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I played with a Casio fx9860 today - Printable Version

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I played with a Casio fx9860 today - Bruce Bergman - 08-06-2007

We talked about this calc in the forum a few months back. Looks like it's available commercially now, as I just spotted it in my local Staples. $99, so about par with the non-clam-shell version.

I have to admit, it's really engaging. The screen is crystal clear solid; no shadows whatsoever, dark black characters and it almost looks like a Sony PrintScreen (or whatever those eBook things are called) in terms of clarity. In some respects, I think they have room to dial up the resolution, as it was SO clear that at times it seemed too blocky.

Anyhow, it seems to function a lot like a TI-8x model, with some cool features and usability enhancements. The light is a nice touch, for those late night under-the-blanket study sessions. ;-) The clam shell is very cool, although a bit thick. It opens easily, closes nicely and makes the calc very nice to hold.

I know nothing about Casio calc programmability, but it did have a PRGM function and put me into something resembling a text editor. Not sure what to do there, but it was kinda neat.

Anyone know anything more about this thing? Good, bad? Interesting, boring?

thanks,
bruce


Re: I played with a Casio fx9860 today - Walter B - 08-07-2007

Seems to be available in Europe for some time already. You find a detailed picture here. No idea about practical merits, because I do hate Casio's soft keys and their "strange" user interface (of course, it's maybe strange only for people not used to it ;-)


Re: I played with a Casio fx9860 today - Raymond Del Tondo - 08-07-2007

And the on-screen menu keys look ugly and defective.

I think they were meant to look 'modern' or what,

but the cutout just looks defective IMHO.

Raymond


Re: I played with a Casio fx9860 today - Xerxes - 08-07-2007

The FX-9860G uses a Basic like formula programming language. This programming model was used at the first time by the FX-7000G and FX-4000P both from 1985. In later models Casio added some instructions for structured programming. In addition a C Cross Compiler is available. If you are interested in some examples, have a look here.

An important difference to the previous non CAS models is the hardware. Instead of a 8-bit proprietary CPU a Hitachi/Renesas SH3 CPU @ 20 MHz (up to 80 MHz by software) is used, thats make the FX-9860G very fast.

The FX-9860G Slim reminds me to the FX-7500G from 1988.


Re: I played with a Casio fx9860 today - Bruce Bergman - 08-07-2007

Wow, very interesting! That is one really fast calc. I can see that it beat almost everything out there in each sub-category. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the HP-50g held its own throughout each group too. Go HP! :-)

Sadly, I'm sure the HP-35s will come out near the bottom -- man, the more I play with this thing, the slower it seems...

thanks,
bruce


Re: I played with a Casio fx9860 today - Ed Look - 08-07-2007

Ah, well, I think the 35s was designed with different objectives in mind than a 50g. Some are obvious, like being $60, and I guess the use of a less powerful processor and simpler circuit design may in practice translate out to be a bit slower.


Re: I played with a Casio fx9860 today - hugh steers - 08-07-2007

im fairly pleased with the CPU performace of the 50g for my cross developments and regard it as a hardware platform. when using hpgcc, im switching off the "slow" mode to get the full speed. presumably the slow mode is also off for normal use - or is the machine underclocked by default. if so that could be interesting.

i suspect that HP would have used a slower processor if they hadn't needed the saturn emulation. so from their point of view, the use of a 75MHz ARM9 was an unavoidable mistake. i have always thought that hp calculators were too slow. this time around, i see the "mistake" as an advantage in that the calculator is, at last, not too slow and can actually do some really interesting stuff. more ram would be useful too :-) hopefully hp will begin see their "mistake" as an asset and intentionally posit cheap/low power and fast cpus.

i agree that the 35s is too slow, embarrassingly underperforming its predecessors in some tests. this has let down, otherwise, quite a nice calculator. many casios now perform formerly tricky problems like numerical quadrature with newer algorithms and some quantity of clout. it would have been nice to see the 35s do this too - with the clout. with only improved speed, at least those methods could be programmed and accommodated by the now capacious memory.

i think hp are missing a trick here and i don't really buy the increased cost or battery life arguments, because even the 35s isn't really that cheap (compared to other makes) and it could have easily taken a couple of AAA cells if that was necessary (which are cheaper anyway).

?




"Strange"? - Palmer O. Hanson, Jr. - 08-07-2007

Quote:
(of course, it's maybe strange only for people not used to it ;-)

When you are discussing "strange" try to remember how "strange" RPN is to the rest of the calculating world. Entering an equation is a little like the old children's book "Inside, outside, upside down."


