Post Reply 
As requested, my DM42 Thoughts (May 2019 order)
05-13-2019, 03:47 PM (This post was last modified: 05-13-2019 04:23 PM by Androsynth.)
Post: #1
As requested, my DM42 Thoughts (May 2019 order)
I've had several requests to post my thoughts on the current production models of the DM42, as of 2019. There were multiple concerns with the quality of the build in previous years, and several people here wanted to know if they had been resolved. So, in no particular order, here are my thoughts:

1. Keyboard: We'll start here, as this seems to be a point of contention with past models, mainly due to the excessive stiffness and dropped keypresses. I can say conclusively, on my unit, this is not a factor in any meaningful sense. The keyboard is one of the best I've used on any calculator. The keypresses are firm, but not at all stiff, and feel like a quality, expensive piece of tech. I have no issues at all with keys requiring different amounts of pressure, as the keyboard feels sturdy, responsive and uniform. At least on this unit, all of the keys feel and respond the same. In terms of feel, the keyboard feels similar to an HP 35s, with smaller keys and a bit more firmness required, but not so much it would slow you down inputting a problem. I'd say resistiveness/responsiveness is roughly on par with that model. In terms of missing key strokes, I have not found this to be a major issue. You will occasionally get a missed key, but no more so than on my 50g, 35s or Prime. I've had it happen once in a weekend. Labels on the keys and body are bright and clear, and easy to distinguish. I'd give the keyboard a solid A.

2. Screen: When people have said 'pics don't do it justice', they mean that literally. My first impression was 'WOW, that is a NICE screen!'. This thing is the gold standard for b/w screens on pretty much anything I've used, calculator or otherwise. It's not an e-ink, but if you told me it was, I'd absolutely believe you. It's Scarlett Johanssen pretty. A+

3. Design: Like others have said, this feels like something from the past in terms of the build. It's heavy, on par with my Prime, while being half the size. This is due to the thing being made out of solid brushed metal (stainless steel, or so I've heard). It feels like it would stop a bullet if you carried it in your shirt pocket. This doesn't feel like something made in 2019. It feels like something made circa 1983 when tech was built to last. It feels like you spent a lot of money on it, which you did. A+

4. User experience: Exactly as advertised. It's an HP 42s in a modern body, with extra features. Free42 is excellent, so I won't go in to any of that here. It's exactly as you would expect it to be. In terms of new features, they interface is pretty adjustable in terms of layout, font size etc, and you can save multiple calc states to file and swap them out with a couple of button presses. This is very nice, especially if you wanted, say, a financial, engineering and programming setup with different menus, decimal places, font sizes, stack layouts etc. The usb port allows simple and easy firmware and program transferring.

There are a few things I'd like to see in future firmware updates though. First, the RPN/keystroke language doesn't have much there to support manipulating the nice, big screen. You can do it with some tricks, but it would be nice to have some native commands accessible like you do with some of the non HP42 flags. It would make writing graphical applications much easier. Second, since RPN programming is so terse anyway, it would also be nice to have a routine that split the big screen vertically to allow you to look at two different programs at once, particularly if you were writing one that referenced another. RPN is not the most readable scripting language, after all. Minor quibbles though. Overall, A-

So, as you can probably tell if you made it through all that, I *really* like this machine. It is an extremely robust, solid piece of tech that exceeded my expectations. It's definitely a niche product, but if you are in that niche and can afford it, this thing should last the rest of your natural life. And probably your grandkids.
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
05-13-2019, 04:14 PM
Post: #2
RE: As requested, my DM42 Thoughts (May 2019 order)
Interesting, I wonder if they've improved the overall keyboard build since those initial units, and if so, what options there are for upgrading/improving a late 2017 unit. How's the Enter key on yours? The early ones had a problem where the feel and response was extremely uneven across the length of the key (pressing on the far right edge had poor response and almost no tactile click), and adding a few strips cut from a Post-It note to the right spot gives roughly 98% resolution of the problem.

