Is the Casio FX-CG50 a decent graphic calculator?

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Zuvio
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I'm doing A levels in maths, further maths, physics and chemistry. I am thinking of doing a degree in either maths or physics.
Currently, I am using the Casio fx-991EX scientific calculator, but I think it would be good to get a graphic calculator.
Is this one a good one? Is it easy to use? How long does the battery life last? Does it have lots of useful functions?
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dullz786
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(Original post by Zuvio)
I'm doing A levels in maths, further maths, physics and chemistry. I am thinking of doing a degree in either maths or physics.
Currently, I am using the Casio fx-991EX scientific calculator, but I think it would be good to get a graphic calculator.
Is this one a good one? Is it easy to use? How long does the battery life last? Does it have lots of useful functions?
Its reccommeded at college, not sure how you managed without it tbh
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Gregorius
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(Original post by Zuvio)
I'm doing A levels in maths, further maths, physics and chemistry. I am thinking of doing a degree in either maths or physics.
Currently, I am using the Casio fx-991EX scientific calculator, but I think it would be good to get a graphic calculator.
Is this one a good one? Is it easy to use? How long does the battery life last? Does it have lots of useful functions?
As calculators go it's very good, not too difficult to learn, with a good range of functions.

However, the question really is: would you really be best getting a calculator like this, or would it be better to use one of the excellent apps available on phones or tablets these days? For example, Geogebra, Desmos, or WolframAlpha. Also, once you get into serious plotting at University, you'll probably be using PC packages such as Mathematica, Maple, Matlab, R - which are far more powerful. A strategy of having a good numerical calculator (like the 991-EX) plus a phone app, plus what's available on a PC may be the more suitable than fiddling with a calculator.
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forkbomber
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(Original post by Zuvio)
I'm doing A levels in maths, further maths, physics and chemistry. I am thinking of doing a degree in either maths or physics.
Currently, I am using the Casio fx-991EX scientific calculator, but I think it would be good to get a graphic calculator.
Is this one a good one? Is it easy to use? How long does the battery life last? Does it have lots of useful functions?
Hi! I've had a CG50 for about a year now and I'm doing computer science instead of chemistry, but otherwise our subjects are the same. Hopefully I can answer some of your questions Feel free to message me if you want to ask more! Also sorry for the really really long post...

If you're going to invest in a graphical calculator, get the CG50. Casio have cheaper models with black and white screens and fewer features, but trust me when I say the extra price for the colour display and better processor is worth it!
I still use my 991EX occasionally, but the bigger screen on the graphical calculator honestly makes simple calculations so much easier. You can see up to 3 previous calculations at the same time and easily scroll up and down if you want to. Plus, when you turn it back on, it retains its memory and goes back to exactly where you were (which is super handy!).
In terms of extra features compared to your current one (and this isn't a full list):
- 2D graphing (obviously). Plot up to 20 functions at once, including Y=, X=, parametric and inequalities. The inequalities one is really useful if you're taking the decision module within further maths. You can then do things like finding points of intersection, areas between curves, maximums, etc. Basically you can get free marks on those "sketch this curve" questions and an easy way to check your answers for any other graphing-type questions.
- 3D graphing. This is really useful for the vectors topic in further maths. You can plot 3 things at once (lines and planes are the most commons) and find stuff like intersection points. It also does volumes of revolution which again comes up in further maths.
- Equation solver can solve up to an x^6 or simultaneous equations with up to 6 unknowns.
- Spreadsheet with graphing. Not that easy to use on a small screen to be honest, but it is helpful in physics exams to check that you've plotted a graph properly.
- Statistics. A few small upgrades compared to the scientific one, eg it can do cumulative binomial distributions with both a minimum and a maximum.
- Vector and matrix calculation. Seriously a lot better than on the scientific calculator. You can have 26 matrices and 26 vectors stored at once if you really want to, and operations like finding the angle between vectors is really easy.
- Owner name and password. You can enter your name and a password so nobody can claim it's theirs!
- Add-ins. You can install games on it Mine currently has 2048, Tetris, flappy bird and cubefield. There are some maths-based apps too (but where's the fun in that!)

It does have some negatives too though:
- Powered by 4 AAA batteries. I've found they last a good few months for me, but my brightness is turned way down to make it last longer. Always carry a spare set!
- Exam mode. Since you can literally install notes and images on it from a computer, you need to put it in exam mode if you're doing an exam. This temporarily blocks access to disallowed functions and memory for 12 hours. For some reason it also doesn't let you access the unit conversion functions which is annoying. Exam mode has a pink border and a flashing blue "R" in the corner which can be a bit distracting. Not a great design choice.
- Very complicated to use at first. You will need to read the manual (all 600 pages of it) and spend a week or two looking through its many, many menus and settings.
- Some functions are much harder to find than on your current calculator. For example, square root is now a secondary function. That means you have to press shift every time you want to use it. Things like that can make it frustrating to use at first.
- If you're the only one to have it in your class, people will think you're cheating. Worth bearing in mind if you don't like confrontation.
- Make sure you get it early into sixth form! The longer you wait, the less confident and quick you will be at using it for your exams.

In summary: if you're definitely going to do further maths, you should think seriously about buying it. It gives a massive advantage if you invest time into learning how to use it. If you can get it through your school, do that since they offer a huge discount. If not, try and get it when it's on special offer on Amazon (eg, Black Friday). Good luck with your A levels!

Edit: oh and the point about just using an app on your phone - can you do that in an exam? That's where having a graphical calculator is really worth it.
Last edited by forkbomber; 4 weeks ago
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