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HP Prime - worthy successor to HP-71B ?
09-25-2017, 03:57 PM (This post was last modified: 09-25-2017 04:01 PM by Vincent Weber.)
Post: #1
HP Prime - worthy successor to HP-71B ?
Hi all,

I post this here rather than in the HP Prime forum intentionally, since I would like to gather opinions from people who are "golden era" fans and may not even read the Prime forum.

I resisted buying a Prime for 4 years, thinking that I would not like a color screen CAS calculator - too far off. Then I saw one by chance and was impressed by its sleek design and light weight, and bought one.

To my surprise, after a learning curve, I actually like it a lot now. It is pleasant to use, and still a calculator, not a small computer with windows, documents and trackball like the Nspire. You can put RPN on it, it will neither be the 4 level good old one nor the complex 48 style, but the touch screen makes it easy to move numbers around the stack.
And as far as programming is concerned, it is not the complex, obfuscated, horrible RPL language as Valentin Albillo would say, but a BASIC-like form of Pascal - a bit tidious to deal with BEGIN, END and semicolons again, but the HPPL language is powerful, function-oriented, and fully integrated with the math stuff. Translating programs from the 71B to the Prime is not free, but can be done reasonably.
One complaint even Valentin had about the 71B is the small one-line screen. No such constraint on the Prime, with a large multiline screen.
And of course, even if you don't like the CAS, the math functions (complex numbers, matrices,solve, integrate...) are top notch. Plus a spreadsheet app !

The device has the good old HP feel (albeit a few scratches), the keyboard is good, reminiscent of the HP-15C and HP-71B.

I opened my mind to the 21st century and I regret that it took me so long to realise that it is not that bad. It gives me hope...

Valentin and all... Would you say "Long live the HP Prime ?" Smile

Cheers,

Vincent
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09-25-2017, 04:15 PM
Post: #2
RE: HP Prime - worthy successor to HP-71B ?
Since no one has yet responded, let me be the first to say "no."

It ain't OVER 'till it's 2 PICK
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09-25-2017, 04:17 PM
Post: #3
RE: HP Prime - worthy successor to HP-71B ?
A very clear answer (albeit not so detailed Wink )
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09-25-2017, 07:39 PM
Post: #4
RE: HP Prime - worthy successor to HP-71B ?
(09-25-2017 04:15 PM)HP67 Wrote:  Since no one has yet responded...

Amazing, since 18 whole minutes had elapsed.

(09-25-2017 04:15 PM)HP67 Wrote:  ... let me be the first to say "no."

Then let me (hopefully sufficiently old to meet the OP's criteria) be the first to say "yes", as a huge fan of both the HP-71 and the Prime. They're both great machines.

X<> c
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09-25-2017, 07:39 PM
Post: #5
RE: HP Prime - worthy successor to HP-71B ?
I don't think the Prime is trying to be a successor to the 71b. The 71b was a tool for scientists and engineers. I believe that the Prime is designed primarily for high school and college students studying math. Different markets.

According to Tim, the Prime is doing reasonably well with its intended audience.
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09-25-2017, 07:46 PM (This post was last modified: 09-25-2017 07:48 PM by Vincent Weber.)
Post: #6
RE: HP Prime - worthy successor to HP-71B ?
Yes, I know the Prime is not intended for the same market as the 71B, yet I think they have a lot in common - especially the powerful function-based BASIC-like language and the advanced math - plus the size and keyboard.
Besides I am quite happy to read that the Prime is doing well in education market. Last time I read that was for the HP-48 - a century ago !
Welcome back, HP ?
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09-26-2017, 03:34 PM
Post: #7
RE: HP Prime - worthy successor to HP-71B ?
How about math, does the Prime match the *amazing* prowess of the 71 Math Pack?
And this is a tall order, mind you...
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09-26-2017, 03:36 PM
Post: #8
RE: HP Prime - worthy successor to HP-71B ?
(09-26-2017 03:34 PM)Ángel Martin Wrote:  How about math, does the Prime match the *amazing* prowess of the 71 Math Pack?
And this is a tall order, mind you...
I would say yes... But you tell me ! Smile
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09-26-2017, 04:42 PM
Post: #9
RE: HP Prime - worthy successor to HP-71B ?
(09-26-2017 03:34 PM)Ángel Martin Wrote:  How about math, does the Prime match the *amazing* prowess of the 71 Math Pack?
And this is a tall order, mind you...

