This is intended solely to be for comedic use. No shame or harm done to Texas Instruments. To support them, please go out and purchase this product! Enjoy this article for April Fools’.
First, there was the desktop. Then, there was the laptop. Soon after, mobile devices followed. Desktops got smaller. Laptops got thinner. Mobile devices became even more portable and powerful. Now, this. A beautiful unity of all three platforms – a desktop AIO system, with a full keyboard and screen, in a mobile form factor, along with the productivity power of a modern-day laptop. Meet the calculator of the future: the TI-84 CE.
The TI-84 CE measures in at approximately 19 x 8 x 1.5 cm, making it an extremely portable and thin device. It weighs in at barely a pound, making it lighter than almost all laptops on the market today. Under the hood (or should I say backplate), desktop-grade hardware has been expertly modified and fitted into a space no larger than a folded dollar bill. The CE features a mind-blowing Zilog eZ80 clocked at a whopping 48 Mhz, 154 KB of RAM, and 3.0 whole MBs of permanent storage. On the front, it features a 320 x 240 LCD display capable of displaying 106 divided by 105 colors at varying brightness levels. There is also a full membrane keyboard with a number pad! Instead of a touchpad or a touchscreen, a new, intuitive arrow-key system is used to navigate the lite and easy-to-use proprietary OS. Unifying all of this is an advanced thermal system to dissipate the heat from the blistering 48 Mhz processor. Instead of using typical and commonplace aluminum or copper heat pipes or even fans, Texas Instruments has instituted a full-contact plastic heat dissipation shell – effectively turning the chassis into a cooling device. Super creative! Adding on to the creative aspect is a “lid” – but unlike a laptop clamshell or even a smartphone cover, the 84 CE comes with a plastic slide-on cover to protect the super definition screen when not in use. Last but not least, for I/O, the CE features a single micro-USB Type A port. Following in the footsteps of the MacBook, not only does this allow charging and data transfer to be done through one port for convenience, but it also reduces the thickness of the device drastically.
A great keyboard.
Being the pinnacle of performance, the Zilog eZ80 bashes through day-to-day usage by running at a world-record-breaking 48 Mhz. The single-core single-thread beast easily finishes calculations that would take the average person hours or even years to complete. Together with a lite OS, so far my usage has encountered no stuttering, even when going through the most difficult of graphing programs. The 154 KB of RAM has never been completely used up, and the storage is hyper-fast, with a boot time of less than half a second.
Heat dissipation backplate, with metal screws.
The CE also comes preloaded with tons of apps to aid you in your work. With a press of a button, users can choose to graph, zoom, trace, calculate, program, store variables…you name it. These are also exclusive productivity apps found in no other ecosystem – not Android, iOS, Windows, or macOS. Special optimization for these programs with the special hardware results in some fantastically fast and liquid performance, whilst keeping power consumption on the low. Oh yeah, the battery lasts over 4 weeks!
Let’s start off with the keyboard: boy oh boy, is it amazing! Never have membrane switches felt so good. The small keys are molded perfectly to be the exact size of one’s fingertips; upon activation (which takes a perfect amount of force), the keys click to notify you of a successful input. I would have these over Cherry MX Browns or Reds any day! Furthermore, Texas Instruments have cleverly prevented you from accidentally typing certain characters, so those need to be activated via a “2nd” and/or “alpha” key. Not only is this system easy to use, but the keys have been clearly marked with all their actions written on top!
And then, there’s the screen. Unlike many other laptop or even monitor manufacturers, the 84 CE boasts an industry-breaking 4:3 aspect ratio screen. I applaud TI for breaking the norms! Not only does it possess a unique aspect ratio, but it also boasts a QVGA resolution (320 x 240) LCD LED-backlit display. Just under 10 colors can be displayed! That’s about as many as a Crayola box, which we know is the definitive standard for screen color gamut.
Finally, build quality. TI have done extremely well here too. The plastic shells are rigid and squeaky, and they have actually used metal screws (I assume for better heat dissipation)! Rubber feet are especially good at falling off, and for ease of transport across smooth surfaces, the plastic has also been made exceedingly slippery. The creative “lid” mentioned earlier also has a stencil on the back with a “Texas Instruments” logo, so that when and if you get bored, you can doodle with it! This thing really is the pinnacle of engineering
Stenciled lid. Why aren’t the other manufacturers doing this?!
The TI-84 CE is the modern-day mobile productivity device that boasts great performance, battery life, and quality. The design and materials are well thought out, and in general it does exceedingly well at what it was designed for. Should you buy it? Definitely! At a time when the world around us has 4K TVs selling for over $300, why not go a step further into the future and spend only $110 on a majestic, QVGA screen?