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HP 32S II - worth buying?
12-04-2014, 01:55 AM (This post was last modified: 12-04-2014 02:26 AM by John Galt.)
Post: #1
HP 32S II - worth buying?
Having seen it when it first came out I didn't think much of it, too limited with its one line display, etc, but now I'm warming up to the idea of buying a good example of one.

I am interested in hearing owner's experiences with this calculator. Do you like it? Why? What are some caveats for someone in the market for a used one?

What, if any difference exists between models with the "white" faceplate vs. the "black" faceplate?
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12-04-2014, 02:11 AM
Post: #2
RE: HP 32S II - worth buying?
(12-04-2014 01:55 AM)John Galt Wrote:  Having seen it when it first came out I didn't think much of it, too limited with its one line display, etc, but now I'm warming up to the idea of buying a good example of one.

I am interested in hearing owner's experiences with this calculator. Do you like it? Why? What are some caveats for someone in the market for a used one?

Do I like it? Heck yeah! It's one of the last "great" HP calculators. It works exactly as you would expect it to. Its programming features are plentiful and well-thought-out. It is reliable as heck. Just look for a clean one, ideally with the manual. It may cost a bit, but it is well worth it. HP will never make them like this again.

Oh, and its x^2 key works too.
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12-04-2014, 02:24 AM
Post: #3
RE: HP 32S II - worth buying?
(12-04-2014 02:11 AM)Don Shepherd Wrote:  Oh, and its x^2 key works too.

I don't understand the reference. Why would it not?

Are there HP calculators whose x^2 key won't do what I expect?
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12-04-2014, 02:31 AM
Post: #4
RE: HP 32S II - worth buying?
(12-04-2014 02:24 AM)John Galt Wrote:  
(12-04-2014 02:11 AM)Don Shepherd Wrote:  Oh, and its x^2 key works too.

I don't understand the reference. Why would it not?

Are there HP calculators whose x^2 key won't do what I expect?

See the Prime thread.
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12-04-2014, 02:37 AM (This post was last modified: 12-04-2014 02:42 AM by John Galt.)
Post: #5
RE: HP 32S II - worth buying?
Oh! I researched the Prime rather extensively before buying a 50g.

I ruled out the Prime for now, for reasons such as that. Like many HP's recent efforts it comes so close to greatness, but misses it just enough that it practically brings one to tears.

Greatness has been achieved in the WP 34s. I like it so much I bought a spare 30b for safekeeping. Its keys could be better but I knew that going in. That's one of the reasons for asking about the 32S II. Its keys look similar to the 48GX, but do they feel the same?
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12-04-2014, 03:43 AM
Post: #6
RE: HP 32S II - worth buying?
(12-04-2014 01:55 AM)John Galt Wrote:  Having seen it when it first came out I didn't think much of it, too limited with its one line display, etc, but now I'm warming up to the idea of buying a good example of one.

I am interested in hearing owner's experiences with this calculator. Do you like it? Why? What are some caveats for someone in the market for a used one?

What, if any difference exists between models with the "white" faceplate vs. the "black" faceplate?

Great machine for the reasons noted above, and more. Predictable, reliable, has all the built-in fucntions you'd likely use, plus easy to learn/use keystroke programming.

Except for the 42S, this is pretty much the ultimate scientific Pioneer machine.

The later white bezel machines are functionally identical to the original brown style. Which is "better" is a religious topic. I've heard different people claim both styles are "easier to read" than the other style.

Get one today!

--Bob Prosperi
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12-04-2014, 04:00 AM
Post: #7
RE: HP 32S II - worth buying?
If you had to choose just one, which one would you prefer? The 42S or 32S II, and why?
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12-04-2014, 04:38 AM
Post: #8
RE: HP 32S II - worth buying?
(12-04-2014 04:00 AM)John Galt Wrote:  If you had to choose just one, which one would you prefer? The 42S or 32S II, and why?

There is no doubt that the 42S is the more powerful of the two and I'd choose it for that reason. However, I find the 32sii to be much more accessible for quickly picking up and doing straightforward things that aren't just basic four function type operations.

Both are great calculators.


- Pauli
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12-04-2014, 05:44 AM (This post was last modified: 12-04-2014 05:45 AM by John R.)
Post: #9
RE: HP 32S II - worth buying?
(12-04-2014 04:00 AM)John Galt Wrote:  If you had to choose just one, which one would you prefer? The 42S or 32S II, and why?

I'm a huge fan of the 42S and would choose it over the 32SII in an instant. As Paul said, it is much, much more powerful -- it includes a broader set of mathematical and programming functions. Other notable benefits of the 42S include the two-line display, alphanumerics, seamless complex-number support, matrix support, and the IR transmit capability. (There are others, but these are probably the features near the top of most peoples' lists.)

That said, the 32SII is still an awesome calculator, and it does have a function-access-speed advantage: while much of the 42S functionality is buried in menus that must be accessed with soft keys, all 32SII functions are accessible using the shift keys and the keyboard itself. So you can generally get results on the 32SII with fewer keystrokes than it takes on the 42S.