Interesting question! So I just plowed through the HP-71 Math Pac Owner's Manual, and the only things I found which I don't recall seeing in the HP Prime are these:

NEIGHBOR(X,Y) [nearest machine-representable number to X in the direction of Y]
LOG2(X) [same as LN(X)/LN(2)]
SCALE10(X,P) [same as X*alog10(P)]
NAN$(X) [Prime doesn't seem to have NaNs with embedded error codes]
PROJ(Z) [It seems that Prime does not support complex infinity]

But all the real meat-and-potatoes functionality of the HP-71 Math Pac is certainly present in the Prime.

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09-26-2017, 05:07 PM
Post: #10
RE: HP Prime - worthy successor to HP-71B ?
I haven't thought that the 71b is this powerful...

I wish Swiss Micros can one day make the DM71, with at least four line display...

Yes, we can dream....
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09-26-2017, 05:20 PM
Post: #11
RE: HP Prime - worthy successor to HP-71B ?
(09-26-2017 05:07 PM)Jlouis Wrote:  I haven't thought that the 71b is this powerful...

It is a lot more powerful than that. If one line of text is not enough, connect it to a monitor using an HPIL->Video interface. And if you want to control your laboratory equipment with it, plug in an HPIL->HPIB interface. And it has a proper typewriter keyboard made from "original HP" wonderkeys. Lots of, at least three times as many as a prime. The only thing it can't do is graphics.
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09-26-2017, 07:10 PM
Post: #12
RE: HP Prime - worthy successor to HP-71B ?
HP was shooting for the ‘use it in school then chuck it in the bin’ type of market which TI has always had success in. The Prime is not designed as a general purpose calculator for all users, it’s a school implement. Too bad that, unlike TI, HP doesn’t have the textbook publishers printing the step by step how-tos in the math textbooks, or a captive math educator market who recommends the calculator they received training in.

Ironically this product came to market right as graphing calculator apps started being allowed in schools.

I get it, HP looked at the education market and it was the biggest, but I really can’t see the Prime, with its short battery life and teething problems, taking off more than it did. It appears they no longer list the 50G on their calculator site, they’ve gone all in on the Prime. I would feel somewhat bad about this but their fans tried to warn them. Thankfully the old machines will last for a long time still and we have several options for RPN outside HP now too.

The 71b was an extremely powerful computer for its time, in a handheld form factor, with massive expansion, an excellent keyboard, a great screen, you can’t compare it to a school calculator.
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09-27-2017, 09:28 AM
Post: #13
RE: HP Prime - worthy successor to HP-71B ?
(09-25-2017 03:57 PM)Vincent Weber Wrote:  I regret that it took me so long...
No reason to regret the waiting time if you managed to get yourself the latest HW version with the readable color scheme.
I love the Prime, but not my 1st generation one.

Best,
FDR
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09-27-2017, 11:59 AM
Post: #14
RE: HP Prime - worthy successor to HP-71B ?
I still have the HP-71B that I bought new in 1984. It was a great machine for its time, but the Prime's larger display and more modern BASIC dialect make it much nicer to use. Not to mention that the Prime is about 1000 times faster! As said above it's really comparing apples to oranges since they were designed for different purposes.

I personally like "the complex, obfuscated, horrible RPL language" a lot more than BASIC, so I mainly use my HP 50 these days.

John
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09-27-2017, 12:27 PM
Post: #15
RE: HP Prime - worthy successor to HP-71B ?
Hello!

(09-27-2017 11:59 AM)John Keith Wrote:  I personally like "the complex, obfuscated, horrible RPL language" a lot more than BASIC, so I mainly use my HP 50 these days.

The HP 50 is probably the only calculator in my collection (*) which I did not even bother to turn on to see if it works. I know what RPL looks like and don't have to see it with my own eyes every time and again ;-)

How different we are!

Regards Max

(*) With the exception of one of these "special edition" HP-15C re-releases which I left sealed in it's box.
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09-27-2017, 03:10 PM
Post: #16
RE: HP Prime - worthy successor to HP-71B ?
(09-27-2017 11:59 AM)John Keith Wrote:  I personally like "the complex, obfuscated, horrible RPL language" a lot more than BASIC, so I mainly use my HP 50 these days.

This expression is Valentin Albillo's, who *hates* RPL Smile

I used to agree with you. My first HP was an HP-48SX in 1990 for my studies. I really marveled at it, and thought how superior was RPL to everything - with the extreme concept of "everything is an object on the stack, even a program".

Then Valentin opened my mind to BASIC machines and I realized one thing. With RPL, you keep wondering questions on how to manage the stack, and get the right objet at the right level. Which may be fun for a while but is perfectlly useless: what you want is a way to easily translate your algorithm into a program. Which BASIC is much better at. Especially when it is an advanced formed of BASIC, closer to structured programming languages with functions, such the PASCAL-like HPPL.

