The HP-32S still holds a soft spot in my heart, even though it only had 4 registers. I have fond memories of writing a nonlinear solver for finding an azeotrope curve during a Thermodynamics final. Despite the increase in power, memory, pixels and features the HP-32G that followed never could steal my heart away. Here's to you, HP-32S.

What's your favorite programmable calculator?

Do NOT post duplicate answers; vote up instead, and add comments if you want to relate specifics.



I love it.

TI-89 calculator showing two equations, an algebraic differential, and numeric integral with solutions



I bought an HP 48s in 1990, the first year they were available I believe. I loved that calculator. A few months ago, the display stopped working. I died a little that day. I haven't brought myself to replace it yet, I'm just not ready to move on.

HP48S Scientific calculator showing a spreadsheet!

HP 48s


TI-83+ was the best. TI BASIC was great.

TI-83+ calculator showing two sine waves superimposed on a graph.

TI-83 plus


The first and only true programmer's calculator. The HP-16C.

HP 16c

(yes, that display is showing hex)


For the sake of polling here, again, is my darling HP-32S:

Photo of an HP-32S





Casio CFX-9850: I was the coolest kid in class with the only color calculator.


TI-85, its how I learned to code. Its also how I passed trig physics.

TI-85 calculator showing a polynomial graph with a root identified



I have an HP 49g+ that I love. It is fast and feels good in my hand. The newer 50g is almost the same calculator, but I hear it has an even better keyboard.

As far as programming goes, the standard languages on the calc are:

  • RPL
  • sysRPL
  • Saturn Assembly
  • HP Basic for algebraic mode (I may be dreaming this one up)

Some non-standard languages that run on the bare hardware are:

  • HpGCC
  • HPLua

For math I just stick with RPL, and for games/non calculator stuff, I use C.


Texas Instrument TI-57 was my first really programmable calculator (I wish I had the TI-59 at that time but you know how budgets work).

Even if it was so limited, I learned a lot about programming on this calculator!



Python's interactive prompt


alt text

This was my very first programmable calculator.


TI-86. During study hall, I programmed a cheap knock-off of Legend of the Red Dragon and impressed the heck out of my BBS buddies.



I've always loved my HP 48gx


Favorite calculator: the HP 50G!

The most powerful calculator, ever.

It's beautiful.

Instantly let you know, "it's pro." Feels great in your hand. The keys have a very satisfying tactile "click" (unlike the 49G, which had cheesy keys). It can do everything the wonderful HP 48, in all its varied forms, can do (over 2300 built-in functions+any you wish to add), great equation libraries and many, many constants predefined, PLUS does graphics, has much greater capacity both internally (2.5 MB) and externally (with swappable SD cards holding gigabytes of programs and data each--you'll never run out of room), and it has a USB port, a serial port, and an infrared port. Has HP Solve (plug in what you know, solve for any variable) and Computer Algebra System (CAS)--both very good. Redefineable keyboard and menu keys. RPN is awesome! But if you're not sure whether that's your bag, it's switchable between RPN, algebraic, and "textbook" modes--your choice. You can change all sorts of flags to customize everything to work exactly how you want it to. Comes with connectivity software to hook up your computer--easy to load programs (lots of games, too). With available ROMs you can upgrade it to take advantage of future improvements. You can write software for it on your desktop, if you're into that, test it on the free emulator (looks and works exactly the same as the real calc), and then load it up. Or you can program right on the calculator, if that's your thing. You can program it in C (using HPGCC), User RPL, System RPL, HP Basic, Saturn Assembly, and ARM Assembly. Best of all, it can be had for $85 new and in the sealed packaging on eBay (nearly half the retail price). BTW, the old HP 48 progs can be converted to run on the HP 50 with a free utility (HP 49G programs run on it natively). I've used mine every day at school for a month, and only just now replaced the AAA alkaline batteries. (Thinking of switching to rechargeable Li-ion.) Scientific functions, statistical, financial, logic, unit conversions, matrices, algebra, trig, systems of equations, integral and differential calculus, you name it. Or customize with all your own stuff. Plays Wolfenstein, Dune, Pac-Man, Tetris, and other games for when you're bored, and you can use it as a TV remote. What more could you want? Oh yeah--snazzy leather(-ette?) case. Accept no substitutions!

