TI-89 vs TI-84

TI-89 vs TI-84: A buyer’s guide

TI-89 vs TI-84

Students typically have to purchase a graphing calculator for high school and college…So the question becomes: Which one? Texas Instruments are often the go-to for instructors. They’ve been around for a long time (the calculators, that is) and most instructors were trained on these devices. So let’s put two of the most commonly considered calculators head to head: the TI-89 vs TI-84 Plus CE.

Watch the comparison video


TI-89 vs TI-84: Functionality

TI-89 Titanium: Calculus and beyond

TI-84 Plus CE: Great for everything before calculus.

The biggest factor when choosing between these two calculators should probably center around what tasks you classes you plan on taking. If you are trying to knock out your high school requirements for math and never touch the subject again, the TI-84 is best.


The TI-84 graphs plenty of functions, ranging from the linear equations of Algebra 1 to the recursive functions of precalculus. It also handles lists with up to 999 elements, one and two variable statistical analysis, hypothesis testing functions and business functions.

Pre-loaded on the TI-84 are a dozen applications that can be use in classroom exercises and other explorations. You can try interactive simulations of dice rolls and coin tosses in the Probability Simulation App. The CellSheet turns your calculator into a spreadsheet that can import and export data with Microsoft Excel. The calculator also comes in handy for chemistry and biology, as it has a periodic table and apps that can collect experimental data in conjunction with data loggers.


Computer Algebra System (CAS) sets this calculator apart. This allows for symbolic manipulation of algebraic and trigonometric functions: Simplify everthing from radical to logarithmic expressions. Expand exponential expressions and solve equations ranging from quadratic to exponential. And compute derivatives and indefinite integrals. Need to check your work after factoring a polynomial? The TI-89 gets the job done.While your TI-84 can evaluate what x³ equals when x is 4, only the TI-89 knows that x3*x4 equals x7IMG_00022

Beyond CAS, the TI-89 uses “pretty print” which means your screen will much more like: x³ compared to an x^3 you might see on other models. However, this edition of TI-84 plus has this same capability.



TI-89 vs TI-84: Design

The TI-89 sports a thinner and lighter design than the TI-84.

The TI-89 sports a thinner and lightweight design than the TI-84.

TI-89 Titanium: A bulky, heavier calculator requiring 4 AAA.

TI-84 Plus CE:Lightweight, sleek, with a rechargeable li-ion battery.

Is your backpack too heavy? You don’t want to put any unnecessary stuff in your backpack but it’s hard to avoid keeping a calculator in there. The clearcut winner here it the TI-84, as it is about 2/3 the weight of prior models. and about half the thickness of the TI-89.

The TI-84 also has a rechargeable lithium ion battery that can be charged without cords. The TI-89 on the other hand, requires 4 AAA batteries. Again, the sleek design and lithium ion battery of the TI-84 takes the cake here (lasts about a month with regular usage).

TI-89 vs TI-84: Display


TI-89 Titanium: Monochrome LCD Display

TI-84 Plus CE: Vivid backlit color screen.

If you’ve been using graphing calculators for more than a few years, the TI-89 Titanium sports a familiar display: a monochrome LCD display that has been the norm for decades. Are they great? No, but they get the job done…As you can see in the above photo, you can utilize thick or dashed lines to indicate specific functions.

The TI-84 Plus CE, on the other hand, has a 140 DPI, 16 bit backlit color display that makes differentiating multiple functions on a graph very easy. It’s certainly not the quality of the newest smartphones but it is a huge improvement over monochrome LCDs.

TI-89 vs TI-84: Performance

As you enter more advanced classes, the speed of the calculator begins to enter the picture. No one wants to wait around watching the hourglass on the calculator while it solves an equation or sketches a graph…Is there a noticeable difference in speed between these two calculators? Let’s start by evaluating an integral: \int _{ 0 }^{ 6 }{ { 2 }^{ { x }^{ 2 } } } dx

TI-89 Titanium: 188KB available RAM 

TI-84 Plus CE: 154KB available RAM 

It turns out that the TI-84 is slightly faster at this task, taking only 3 seconds compared to the 5 seconds for the TI-89. Not really significant to most users. And that shouldn’t be surprising, as the available RAM is about the same. If you’re worried about speed you should probably use a smartphone or computer.

How about graphing functions? If you graph y=cos(x) on both calculators they take nearly the same amount of time, with the TI-84 finishing about a half second sooner than the TI-89. For a more technical comparison, see wikipedia. A in depth look at hardware can be found at ticalc.org.

Simultaneously graphing y=cos (x) reveals little between the two calculators

Simultaneously graphing y=cos (x) reveals little between the two calculators

 TI-89 vs TI-84: Use on Tests?

TI-89 Titanium:Permitted on the SAT,AP tests (Statistics, Physics, Chemistry), PSAT, SAT I and SAT II, and Math IC & IIC exams,

Note: The TI-89 is prohibited on the ACT.

TI-84 Plus CE:Approved on PSAT, SAT and ACT. It’s also approved on AP tests that allow the use of a graphing calculator. The TI-84 is also approved on Praxis tests that allow the use of a graphing calculator. The TI-84 Plus CE is also approved for the IB test.

TI-89 vs TI-84: Storage

TI-89 Titanium: 2.7 MB of Flash ROM (3 times that of the TI-89)

TI-84 Plus CE: 3 MB FLASH ROM memory

TI-89 vs TI-84: Connectivity

TI-89 Titanium: USB port with cable to connect to computer

TI-84 Plus CE: USB port with cable to connect to computer, and direct connectivity with TI-84 Plus, TI-84 Plus Silver edition, TI-84 Plus C Silver

TI-89 vs TI-84: Included apps

It’s clear that the TI-84 plus CE has an impressive suite of preloaded apps that get to the heart of the high school math and science. With it’s Periodic Table, Science Tools and Vernier EasyData® apps the TI-84 gives you a lot of bang for your buck. Once a tool reserved more exclusively for math courses, the CE gives you a lot of utility for chemistry and biology. It also gives you great tools for statistics and geometry courses.

The 89, on the other hand, gives you plenty of tools for advanced coursework. Particularly useful for calculus is the Symbolic Math Guide and in electrical engineering is the EE*Pro® app. And for folks taking finance coursework, you’ll find a hand app for various business calculations.


  • Symbolic Math Guide
  • CellSheet™
  • StudyCards™
  • EE*Pro®
  • Statistics including List Editor (English, French, German and Spanish)
  • Finance
  • Language Localization: French, German, Spanish
  • Polynomial Root Finder
  • NoteFolio™
  • Simultaneous Equation Solver


  • Conic Graphing
  • Language Localization (French, German, Spanish, Swedish, Dutch, Portuguese)
  • Periodic Table
  • Cabri™ Jr. Geometry
  • CellSheet™
  • Inequality Graphing
  • Polynomial Root Finder
  • Simultaneous Equation Solver
  • Probability Simulation
  • Science Tools
  • TI TestGuard™
  • Transformation Graphing
  • Vernier EasyData®