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TI NSPIRE vs HP50
Message #1 Posted by fabrice on 23 Apr 2010, 4:49 a.m.

I have seen that Texas instrument sold a NEW ti nspire, actually i own an HP50 but i don't like it, the HP50 is built with bad 'plastic' and i hate the screen and the keyboard but i like the RPL. Th HP50 quality is less than HP48. The new n spire is built in very good quality, bigger screen with grayscale, arm processor . i HATE to say it but NOW i begin to prefer TI calculator. doas anyone know if HP is going to 'respond' to TI with a better calculator ? if no i stop to programm on HP and jump to TI.

since a long time i developp on HP calculator and i love it but the last good calculator is the HP48 after this model all are bad. hp49, hp49g+, hp50 i woul like to continue with HP but is they don't correct the quality i prefer to stop.

fabrice

      
Re: TI NSPIRE vs HP50
Message #2 Posted by Don Shepherd on 23 Apr 2010, 6:02 a.m.,
in response to message #1 by fabrice

Fabrice, if the main thing you like about the HP50 is programming in RPL, you will not be happy with the NSpire. It's programming language is BASIC, and it offers none of the advanced programming constructs of RPL. Indeed, before the latest OS release there was no way to input a value during program execution. It is not a "programmer's" calculator.

While the NSpire does have a large screen, it is very difficult to read it in normal room lighting situations; I keep a flashlight next to mine.

Most HP50 users seem to be very satisfied with the build quality, so I'm surprized that you find it lacking in that department.

Is it likely that HP will issue a calculator like the NSpire? No. The NSpire is really meant for students, and HP has no real presence in that market.

            
Re: TI NSPIRE vs HP50
Message #3 Posted by Michael Plant on 23 Apr 2010, 9:48 a.m.,
in response to message #2 by Don Shepherd

Quote:
While the NSpire does have a large screen, it is very difficult to read it in normal room lighting situations; I keep a flashlight next to mine.

I just picked up a Brand-new in packaging Ti-Nspire CAS (non-touchpad) at a local drugstore for $30 (They had a whole table full of them, with the non-CAS version going for $50. I wish I had bought one of those as well - they were gone the next day). I got it home and immediately updated to OS 2.0. Now, I would say that the screen is, if anything, worse than people have reported on the internet. It's dire. Even having read the reports about its illegibility, I though initially that I had a bum unit! Contrast controls have no appreciable effect. It's still useable, but the screen takes some getting used to.

I also own an HP 50g and wouldn't call it inferior in any way to the Ti-Nspire. The Ti-Nspire's "advantage" is mind-numbing ease of use, which would make it useful in an education setting, I suppose.

Don't get me wrong - I like the Nspire (I collect calculators, of cousre I like it!) - but using the two side by side, they feel like very different animals to me and the HP yields nothing in terms of build quality.

Caveat: the foregoing is based on minimal real-world use of either calculator...

Edited: 23 Apr 2010, 9:48 a.m.

            
Re: TI NSPIRE vs HP50
Message #4 Posted by David Hayden on 23 Apr 2010, 11:59 a.m.,
in response to message #2 by Don Shepherd

Quote:
Is it likely that HP will issue a calculator like the NSpire? No. The NSpire is really meant for students, and HP has no real presence in that market.
This isn't for lack of a product. I think the HP 39gs and 40gs are wonderful student calculators. Unfortunately, they seem to have very little market share.
      
Re: TI NSPIRE vs HP50
Message #5 Posted by Hal Bitton in Boise on 23 Apr 2010, 10:09 a.m.,
in response to message #1 by fabrice

Quote:
the HP50 is built with bad 'plastic' and i hate the screen and the keyboard

Hmmm...how exactly is the the plastic "bad", and what do you hate about the screen and keyboard? Best regards, Hal
      
Re: TI NSPIRE vs HP50
Message #6 Posted by Ron Ross on 23 Apr 2010, 10:23 a.m.,
in response to message #1 by fabrice

http://www.rskey.org/buyguide.pdf

My own review, not thorough or comprehensive, but an overall review of the graphing calculator market available as of two weeks ago.

As noted in an earlier post, two different applications. I do feel Ti has improved the TNspire with this new keypad, but the fundamental product is still aimed at the classroom, not the working environment.

            
Re: TI NSPIRE vs HP50
Message #7 Posted by David Hayden on 23 Apr 2010, 4:28 p.m.,
in response to message #6 by Ron Ross

Thanks for putting this review together Ron. I enjoyed it very much.

