|Re: HP-35S Case (and HP48 commentary)|
Message #28 Posted by Mark Edmonds on 2 Sept 2009, 5:07 p.m.,
in response to message #5 by Mike Morrow
You made a similar post recently which nearly provoked me to replying. At least this time, you have hit on a few better points :)
The worst LCD display? Well, I agree that the S series displays aren't exactly high contrast but in well over 10 years using G series, it never once occured to me that the display was bad.
Fuzzy display? None of mine are like that. Fuzzy implies out of focus and I'm not sure how that would happen in an LCD. Do they have lenses?
Easily damaged? Again, none of mine have ever suffered any damage. I'm not in the habit of throwing them into cement mixers but I am in the habit of applying a bit of sense when storing the calc - and the 48 series cases are amongst the best for ease of inserting/removing the calc.
Memory cards? You can hardly blame the 48 series for not having SD as the technology didn't exist. By this comparison, do we start unfairly criticising earlier calcs that don't feature technology "x" when it didn't even exist at the time? However, the main point with memory cards is that their usage is definitly in the minority. If you took numbers of calcs sold and memory cards sold, I bet you'd only find a very small percentage using the cards. It simply doesn't matter for most users.
Speed? Agreed, some operations can be painfully slow. However, a solution to most of these lies in Raymond's superb SpeedUI which streamlines many front-end elements. Strongly recommended. But, even with the slow features of the 48 series, the calc is still quite a lot faster than probably all calcs before it.
Saturn only? Well, that is what it was built on. Is that a fault of the calc? How many 50G users are programming native Arm code? Not many I expect.
No CAS? Didn't CAS start as a 48 lib which HP then took on board? If yes, then it can be installed. The only time I've ever needed CAS was for programming a solution to a challenge on this forum.
Non-upgradable firmware? Well, no. This is desirable for some situations but there is no need for a calc to have it. In a way, I prefer not to have it as it puts extra pressure on getting the bugs sorted before shipping.
Poorest colour scheme? Last time you said something like "west coast arty"!! Not sure what you meant by that but I quite like the violet/green scheme so this is subjective. I have certainly never had problems with contrast or legibility and it is significantly better than the vile scheme on the 49G! If you think the 48G is bad, try a 22S under overhead lighting.
I think that covers your points. The original 48 series has faults but it also has features going for it that have been lost since the 49G. Like others, I think the GX is the last great proper HP calc and I still use it on a daily basis.
Some other bullet points for and against 48GX or 50G
50G has bigger display
50G has numerous software enhancements that are really valuable
50G has benefit of USB connection
50G is a lot faster all round
50G eats batteries and needs a backup battery because of this
50G has a good keyboard but still not as good as the GX
GX keyboard layout is far superior to the 50G
GX menus are not so deeply nested as on 50G
GX doesn't do infuriating mode switching like the 50G does
50G has lots of keyboard kludges - shift hold combinations - that exist as far as I am concerned to compensate for the poor keyboard layout
and now doubt many points more that aren't springing to mind right now.
It is a matter of great regret to me that HP didn't continue developing the 48GX in the right direction. The 49G design was such a backwards step and we are still suffering with the legacy of that. I read on hpcalc.org that the keyboard layout was changed to make it less intimidating! Well, if the removal of 4 keys and the subsequent function changes achieved that, all well and good but it was done at the expense of alienating a large swathe of existing users. The 50G is undoubtedly a good calc but if it hadn't suffered from the poor decisions concerning its keyboard and menu structure, it would be absolutely incredible.
Anyway, I've rambled enough...
The HP48-series is great as long as one doesn't mind:
1. The worst LCD display quality that anyone has ever put on a graphing calculator. Very fuzzy, very easily damaged.
2. Overpriced, underfeatured, unreliable, proprietary memory expansion cards (vs. SD cards).
3. Slow speed, and Saturn-only (vs. ARM) capability.
4. No real CAS built-in. Must use third-party.
5. Non-upgradable firmware.
6. The poorest color schemes ever put on any calculator (other than the HP38G!) with respect to contrast and legibility.
I've had an HP48SX since 1991, plus two HP48GXs since 1997. It seemed like a good idea at the time.