In most Finance courses, students need to have a financial calculator (my favorite one for e.g. Texas Instruments BA II Plus PRO, which is by the way is one of two approved by the CFA Institute for the CFA exams) in order to solve the TVM and bond problems. The traditional calculators are great and for exam purposes most times required but usually you use them during classes and then you forget them somewhere in your office. After college, the best case scenario is that you will use Excel in case you need to use Present Value, Future Value or other more advanced TVM functions.
So, is there an alternative?
In case you want to calculate the payment of your loan or leasing or do other TVM calculations, like for e.g. what will be the value of an amount after 6 months with a given interest rate, you can do it with a smartphone application. More and more people own a smartphone and they can download a free or quite low-priced financial calculator to their iPhone or Android phones, paying much less than the traditional calculators.
A good and economical choice for iPhone is the Biz Analyst Lite, http://bit.ly/BizAnalystLite –> Itunes link: http://bit.ly/BizAnalystLite_iTunes or you can pay some extra $$ and get the full version.
For more choices on iPhone you can check that link: http://bit.ly/iPhoneFinancialCalculators
The free Android app is easier to use but I’d suggest using something that looks like a traditional financial calculator, so that at least you get familiar with the interface.
The above suggestions are just my personal preferences based on the feedback from my students but you can devote some time on your App store and might find something better. The emergence of smartphones is changing a lot of things in education and life, as people can get access to tools with a much lower cost and in some times experience even better functionality. Two years ago, someone had to pay 40-60 USD for a good financial calculator and today you can get from your app store for 2-3 $$. It seems to me that some companies need to change their pricing model.
TIP: 2 disadvantages of using an app instead of a traditional calculator:1st you might need to charge your smartphone much more frequently & 2nd you cannot use it during course examinations.
Feel free to post your comments and suggestions, especially if you have other relevant apps to suggest.