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HP Forum Archive 13

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HP 20 Build quality???
Message #1 Posted by Joe Edwards on 9 Sept 2003, 10:01 a.m.

Hey guys, I have searched high and low for an HP calc to replace my lost 32s. Still looking too. My wife needs a calculator, but doesn't like RPN. It will be used for simple 4 banging. My school bookstore had about 3 HP 20s models (in the box, vs. the blister pack). They are on sale for 15 bucks each. Should I pick them up? I am more interested in the quality workmanship of the older HP's vs. today's scientific calcs (please no graphing calcs - I have a TI for that - school). I guess my question is this, "Are the HP 20s built as well sturdily as the 32 and 42s models?" Thanks for the help.


Re: HP 20 Build quality???
Message #2 Posted by bill platt on 9 Sept 2003, 10:14 a.m.,
in response to message #1 by Joe Edwards


Yes, the 20s is equal to the 30s in build quality. I have a couple and so do my co-workers. Some will quibble about indonesia versus singapore etc but i have not found any severe differences. The 20s is nice--it even has 99 lines of programming space which is great for putting a repetitive calc into--like a conversion you have to do over and over--like say square feet converted to square meters--you just go (in program mode) LBL A * .3048 x^2 = RTN. Then, when you want to take square feet to square meters, you type in the square feet, hit xeq a, and out pop the square meters. It's great for that sort of thing.

The 20s also has a "last" key which makes it possible to easily do chain calcs, and a "swap" key for when you change your mind about what divides what etc.

So, yes, buy some. 15 bucks is very good, too--I'd like more of them at that price!



Recommendation: BUY!
Message #3 Posted by Paul Brogger on 9 Sept 2003, 10:17 a.m.,
in response to message #1 by Joe Edwards

Toward the end of the 32s' availability, production was shifted (I think to China), and a switch was made from double-shot molded keys to painted keytops. I have examples of both versions, and I can attest that the look and feel of the later 32s example is noticeably inferior to those of the earlier unit. (Of course, the very last examples of the 32s sported a notoriously bad color scheme -- and, I suspect, painted keytops.)

I will say, however, that operationally, any difference is much less noticeable -- maybe a slightly less definitive keypress in the newer unit, but still much better than that of ANY contemporary competitor.

I have in hand an early HP-20s, and it too has double-shot keys, bright, beautiful, lasting legends, and both solid feel & operation. I don't know if later production of the 20s was changed to painted keytops or not, but I suspect it was. Regardless, you'll either be buying truly wonderful, absolutely rock-solid algebraic (sigh!) calculators, or dependable units that are "merely" superior to anything else you're likely to find.

At 15 bucks each, I'd buy all three. (I'll buy one of them from you for $20 + postage . . .) I don't know what they're going for on eBay, but I suspect you could recoup the entire investment by selling one MIB.

Re: HP 20 Build quality???
Message #4 Posted by hugh on 9 Sept 2003, 1:23 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Joe Edwards

i've always felt the 20s was underrated. its a rather nice scientific calculator for day to day use. the programming model is sensible.

also, i think it has the clearest display of all pioneers, being segments rather than dot matrix.

buy them all, definitely
Message #5 Posted by Christof (NoVA US) on 9 Sept 2003, 2:20 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Joe Edwards

these are true pioneers, with the old quality.

and they are worth a bit more than $15 on ebay right now, so you will be getting yourself a decent deal on lifetimes machines.

and hey, who ca argue with 99 program steps on top of the best $15 scientific you can find?

Bought them all
Message #6 Posted by Joe Edwards on 10 Sept 2003, 8:55 a.m.,
in response to message #1 by Joe Edwards

Well, even before checking the responses I decided to purchase all three of them. There are several more in the blister packs, but I have seen one of those before and the construction didn't seem to be up to par. Made in China? These three are as solid as my old lost buddy (HP 32s) and I am happy to own them. Too bad they are not RPN, but hey at least the are real Pioneer models. It is a good thing they are cheap considering my student loans are going to be a month late!!!!


Re: Bought them all
Message #7 Posted by Bert K on 10 Sept 2003, 12:41 p.m.,
in response to message #6 by Joe Edwards

The 20s is very nice. I have one as a backup for my two 32sII calculators (a brown and a silver bezel). The 20s has the most pleasing color scheme (yellow/blue) IMO. Indeed too bad it isn't RPN, it doesn't get much use because of that. The 32sII is my work horse.

Re: Bought them all
Message #8 Posted by bill platt on 10 Sept 2003, 3:24 p.m.,
in response to message #7 by Bert K

Hi Bert,

I have exactly your combination, too (2 32sii, 1 br 1 silver, 1 20s). Except that then I went crazy and became a calculator addict and bought (2) 48gx, a 48g, a 41cv, a 45 (inherited) more 20s', an 11c and a 15c, and the list is growing....



Re: Bought them all
Message #9 Posted by Bert K on 11 Sept 2003, 12:34 a.m.,
in response to message #8 by bill platt

Nice collection you've got there Bill. I forgot to mention I also have a nice 10C and a Casio FX-602P at home.

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