            
Re: TI NSPIRE vs HP50
Message #8 Posted by Mike Morrow on 23 Apr 2010, 11:00 p.m.,
in response to message #6 by Ron Ross

Not to be too critical, but...

I would be led to think after reading it that the writer of this review works in TI marketing and sales.

I've owned a TI-89 HW1 for ten years, and recently purchased a TI-89 Titanium HW4 when Wal-Mart cleared these non-sellers for $72. There's still at least one left unsold at my local store after several weeks on clearance.

I'd long since ditched my first TI-89 dog, so I'd forgotten what a nasty oversized abomination the TI-89 series is. I believe that even $72 is overpriced for its limited and inconvenient capabilities.

It amazes me that any comparison with the HP50G can fail to acknowledge the great advantage of the HP50G SD card, the speed of the HP50G ARM, the superior legibility of the HP50G LCD, the HP50G's superior RT clock, the HP50G's superior keyboard, the TI-89's lack of sound capability, lack of printer capability, lack of external power connection, the TI-89's higher price (unless one can find a clearance), the TI-89's awkward clamshell design, etc., etc., etc.

In the review almost every machine that is NOT TI-made is essentially dismissed, and summary statements repeatedly suggest that a TI model is the only model that most are likely to find useful.

Me, I feel like my new TI-89 Titanium is a just a $72 paperweight, regardless of how baselessly glowing and effusive the review is.

                  
Re: TI NSPIRE vs HP50
Message #9 Posted by bill platt on 23 Apr 2010, 11:51 p.m.,
in response to message #8 by Mike Morrow

One has to wonder about your judgment, Mike...like, you should have known better than to buy that thing...

                  
Re: TI NSPIRE vs HP50
Message #10 Posted by John McCormick on 24 Apr 2010, 1:55 a.m.,
in response to message #8 by Mike Morrow

Stop by your local school or college of engineering. Find the freshmen. It's nearly guaranteed one of them will be toting around an HP 48...(or maybe better!) given to them by an uncle as they whine "I don't know how to use this thing. I wish I had a TI like everyone else." That's how I got mine.

                  
Re: TI NSPIRE vs HP50
Message #11 Posted by Ron Ross on 24 Apr 2010, 10:44 a.m.,
in response to message #8 by Mike Morrow

Well, Mike, your criticism is duly noted and I most assuredly do not work for Ti. I cannot refute a single statement you have made. However, I can assure you that my review is sound and fair. If the Hp50G were to gain more market inertia where there were several knowledgeable users available to demonstrate how much better the Hp 50G is in comparison to the Ti-89, I would gladly recommend the Hp 50G over the Ti-89. Notice I did not state the Ti-89 is the superior calculator, I stated it is the calculator you should choose for the normal high end user that canít transition over to RPN (and most common calculator users canít or wonít, same difference). I have tried to use many of the Hp 50G functions in algebraic mode and the calculator is simply not equal to the Ti-89 in algebraic mode.

If you canít read the screen of the Ti-89, Ti has the V-200 option available. EE and ME pro are kinda nice perks that Ti has made available for free on the Ti-89 family and arenít officially available to the normal Hp50G user either.

I could not in all honesty elaborate on those advantages to the normal user. That would mislead the normal (and not all that technically savvy) user to believe that the Hp 50G will solve his problems by the simple purchase of the calculator.

Let me address each of your superior features of the Hp 50G from a typical userís perspective:

Hp50G SD card, this is a great plus if you are aware of hpcalc.org, however, many typical users never download anything onto their calculators unless it is games or the teacher distributes something in class. If the Teacher does distribute something in class, IT WILL be for a Ti.

75 (or 200) MHz processor, My Ti-89 has never really been slow, especially in comparison to an Hp 48G. So Hp corrected their problem, but the Ti-89 never had complaints among the typical user for lack of speed.

Hp 50G LCD Another good point, but the standard user of the Ti-89 is probably 20 years younger than me, anyway and if not, can most likely afford to upgrade to the V200.

The Hp 50G clock, is a step backwards in comparison to the older clock in the Hp48G series and the newer Ti-89 now has a clock. The verdict is still not in on the Hp50G keyboard quality, although I am inclined to believe it is a great keyboard and its layout is far superior to the Ti-89.

I make two or three references to this shortcoming. However the quality of the Ti keyboard line is superb. Their line of keyboards do last. Hpís record over the last ten years doesnít compare.

