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I LOVE this calculator. Yes, I know that's a bit weird and geeky, but it's true! Mr Calculator has been my friend for the past 11 years and he still works perfectly.
~ A Casio fx what!? ~
The Casio fx-83MS is a scientific calculator (non-graphical). Basically it has all the functions you may require for science purposes. A normal calculator has add, subtract etc. and possibly square root buttons. A scientific calculator has all these but also more advanced buttons, such as factorial, trigonometric functions, ability to input and analyse data (standard deviation etc.), storage buttons, log and exponential functions amongst many more. It also allows you to work in degrees, radians, or standard deviation mode. It's a non-graphical calculator, which means you can't see 'pictures' of the sine curve, for example, but these calculators are often banned in external examinations (such as GCSE/ A Levels) so it's not worth spending the money on a graphical calculator unless you absolutely require that extra function (in my opinion, anyway).
I could go through all the functions but that would take a long, long time! The most important ones/ ones I like best:
1. Statistical data entry - if you do psychology (the other part of my degree) this will be invaluable! Rather than putting numbers into a formula you literally input each data value into the calculator (in SD mode using the M+ button) and then it can tell you how many participants you had, the mean value, standard deviation, variance and more. It also allows you to scroll through each data value so if you've entered one incorrectly you can change it without having to start again.
2. There is a big button in the centre which allows you to see your previous calculations (incase you forgot you needed that value and hadn't written it down) which is fantastic! It also allows you to scroll back and forth through your existing calculation adding and changing bits without having to start again.
3. It has an on/off button. Some calculators switch off after X amount of time which wastes the battery if you don't need the calculator. This one lets you turn the calculator off when you want to. Little things!
~ Why choose a Casio? ~
1. Many of the people who teach maths use Casio calculators (or at least the ones at my high school, college and university). "So what?", I hear you cry. Well, if they're teaching you how to do something, factorials for example, then if they're saying "you need to use the x! Key" but your calculator doesn't have this key then you're going to have to hunt out the instructions and try to find the right key. One my teachers at college said he would only help people with a Casio calculator as he was not going to read all the different instruction books. Also, some calculators require you to put 'inverse sin' before the number and some require you to press it after the number and it's just a lot easier if you can just follow what the teacher is saying rather than faffing around trying to work it out for yourself.
2. The battery life is amazing! 11 years of daily use (give or take) and Mr Calculator is still going strong. I'm very impressed that a non-solar powered calculator who's had a fairly active life is still going strong.
3. Casio calculators are so simple to use. Some calculators have weird places for hiding the buttons but on a Casio it's all in a sensible place - for example, the mean, standard deviation, variance, number option is all under one key, so if you're inputting data you can just type it in and then get all your information out without hunting around for the right buttons.
~ Is it worth it? ~
For GCSE maths exams you will certainly need a scientific calculator and this Casio one will last you for a long time after so if you intend to do A Levels/ a degree then you're sorted. Also, it's not just pure maths that you need a calculator for, if you intend to do Psychology, Science, Geography and more you will also need a calculator. You can buy one for around £6-£10 from new which is blooming good value for money considering how long it will last you.
There are newer Casio calculators (as there is with anything) and I'm guessing they are of similar quality (although I don't know, having been faithful to Mr Calculator for all these years). From my point of view, Mr Calculator has got me through basic GCSE maths right through to degree level maths and there's nothing which I've felt has been missing or that other calculators can do that mine can't.
~ Boring bits ~
10 digit display
Deg/ Rad/ SD modes
9 storage letters
Slide on case
Not solar powered
250 (ish) functions
Statistical data entry
~ And finally... ~
I would like to take the time to thank Mr Calculator for getting me through my degree. I hope you invest in one of Mr Calculator's relatives if you require a calculator.
I have used the Casio MS FX (in some form or other) for well over 11 years. Indeed, the MS85 FX is the officially approved standard calculator for the University of Southampton - so clearly a trusted machine!
As you would expect, it is capable of all the basic mathematical operations (add, subtract, multiply, divide) along with what I think of as "secondary school" functions (trigonometric functions, standard deviation, powers, standard form) - that is, the kind of things you have to learn for your GCSE Maths!
As a physics graduate, I can vouch that this calculator has been of invaluable help to me. Exponentials, manipulations of standard form, manual calculations of Taylor expansions - the calculator can easily handle it all. It has a ten digit display and handily shows the last calculation you performed at the top of the screen. For example, the screen may read:
2 + 4 =
The calculator also "remembers" all the calculations you have performed in one sitting and you can easily scroll through them using the directional pad at the top of the machine.
There are several modes to operate the calculator - engineering mode (uses Gradians), Trig mode (radians), Stats mode (for data entry) and many more that I honestly don't know what are for!
You can store figures / operations in the internal memory, making iterative processes easier to manage. The calculator can calculate figures to an accuracy of 12 decimal places - which is, at degree level physics, all the accuracy you realistically need.
I was forced to replace my first Casio MS when I started my GCSEs. That was 2002. The battery still works. When I went to University I was (again) forced to replace the calculator (due to University regulations). So I now have two identical calculators (!) both in full working order... well, one has a dolphin stamped on the back!
After my previous calculator becoming 'Kaput' (broken), I was in the need of a new one, at which point I came across this. I knew on ordering it, that it would be fine, given that it was the same as everybody else's in the class; calculations are sometimes worked out differently on different calculators, and so this was my best bet, since I had plenty of people to chose from for help (if I needed it). Needing a calculator for my GCSE work, I couldn't have any old rubbish... I needed a scientific one for the extra mathematical functions it provides.
