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Full Version: How many of you prefer the Prime's Base Conversion to the 50g?
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Of course, the question was somewhat made in jest because I know how my fellow 50g users will answer. I posted a video in the Prime forum on this very subject, which you can view here:


As a vintage HP calculator user (e.g., 28S, 48GX, 50g, etc.), why do you think base conversion and logical operations is so much harder on the Prime? Why do you think HP did not offer a dedicated app for that purpose, to make conversion and logical operations as easy on the Prime as on vintage HP calculators?

I acquired a Prime a couple weeks ago and like many things about it, but base conversion and logical operators seems more difficult/time consuming that it should be. And seeing the Prime is primarily marketed at students, it seems only logical that the Prime should be just as fast and efficient, if not more so, than older calculators like the 50g and 48GX. But in fact, unless I'm missing something obviously, the Prime is much more difficult to use on the said conversions and manipulations.

I'd love to hear your thoughts, either here or in that other thread where I posted my video.

I'm not a huge fan of either, to be honest. On the 50G, you have to prefix all your numbers with #, which is two more keystrokes. You also have to make extensive use of user keys if you don't want to have to use Alpha to enter hex, or rummage around various menus for logical and bit operations.

At least with something like the 20S or 32SII, you can switch bases with 2 keystrokes, and enter hex without any shift/alpha work, although they're lacking in any logical or bitwise operations.

The 16C ticks nearly all the boxes, but I've always found that scrolling the display for viewing large numbers is unnecessarily clumsy.

My preferred setup is actually the Casio CM-100. One key to switch bases, one key to scroll the display (with good on-screen indication of which block you're looking at), primary A-F keys, primary logical ops, and 2 keys for shifts and rotates. The 32-bit word size maximum may be a turnoff for some, though. A lot of Casio's early scientific and graphing calculators (the one's predating the use of any on-screen menus, and where everything is right on the keyboard) come close to this setup.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Dave.

My thinking is of course focused on the Prime, seeing that the 50g is no longer sold. It's all about the Prime now when it comes to HP calculators. Therefore, I long to see improvements to the Prime in terms of speed and efficiency. Compared to the 50g, 28S or 48GX, the Prime is slower overall, even though it has been shown that the same base conversions and logical operations can be done on the Prime. Some people say the target customer of the Prime is different now than the target customer of the older RPL calculators from HP. But I feel that shouldn't matter when it comes to efficiency of the UI and the speed of getting something done on the calculator.

In a nutshell, I posted what I did to stimulate discussion on this subject so we can see improvements to the Prime. Some things can be improved by user programs in BASIC, but the biggest improvements would come from HP writing dedicated apps to accomplish tasks faster, more efficiently, and in a much easier to understand way for any kind of user, whether they be a casual calculator user, a student or an engineer.
Yeah, the Prime has excellent calculation capabilities, but it's got room for improvement in terms of usability and overall UI features. A few things that could stand to be addressed:

- A dedicated "base" mode that makes integer work more efficient (sort of like doing Mode Base-n on an ancient Casio fx-7000g, where the machine becomes wholly focused on the task, but unlike the Casio, don't make the integer operations exclusive to this mode).
- Better soft-menu customization. Even something as simple as the 42S or TI-86/85 would be a welcome addition. And the closer it can be to what the 48 offers, the better.
- Better support for terminal I/O for writing simple, interactive programs. The kind of programs that can provide a back-and-forth dialog with the user as they enter data, select options, etc., sort of like what you might do with Disp, Input, and Menu on a TI.
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