The Museum of HP Calculators

HP Forum Archive 02

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Message #1 Posted by John Mosand on 16 Mar 2000, 1:14 p.m.

Hi everyone:

I have used HP's since the first 41 was introduced, and I updated to a 48SX as soon as that one came. I have been very satisfied with it. Now I have repeatedly seen indications that the 49 isn't quite up to expectations. Could someone please tell me what are all its advantages/disadvantages as against the 48? (Before I'm tempted to buy a 49 :-)

Thank you, John

Re: HP49?
Message #2 Posted by Sam Peld on 16 Mar 2000, 2:07 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by John Mosand


My own experience is that the HP49G is a fine machine IF YOU KNOW HOW TO DRIVE IT! Comming from a HP48 should help, however I came to the HP49G via a much loved HP67 and the HP32SII. I now realise is that I want an HP42SII (along with every other reader of these pages! HP take note.)


It's big and its heavy - pocket calculator it aint. It's too bright and garish (professionals don't like this) The slip on cover looks cheap (to me) You have to press quite hard on the rubbery keyboard The screen cover reduces the contrast

The above are only minor points and you do get used to them.

The manual that comes with the calculator is just a short introduction to the machine, no more. The on-line manuals are not much better only giving you a brief introduction on each subject, there seems to be no progression of ideas - ie you don't build a knowledge of the machine as you progress through the manual. Every part seems to have a moronic attitude of: 'you press these keys to get the following result' and this does not teach you much.

I have not found ANY (official) info on how to program the calculator in RPN mode.

I love the HP67 manual because it leads the reader through mastering basic topics and going on to more complex ones.

Sorry if this sounds like I have something against the HP49, I don't, it's just the manuals are soooooooooo bad for me.

I have written technical documents myself and I guess the people (or managers of those) who wrote the ones for the HP49G have lost the plot. Early HP manuals seem to be written by people who realy USED the calcs and were able to pass their knowledge on.

Readable manuals ?
Message #3 Posted by Menno on 17 Mar 2000, 2:34 a.m.,
in response to message #2 by Sam Peld

In the past is happend often that the responce for a question (placed on a BBS) about the 48 was: READ THE F***ING MANUAL !. But I did, I did !! scout's honour ! Just like Sam wrote that old manuals were more clear then the new ones: the manual for the 48 was not written in my "language". So I bought a book from James Donnelly, and suddenly the light was switched on. I have the 48 on my desk but I don't take it into meetings because it will show off too much. I prefer to take my 42, which looks are so modest but capable of so much.The 48 is a good machine and I like to use it, I even got that HP48GX-emulator standard on my desktop. Really If I had to choose I take the 42. (HP when is the HP42SII or HP43S available ?, and please same size as 42 and NO rubber keyboard ! )

Yes a clear manual is useful, but how to tune in to someones "language" James Donnely writes/speaks my "language" and the guy that wrote the 48GX manual does not. I can hardly get into the strategy/filosofy of that HP-writer. It's the same as on University some professors you immeaditly understand and some only after some time.

But I can image that there are people that like the 48GX manual and don't like Donnely's. It's a compromise.


Re: Readable manuals ?
Message #4 Posted by Mike on 17 Mar 2000, 3:02 p.m.,
in response to message #3 by Menno

I come from the 41CV, 48SX world. I've had the 49G now for about 3 months. Getting used to this new machine took a bit of effort! Its keyboard layout is totally different and some of the programs written for the 48x series will run but not necessarily in the same way on the 49G (due to new data type support (i.e. floating point and integer data types added to 49G whereas only one type was used to represent these type of data on the 48x series). However, now that I've spun up on the 49G I like it much more than my 49SX (and I really like my 48SX).

The only gripe I have at this point (and it is a pretty big one so get ready) is this...


Even the so-called "advanced" user's guides available via dowload are actually no more than a really good pocket reference. Serious.

I'm finding out that I have to refer to my manuals on the HP48SX in order to actually use many of the features on the 49G. The manuals that came with the 48x series walked you through EVERY feature of the 48x with copious examples of each. WONDERFUL! I actually enjoyed reading the 48x series manual.

HP's reasoning behind not providing more resource material for the 49G is "paper reduction".

Uhh, Ok.?.?.? I'm all for environmental issues... However, if HP decides to restrict in-box information, opting instead for information available via the web then they ought to provide sufficient info to rival previous versions. Come-on HP give me access to DETAILED INFO! There isn't even any mention of the escape sequences needed for creating programs on a PC (and downloaded via the Connectivity Kit). It is however, in the 48 manual. NOT GOOD! What do you say HP? The calculator in my opinion is great! Could we have manuals to match?

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