Lack of sound, lack of printer, lack of power connections, none of these features are really important to the typical calculator user.

The slide on cover for the Ti-89 is probably the smarter choice of protection for Tiís intended market. The Hp48Gii uses the same type of slide on cover. Students do not take care of their equipment nearly as well as older professionals as a general rule.

I suggest you re-read some of my review. 9 out of 10 students should buy the Ti-89 for their studies, plain and simple. I have seen too many reviews where the typical student who buys the Hp 50G ends up abandoning it and buying a Ti. My review is meant to help that student avoid that mistake. As stated earlier, the inertia of the market ie limited number of Hp50G users available to consult is very limited and therefore if you buy an Hp50G, you cannot get personal help from any professor or fellow students (unless your professor is Harold Climber!!)

                        
Re: TI NSPIRE vs HP50
Message #12 Posted by Howard Owen on 24 Apr 2010, 12:18 p.m.,
in response to message #11 by Ron Ross

Quote:
Notice I did not state the Ti-89 is the superior calculator,

Your (valid) point about market inertia aside, while you may have stated the 50g is superior in some ways, you damned it with faint praise, in my opinion.

Quote:
I stated it is the calculator you should choose for the normal high end user that canít transition over to RPN (and most common calculator users canít or wonít, same difference).

Doesn't this assume that high school and college students are lunkheads incapable of learning anything? (Oh.. wait..)

Seriously, motivation aside, younger folks are far more capable of absorbing new techniques and knowledge. If you use mobile text, how well do you do at it? (I get by, but with a good mobile keyboard.) If you use Facebook, how well did you make the transition to Twitter? Did you find the transition from Myspace to Facebook easy or hard? Most young folks made both of those transitions, and will undoubtedly move on to whatever comes next. What's more, they still have and occasionally use the older accounts. Old farts like me tend to stick with Facebook.

Apart from the relative merits of RPN vs Algebraic, I think the difficulty of learning both is exaggerated for most young folks of reasonable intelligence.

Quote:
If you canít read the screen of the Ti-89, Ti has the V-200 option available.

Granted, young eyes are going to have less difficulty with illegible displays than my older ones.

Quote:
EE and ME pro are kinda nice perks that Ti has made available for free on the Ti-89 family and arenít officially available to the normal Hp50G user either.

TI can certainly afford to throw in more extras, given the volumes at which they sell their machines. Of course, to some extent, they need to do that because the underlying implementations lack features.

Quote:
I could not in all honesty elaborate on those advantages to the normal user. That would mislead the normal (and not all that technically savvy) user to believe that the Hp 50G will solve his problems by the simple purchase of the calculator.

I take your point that TI's domination of the educational calculator market is a powerful argument for using their machines in high school, and to a lesser extent in college. But I think this statement ignores an important fact. People under 30 years of age use the Internet in ways many of us older folks simply don't get. I was talking to a lady friend in Facebook chat last night. We were both listening to the same shoutcast stream - offshore radio - playing "old fart" music from the 50s, 60s and 70s. I was identifying tunes and artists from memory and doing pretty well at it. But she was cleaning my plow by using google on the lyrics. She was back to me with the identities of obscure songs in seconds. (I mean less than five, typically.) The point is not that googling such things is hard, it's that this was her first thought when confronted with a game like this. She's 30, and says her 10 year old daughter puts her to shame.

So I think your dismissal of hpcalc.org isn't warranted. Any young person with a tiny bit of interest in an HP calculator will have instant access to that site, and the rich resources available for the 50g. Of course, "tiny bit of interest" is a key phrase here.

Quote:

Hp50G SD card, this is a great plus if you are aware of hpcalc.org, however, many typical users never download anything onto their calculators unless it is games or the teacher distributes something in class. If the Teacher does distribute something in class, IT WILL be for a Ti.


See above as to hpcalc.org. You restate your main point that TI's market domination makes their machines a good choice for high school students. But I think your denigration of Internet resources here is just plain wrong.

Quote:

75 (or 200) MHz processor, My Ti-89 has never really been slow, especially in comparison to an Hp 48G. So Hp corrected their problem, but the Ti-89 never had complaints among the typical user for lack of speed.


Straw man. You lead with a comparison between the 75Mhz processor of the 50g and that of the TI-89, then dismiss it on the basis of a comparison with the HP48. Then you basically say the TI-89 speed is good enough. Maybe, but you are jumping through hoops to avoid acknowledging a clear advantage for HP.