In essence, the prime looks to me like a fast, colorful HP-49G for which the programming language has been changed from RPL to HPPL. For the best, I think.

It is no surprise that the 48 was successful in college... until the TI-89 came in 1998. The TI-92 was more user-friendly than the 48 but way too big. The TI-89 was just the right size, and its BASIC was way more friendly than RPL. HP never regained this superiority, even with the 49G (rubber keys on an HP calculator !).

The Prime may well be what the 48 should have been in the first place: A 71B in a calc format, with a large screen, high speed, and powerful math librairies.
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09-27-2017, 06:07 PM (This post was last modified: 09-27-2017 06:14 PM by Tim Wessman.)
Post: #17
RE: HP Prime - worthy successor to HP-71B ?
(09-26-2017 07:10 PM)Sukiari Wrote:  HP doesn’t have the textbook publishers printing the step by step how-tos in the math textbooks, or a captive math educator market who recommends the calculator they received training in.

To a large extent, neither does TI anymore. Most books are now coming with "supplements" that give steps for specific models and there are few if any being published that are pure "ti" any more. I think ~10 of those are on the market right now in the US for Prime. You also don't have visibility to the ~6 or so popular textbooks in latin america that are Prime centric (exclusive), nor the ones in Europe.

Quote:I would feel somewhat bad about this but their fans tried to warn them.

Warn them that a machine designed for a *ahem* dying breed of individuals (of which I am one for certain!!!) is the future? Not seeing that one myself. Smile

TW

Although I work for the HP calculator group, the views and opinions I post here are my own.
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09-27-2017, 06:09 PM
Post: #18
RE: HP Prime - worthy successor to HP-71B ?
(09-27-2017 03:10 PM)Vincent Weber Wrote:  
(09-27-2017 11:59 AM)John Keith Wrote:  I personally like "the complex, obfuscated, horrible RPL language" a lot more than BASIC, so I mainly use my HP 50 these days.

This expression is Valentin Albillo's, who *hates* RPL Smile

Actually Valentin used the term RePeLlent.

Couldn't agree more.

Greetings,
    Massimo

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09-27-2017, 06:50 PM
Post: #19
RE: HP Prime - worthy successor to HP-71B ?
(09-27-2017 09:28 AM)f_d_reckermann Wrote:  
(09-25-2017 03:57 PM)Vincent Weber Wrote:  I regret that it took me so long...
No reason to regret the waiting time if you managed to get yourself the latest HW version with the readable color scheme.
I love the Prime, but not my 1st generation one.

Best,
FDR
Thanks ! Smile You're right, I got a 2016 C hardware, which is good.
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09-27-2017, 06:57 PM
Post: #20
RE: HP Prime - worthy successor to HP-71B ?
(09-26-2017 07:10 PM)Sukiari Wrote:  HP was shooting for the ‘use it in school then chuck it in the bin’ type of market which TI has always had success in. The Prime is not designed as a general purpose calculator for all users, it’s a school implement. Too bad that, unlike TI, HP doesn’t have the textbook publishers printing the step by step how-tos in the math textbooks, or a captive math educator market who recommends the calculator they received training in.

Ironically this product came to market right as graphing calculator apps started being allowed in schools.

I get it, HP looked at the education market and it was the biggest, but I really can’t see the Prime, with its short battery life and teething problems, taking off more than it did. It appears they no longer list the 50G on their calculator site, they’ve gone all in on the Prime. I would feel somewhat bad about this but their fans tried to warn them. Thankfully the old machines will last for a long time still and we have several options for RPN outside HP now too.

The 71b was an extremely powerful computer for its time, in a handheld form factor, with massive expansion, an excellent keyboard, a great screen, you can’t compare it to a school calculator.
The HP Prime does not look so "schooling" to me. It is well build, nice keyboard. You don't need qwerty keyboard when you can chose the right command from the menus. Its screen is good. Its volume is half of the 71B. You don't need ROM modules when you have the internet and plenty of memory. And the Prime as wireless connectivity if need be. Its battery life is quite enough, charging every two weeks is ok, at least you don't have batteries melting in the calculator if you forget them... And remember the poor autonomy of HP LED calculators ? Smile

I thought like you not so long ago. Give it a try ! I feel the Prime is the best thing HP has produced for years. It is not perfect, it freezes some times, it's lacks some commands and directories, but there are regular updates that give hope.
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