## TI-30XS Multiview Calculator

#### Saturday, May 23, 2009 at 10:32 AM | Filed under math, praise, reviews, technology

I was at Walgreens yesterday, looking for a new portable FM radio. Instead, I bought a calculator.

The TI-30XS Multiview Calculator, normally about $22, was on sale at $15, and it looked cool, so I got it. It has a neat feature called MathPrint mode, where it displays mathematical expressions in a more natural way (like how you write math on paper) rather than relying on a bunch of parentheses and junk.

On the left above, you can see a particularly complicated and useless expression as it would have to be typed on the TI-84 Plus Silver Edition. It has a lot of parentheses, and it's kinda hard to see what's going on. On the right is how the expression looks on the TI-30XS Multiview Calculator, with the MathPrint mode on. It's obviously a lot easier to see what's going on. (MathPrint can be turned off so that expressions can be typed in the classic mode.)

The TI-30XS also automatically simplifies fractions and roots. The first picture in this post has two examples of it doing this. On a different calculator, the answers would instead be displayed as decimals. There's a button you can simply press on the TI-30XS to convert these fractions or roots to decimals and vice-versa. It seems to be called the answer toggle button, and the button looks like this ◄ ►. There are two ways to input division: as a stacked fraction, or simply using the ÷ sign. The stacked fraction will try to give another fraction as an answer; the ÷ sign will yield a decimal answer.

You can see in the picture above that the calculator is also pretty smart with trigonometry. The TI-30X IIS on the left above calculated the sine of π as an ugly decimal. The TI-30XS is smarter than that, though. It displays the answer in exact terms using a fraction and a root, as it should. By pressing the answer toggle button, this can quickly be converted to a decimal, too.

So the TI-30XS seems to be able to do everything the TI-30X IIS can do, but there are still a few gripes I have with it. The answer toggle button is right above Enter (=), which is where plus usually is on TI calculators—the +, -, ×, and ÷ buttons are all moved one button up on the calculator, which takes a little getting used to. I keep pressing the answer toggle button when I mean to press plus.

Another issue is that there doesn't seem to be a way to wrap fractions or roots around expressions you have typed already. For a simple example, say you've typed 4, but then you realize you need to take the square root of 4. On the TI-30X IIS or the TI-84, you could move the cursor back in front of the 4 and insert a square root symbol. If you try to do that on the TI-30XS, though, it'll put a square root radical to the left of the 4, but there'll be a blank inside the radical, waiting for you to type in a number to go under it. The 4 will be to the right of the root, implying multiplication. I suppose you could work around this by raising 4 to the 1/2 power, but that seems imperfect.

Overall, it's a snazzy little calculator with a bunch more features I didn't even mention. The colors are bold and modern looking, but one of my friends said it looks like a child's toy. It's pretty thin (even more so without the cover slide case) and fits comfortably in the hands, and the buttons repsond well. (I think the TI-30X IIS is a bit too narrow to hold comfortably, and if you try to press a button before releasing the previous button, it'll ignore the second button press.) I would recommend to anyone looking for a cool calculator.

The TI-30XS Multiview Calculator, normally about $22, was on sale at $15, and it looked cool, so I got it. It has a neat feature called MathPrint mode, where it displays mathematical expressions in a more natural way (like how you write math on paper) rather than relying on a bunch of parentheses and junk.

On the left above, you can see a particularly complicated and useless expression as it would have to be typed on the TI-84 Plus Silver Edition. It has a lot of parentheses, and it's kinda hard to see what's going on. On the right is how the expression looks on the TI-30XS Multiview Calculator, with the MathPrint mode on. It's obviously a lot easier to see what's going on. (MathPrint can be turned off so that expressions can be typed in the classic mode.)

The TI-30XS also automatically simplifies fractions and roots. The first picture in this post has two examples of it doing this. On a different calculator, the answers would instead be displayed as decimals. There's a button you can simply press on the TI-30XS to convert these fractions or roots to decimals and vice-versa. It seems to be called the answer toggle button, and the button looks like this ◄ ►. There are two ways to input division: as a stacked fraction, or simply using the ÷ sign. The stacked fraction will try to give another fraction as an answer; the ÷ sign will yield a decimal answer.

You can see in the picture above that the calculator is also pretty smart with trigonometry. The TI-30X IIS on the left above calculated the sine of π as an ugly decimal. The TI-30XS is smarter than that, though. It displays the answer in exact terms using a fraction and a root, as it should. By pressing the answer toggle button, this can quickly be converted to a decimal, too.

So the TI-30XS seems to be able to do everything the TI-30X IIS can do, but there are still a few gripes I have with it. The answer toggle button is right above Enter (=), which is where plus usually is on TI calculators—the +, -, ×, and ÷ buttons are all moved one button up on the calculator, which takes a little getting used to. I keep pressing the answer toggle button when I mean to press plus.

Another issue is that there doesn't seem to be a way to wrap fractions or roots around expressions you have typed already. For a simple example, say you've typed 4, but then you realize you need to take the square root of 4. On the TI-30X IIS or the TI-84, you could move the cursor back in front of the 4 and insert a square root symbol. If you try to do that on the TI-30XS, though, it'll put a square root radical to the left of the 4, but there'll be a blank inside the radical, waiting for you to type in a number to go under it. The 4 will be to the right of the root, implying multiplication. I suppose you could work around this by raising 4 to the 1/2 power, but that seems imperfect.

Overall, it's a snazzy little calculator with a bunch more features I didn't even mention. The colors are bold and modern looking, but one of my friends said it looks like a child's toy. It's pretty thin (even more so without the cover slide case) and fits comfortably in the hands, and the buttons repsond well. (I think the TI-30X IIS is a bit too narrow to hold comfortably, and if you try to press a button before releasing the previous button, it'll ignore the second button press.) I would recommend to anyone looking for a cool calculator.

This would have come in handy if I saw this about 24 hours ago. I had my math final exam today and it would have helped to have this calc. The final focused largely on trig and I left some blank that I could have done had I had this calc. I'm so mad.

Thanks though, I'll be sure to buy it for next year.

you can do that look on the ti84, update the firmware via the TI website and you now have the mathprint function =) But the same thing for $15 thats insane!

Oooh, MathPrint on the TI-84? How exciting! I'll have to look into that!

Hey I need your help! I don't understand this calculator. It's the TI30xs. I am taking mathematics for the trades. Can you help me?I would appreciate it very much.

Sure, go ahead and post a question here in the comments. Perhaps I or another reader could help you.

how do i turn it off!

Hi Brandon,

I saw your TI-30XS review. My wife is just starting a statistics class and is running into "domain error" about half the time she uses the square root function. TI help desk isn't open on the weekend and I thought you might have some advice. Thanks!

Your wife will get a domain error if she tries to take the square root of a negative number. You see, you cannot multiply any real number by itself to obtain a negative number: a positive number times a positive number gives you a positive answer, and a negative number times a negative number gives you a positive answer. So if you try to take the square root of a negative number, your calculator will throw an error. I am not sure if that calculator has a complex numbers mode, but if you enable that, then when you try to take the square root of a negative number, it will give you an answer.

Great, thanks for your help!

so, this calculator is giving me a headache..for example, suppose i calculate 373+678 and get the answer but then i realize i out in the wrong digit like i meant to type 377+678. how do i go back and correct the digit?

thanks for the post about changing to decimals because that was also frustrating

Can you solve expressions with the ti 30xs multi view example ... Solve for y

4.5y= -13.5

y = -3

Is there a way to have the TI-30XS show a remainder in a division problem rather than in decimal or fraction?