# The Decision: Non-CAS or CAS Calculator

Time to update your calculator? Don’t know which one to choose? We can help!

The first step to take is to decide whether you need a CAS calculator or a Non-CAS calculator. Before we give you some suggestions, let’s review the differences between these two calculators.

## CAS Calculator vs. Non CAS Calculator

CAS means Computer Algebra System. When you buy calculators with CAS, that means you are getting an equipment able to solve equations, manipulate factor, variables, and more. Simply said, these calculators have the ability to solve problems with x and y, like x + y = 2x. When it comes to sophisticated calculations involving variables, these calculators are very usable. They are pretty effective in some circles, such as AP calculus, the SAT, and many high school and college classrooms.

Before you decide to buy calculators with CAS or Non-CAS calculators, keep in mind your college testing plans and your school’s math department polices. Here are the best calculators for the 2016 school year.

1. TI-Nspire CX and TI Nspire CX CAS

This calculator comes with a computer like features including point and click interface, drop down menus, and file/folder features. Graphing features are pretty simple over most other graphing calculators, the resolution is high, which makes easy to see the math operations (exactly the same you see in your textbook). According to teachers, the TI-Nspire CX CAS brought calculators to another level, offering the ability to graph equations written in x = form from simple lines to advanced conic sections.

2. Cassio Prizm

Although this calculator is one of the most underrated graphing calculators on the market, but for many it is the easiest graphing calculator to use. It offers a lot of simple features that you won’t find in many other Non-CAS graphing calculators; it simplifies finding exact trig values, radicals and uses textbook format for its math symbols. This mean you don’t waste your time in learning calculators syntax. Similar to the TI-Nspire CX, the Prizm comes with a full colour screen and has the ability to load images. It also has abilities to do the periodic table of elements. Since it doesn’t feature CAS, it’s also an awesome calculator for the ACT.

3. HP Prime

A touch screen calculator that is legal to use on some college’s exams. It offers various powerful graphing features, and although it’s not much intuitive as the others above, it’s much more user-friendly than other HP models.