I agree with all your other points about the hardware, and I genuinely like the DM42, even if the keyboard is a bit sub-par (on mine at least). It's certainly not as bad as a 49g, at least. Wink
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
05-13-2019, 04:48 PM
Post: #3
RE: As requested, my DM42 Thoughts (May 2019 order)
(05-13-2019 04:14 PM)Dave Britten Wrote:  Interesting, I wonder if they've improved the overall keyboard build since those initial units, and if so, what options there are for upgrading/improving a late 2017 unit. How's the Enter key on yours? The early ones had a problem where the feel and response was extremely uneven across the length of the key (pressing on the far right edge had poor response and almost no tactile click), and adding a few strips cut from a Post-It note to the right spot gives roughly 98% resolution of the problem.

I agree with all your other points about the hardware, and I genuinely like the DM42, even if the keyboard is a bit sub-par (on mine at least). It's certainly not as bad as a 49g, at least. Wink

The enter key is fine on mine. Feels/responds exactly the same over the length of the key. Good response, no dropped presses, and it still has that nice solid 'thunk' response, even when pressed on the edge.

I'd guess the first print run of these had some issues from the manufacturer, as first runs often do, and I imagine folks here were very early adopters. Mine has a very good feel across the keyboard. It's only one sample of course, but I'd guess many of these issues have been resolved after the first run?
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
05-13-2019, 04:51 PM
Post: #4
RE: As requested, my DM42 Thoughts (May 2019 order)
thanks for your review / feedback!
I'm considering the purchase of a DM42 but there are so many mixed opinions that I don't want to risk my money to be a tester, I'm looking for a solid product that could last for decades.

Software Failure: Guru Meditation

--
Antonio
IU2KIY
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
05-13-2019, 05:12 PM
Post: #5
RE: As requested, my DM42 Thoughts (May 2019 order)
(05-13-2019 04:51 PM)TheKaneB Wrote:  thanks for your review / feedback!
I'm considering the purchase of a DM42 but there are so many mixed opinions that I don't want to risk my money to be a tester, I'm looking for a solid product that could last for decades.

Well, I can tell you from my own experience, this is probably the best build quality on a modern piece of electronics I've seen in decades. It's extremely high quality, rock solid, and a joy to use. Feels like you could pitch it across the room and not worry.

Pretty sure this thing will survive the next ice age.
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
05-14-2019, 12:33 AM
Post: #6
RE: As requested, my DM42 Thoughts (May 2019 order)
that's really good news Smile

Software Failure: Guru Meditation

--
Antonio
IU2KIY
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
05-20-2019, 10:46 AM (This post was last modified: 05-20-2019 10:46 AM by Thomas Radtke.)
Post: #7
RE: As requested, my DM42 Thoughts (May 2019 order)
(05-13-2019 03:47 PM)Androsynth Wrote:  You will occasionally get a missed key, but no more so than on my 50g, 35s or Prime.
Interesting. Never had a missed key on my 35s except for one of the cursor keys which are probably bad by design.

I'd say this is ok for a machine made for fans. For an expensive piece of hardware that should do its job no matter what it is unaccaptable to give a tactile feedback while ignoring the input.

Sad
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
05-20-2019, 11:48 AM
Post: #8
RE: As requested, my DM42 Thoughts (May 2019 order)
(05-13-2019 03:47 PM)Androsynth Wrote:  (...). You will occasionally get a missed key, but no more so than on my 50g, 35s or Prime.

Hi, I do not know about the DM42, but I never forgot a key on the 50g or the Prime. IMHO the keyboard of the Prime is excellent. Not the same soft feeling as a 48G, but I like it so much. That of the 50g is below but remains very well.
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
05-20-2019, 12:02 PM
Post: #9
RE: As requested, my DM42 Thoughts (May 2019 order)
(05-20-2019 11:48 AM)Gilles Wrote:  
(05-13-2019 03:47 PM)Androsynth Wrote:  (...). You will occasionally get a missed key, but no more so than on my 50g, 35s or Prime.

