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Is 50g good or crap?
05-01-2014, 02:33 AM
Post: #1
Is 50g good or crap?
So, one can never have enough "extra" HP RPN calculators (especially considering that most kids nowadays have not even heard of RPN, and this market doesn't seem attractive to HP or any other vendor; the 15c LE notwithstanding -- I always wonder how successful that was for HP).

Anyway, is the 50g worth buying?

I read some reviews on Amazon that keep saying the keys are great, but the construction is terrible and it breaks if you drop it just one or two inches (display LCD lines) or somehow it stops working after 1 or 2 years, etc.

What's the real truth of the matter? I want to hear from real enthusiasts here.

Thanks!

PS - I thought about a Prime, but I don't think I will like the slow startup time. I assume that like most smarty tablety things these days, it is not instantaneous startup, unlike the Voyager series calcs that I have (11c, 12c, and 15c). And I read that the 35s has lots of bugs. I had a 33s which is crap (screen was just terrible) and sold it.
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05-01-2014, 02:43 AM
Post: #2
RE: Is 50g good or crap?
"Anyway, is the 50g worth buying?"
According to which criteria?

"I assume that like most smarty tablety things these days, it is not instantaneous startup"
Timing is actually pretty decent.
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05-01-2014, 02:54 AM
Post: #3
RE: Is 50g good or crap?
(05-01-2014 02:43 AM)Tugdual Wrote:  "Anyway, is the 50g worth buying?"
According to which criteria?

"I assume that like most smarty tablety things these days, it is not instantaneous startup"
Timing is actually pretty decent.

Hi - top criteria for 50g is, decent robustness (e.g., will it really get damaged from a 2 inch drop onto the table?) and screen clarity (unlike 32s which was crap IHMO). I am not too worried about super advanced functions (I would just go to the computer for that) as long as common general scientific and mathematical stuff is accessible.

For timing, you mean the PRIME starts up pretty decent? If so then that is promising. How do the PRIME hardware keys compare to the 50g keys (compared to the quality of the good old days?)
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05-01-2014, 03:30 AM
Post: #4
RE: Is 50g good or crap?
Well, that's a question that depends on personal judgement. I don't have a Prime but do have an HP50g and consider it my primary calculator - and have used it as such for years. My workhorse calculator, on the other hand, is my HP 20b converted to the much discussed WP 34S. I'd say 95% of my calculating needs are handled supremely well by the '34S while the '50g handles matrix calculations, simultaneous equations, etc. And my HP 30b is in the car to calculate MPG, potential home costs, etc. And my HP 12C Platinum is in the office when I do my taxes.

I've had HP calculators since my HP-25 (no C) in 1975, including the '67, '41C, '01, and so on. Nobody makes calculators with the build quality and ruggedness of those early ones. But then again, the '50 doesn't cost a month or two's pay.

I use these a lot. It is still faster and easier to bang out a circuit resonance or resistor calculation on the '34S than to call up an emulator and use the QWERTY keyboard or (heaven forbid!) a mouse. As an aerospace electrical engineer, I need results that are right and quickly. These work great for me.

My '50 has been around the US and dropped many times. It shows *no* signs of wear (hooray for its fine case!). Even the much maligned rubber feet are in fine shape. For something I rely on for my livelihood, I consider that significant.

Is the '50g worth buying? If you like the '48/'49 series, you'll be pleased with the '50. At today's lowered prices, it's a bargain.

Do remember the dynamics of user feedback - those who have (or perceive) problems are typically far more vocal than those who don't. The number of postings by satisfied '50 owners should be noted.

Best to you from the Pacific Northwest -
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05-01-2014, 03:40 AM
Post: #5
RE: Is 50g good or crap?
Thanks Jim, sounds good.
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05-01-2014, 07:19 AM
Post: #6
RE: Is 50g good or crap?
(05-01-2014 02:33 AM)lemontea Wrote:  Anyway, is the 50g worth buying?

Definitely. It's a solid calculator with excellent programming features, a nice screen, a decent keyboard. Could it be improved? See all the posts in this forum that aren't complaints about the Prime Wink

The 50g is an evolution of the HP 48. It's much faster, has bug fixes and improvements, and is available at good prices. I think it's the best value in its class.

It ain't OVER 'till it's 2 PICK
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05-01-2014, 07:37 AM
Post: #7
RE: Is 50g good or crap?
Thanks for the input.
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05-01-2014, 09:27 AM
Post: #8
RE: Is 50g good or crap?
(05-01-2014 02:33 AM)lemontea Wrote:  I read some reviews on Amazon that keep saying the keys are great, but the construction is terrible and it breaks if you drop it just one or two inches (display LCD lines) or somehow it stops working after 1 or 2 years, etc.

I've had my 50g for a long time - pretty much since they first came out. It's been well used and it is fine. I've carried it around a lot and nothing bad has ever happened to it. I love it - it's what the 48SX should have been a decade earlier.

Nigel (UK)
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05-01-2014, 10:21 AM
Post: #9
RE: Is 50g good or crap?
hello lamontea,

if you are looking for a robust calculator then the hp 50g is a good choice. The quality of this product is best you can obtain in nowadays.

