I made the mistake of buying a Ti-89 in the 90s... I liked its higher resolution screen but because it had a symbolic algebra solver it was not allowed on the SATs so I had to do the SATs without a calculator.
Later, when I took the GREs and they didn't allow a calculator of any sort I felt vindicated
The SATs are a total joke. They have been trying to make them more GRE-like, but I don't think they'll ever be able to get to the point where they expect High School students to do simple arithmetic without a calculator. That is a skill I picked up in college, as funny as that sounds. It's something you're supposed to learn in elementary school, but because of the prevalence of calculators it doesn't take long before students (myself included) simply forget from lack of actual practice.
As for not being different from a modern Ti calculator, I beg to differ on that one. Have you seen the Ti NSpire? They're color now and finally TI solved the issue of symbolic algebra by selling two versions - one with the feature and one without.