For the record, I own multiple 42S units and multiple 32SII units; I keep one 42S on my desk at home and one 42S on my desk at work, while the 32SII units mostly sit quietly in my collection.

John
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12-04-2014, 05:59 AM
Post: #10
RE: HP 32S II - worth buying?
(12-04-2014 01:55 AM)John Galt Wrote:  What, if any difference exists between models with the "white" faceplate vs. the "black" faceplate?

One difference -- not related to the bezel itself, but rather to the timeframe in which each variant was manufactured -- is that HP stopped using their double-shot injection-molding process for calculator keys at some point during the long 32SII production run. I don't know exactly when this happened, and I don't know exactly when the 32SII bezel changed from dark to light, but I would bet that most or all light-bezel 32SII calculators have painted-on legends.

John
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12-04-2014, 06:02 AM (This post was last modified: 12-04-2014 06:08 AM by John Galt.)
Post: #11
RE: HP 32S II - worth buying?
Painted keys would be a buzzkill. Thanks for pointing that out.

I realize now that I'm considering the 32S II due to its simplicity so it was dumb of me to ask for a comparison with the 42s. I already have enough high end machines and am looking for something simple. For that, I have been using a newer (cheap, disposable) 12C whose 0 key got smashed and want to replace it with something better.
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12-04-2014, 06:14 AM
Post: #12
RE: HP 32S II - worth buying?
(12-04-2014 01:55 AM)John Galt Wrote:  I am interested in hearing owner's experiences with this calculator.
Worked for me from the day it came out until today. Never missed anything except more memory (ran out of it a couple of times).
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12-04-2014, 06:53 AM
Post: #13
RE: HP 32S II - worth buying?
(12-04-2014 06:02 AM)John Galt Wrote:  I realize now that I'm considering the 32S II due to its simplicity so it was dumb of me to ask for a comparison with the 42s.

Have you considered the 32S (no ii)?
A cleaner keyboard than the 32Sii but slightly less efficient due to the extra menus.


Pauli
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12-04-2014, 08:04 AM
Post: #14
RE: HP 32S II - worth buying?
(12-04-2014 06:53 AM)Paul Dale Wrote:  Have you considered the 32S (no ii)?
A cleaner keyboard than the 32Sii but slightly less efficient due to the extra menus.
And without equation-editor.
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12-04-2014, 08:53 AM
Post: #15
RE: HP 32S II - worth buying?
(12-04-2014 08:04 AM)Thomas Radtke Wrote:  And without equation-editor.

Missed that one.

It is something I've never used but probably should Smile


- Pauli
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12-04-2014, 10:13 AM
Post: #16
RE: HP 32S II - worth buying?
I have a HP 42S, but recently found a HP 32S II on the flea-market (< $5, but had to repair it first - the common detached LCD-ribbon problem). I have to say for day-to-day calculations I now even prefer the 32S II, because it just has such a nice large display!

With my two-line HP 42S, I sometimes have hard times reading the numbers - also the contrast/view angle seems better on the HP 32S II (or the contrast/view angle of my 42S is just abnormal, I don't know).

Also a HP 32S II is cheaper to buy - it's a great calculator!
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12-04-2014, 11:00 AM
Post: #17
RE: HP 32S II - worth buying?
(12-04-2014 10:13 AM)kusmi Wrote:  [...] (or the contrast/view angle of my 42S is just abnormal, I don't know).
Yours might be very well ok. The 2-line display built into the 42S, 27S and other Pioneers limits the pleasure of using these calculators greatly.
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12-04-2014, 11:02 AM
Post: #18
RE: HP 32S II - worth buying?
(12-04-2014 08:53 AM)Paul Dale Wrote:  It is something I've never used but probably should Smile
Worth a try but below par to the editor found on RPL-calculators. Still a nice to have.
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12-04-2014, 07:20 PM
Post: #19
RE: HP 32S II - worth buying?
(12-04-2014 01:55 AM)John Galt Wrote:  I am interested in hearing owner's experiences with this calculator. Do you like it? Why? What are some caveats for someone in the market for a used one?

What, if any difference exists between models with the "white" faceplate vs. the "black" faceplate?

Praise for the HP-32sii

The HP-32sii was my second HP calculator (first being a HP-15C purchased in 1985, which is a better calculator in many respects than the 32sii). I bought my 32sii in 1994, brown bezel with double-shot keys that shine, and used it extensively - daily - for more than a decade. I still use it, and I really like this calculator! Yes, it has poor complex number support, lacks memory..., not as powerful as the 15C or the 42S, but for ease of use, quality of build, speed, and 'look', it really is hard to beat.

Get one while you can!

Jeff Kearns
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12-04-2014, 08:13 PM
Post: #20
RE: HP 32S II - worth buying?
The HP 32S II is the calculator on my desk. As a student I couldn't afford a 41 that many classmates had. But I learned how it worked. On my first work I found a 32S on my desk and knowing the 41 it was quite straightforward to use it. When I left I bought one for me. At that moment was the 32S II and since then, around 1992, is my choice for everyday calculations. I also own a 42S but I feel much more confortable working with the 32S II.
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