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HP-Prime safe to buy?
03-18-2017, 09:15 PM (This post was last modified: 03-18-2017 09:19 PM by Matt Agajanian.)
Post: #1
HP-Prime safe to buy?
Hello all.

I was considering the possibility of purchasing a HP-Prime. If the programming, calculating, and accuracy hiccups have been cured, I might just buy one. So, has HP smoothed out the bumps? Also, how extensive is the RPN functionality?

Thanks
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03-19-2017, 08:50 AM
Post: #2
RE: HP-Prime safe to buy?
The HP Prime is a great machine. If you do buy one, I would advise you to install the connectivity kit and update to the latest firmware version (2016-08-29 10637) before you start playing with it.

I'm not aware of any problems with accuracy or stability in this firmware version other than the few points that have been raised in this section of the forum. There are always work-arounds for them and to be honest, depending on what your primary use of the machine will be, the likelihood that you'll come up against those problems is pretty slim.

The implementation of RPN on this machine is a bit of a bugbear for me personally. You have two main working views on the device: Home and CAS. RPN is only implemented in the Home view, its history is separate from the algebraic Home screen and you can't program in RPL. It is pretty limited. If that's a deal breaker for you then the Prime might not be the machine for you. If I were you I'd run a search on your favourite search engine for the "HP Prime Virtual Calculator", which will enable you to try it out and see if you get on with it. The only thing you won't see/feel with that is the keyboard action, which is excellent IMO. Every bit as good as the vintage machines and far better than the HP 50g, for example.
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03-19-2017, 09:51 AM
Post: #3
RE: HP-Prime safe to buy?
You should have an eye test first, keyboard markings extra difficult to decipher.
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03-19-2017, 11:06 AM
Post: #4
RE: HP-Prime safe to buy?
(03-19-2017 09:51 AM)Gerald H Wrote:  You should have an eye test first, keyboard markings extra difficult to decipher.

That's a very good point.

Latter hardware revisions use darker markings that are fine in reasonable lighting conditions but in low light they are still comparatively hard to make out.
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03-19-2017, 01:36 PM
Post: #5
RE: HP-Prime safe to buy?
(03-19-2017 11:06 AM)grsbanks Wrote:  
(03-19-2017 09:51 AM)Gerald H Wrote:  You should have an eye test first, keyboard markings extra difficult to decipher.

That's a very good point.

Latter hardware revisions use darker markings that are fine in reasonable lighting conditions but in low light they are still comparatively hard to make out.


Thanks for pointing out the optical illusion effects. I always use my calcs in good light since tbe V'Ger and Pioneers are LCDs. So, lighting is not too much a choreography problem. But, since, like the (gasp) TI N-Spire CAS, the Prime has backlight settings, I would make a point of using the Prime in a well lit area.

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03-19-2017, 04:04 PM
Post: #6
RE: HP-Prime safe to buy?
(03-19-2017 01:36 PM)Matt Agajanian Wrote:  But, since, like the (gasp) TI N-Spire CAS, the Prime has backlight settings, I would make a point of using the Prime in a well lit area.

What are your thoughts on the TI machine? I recently added a TI Nspire CX CAS to my collection and I'm having a hard time getting to like the thing.
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03-19-2017, 05:46 PM (This post was last modified: 03-19-2017 05:49 PM by Matt Agajanian.)
Post: #7
RE: HP-Prime safe to buy?
(03-19-2017 04:04 PM)grsbanks Wrote:  
(03-19-2017 01:36 PM)Matt Agajanian Wrote:  But, since, like the (gasp) TI N-Spire CAS, the Prime has backlight settings, I would make a point of using the Prime in a well lit area.

What are your thoughts on the TI machine? I recently added a TI Nspire CX CAS to my collection and I'm having a hard time getting to like the thing.

Actually, I find it quite enjoyable to use. As I also use my 48GX and 50G for serious numerical analyses and the RPN dynamics, pulling out the N-Spire CAS allows me to keep fluency between the multiple platforms I work with.

To illustrate the point, my 20S, Casio FX-115ES Plus, Sharp EL-516 and TI-36X Pro, I can reinforce my language skills.

But, my main language preference is 4-register RPN so, I find myself using my Voyagers, Spices, and Classics more often.
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03-19-2017, 09:21 PM
Post: #8
RE: HP-Prime safe to buy?
I improvised on grsbanks' advice and downloaded the free version of the Prime on my iPad. In true calculator aficionado style, it took me about five minutes to get the gist of how to operate the Prime, set up RPN entry as well as getting acquainted with the user interface.

Next because it felt so so simply (or I caught on rather quickly), I decided to operate in CAS mode and enter our favorite Mach equation. Too easy! So, next, I decided to plot our HP-34C manual sine integral and integrate it. Yup, again too easy.
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03-20-2017, 12:18 PM
Post: #9
RE: HP-Prime safe to buy?
(03-18-2017 09:15 PM)Matt Agajanian Wrote:  Hello all.

... how extensive is the RPN functionality?

Thanks

It's not well integrated into the rest of the calculator functions. I consider it only an entry mode. Example: Some functions, such as square of x require you to type a number then press the x^2 key. Some require you to put all arguments on the stack and call the function with

functionname(x)

where x is the number of arguments required by the function. There's no consistency as to which functions do which.

Tom L

Tom L
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03-20-2017, 03:32 PM (This post was last modified: 03-20-2017 05:06 PM by Tim Wessman.)
Post: #10
RE: HP-Prime safe to buy?
(03-20-2017 12:18 PM)toml_12953 Wrote:  where x is the number of arguments required by the function. There's no consistency as to which functions do which.

Well, there is consistency in that the functions that take a variable number of arguments need specifying for anything other then the "default" lowest number of arguments. However, you are correct that it is not evident through the interface that a function does take variable arguments without digging into the help or similar. So that is a definite need for improvement.

TW

Although I work for the HP calculator group, the views and opinions I post here are my own.
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03-20-2017, 04:44 PM
Post: #11
RE: HP-Prime safe to buy?
Yes, after installing the free iOS app and fiddling around with it:

1--a nice way to get a feel for the functionality of the Prime.

2--a quite useful means to have an Equation Entry System

3--a quick dynamic-stack RPN entry option.

But, for the real thing, I can't beat my 48GX or 50G.
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