|Re: Calculator Confustion....What I need vs. what I want|
Message #11 Posted by Karl Schneider on 11 May 2004, 1:22 a.m.,
in response to message #1 by Joe Edwards
Should I consider looking at the older RPN equipment such as a 32sII, a 42s, a 41c something or other, and a 48gx with Alg48?
Yes, I certainly think you should. My HP general-purpose scientific models include the 15C, 20S, 28C, 32SII, 33S, 34C, 41C/V/X, 42S, 48G, and 49G.
In my opinion, the models introduced between 1979-88 represent HP's best-engineered, most useful and usable calculators -- no-nonsense tools for professionals at affordable prices. (Note that today's 33S traces its origins to the 32S of 1988.) Most of these models have classic RPN, instead of the syntax-intensive RPL of the 28/48/49 models.
Am I being unreasonable to consider the use of a 32sII, 42s, 41c, or 15c versus the current models?
Not at all. In fact, most of us would consider these four models the "best of the bunch":
15C -- Best combination of built-in capability and ease of use for routine problems.
32SII -- Compared to 15C, it is also easy to use, 12x as fast, having less advanced functionality but a few more built-in minor functions, and is much better for programming. The earlier 32S is comparable to the 32SII, but without equation editor and fraction math, and relies more on single-level menus.
42S -- Most capable built-in functionality by far, and as fast as 32SII, but less easy to use and has a hard-to-read display.
41CX -- Upgrade one with an Advantage ROM to provide the missing functionality that is built into the other three models. A fine classic tool, but can be cumbersome for some basic tasks, as compared to the others. The real strength of the 41 series is its expandability and peripheral support.
Is the old 48GX just too dated?
Not really. Although less intuitive and more complicated, it has some impressive built-in functionality that no RPN model has -- e.g., physical units, equation library, symbolic calculus, multiple integrals. Some of this functionality -- as well as the "serious-tool look and design" -- is missing from the 49 series (HP and KinHPo) and "new" KinHPo HP-48G+.
So, should I look at these older machines? Did I truly miss out on a bygone opportunity with the vintage HPs in 80's and 90's? Is it worth the effort to even consider using them?
The very late '70s, the '80s, and the early '90's was HP's "golden era" of calculators. I doubt that it will ever be that good again. You'll probably have to spend some money on eBay to find out -- I certainly have.
-- Karl S.
Edited: 11 May 2004, 1:32 a.m.