A Brief Look into the World of Scientific Calculators

A Brief Look into the World of Scientific Calculators
Written by Alyssia Walmsley

This post is really old, there is a new version here called Best Scientific Calculator ~ Alyssia 🙂

Like most scientific calculators made by Casio, the fx-115ES PLUS also has the Visually Perfect Algebraic Method (Natural Display or Natural V.P.A.M.), which is an infix system wherein you can input expressions and equations exactly as written. This is also called the MathIO method, wherein radicals, calculus function templates, fractions, and expressions with π are all present. The exact answers can be coefficients of π, fractions, and square roots.

This calculator also retains the LineIO method, the one-line entry method, if you prefer the older style.

Recommended Courses

It is designed as the perfect option for college students studying General Math courses, Statistics, Calculus, Trigonometry, Physics, Algebra I and II, Engineering, and Chemistry. Even high school students will find this calculator valuable in the math subjects.

Hardware Features

As you advance into your coursework, you will find this scientific calculator as easy to operate and intuitive. The Solar Plus and battery backup offer two-way power, so it can be operational whenever you need it.

Large Display

The multi-line display offers a large display that can be useful for multi-replay functionality.

Key Features and Functionality

With over 280 functions, this is the most advanced scientific calculator from Casio. Some of the features include the following:

• Natural textbook display
• Functions include linear regression, statistics, standard deviation, complex number calculations, polar-rectangular conversions, fractions, computer science, and base arithmetic.
• 40 metric conversions
• Table function
• You can include two functions in Table Mode: f(x) and g(x). go to SET UP to activate this feature.
• List-based STAT data editor
• Matrices, including determinant, transpose, and inverse
• Base modes: Binary, Decimal, Hexadecimal, Octal
• Vector calculations
• Multi-replay function for backtracking step-by-step calculations, in which you can recalculate solutions and edit expressions.
• The previous version (fx-115ES) has 7 available memories. It has been increased to 9 in the PLUS version.
• You can calculate using repeated numbers.
• New number functions include LCM, GCD, fractional part, integer part, random integers, prime factorization (capable of 3-digit factors), and integer division (provides quotient and remainder).
• The [ALPHA] key functions as a variable key as well as a second shift key.
• It has a curve design and features a faster processor.

New Modes

The fx-115ES PLUS has new modes that are not available in the previous version. These include:

• Inequality Solver of cubic and quadratic equations
• Distribution mode: Poisson Distribution (PDF, CDF), Normal Distribution (PDF, CDF, and Inverse), and Binomial Distribution (PDF, CDF).
• Verification mode – you can use this to compare expressions


• Multiple functions
• Functional for engineers
• Textbook display


• Cheap material
• Not that durable


The fx115ES already has pretty solid features, but with the improvements in fx-115ES PLUS, it is like getting an already superb calculator and making it a lot better. At around $17, you get the best quality for its price.

HP 35s Scientific Calculator Review

After the 33s, HP created the 35s to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the HP-35, which is the first scientific pocket calculator.

When it comes to width and height, the 35s is slightly bigger than the previous scientific pocket calculators from HP, but because of modern technology, it is quite thinner. It has a black keyboard bezel, silver trim line surrounding the display and keyboard, double-width ENTER key, sloped front keys, and blue and gold shift keys. All of these contribute to its modern look.


You can set the display to display scientific, fixed point, or engineering notation. When you press the ⇐ENG and ENG⇒ functions, they shift the exponent by 3, which make it easier to interpret calculations.


The HP 35s is programmable, which means you can set a function and program it to do anything. It has almost all of the basic scientific functions, such as conversion between degrees and radians, arbitrary powers and roots squaring and square roots, trigonometric and inverse functions, hyperbolic and inverse functions, and common and natural logarithms.

It also has some unit conversions (in↔cm, mi↔km, °F↔°C, and lb↔kg), conversions between degrees or decimal hours and also between hours/minutes/seconds.

When it comes to statistics, basic statistics are available on one or two variables (population and sample standard deviation, mean, and weighted mean). Other functions include linear regression and factorial.

Logic and Other Number Bases

BASE and LOGIC are two menu keys to enter and manipulate numbers in octal, hexadecimal, and binary.

This calculator’s functionality to work in fractions is one of its best features. It can display fractions that have denominators up to 4095. Moreover, you can set it to always select denominators fulfilling certain requirements.

Equations, Solve, and Integrate

In equation mode, you can enter the formulas and equations in a one-dimensional algebraic arrangement. You can also use the equations together with the solve and integrate features of the calculator.


The HP 35s has 26 named memories that store intermediate values and 801 numbered memories.


• Retains programs when turned off
• With the dual battery feature, you can replace the batteries without worrying about clearing the memory


• No printer output, PC connectivity, or removable memory card, so you have to write down programs you want to save as you cannot save them outside of the calculator.
• Expensive


The HP 35s is a programmable calculator that functions like a regular calculator, which makes it ideal for everyday use. However, with its programmable functionality, you can solve repetitive or complex math problems.

Casio fx-300MS Review

For its price of around $9, the fx-300MS is quite functional. It has 229 mathematics functions, a multi-replay function, and 9 variable memories. Moreover, it also has a protective cover, which is usually found in higher end models. From having the ability to key in a long string of numbers to quickly clearing an input error using the backspace, formulas and equations are quite easy to solve on this calculator.

Symbolism and nomenclature on the fx-300MS may be difficult for students who are not that knowledgeable on doing these functions. However, it is easy for most other math operations. You can enter fractions; calculate sine, cosine, inverse, and tangent; compute combinations and permutations; and process degree, radian, and gradian conversions. In addition, it also has the basic scientific, trigonometric, and exponential functions to help you with your lab work or assignments.


This calculator has a large, clear two-line display, which is really convenient when using a scientific calculator. It shows 10 digits, the problem as you enter it, and then displays the answer next to it, which allows you to better track your solving process.

For School, Home, or Office Use

Math and science students at any level can use this calculator. It is also functional for home and office use to compute algebraic equations and other math problems. Starting from high school, for exams and in lab classes, fx-300MS can support 18 levels of parentheses, calculus, complex number calculations, and algebra.

Always Powered Up

It is solar-powered, which means you do not have to replace the batteries. However, there is a backup battery that assures it will always be powered on whenever you need it.

Program Formulas

You can enter and program formulas that you want to save on the calculator for future use.


If you want to avoid complicated versions of a scientific calculator that sometimes require using a manual, the fx-300MS is the calculator you need. It offers the functions you will need in a unit that has been solidly built. Because of its efficient key layout, you do not have to look over so many tiny buttons or fumble with several special alt/shift keys to perform a secondary or tertiary function.


• Affordable
• Easy to navigate
• Two-line display


• Cheap buttons
• No graphing features
• Not as advanced compared to other scientific calculators


Compared to other scientific calculators, it is not as fancy looking, but it is a well-designed, affordable calculator you can rely on.

About the author

Alyssia Walmsley

Alyssia is a Cornell University graduate of 2003 and a former lead technology development manager for Microsoft and Cisco Networking Systems. Between writing on her blog, SkyGone Inc, she likes adventures and chocolate sprinkles!

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