But if you need a calc which makes only calculation for you (not very complex, not with a lot of sometimes rare functions, not with extended programming features), then it might be a oversized machine.

Don't forget this a complex machine, even if you want to use the 50g in standard situations fast and clever, you have to learn a lot how the components flags, display, directory structure and different kind of modes work together.

Greetings
peacecalc
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05-01-2014, 10:31 AM
Post: #10
RE: Is 50g good or crap?
ok thanks; yes you are right, it might be too complicated for my purposes.

i don't really need graphing on a handheld.
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05-01-2014, 10:48 AM
Post: #11
RE: Is 50g good or crap?
here the main reasons why I prefer the 50g instead of Prime:

- Prime has a Li-Ion battery, so I am not so indepent as with AAA batteries. That was the reason why I did not buy a Prime.
- Prime has not a SD card slot
- Some people says the colors of the "2nd" or "3rd" keys are difficult to read.
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05-01-2014, 10:50 AM (This post was last modified: 05-01-2014 11:06 AM by Manolo Sobrino.)
Post: #12
RE: Is 50g good or crap?
(05-01-2014 10:21 AM)peacecalc Wrote:  if you are looking for a robust calculator then the hp 50g is a good choice. The quality of this product is best you can obtain in nowadays.

(edit) ... let's say I can't agree with this.

To the OP: Have a look at the upcoming WP 31S (on a 30b).
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05-01-2014, 11:02 AM
Post: #13
RE: Is 50g good or crap?
(05-01-2014 02:33 AM)lemontea Wrote:  I thought about a Prime, but I don't think I will like the slow startup time (...).

You will not be disappointed with a HP-Prime, despite so many people whining about it here and there. I never saw a perfect calculator so far, all of them have issues and limitations.
I have both HP-50G and HP-Prime, like both of them, but for me the Prime has an edge in all aspects, except if you really want to keep using that obscure yet powerful RPL language available in the 49 series.
On the other hand, the HP-Prime programming language is a much more high level, elegant, structured (despite being basic when compared with professional programming environments), and much more easy to learn than RPL.

The Prime is a modern calculator, extremely fast when compared with other calculators, good to use for normal engineering or school duties, and above all, it is fun to use.

Jose Mesquita
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05-01-2014, 11:12 AM (This post was last modified: 05-01-2014 11:13 AM by jebem.)
Post: #14
RE: Is 50g good or crap?
(05-01-2014 10:48 AM)Alvaro Wrote:  here the main reasons why I prefer the 50g instead of Prime:

- Prime has a Li-Ion battery, so I am not so indepent as with AAA batteries. That was the reason why I did not buy a Prime.
- Prime has not a SD card slot
- Some people says the colors of the "2nd" or "3rd" keys are difficult to read.

Hi, Alvaro!
I see your objections...
As I see it:
- The HP-Prime battery has an edge over disposable cells: more energy to run a stronger processor, save the planet and save your money;
- The SD slot is not my primary concern, as nowadays we connect our devices to computers. Granted, HP still has to deliver the connectivity kit to run on other platforms than just Windows.
- Yes, that crazy color combination is the Achilles heel of the prime. And it is so easy to replace the keyboard... just unscrew and open the case. Now, when is HP releasing a black series key set for the hobbits like us? Smile

Jose Mesquita
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05-01-2014, 11:32 AM
Post: #15
RE: Is 50g good or crap?
(05-01-2014 11:12 AM)jebem Wrote:  
(05-01-2014 10:48 AM)Alvaro Wrote:  here the main reasons why I prefer the 50g instead of Prime:

- Prime has a Li-Ion battery, so I am not so indepent as with AAA batteries. That was the reason why I did not buy a Prime.
- Prime has not a SD card slot
- Some people says the colors of the "2nd" or "3rd" keys are difficult to read.

Hi, Alvaro!
I see your objections...
As I see it:
- The HP-Prime battery has an edge over disposable cells: more energy to run a stronger processor, save the planet and save your money;
- The SD slot is not my primary concern, as nowadays we connect our devices to computers. Granted, HP still has to deliver the connectivity kit to run on other platforms than just Windows.
- Yes, that crazy color combination is the Achilles heel of the prime. And it is so easy to replace the keyboard... just unscrew and open the case. Now, when is HP releasing a black series key set for the hobbits like us? Smile

Hi jebem,
I will NEVER buy a Calculator with Li-Ion cells. I prefer to have 1,2,3 sets of rechargable AAA cells.
I have a ASUS 636 and after 5 Years of use the Li-Ion is dead so I had to buy a new one. Original I donĀ“t think there are available and if so that would be very expansive, so I bought a Compatible one. Now the question is how long this cell will last. Second disadvantage is that I have always to be near a "source" for charging and while it is charging I can not move from place.
About the SD Card, as with the Li-Ion cell, you need to be near a "Windows" Source for Storage or Charging. Not very suitable for the usage of a Calculator.
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05-01-2014, 11:57 AM
Post: #16
RE: Is 50g good or crap?
(05-01-2014 11:02 AM)jebem Wrote:  
(05-01-2014 02:33 AM)lemontea Wrote:  I thought about a Prime, but I don't think I will like the slow startup time (...).

