|Re: HP 15c HP-42s or HP 41cx|
Message #22 Posted by Vincent Weber on 15 Sept 2003, 4:34 a.m.,
in response to message #1 by Krystal
The 3 calcs you mentioned are among very best HP manufactured and I understand your dilemna: none of the 3 can totally outperform the other 2 in every aspects:
1) Very nice form factor, the best ratio features / volume ever and probably the "most classy" award
2) one of the very few calculators to feature a complex stack (the first one actually)
3) limited but nice matrix integration (you can even recall a matrix pointer of the stack, long before the HP28/48 series)
4) complete set of advanced features accessible directly from the keyboard (hyperbolics, random number, combination & permuation, gamma, solve, integrate).
5) Recall arithmetics (RCL+,...) and all 12 conditionals.
1) -Very- slow...
2) No alphanumeric display. Not even an alpha display of program steps, which makes programming (otherwise quite powerful) and degugging a -real- pain.
3) No I/O whatsoever. Don't even think about exporting or importing a program...
4) Matrix handling looks nice on the surface, but actually requires a lot of key stroke to enter a matrix, even in "User" mode - which is not even as convenient as the '41 Advantage module, supposely less integrated. Complex matrix is a nightmare (you need to enter the matrix in real form, call a matrix function to transform it into a complex form, and convert back after finishing the operation).
1) The most flexible calc ever, due to the expansion ports. No other calc can claim to be as versatile: advanced math, finance, aviation, chemistry - everthing is there. But you need to pay for extra modules.
2) I/O: Provided you buy the necessary hardware (again...), you can load/save programs with various kind of hardware.
2) Very good handling of alphanumerics, with letters directly accessible on the keyboard.
3) Extended memory: this offers a lot of flexibility, especially the ability to manage files (ascii or binary).
4) Timer functions: if you want to use your calc as a clock/"PDA" (less useful nowadays - but this is a myth as the NASA made HP build the time module to take the '41 on board the space shuttle in 1981).
5) Synthetic programming: The calc is a hackable machine that allows to enter extra instructions (some kind of machine code) - while neither 15C or 42S can. But you need to have a 'hacker' mind...
6) Prestige: Along with the '48, the '41 is the most mythical device ever produced ! You have to remember that the first version (41C) was out in 1979 (i.e. prehistory) and nevertheless is still a very useful tool today !
1) Quite slow (but still twice faster as the 15C).
2) Quite big (not pocket-friendly, due to the expansion ports).
3) Will cost you a lot in add-on modules, cf. next point.
4) Lack of build-in functionality (this is a deliberate choice - the machine is meant to be expanded, hence there are few built-in features). Compared to the 15C and the 42S, the '41 is especially lacking a complex stack (even the Advantage Module only offer a 2-number "stack" implementation, not very ideal). But you may not need to compute complex operations. On the other hand, matrixes are quite well handleded by the routines of the Advantage Module: although they are not as integrated as those of the 15C and the 42S, they do the job very well and offer additional functionality of its 2 competitors (especially for matrix manipulation).
5) Lack of recall arithmetics and only 10 conditionals (minor point to me anyway).
6) Lack of Gamma function, combination and permuation, random number - all of which are easily programmable and some of which being present in the PPC ROM, so, not that much of an issue (if you can find the ROM).
7) No named variables as on the 42S - you have to deal with registers only, which makes it hard to remember what you really wanted to do in a program when you review it after a long time.
1) The almost perfect calc: The programmation power of the 41, the features of the 15C, and much more.
2) Elegant and pocket-friendly.
3) Very fast
4) Smooth and nice complex & matrix integration. Just as the 28 or the 48, can handle various object types on the stack (matrix, complex, strings - but no lists, programs, or algebraic expressions/equations).
1) No other I/O than I/R one-way printing, which is -a shame- for a calc of this quality. No other way to input a program than your fingers. That's why the '41 survived still for 2 years after the 42 release. The 42 was actually more a 15C upgrade than a 41C upgrade, and only the 48SX would definitely berry the good old 41. A 42SX project was sadely cancelled (probably not to undermine the '48 sales).
2) Ackward alphanumeric entry. No matter how people can claim that you can get used to it, the fact remains that you will never type a text a fast on the 42 than on the 41, simply because each letter requires 2 key strokes instead of 1. If you are very keen on using your calc as a memo pad, I strongly recommend you choose the 41 instead.
3) Limited memory (8K, which is little more than a '41CX with 2 extended memory module). A 32K upgrade is possible, but is a very manual operation and you will have a hard time to do it.
4) No time function - but these are not so useful on a calc nowadays.
5) No extended memory, meaning no "files" as on the 41CX. You can type additional text editing programs, though. But again, see my point on the '42S alphanumerics entry...
6) No way to enter complex numbers in a different mode than the dislay mode (rectangular or polar). An "angle" key like on the 48 would be welcome.
6) No algebraic equations for the solver. The more recent 32SII added this handy feature (while I love RPN, I think that it is easier to type 'P*V=N*R*T' than ' LBL "GAZ" MVAR "P" MVAR "V" MVAR "N" MVAR "R" MVAR "T" RCL "P" RCL "V" * RCL "N" RCL "R" * RCL "T" * - RTN' :) A matter of choice..
7) A 42SII could also have introduced the very nice fraction support of the 32SII.
That's it for now :) Other points you could consider:
1) If you do not need matrixes and are not too demanding on complex numbers, you can go for the 32SII - simple and solid.
2) If you want power of RPL in a nice format, the HP28S is a good alternative.
3) If you have a Palm device and do not mind using a sytlus instead of a keyboard, I recomment the "P41CX" '41CX emulator for PalmOS from Charles (www.palmgear.com). You can have *all* 41 modules for a mere $10. The emulator is very good. If you own a PocketPC, you might want to look at ev41, or the very good Pocket15C 15C simulator (www.lygea.com).
My 2 cents.