.  The CAS system can perform more operations quickly and without human intervention.

Why Choose the TI-Nspire CX CAS?

The TI-Nspire is an ideal calculator for a number of different subjects.  These include Trigonometry, Geometry, Algebra, Pre-Algebra, Pre – Calculus, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Calculus, Linear Algebra, and Finance.  The calculator is also suitable for AP courses like Calculus, Statistics, and Physics.  The full-color screen and the backlit display is perfect for ensuring that calculations are readable and easily understood.  The rechargeable battery makes sure that you will not need to purchase another battery for years to come.

The TI-Nspire CX CAS is perfect for upper mathematics like calculus.  Students are able to solve differential equations, integrals and even derive to n.  The calculator also provides matrices functions which are used in linear algebra.

The calculator is easy to learn and able to solve equations quickly.  This calculator is one of Texas Instrument’s more advanced options.  This calculator will provide exact answers in the most simplified form.  There are a number of applications which can be used on this calculator, including apps for spreadsheets, data analysis, and drafting.  The calculator can be used on the SAT, PSAT as well as the Math AP exam.

The TI-Nspire CX CAS also offers functionality that most calculators do not have.  This functionality includes the ability to draft shapes.  This is a function that not many calculators have.

The CX CAS also comes with computer software which allows for the transfer of information.  It also includes a vast catalog of math functions.  These built-in functions include the ability to create plot graphs and the plotting of discrete points and even allows for linear regression.

Templates are another game-changer that students have raved about when speaking about the calculator.  The most commonly used templates are also available directly from the keyboard.  These include integrals, derivatives, and matrices.

One common issue with other Texas Instruments is that when inputting information into matrices, the numbers are automatically rounded.  This rounding does not happen on the CX CAS.

Overall, the TI-Nspire CX CAS is worth the money.  Many students who used this calculator during their undergraduate careers, particularly those in engineering or STEM fields, are proud of their purchase and still able to use the calculator to this day. Some even consider it one of their top investments.

If you are used to using an older model calculator like the TI-83 or TI-84, this calculator may have a slight learning curve.  However, there are several videos and manuals which can aid you in any learning curve.

Overall, within the majority of the TI-Nspire CX CAS reviews, many students agree that this is an excellent calculator and worth every penny spent for it.  It is a great way to check work and integral for engineering students.

Texas Instruments Nspire CX CAS Graphing Calculator
  • Ideal for Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1 & 2, Trigonometry, Geometry, Pre-calculus, Statistics, Business & Finance, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Calculus, AP Statistics, AP Physics, AP Calculus, and Linear Algebra.
  • Full-color screen with backlit display.
  • All the functionality of the TI-Nspire CX handheld plus a built-in Computer Algebra System (CAS)

Last update: 2024-06-14

Why Choose the TI-Nspire CX?

Even without the CAS capability, the TI-Nspire CX is still a powerhouse.  The calculator is more than enough to get students through high school mathematics.

Many users love having the ability to type into the calculator as they would a computer, unlike the outdated interface of a TI-84.  The Texas Instrument website even contains activities which aid new users in understanding how to use their device.  Many operations are also the equivalent to what they would be on an actual computer. This includes functions like copying and pasting.

Some students even say that while their classmates were struggling to use older calculator versions, they were able to get through course materials with the TI-Nspire CX easily.

Though the TI-Nspire CX does not boast the CAS functionality, it still has several innovative functions.  Users can use regular calculator functions as well as graphing functions, geometry, lists, notes, and statistics.  This calculator is perfect for students who are not looking to question if their calculator is allowed on an exam.  Many students rave that it is one of the best calculators that you can get without CAS.  This version still provides for graphing and computing complex matrices.

The TI-Nspire CX also has the ability to add emulators and games.  The calculator allows you to play the Gameboy Advance games as well as NES games.

Aside from the bonus gaming, users can import images as well as do proper notation. Chem Box also lets students input chemical equations and formulas.  Many users rave about the ability to store documents and pictures.  These images can be helpful when graphing and solving geometric equations.