Hi, I do not know about the DM42, but I never forgot a key on the 50g or the Prime. IMHO the keyboard of the Prime is excellent. Not the same soft feeling as a 48G, but I like it so much. That of the 50g is below but remains very well.

I agree, the Prime keyboard is really excellent, and it honestly feels better than some (but not all) of the 48s I've used, and it definitely beats the 50. The only issue I've had with it is somehow mine got two metal domes installed under the 3 key, so it was stiffer than the rest. Removing the extra fixed the problem.
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
05-20-2019, 04:02 PM
Post: #10
RE: As requested, my DM42 Thoughts (May 2019 order)
Just to follow up, I've been greatly enjoying the DM42. Really neat machine. Really liking the ability to upload programs to it and copy them to<->from the calc's memory at will on the fly. The save states for the machine's setup are really nice too. You can load a bunch of programs, save state, and then swap on the fly. Very clever. For example, I have a Dungeon's and Dragons dice roller program in one, and general math stuff in another.

However, in the interests of transparency, I will say that it does miss the occasional keypress. Enough to be noticeable, but nowhere near enough to be a major problem. It's not game breaking by any means, and it happens about as often as my 50g. Seems to happen a lot more when you are holding the calc, rather than using it on a table.
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
05-20-2019, 04:40 PM
Post: #11
RE: As requested, my DM42 Thoughts (May 2019 order)
(05-20-2019 12:02 PM)Dave Britten Wrote:  The only issue I've had with it is somehow mine got two metal domes installed under the 3 key, so it was stiffer than the rest. Removing the extra fixed the problem.

You were confident enough that it was something fixable and took it apart and confirmed you were right? Nice job!
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
05-20-2019, 05:39 PM
Post: #12
RE: As requested, my DM42 Thoughts (May 2019 order)
(05-20-2019 04:40 PM)burkhard Wrote:  
(05-20-2019 12:02 PM)Dave Britten Wrote:  The only issue I've had with it is somehow mine got two metal domes installed under the 3 key, so it was stiffer than the rest. Removing the extra fixed the problem.

You were confident enough that it was something fixable and took it apart and confirmed you were right? Nice job!

Mostly just banking on the fact that I probably wouldn't make it worse by opening it, and lucked out that it turned out to be an easy fix. Wink
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
05-21-2019, 09:30 PM
Post: #13
RE: As requested, my DM42 Thoughts (May 2019 order)
(05-13-2019 03:47 PM)Androsynth Wrote:  I've had several requests to post my thoughts on the current production models of the DM42, as of 2019. There were multiple concerns with the quality of the build in previous years, and several people here wanted to know if they had been resolved. So, in no particular order, here are my thoughts...

Thanks Androsynth (and others) for the post. You have pushed me over the edge. Just ordered my first SwissMicros product. Looking forward to owning, and using a DM42. - Evan
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
05-22-2019, 04:03 PM
Post: #14
RE: As requested, my DM42 Thoughts (May 2019 order)
(05-20-2019 04:40 PM)burkhard Wrote:  
(05-20-2019 12:02 PM)Dave Britten Wrote:  The only issue I've had with it is somehow mine got two metal domes installed under the 3 key, so it was stiffer than the rest. Removing the extra fixed the problem.

You were confident enough that it was something fixable and took it apart and confirmed you were right? Nice job!

Taking apart the DM42 is so easy, it's not a big gamble. It's made to be opened and disassembled/assembled quickly. I wish all products were this well designed internally as well as externally!

Tom L

Tom L

French phrases you rarely hear: "trop de beurre" (too much butter)
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
05-22-2019, 04:27 PM
Post: #15
RE: As requested, my DM42 Thoughts (May 2019 order)
(05-22-2019 04:03 PM)toml_12953 Wrote:  
(05-20-2019 04:40 PM)burkhard Wrote:  You were confident enough that it was something fixable and took it apart and confirmed you were right? Nice job!