35S Serial number - Ralph - 08-07-2007

I like the 9860 clamshell. It is very fast. They use a nice big screen that is not "fine" like the 50G because the pixels are just larger. Casio does not have quite the range of drawing tools the HP does (no arc command comes to mind), It also has a backlight function, the first I've seen on a calculator. Clamshell version only.

It does a lot of things, not as many possibly as the HP's The multiverse menu system on the Casios were the hardest thing I had to warm up to. I like a calculator that comes on to calculate when I press that "ON" button.


Re:Casio FX-9860 - Donald Williams - 08-08-2007

I purchased the clamshell also. I was intrigued by the back lighting and the help functions. Both are very useful. The screen is top notch, but I found it annoying that the screen is so much heavier than the base. The calc will tend to tip over backwards if you try to use it on a soft surface. It seems quite fast. Initially I discounted the spreadsheet application as a mere marketing gimmick, but now I find, that since I am so accustomed to this metaphor from years of PC work, I seem to be doing a lot of exploring in this module. The downside is the typical Casio keyboard and minimal documentation. I wish the emulator used the clamshell layout rather than the other design. No experience with the SDK for the moment.

Edited: 8 Aug 2007, 11:06 a.m.


Re:Casio FX-9860 - Katie Wasserman - 08-08-2007

Quote:
The downside is the typical Casio keyboard
and minimal documentation

There's a 600 page reference manual on this machine here. Did they not include this with the calculator?


Re:Casio FX-9860 - Donald Williams - 08-08-2007

I stand corrected. All the important documentation is available on the CD that comes with the product. Very complete as far as I can tell.

However your first experience "out of the box" is with the quick start guide. A 17 page introduction, which I was unable to read without the aid of a magnifying lamp. When the fonts get that small I cannot read the key operation instructons.

In all fairness though, this is an operator flaw.


Re:Casio FX-9860 - Bruce Bergman - 08-08-2007

Yeah, I agree about the keyboard; it's icky. Soft mushy keys. A couple of times I wasn't sure I hit them. Maybe I'm just too used to the HP keys.

I didn't notice the screen weight/balance issue, but then again I was holding it in my hand. I can see where if you tilt it out and try to set it down, it will flop over. A simple pull-out back brace might have fixed that.

I don't at all like how the calc approaches operation, but it's an intriguing toy. I might buy one eventually, just to muck around with it and see how it works.

Do anyone know anything about the software? Seems very similar to the TI software. Have they licensed it from TI, or were they just mimicing it as much as they could?

thanks,
bruce


Which came first? - Palmer O. Hanson, Jr. - 08-08-2007

Quote:
Do anyone know anything about the software? Seems very similar to the TI software. Have they licensed it from TI, or were they just mimicing it as much as they could?

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

When Casio put the first graphing calculator, the fx-7000G, on the market it had a new "true algebraic" system which was more like higher order languages such as BASIC and FORTRAN than it was like TI's traditional "algebraic operating system" known as AOS. Several years later when TI put it's first graphing calculator, the TI-80, on the market it used an "Equation Operating System" known as EOS. (Or, did the TI-81 come before the TI-80? My memory get shakier year by year.) EOS was remarkably similar to the Casio "true algebraic" system. The operating systems for the graphing calculators from the two product lines have had a lot of similarity ever since.


Re: Which came first? - Bruce Bergman - 08-08-2007

Good question!

But is that similarity a "functional" similarity or merely a "visual" similarity? What got me thinking about this was a class I was taking where the recommend unit was a TI-83 or better calc. I, naturally, used my 50g instead, but I did suffer from examples the prof did on the TI. I was thinking that if the software was functionally the same as the TI software, I'd much rather play with this unit and do the examples, than to actually buy a TI calc (something that won't happen in MY household! :-).

thanks,
bruce


Re: Which came first? - Donald Williams - 08-08-2007

You can play for 30 days.

Go here.

Click on FX-9860G Manager Test

Give them some info and they respond with an email with a link to download the manager app.

You will also want the calculator manual. See Katies earlier post with that link.

Have fun.

Edited: 8 Aug 2007, 4:16 p.m.


Re: Which came first? - Bruce Bergman - 08-08-2007

Very cool. I wish HP would REALLY get on the bandwagon with the educational market like Casio has. This is a great incentive for educators to check out a new calc. HP has their emulator, but it's much too hard to get permission to use it.