Quote:
Hp 50G LCD Another good point, but the standard user of the Ti-89 is probably 20 years younger than me, anyway and if not, can most likely afford to upgrade to the V200.

Check. As above, young eyes do better with crappy displays. And since today's kids will be unlikely to continue squinting at any calculator after they leave school, the concern about eye damage is probably misplaced. :)

Quote:
The Hp 50G clock, is a step backwards in comparison to the older clock in the Hp48G series and the newer Ti-89 now has a clock. The verdict is still not in on the Hp50G keyboard quality, although I am inclined to believe it is a great keyboard and its layout is far superior to the Ti-89.

It has also been shown to be more durable than the 49g+ abomination. Point taken under advisement, but I think it's just here for rhetorical purposes. The 50g's keyboard may not last for 10 years, so we should make buying decisions on the assumption it won't. This denigrates the improved quality of HP's top of the line keyboards far more than is warranted, in my opinion.

Quote:

Lack of sound, lack of printer, lack of power connections, none of these features are really important to the typical calculator user.

The slide on cover for the Ti-89 is probably the smarter choice of protection for Tiís intended market. The Hp48Gii uses the same type of slide on cover. Students do not take care of their equipment nearly as well as older professionals as a general rule.


Check, and check.

Quote:
I suggest you re-read some of my review. 9 out of 10 students should buy the Ti-89 for their studies, plain and simple. I have seen too many reviews where the typical student who buys the Hp 50G ends up abandoning it and buying a Ti. My review is meant to help that student avoid that mistake. As stated earlier, the inertia of the market ie limited number of Hp50G users available to consult is very limited and therefore if you buy an Hp50G, you cannot get personal help from any professor or fellow students (unless your professor is Harold Climber!!)

OK, once again, your main point is valid. It's a hard pill for me to swallow that the far more powerful and elegant 50g or even the 39/40gs, are not appropriate choices for most high school students, but I think it's true. However dismissing resources for support that students will most definitely find, if they have an interest, is wrong.

Regards,
Howard

                              
Re: TI NSPIRE vs HP50
Message #13 Posted by Crawl on 24 Apr 2010, 12:37 p.m.,
in response to message #12 by Howard Owen

But the HP50g isn't just DIFFERENT (like Facebook / Twitter), it actually is HARDER.

Adjusting to RPN for most things (eg, arithmetic) is probably not that difficult, I agree.

But there are still some things I don't know how to do off the top of my head, and I've used this calculator just about daily for years. For instance, if I wanted to enter a definite integral, I'd have to do it in the equation editor, because I can't remember the order of the arguments otherwise.

If you forget the order of arguments on the TI89, the catalog list shows them.

If the HP50's help library was more complete it could close this gap, but it's not.

The HP50 also has esoteric names for commands. Eg., DROITE for the equation of a line. Even if the help library was more complete, you might not know to look that up to begin with.

Also, some programming tasks (mainly, loop breaking) are easier with TI basic than RPL (though RPL is more powerful).

Honestly, I don't know if I could say which calculator is "better". If I had to recommend one to a generic "average" user, I guess I probably would recommend the TI89, due to ease of use. If someone was more of a calculator "nerd", I'd probably recommend they get both (which is what I did).

                              
Re: TI NSPIRE vs HP50
Message #14 Posted by David Hayden on 25 Apr 2010, 12:27 p.m.,
in response to message #12 by Howard Owen

Quote:
Quote:
75 (or 200) MHz processor, My Ti-89 has never really been slow, especially in comparison to an Hp 48G. So Hp corrected their problem, but the Ti-89 never had complaints among the typical user for lack of speed.
Straw man. You lead with a comparison between the 75Mhz processor of the 50g and that of the TI-89, then dismiss it on the basis of a comparison with the HP48. Then you basically say the TI-89 speed is good enough. Maybe, but you are jumping through hoops to avoid acknowledging a clear advantage for HP.

The HP ARM is emulating a Saturn Processor while the TI is, I believe, running native code. If for no other reason than this, a comparison of clock speeds isn't very meaningful. The only real way to compare the performance is to run some benchmarks on both machines.

That said, I think it is true that the HP is capable of much faster calculations, but you have to code in C or ARM assembly. A good example is my Sudoku Solver on hpcalc.org. It can solve any Sudoku puzzle with a single solution in about 0.1 seconds.

