|HP 50g First Impressions and photos|
Message #1 Posted by Mike Mander on 25 July 2006, 2:52 a.m.
Received my new HP 50g today. I decided to take a quick few photos of it, including some tight close-ups, in case people are interested. Once you click on a thumbnail in the gallery, you can open a larger version by clicking the magnifier icon to the upper right of the image. Sorry, but due to the LCD's refresh, I couldn't get any decent flash shots with a clear view of the display. Couldn't be bothered to do any available light shots, but that would have shown the display better though.
Link: HP 50g Image Gallery
I won't state the obvious changes, but will comment on the keyboard. Compared to my serial number CNA402xxxxx hp 49g+, there is a night and day difference. The hollow sounding and stiff clunking of the 49g+ is gone completely, with a wonderfully smooth, softer and much quieter action. It is still slightly stiffer (for now at least) than my 48SX with a slightly less positive tactile click, but I would say it is 90% of the way there as far as feel and pretty much 100% as far as initial key-press registration reliability, at least with the limited testing I've done so far. I have the KEYTIME value at 500 and am not having any issues at all. On my old 49g+, I needed to have KEYTIME at around 1400 in order to suppress ddoubles with the latest firmware.
It is still possible to very slowly and gently press a key past its tactile rollover on the 50g and make it miss, whereas this is essentially impossible on my 48SX, 41CX and so on, however I don't believe that under normal use that slight detail will be anything to worry about. As far as keyboard noise, I would say that the 50G is actually even quieter than the 48SX! Obviously long term comments on keyboard reliability require much more testing!
Unfortunately the keys are not double-shot molded (will we ever see that again in an HP calc?), so I presume people will continue to have long term issues with the labels wearing off. On the bright side, the consistency of position of the key labels is much better than my 49g+, which for example had adjacent keys where the labels were all printed at different heights on the key.
Aesthetically, I think it looks good, although I have to agree with some that it does vagely remind one of a TI... too bad HP didn't go back to the classic dark "mocha" colour of many of their older models to distinguish it better from a modern TI colour scheme.
I would have to rate the LCD display as being slightly poorer than my 49g+ as far as contrast unfortunately. This could be due to a slightly more textured and more matte screen cover but some of it does seem due to the LCD hardware itself. In any case, the screen is still excellent and I am now merely nit-picking with those comments.
The stuck-on serial number label (a duplicate of which is stuck to the outside of the blister pack) seems like a rather cheap gesture and mine wasn't even stuck on straight in the groove provided. I ended up pealing it off and re-applying it straight because it looked so ugly.
Still no Macintosh software provided on the CD but it does include the Windows Connectivity Kit and well as manuals in 6 languages. The printed manual is again a basic one only, but the PDF on the CD has 27 chapters and 887 pages. Very detailed but I have not spent any time looking through it.
Finally, a quirk is that VER returns the same message as the 49g+... it says "HP49 CAS by Parisse...". I am a little surprised they didn't update this to say HP50.
That's it... my initial impressions are quite positive. I feel quite lucky that I was able to get one so quickly and hopefully others will be able to soon as well.