Taking apart the DM42 is so easy, it's not a big gamble. It's made to be opened and disassembled/assembled quickly. I wish all products were this well designed internally as well as externally!

Tom L

Oh, my comment was about fixing the 3 key on my Prime keyboard. But I've also dug into the guts of the DM42 keyboard, and it's pretty easy to do. Just be careful with the tiny display ribbon cable, and don't go wild flexing the key hinges, or you risk having them break prematurely, and needing to fix them with epoxy (guilty).
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
05-28-2019, 03:54 AM
Post: #16
RE: As requested, my DM42 Thoughts (May 2019 order)
The only reason why I would buy a DM42 would be to run the 43s.
Wonder is swiss micro has a plan to release a 43s serigraphy.
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
06-25-2019, 08:04 AM
Post: #17
RE: As requested, my DM42 Thoughts (May 2019 order)
(05-13-2019 04:51 PM)TheKaneB Wrote:  thanks for your review / feedback!
I'm considering the purchase of a DM42 but there are so many mixed opinions that I don't want to risk my money to be a tester, I'm looking for a solid product that could last for decades.

I have the very same feeling.
Very attracted by DM42 concept, but afraid to have hardware problems, considering the about 200 eur to get it....
Still waiting to understand if it worths the money
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
06-25-2019, 10:54 AM (This post was last modified: 06-25-2019 10:55 AM by toml_12953.)
Post: #18
RE: As requested, my DM42 Thoughts (May 2019 order)
(05-13-2019 04:14 PM)Dave Britten Wrote:  The early ones had a problem where the feel and response was extremely uneven across the length of the key (pressing on the far right edge had poor response and almost no tactile click), and adding a few strips cut from a Post-It note to the right spot gives roughly 98% resolution of the problem.

Did you try the key-flex trick? That worked perfectly for me on both my beta unit and my shipping unit. That's where you open the calculator, remove the key matrix and flex each key several times, going just past the point where you'd be able to press it if it were still in the calculator. Reassemble the unit and, voila! I did that and now my keys all register 100% of the time once I feel the snap and the Enter key works no matter where I press it. It used to respond only to a press on the right side. The only drawback is if you flex a key TOO much and it breaks off the matrix. Then you need a new matrix or good super glue skills. As I said, You only flex slightly past where the key would normally bottom out when in use and only flex about eight times so as not to stress the connection too much. It's not as scary as it sounds. The matrix is pretty tough.

Tom L

French phrases you rarely hear: "trop de beurre" (too much butter)
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
06-25-2019, 11:08 AM
Post: #19
RE: As requested, my DM42 Thoughts (May 2019 order)
(06-25-2019 10:54 AM)toml_12953 Wrote:  
(05-13-2019 04:14 PM)Dave Britten Wrote:  The early ones had a problem where the feel and response was extremely uneven across the length of the key (pressing on the far right edge had poor response and almost no tactile click), and adding a few strips cut from a Post-It note to the right spot gives roughly 98% resolution of the problem.

Did you try the key-flex trick? That worked perfectly for me on both my beta unit and my shipping unit. That's where you open the calculator, remove the key matrix and flex each key several times, going just past the point where you'd be able to press it if it were still in the calculator. Reassemble the unit and, voila! I did that and now my keys all register 100% of the time once I feel the snap and the Enter key works no matter where I press it. It used to respond only to a press on the right side. The only drawback is if you flex a key TOO much and it breaks off the matrix. Then you need a new matrix or good super glue skills. As I said, You only flex slightly past where the key would normally bottom out when in use and only flex about eight times so as not to stress the connection too much. It's not as scary as it sounds. The matrix is pretty tough.

Yeah, I did all the key flexing, but the Enter key was still awful. The Post-It spacer improved it by at least 95%.

And if you do happen to partially break a key off the matrix, a good epoxy such as JB Weld Plastic Bonder is the way to go. Super glue is way too brittle. I speak with experience on that. :>
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply 




User(s) browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)