On the other hand, the HP-Prime programming language is a much more high level, elegant, structured (despite being basic when compared with professional programming environments), and much more easy to learn than RPL.

Hi jebem,
the Prime has not UserRPL? Not RPN at all? What is the Programing Language?
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05-01-2014, 12:35 PM
Post: #17
RE: Is 50g good or crap?
(05-01-2014 10:48 AM)Alvaro Wrote:  here the main reasons why I prefer the 50g instead of Prime:

- Prime has a Li-Ion battery, so I am not so indepent as with AAA batteries. That was the reason why I did not buy a Prime.
- Prime has not a SD card slot
- Some people says the colors of the "2nd" or "3rd" keys are difficult to read.
They're INFINITELY better than the godawful color scheme of the Prime though... that blue... very difficult to make out in various lighting conditions...

Personally, I've only had 28S(sold), 48SX(loaned to someone who never bothered to return it), 49G(godawful keys, and fugly), 50G and Prime(fw is halfbaked).

28S: no connectivity, so I got rid of it pretty quickly once I really got into using it and recognized what a limitation of having no way to backup/restore from a desktop was.

48SX: I LOVED that calc...

49g: really only purchased to replace the 48SX, but those keys... and it was ugly...

Prime will probably end up being my choice once the firmware gets to a decent state as it's VERY VERY FAST, drawback is that it's so different from my prior HP calcs, so it has a bit of a learning curve again along with the iffy current firmware.

HP 50G: To me it's pretty much like all the 4X and even 28S. My only real disappointment with it was when they switched to ARM SoCs that they didn't rewrite the OS natively, but just emulate a saturn running the saturn based firmware. It's still much faster than the 49g(and looks/feels loads better) but it could've been even faster had they gone native. SD card slot is nice, but Prime has a good amount of builtin flash memory.

Also purchased(I'm pretty horrible at soldering) a WP 34S last early winter, which is the closest calculator that I've used closer to the older style less capable HPs. (3.2 fw ATM, plan to try flashing to 3.3 myself sometime this year maybe... Big Grin)
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05-01-2014, 12:45 PM
Post: #18
RE: Is 50g good or crap?
I certainly wouldn't call the 50g crap, but while it has a number of advances over the 48, it's also a step back in several ways.

The added functionality has really outgrown the keyboard (which doesn't feel as nice as a 48, by the way), and the menu structure is a lot more confusing, with a number of things duplicated and buried in odd places. I personally decided the cool new features weren't worth the tradeoff in usability for me, so I keep a 48 on my desk.
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05-01-2014, 01:09 PM
Post: #19
RE: Is 50g good or crap?
(05-01-2014 11:57 AM)Alvaro Wrote:  Hi jebem,
the Prime has not UserRPL? Not RPN at all? What is the Programing Language?

Hi, Alvaro,

HP-Prime is like having two different calculators in one package: Home Mode, and CAS mode. So, two different parsers, two different approaches available to handle a specific task.
The CAS mode can be disabled, so the calculator can be approved for official school exams.
The two modes interact in many ways,but the integration seems to be missing here and there. That is normal, this is a young product, and it seems that HP is actively fixing and evolving the firmware (next release due in this month...).

The HP-Prime do not have RPL. The programming language is called something like HP-PPL (HP-Prime Programming language) and for me it looks like PASCAL in a more basic format and features. But it is a good programming environment for a pocket calculator, I would say it is above average for what others brands and models are offering.

HP-Prime has RPN in Home mode only.

Jose Mesquita
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05-01-2014, 01:15 PM (This post was last modified: 05-01-2014 01:31 PM by Alvaro.)
Post: #20
RE: Is 50g good or crap?
(05-01-2014 01:09 PM)jebem Wrote:  
(05-01-2014 11:57 AM)Alvaro Wrote:  Hi jebem,
the Prime has not UserRPL? Not RPN at all? What is the Programing Language?

Hi, Alvaro,

HP-Prime is like having two different calculators in one package: Home Mode, and CAS mode. So, two different parsers, two different approaches available to handle a specific task.
The CAS mode can be disabled, so the calculator can be approved for official school exams.
The two modes interact in many ways,but the integration seems to be missing here and there. That is normal, this is a young product, and it seems that HP is actively fixing and evolving the firmware (next release due in this month...).

The HP-Prime do not have RPL. The programming language is called something like HP-PPL (HP-Prime Programming language) and for me it looks like PASCAL in a more basic format and features. But it is a good programming environment for a pocket calculator, I would say it is above average for what others brands and models are offering.

HP-Prime has RPN in Home mode only.

Hi jebem,
Thank you for the information.

Does that "HP-PPL" has a command something like "GOTO" so that you can jump forward and backword in a Programm?
Does that "HP-PPL" also make a heavy use of the Stack like UserRPL?
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