The TI-Nspire CX is the best calculator for statistics and even AP Statistics.  Many students in their TI-Nspire CX reviews raved that after receiving this calculator, their grades significantly improved as they were able to understand the material better.


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Texas Instruments TI-Nspire CX Graphing Calculator
  • Color Screen. The screen size is 320 x 240 pixels (3.5 inches diagonal) and the screen resolution is 125 DPI; 16-bit color
  • Rechargeable battery included. Lasts up to two weeks on a single charge
  • Thin Design and lightweight with easy touchpad navigation

Last update: 2024-06-15

Is CAS worth the extra money?

If you are looking to pursue a career in one of the STEM fields and require a calculator that can grow with you, the CX CAS is a great option.  However, you will need to be mindful of the tests you will use the calculator to take.

If you are up for the potential challenge of learning how to use the calculator, this is a great option.  The calculator is also great for calculus and the varying equation types you will use within the course.  CAS is excellent if you are looking to do factoring and have obvious answers with variables included.

If you are in lower-level math, then CAS is not an option and would not be worth the money. However, if you are looking to grow mathematically and at some point, take a more advanced math course, it is worth it. CAS would also not be recommended as it allows the calculator to do the majority of the work for you in lower-level courses like algebra II.

CAS is meant for tasks which are tedious to perform by hand. Once you become familiar with using calculators which have a CAS, they are an incredibly huge help.

What are the Similarities Between the TI-Nspire CX CAS and TI-Nspire CX?

Both calculators boast a thinner design than most of the other Texas Instruments calculators, most notably the TI-89. This ensures that the calculator is portable and lightweight.

Both calculators also boast a rechargeable lithium-ion battery.  These batteries typically last upwards of 3 years with normal usage.  Both calculators have also been designed to have a look and feel of a typical computer screen, along with having a full keyboard on the bottom.

On both the TI-Nspire CX and the TI-Nspire CX CAS items can be grouped by type.  These types include documents or applications. The document-based interface allows for the creation of documents and ensures things are organized.  When altering items inside of a specific document, that document is the only place where the change takes place.  If you are looking to open another application, another document will need to be opened. This can be tricky to get used to at first but will soon become second nature for users.

Though the color quality on each calculator is noticeably different, both items have a 3.2-inch color backlit display with a resolution of 320×240 pixels. The calculators include much of the same hardware, including the keyboard, cursor, and trackball.

Another similarity that these calculators possess is that both have a padded screen. This padding means that you will not crack or break your screen on the first drop.  Though you should not be throwing your calculator across the room, accidents happen.

If you are looking to do programming on either of the TI-Nspires, you will need to use either the Lua or TI-Nspire BASIC programming language. Programming on the TI-Nspire is not easy as previous versions of Texas Instruments devices as it is isolated within documents. To some, the process to create a program may be tedious and cumbersome. Programs cannot be accessed from any other document aside from the one that it was built in.  This, in turn, limits the number of features available to you and limits the ways the program can be accessed.

Performance is not an issue with either device.  Both can perform calculations quickly and without lag.  Both calculators are also allowed on the Math AP, PSAT, and the SAT exam.  They can also be used within a multitude of courses due to their diverse range of functions.

Texas Instruments Nspire CX CAS Graphing Calculator
  • Ideal for Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1 & 2, Trigonometry, Geometry, Pre-calculus, Statistics, Business & Finance, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Calculus, AP Statistics, AP Physics, AP Calculus, and Linear Algebra.
  • Full-color screen with backlit display.
  • All the functionality of the TI-Nspire CX handheld plus a built-in Computer Algebra System (CAS)

Last update: 2024-06-14

What are the Differences Between the TI-Nspire CX CAS and TI-Nspire CX?

Though there are not many physical differences, one is the overall color scheme.  The CX CAS appears much darker than the CX.  This includes some of the buttons as well as the casing.  The CX boasts lighter colors with grey buttons, and the directional pad glows with a bright blue color.