--Mike from Shreveport


My first and only gear CASIO fx-6300G. It has 400 tokens program memory which can be divided to 10 subroutines. It has 39x23 graphics mode. It has A-Z memory cells which can be increased by stealing from token memory. They be addressed like A[C] and, for example, D[5] points to the same cell as H[1]. It is very challenging to cram a useful program to its memory. No asynchronus keyboard reading, so no action games :) . The most beautiful thing that I have written is a Julia/Mandelbrot fractal generator which takes ~35 minutes to render one screenful.



I programmed on the TI-83 in Trig/Analyt. The class shared calculators so we picked a victim every week and we'd program the calculator so when it started it would say "Susy Q likes Billy Joe." It was a pretty silly little joke that kept the few of us entertained when we should have been studying.


A crazy (in a good way) differential equations professor in the mid-eighties made all of us in his class buy a TI-74 Basicalc, which was a huge calculator that could be programmed in BASIC or Pascal, had several expansion cartridges available, a cassette tape storage system, and even a thermal printer.

It was a 8" x 4" beast that combined a scientific calculator with a portable version of the TI 99/4A computer. I had another scientific calculator as a backup because many other professors wouldn't let us use this one during their exams!

alt text


My favorite programmable calculator is any PDA running Windows Mobile... end of list.


I have a TI-59 with a printer stand that I still use on my desk at work today. It has magnetic strip recording of programs. It only has 1k of memory, pretty limited but I do my every day calculations on it and have a paper trail of what I did if I need the numbers a couple of hours later. I love this machine. If it goes I don't know what I would do.


TI-85 is how I cut my teeth on programming. It was quite a joy to figure out how to get timely keyboard input from it for my game (esp when everyone else struggled in that area).

10 years later, I still used it, wrote a program to analyze mortgage / down payment / interest rate, and ascertain interest paid , what monthly payments would be, etc... Unfortunately, dropping it can sometimes make it lose its memory :-(


TI-83 - don't regret buying it


For me it always be my first programmable calculator the HP-34C. It has "continuous" memory, so when you don't loose programs and data when you switch it off. It also can solve integral and has root finding.


It's not on the list and isn't really programmable, but the calculator that I get the most use out of is the TI-36X Solar. I'm putting it out there because it does support some functions that are highly useful in computer science and when programming.

alt text


Casio CM-100


One of the few that has the hexadecimal characters as a non-shifted key.

What else would we need?

alt text


HP-41CX was what i used in college. powerful, alpha numeric, indestructible. i just recently took the programming books to my office, including the book on 'synthetic programming', which had instructions for entering a special mode accessing advanced programming features.


it takes 'n' sized batteries!

but i would have to say my favorite is the legendary HP-65 which blew my mind when i saw it at a friends in the mid 70's. http://www.hpmuseum.org/hp65.htm


My first serious calculator was an HP 24S that my parents bought at Wal-Mart. I loved that thing so much.

Later I replaced it with an HP 32S-II that I still have to this day.


The TI 99/4A, well it sure felt like one. I sure liked it better than the HP 98/30. ;^)


But now I really do like my HP 50g. There are a few things that I miss that the TI 89 Ti does, but the errors in the libraries and some of the machine's programming is not one of them.

Also, I do wonder what the profit margin on these things are? I do not believe that the 50g OS has been updated for several years now, so I am thinking that bucks are making a nice profit. Given that, why the heck can't one get the real manual (ok it's nearly 1000 pages) with the calculator? Bigger box and all that would add to the cost a bit, heck it is all done outside the states any more, so costs should be very low. HP could even a with and without the detailed manual package.



Running on an EEEPC.

I thank you.