                                    
Re: TI NSPIRE vs HP50
Message #15 Posted by Howard Owen on 25 Apr 2010, 1:26 p.m.,
in response to message #14 by David Hayden

Point taken on clock speeds. That certainly accounts for perceptions that the calculators have comparable performance. But I still think comparing the TI-89 to the HP-48 isn't fair.

As to native code, I'm out of touch. How many apps out there actually use the capability?

Regards, Howard

                        
Re: TI NSPIRE vs HP50
Message #16 Posted by Marcelo Vanti (Brasil) on 26 Apr 2010, 2:02 p.m.,
in response to message #11 by Ron Ross

Quote:
If the Teacher does distribute something in class, IT WILL be for a Ti

This does not apply to Brazil. All my students have HP 49g or
HP 50g, and I distribute programs for these calculators. On the
other side, I rarely see a TI 89 in class.:)
                  
Re: TI NSPIRE vs HP50
Message #17 Posted by Crawl on 24 Apr 2010, 12:13 p.m.,
in response to message #8 by Mike Morrow

No, the TI89 really is a great calculator. I was very surprised since I don't like other TI calculators. But they did a good job with that one, making it both durable (I've dropped it several times with no ill effects) and giving it powerful software.

Quote:
I'd forgotten what a nasty oversized abomination the TI-89 series is.

It's about the same size as the HP50. With the case, the HP50 is much bigger. It is possible to put a TI89 in jeans pockets (if you don't mind the bulge), but an HP50 in case will not fit in pants pockets. I've had winter coats whose pockets the HP50 won't fit into.

Quote:
the HP50G's superior keyboard

I don't think that's true. I've never had a problem with the TI89 keyboard. By the way, even when the HP50 is in its case, it is prone to accidentally having its power button turned on. This can cause it to go through batteries like crazy. The TI89's hard case prevents this, and it also has a little ridge by the on button to make it less likely to be accidentally pressed.

(I got a third party calculator case, probably intended for TI calculators (though it fits the HP perfectly), for my HP50, to deal with the power button issue)

Quote:
the speed of the HP50G ARM

Maybe you're talking about writing C or assembly for the calculator. When it comes to using the calculators' own math software, I haven't found either calculator to consistently be faster than the other, for all operations.

Quote:
the superior legibility of the HP50G LCD

I think the differences here are insignificant.

Quote:
the TI-89's lack of sound capability

I think this is trivial for most people. I've heard it's possible to devise some sort of headphone connection to the calculator through one of the ports if you really need it, though.

Quote:
the HP50G's superior RT clock

Really? Right now my HP's clock is off by ten minutes. I can't say for a fact that that's because it lost time, or because I set it wrong to begin with.

Quote:
the TI-89's awkward clamshell design

Well, it does do a good job of protecting the calculator, and, as I said, it prevents the calculator from being turned on accidentally.

Quote:
the great advantage of the HP50G SD card

This is a true advantage of the HP. The HP does have some real advantages over the TI (and vice versa).

But even this isn't as huge an advantage as it could be. If a program needs to be installed as a library, it still needs to be copied to the calculator's own (much more limited) memory.

On the other hand, I will say that I still think the TI89 is probably the only TI calculator worth buying. Graphing calculators without a CAS (like the TI83 or 84) are pointless.

                        
Re: TI NSPIRE vs HP50
Message #18 Posted by Don Shepherd on 25 Apr 2010, 5:47 a.m.,
in response to message #17 by Crawl

Quote:
Graphing calculators without a CAS (like the TI83 or 84) are pointless.

I would disagree. The TI-83 and 84 are wonderful calculators for graphing and studying equations or inequalities. As a math teacher, I use the 83's to help my students explore all kinds of things related to equations, like slope, y-intercept, parallel and perpendicular lines, intersection points, and so on. Recently I had my students determine the equation of a line using two points, then graph the equation and look at the table of x/y pairs to see that the original two points are in the table. That was useful.

Of all the graphing calculators I have used over the years, the 83 and 84 are easiest to use and have the features that are most useful. They don't need a CAS at all, although CAS is available on them through third parties.

                              
Re: TI NSPIRE vs HP50
Message #19 Posted by Bart (UK) on 26 Apr 2010, 4:39 a.m.,
in response to message #18 by Don Shepherd

So what happened to the good old paper & pencil method?

How times change :)

                                    
Re: TI NSPIRE vs HP50
Message #20 Posted by Don Shepherd on 26 Apr 2010, 6:58 a.m.,
in response to message #19 by Bart (UK)

Quote:
So what happened to the good old paper & pencil method?

Oh, we do that too.


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