However, the main difference between the TI-Nspire CX CAS and TI-INspire CX remains that the TI-Nspire comes equipped with a Computer Algebra System.  This means that the TI-INspire CX will not be able to complete the same functions and equations.  This includes the ability to solve an equation by simply typing solve.  This is something that only the CX CAS can do.  Though both calculators boast similar functionality, only the TI-Nspire CX can be used on the SAT, ACT, PSAT, IB exams and the NMSQT. There are some limitations on the CX CAS calculator.  These include not being able to work in the z or s domain as well as performing Laplace and inverse Laplace functions.

However, one thing that sets the CX apart is that the CAS can be loaded onto it.  Being that this is the more affordable option, many users have found loopholes for accessing the CAS functionality.

Rather than paying the extra money for the TI-Nspire CX CAS, users have opted to use the TI-Nspire CX for the exams which prohibit the use of the CAS. After completing their exams, they can simply load it on the calculator.  In theory, this allows you to get two calculators for the price of one.

Things to Consider When Deciding the TI-Nspire CX CAS and TI-Nspire CX

What courses will the calculator be used for?

When choosing a calculator, it is vital to assess what classes you will be using the device with.  The class you are taking is an essential factor in what calculator you will need.

If you are enrolled in a lower level math class, most likely you will not need the extensive functionality that a CX CAS offers.

If you plan to use the calculator for more advanced courses like advanced placement classes, physics or even linear algebra, the CX CAS calculator may work for you.

If you are looking for a calculator that will last for years to come, you should also take into account what classes you will be taking in the future, meaning high school and beyond.

Will the calculator be used for standardized tests?

If so, which ones?  Being that technology is only getting smarter, it’s only right that calculators are getting smarter with time.  This can be a good and a bad thing.  Standardized tests are meant to test the abilities of a student, not the skills of a calculator.

For this reason, specific tests do not allow the TI-Nspire CX CAS.  If you have plans to take any formal tests for standardized tests, it is imperative that you look into the calculator policies for these exams.  Though the CX CAS is allowed on some exams, it may not be allowed on others. Check out our guides for the best calculators for the SAT and best calculators for the ACT.

How long will I need a calculator to last?

If the longevity of your calculator is essential, it would be beneficial to buy a calculator which does not use traditional batteries.

Luckily, both calculators have rechargeable batteries which will last years on end.  The batteries are quick to charge and aid in making this a great calculator.

Many users brag that before upgrading, they had a prior Texas Instrument version that lasted for several years.  These items are no different.

Wrapping Things Up: TI-Nspire CX CAS vs. TI-Nspire CX

Both the TI-Nspire CX CAS and the TI-Nspire CX are great calculators, with different purposes and slightly different functionality.

The TI-Nspire CX CAS is a great calculator for advanced functionality.  Not only does it give you the ability to do everything that the regular CX can do, but users also have the bonus of utilizing the CAS functionality.  This includes solving equations by simply typing solve, graphing relations and even finding derivatives.

However, with this added functionality comes added limitations.  Before purchasing the CX CAS, it would be smart to check with your professors and any testing facilities to determine if the calculator can be used.

TI-Nspire CX is an excellent alternative for high school kids looking for a calculator which will aid them in their Pre-Calculus or algebra classes.

Both calculators are great options; however, to choose the right one, you need to be sure of what you are looking for your calculator to have.  Considering how long you will be using the device, as well as what courses you will be using it for, are great ways to determine which model is for you.

Either way, you can’t go wrong as Texas Instruments makes excellent calculators.  They are durable and last for years to come, whichever calculator you choose will surely be a great addition and resource for your school career.

Want to read about more side-by-side calculator comparisons? Check out:

> HP Prime vs. TI-NSpire CX CAS

> TI-89 Titanium vs. TI-Nspire CX CAS

> TI-89 vs. TI-Nspire CX CAS

> TI-Nspire CAS vs. TI-89

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Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

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