Itwas a milestone in the history of pocket calculators when Casio introduced withthe fx-7000G the World's first Graphing calculator. The display could beswitched between the character mode offering 8 lines of 16 characters each, anda pure graphics mode with an array of 63*95 addressable dots. Even todaysGraphing calculators like the TI-83Plus kept this display format, main differences are the data and programmemory sizes. Instead of limited 422 program steps todays calculators deal withmegabyte instead the bytes.Dismantlingthe Casio fx-7000G and comparing with the later TI-81reveals some surprises. The TI-81, introduced already 5 years later than thefx-7000G, uses almost identical hardware.Themain printed circuit board (PCB) of the fx-7000G with only two components:The application specific CPU uPD1007G-008 manufactured by NEC, probably basedon a Z80 and a 2k*8 RAM. The later TI-81 uses a 8-bit microprocessor of the Z80 family, a huge ROM of 128k Bytecapacity, and a RAM of 8k Byte size.
I am privileged to get my hands on the latest fx-CP400 at Casio Shanghai. I must say it feels a little awkward doing a comparison between Casio's product in its headquarter with those from its competitors, but nonetheless comparisons are necessary to users like us. So hereis a comparison between the CP400 and several other popular models in the market from a user's perspective. This review might be somewhat unfair to Casio since both I and Northern_Snow use TI calculators primarily, but for this reason we could shed some light on its user-friendliness towards new users. Also, the focus of this review will be more on the hardware, since the Chinese OS has yet to be released, and also because Casio has already released the emulator for those of you who would be interested.
When we first got our hands on CP400, we were impressed by the size of the machine, particularly that of the screen. Following are the dimensions of CP400, amongst its competitiors.CP440206 x 89.0 x 21.1 (mm)Nspire Clickpad201 x 99.1 x 21.6Nspire CX191 x 86.4 x 15.2The unique pattern on the plastic casing somehow reminds us of Kevlar material. Casio pulled off the blue-and-black colour scheme quite well.
This is Casio's strength. The enormous size of 4.8 inch is unprecedented in calculators, with a resolution of 320*528. Although it loses out to many mobile phones in the market in terms of pixel density (128 ppi), but thanks to Casio's exclusive technologies, they have a remarkably high aperture ratio (that is, the ratio between the transmissive portion of a pixel and its surrounding electronics). Therefore it looks much more impressive than that on the CX. CG20's screen looks pretty as well, with a high resolution and brightness. The following pictures will explain them all.
Currently only on-calc BASIC is supported. Since we are no experts in BASIC programming, there was not much testing we could do. According to previous reviews by Casiopeia, the BASIC language used in CP440 is reasonably powerful. There are add-in supports, but SDK is absent.
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A Brief History: The Casio fx-7000G was developed with 422 bytes of memory and could store up to ten programs in 10 program slots, according to the Computing History website. It offered 82 scientific functions, and its display could toggle between 8 lines of 16 characters each or a 64x96 dot matrix graphical display.
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