|Re: "Obsolescence" of old HP calcs vs. old PC's |
Message #14 Posted by Mike Morrow on 22 Mar 2007, 7:02 p.m.,
in response to message #4 by Karl Schneider
I have owned many HP calculators since I bought my first in 1976(HP-67, to be followed by 12C, 15C, 17BII, 21, 25, 28C, 28S, 32SII, 35, 38, 41C, 41CX, 42S, 48SX, 48GX, 49g+, and several others). My 1986 HP-15C immediately became my favorite. I used it daily for 11 years.
I was at last able to find a HP42S. It blows the HP-15C away in every detail except appearance. The HP42S is far far easier to use than the HP-15C. Its functions are much more naturally accessible and integrated, especially when dealing with complex numbers. It has much more memory, and far better program editing capabilities. Computation is much faster at much greater precision. It has a two-line LCD. It can send output via IR to a printer. It even has an (unadvertised) simple debugger that can be accessed to examine internal ROM/RAM or alter (temporarily) operating system RAM, in order to do such things as double the speed of operation. With all this, the HP42S is still essentially the same size and weight of the HP-15C. IMHO, this 20-year-old design is easily the best RPN calculator of all time.
The only things for which I would fault the HP42S are:
(1) That terribly ugly, low contrast, fecal brown and orange color scheme. Some gang of new-age left-coast artsy nitwits at HP really messed up *all* HP calculator color schemes after the mid-1980s (but that really started with that unappealing HP-41C in 1979). The classic sharp HP black case, gold and blue shift keys, and blue/black HP logo are far more attractive and easier on the eyes. The HP-15C was the last of that kind.
(2) I like the "landscape" key arrangement of the HP-15C better.
(3) No real-time clock/calendar, even though the hardware has a quartz clock. (The HP-15C didn't have one either.)
(4) No simple time-value-of-money functions. (Neither does the HP-15C.)
With respect to mechanical properties, the HP-15C is very prone to losing its rubber feet, the small battery door, and/or the model/logo square insert on the front. The aluminum around the LCD is easily scratched. The chrome paint on the logo insert quickly wears off. But despite daily use, my HP42S still has perfect feet and looks as good overall as the day I took it out of the box in 1997.
When I read comments that elevate the HP-15C over the HP42S, I have to wonder if those making such comments ever actually *extensively* used *both* calculators over a long period of time. I have eleven years with the HP-15C, followed by ten years with the HP42S. I still have both, but only the HP42S (and my hp49g+) get any use today.
If the HP42S could be re-issued in HP-15C dress, that to me would be ideal.