The overall use of the calculator is very easy, with all your basic functions in the bottom half (such as adding, subtracting etc.). The extra functions are in the top half of the product, with each button using a different symbol for the different functions they are used for; most of the symbols I understood and figuring them out instantly, however some I had to read the manual for (although these tended to be the ones I never used anyway).
The screen display on the calculator is quite large, with two lines - one showing the calculation you are making, and the other line containing the result of the calculation. The calculator also enables a very long calculation to be entered (around 75 digits in length), although if that still wasn't enough, there is an Answer button, so then you can call the answer from the previous calculation. This allows even more calculations to be made on the final answer.
I feature I particularly liked on this calculator was the left directional button, which allows you to go back to previous calculations you have made (just encase you accidentally deleted it off). The calculator also comes with a lid, which slides over the screen and buttons to protect them (I would most likely have broken the screen by now if it hadn't existed).
For around £7, you can get the newer version of this calculator, which is a good offer for what is provided, and the time span it will last.
Overall I have this calculator for around 4/5 years now, and it's still going strong with a lot of use, without ever needing to replace the battery, so all in all a very good offer.
Thanks for reading.
I first got this calculator when I was 13 or 14 years old. Our maths teacher told us we needed a scientific calculator and although I already had one, it was different to the one the teacher had. The teacher told us we could buy one through school and this way we would all have the same calculator. Normally it wouldnt bother me if I was different but in this instance I wanted one the same, as calculations are sometimes worked out slightly differently on different calculators. I love this calculator and have used it happily in many lessons and exams since I first bought it.
~ What is a Scientific Calculator? ~
A scientific calculator is a more complex calculator than the usual calculator you may use. Scientific calculators support mathematical functions such as trigonometry, statistics, algebra and scientific notation.
~ Why would I need one? ~
GCSE maths, and A-level sciences and maths require the use of a scientific calculator. I couldnt have got through my exams without mine. In general everyday use I dont think you would need a scientific calculator though. I still use mine in the house for general use though because it is often handy.
~ Ease of use ~
Personally, I think this calculator is very easy to use. It took a bit of getting used to when I first got it but once I understood how it worked I havent had many problems. Obviously, I dont know how to use every single function on the calculator but I have found it reasonably easy to use the functions I have needed. One of my A-Level chemistry teachers had a different calculator to me and it took us 15 minutes to work out how to do a logarithm on my calculator as the buttons needed to be entered in a different order to his. I didnt know that I would be doing logarithms this particular lesson so I didnt have my instruction booklet, as it is not something I carried around. To be honest, it is not something I have really looked at since getting the calculator.
For simple calculations it works just like any other calculator as the buttons on the bottom part of the calculator are the numbers and the usual functions (+ - = etc). However, it is worth noting that the calculator must be set on the correct mode or the answers will be incorrect. The instruction book tells you how to do this. It is not complicated and the screen displays a little letter to tell you the mode so once you know the correct mode it should stay like that all the time. You can look at the screen and check the letter is correct (D)
The screen displays all the numbers you are typing in and you can go back and edit it if you have realised you have incorrectly typed a number. The answer from the previous calculation is displayed on the screen even when you are entering your next set of numbers. There is an answer button as well, which means you can use the answer from the previous calculation in the next one without having to type the answer again. If the answer were something like 4, it would be just as easy to type the actual answer but if it is in standard notation (e.g. 4.0 x 10minus6) it is much easier to press the answer button.
The screen displays the answer upto ten significant figures but a lot more digits than this can be entered in one long string.
There is a replay button which means that you can go back through the previous calculations (as long as you havent pressed the AC or ON button) and the answer will be shown. I find this particularly useful if I think I have made a mistake or if I have forgotten to write one part of the calculation down.
If I havent used some of the functions for a while it sometimes takes me a couple of attempts to remember which order I need to enter the buttons in. This is only for some functions though and it doesnt take long to remember.
~ Reliability ~
This calculator has been very reliable and has never let me down. It runs on batteries and Ive never needed to change these. Unfortunately, it doesnt have a solar panel to back up the batteries but I dont think this really matters as evidently the batteries last ages! A week before my exams finished my dad noticed that the calculator hasnt got a solar panel and worried it would run out in my exam as I have had it for years. Initially I panicked (and hoped he wasnt tempting fate!) but then I told him that the school has spare ones. Fortunately the calculator didnt run out of battery power and it currently still works (nearly five years after I bought it!)
There is a small square panel on the back of the calculator, which has a screw holding it down. I believe this is where the battery goes, so if your battery ever does run out (Im sure it would eventually) you can replace it. The calculator takes one LR44 (1.5V) battery.
~ Durability ~
This calculator has lasted very well. It comes with a protective cover that slides easily on and off (you are not allowed to take the cover into an exam as you may hide something in it). The calculator and the cover are both made from strong plastic. I have dropped this calculator on several occasions (I can be quite clumsy sometimes!) and it is still in perfect working order. I have carried this round in my school bag almost constantly since I got it (apart from the odd time I left it at home after doing homework or when I was actually using it!) and it sometimes got shoved to the bottom of my bag with lots of things on top of it but it has never come to any harm. The cover is starting to look a bit scratched though this doesnt affect the functioning of the calculator.
~ Where can I get one and how much does it cost? ~
This calculator is currently retailing at £6.80 from amazon.co.uk. I think I paid about £4 through school four years ago so if you are at school it might be worth asking your teacher if you can get one through them. Shops such as Woolworths and Asda also sometimes scientific calculators so you may get one from there :-)
~ And Finally ~
This is a very good calculator. It is reliable and easy to use and it retails at a reasonable price. This calculator has never let me down and although I will no longer need it for the scientific functions I will continue to use it for ordinary calculations (like how much pay I will have left after going shopping lol!)
Thanks for reading :-)
Short name: Casio FX 83 MS