Casio does a good job at this. Last year they had a buy-back program to give you credit for all the TI calculators you could turn in. A great idea!

thanks,
bruce


Re: Which came first? - Donald Williams - 08-08-2007

Just don't get addicted. That is an early version, I think. It must have bugs. There is a later version advertised on the Casio web site, but for the life of me I cannot determine how it could be purchased.

I had the same experience with the HP emulator. Lied and begged only to receive emails indicating I was not qualified.

Go figure!

Don W. - "Don't ask me! I just lurk here"

Edited: 8 Aug 2007, 7:00 p.m.


Re: I played with a Casio fx9860 today - Vincze - 08-08-2007

Quote:
... I do hate Casio's soft keys...

Walter, G├╝ten tag my friend. The word "hate" is a very harsh word, do you not agree. Yes, Casio is not HP, but to be perfectly honest, I like the rubber/soft keys for some reason. I'm not sure why. Then again, I like computer keyboards that click too, so call me odd I guess.

Take care my friend.


Re: Which came first? - Katie Wasserman - 08-08-2007

Quote:
There is a later version advertised on the Casio web site, but for the life of me I cannot determine how it could be purchased.

Buy.com has it for $70 no need to be a qualified educator for this purchase. I really don't know what HP's thinking is as far as the emulators are concerned.




Re: Which came first? - Vincze - 08-08-2007

Does HP realize the market they could have if they would just "donate" a bunch of their calculators to schools and university. Plant the seed now with young students and give free calculator to professors, and I bet we will see another wave of dedicated users in 5 - 10 years who will help sustain the users community.


The Rooster - Vincze - 08-08-2007

Quote:


Which came first, the chicken or the egg?



I think it was the Rooster. I Sorry, that was *fowl*. Oh, I did it again.

I sorry... a little Hungarian humor. Forgive me as I am silly tonight. My son had best time in cross country this morning and I am full of life.


Re: The Rooster - James M. Prange (Michigan) - 08-08-2007

Quote:
I think it was the Rooster.

Of course! A rib was taken from the first rooster and that was fashioned into the first hen.

Regards,
James


Re: I played with a Casio fx9860 today - Ed Look - 08-09-2007

Vincze, I think you'll find there are lots of us who prefer the clicky, tactile-feel keyboards. I am using one right now. When it finally goes bad, I don't know where I'll get another one (affordably).


Re: The Rooster - Walter B - 08-09-2007

LOL!!

I've read about creationists having a stronghold overseas, but didn't know we have them in this very forum so far. Another task to tackle ;-)


Re: I played with a Casio fx9860 today - Chris Haltiner - 08-09-2007

Pckeyboard.com makes the old IBM PC style keyboard. (They are the factory where the IBM keyboards were made.) I love the clickity, mechanical key press and the tactile feel it provides. All of my non-laptop computers use either their keyboards or actual IBM PC keyboards.


On penetrating an established market - Palmer O. Hanson, Jr. - 08-09-2007

Quote:
Does HP realize the market they could have if they would just "donate" a bunch of their calculators to schools and university. Plant the seed now with young students and give free calculator to professors, and I bet we will see another wave of dedicated users in 5 - 10 years who will help sustain the users community.

Penetrating a market which as been dominated by another vendor will be a lot harder than that. For example, consider the secondary school market where teachers have been supported by TI for almost twenty years and HP doesn't even have a presence. Mermbers of the HP community may think that addition of an RPN machine to the classroom would be an asset. To the teacher it will probably seem more like a classroom distraction.

To understand the lack of "presence" of the HP product line in the educational market you need to consider the recent sales tax holidays for educational supplies in states such as Florida and North Carolina. Wal-Mart, Staples, etc., had extra "back-to-school" displays for TI and Casio. Wal-Mart even had a "back-to school" display for LeWorld! HP was not present except in one Wal-Mart where I saw a couple of ten-B-Twos -- but they were actually behind some Casios.


Re: The Rooster? No, no - an egg! - Nenad (Croatia) - 08-09-2007

Quote:

I think it was the Rooster.


Not at all!

An egg came before a chicken (as well as before the rooster).

PROOF

Dinosaurs came out to the world from eggs. At that time there were no hens, roosters, or chicken. So, we may conclude that eggs were in this world (at least on the Earth) before chicken. Period.

QED

What do you think about this puristic nerd approach;)

Well, if I am not a nerd, would I be using RPN, while all other (normal) people rewrite equations in their calculators exactly as they are written down and do not care about intermediate results?




Re: Which came first? - Eric Smith - 08-09-2007

Quote:
Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

http://www.savagechickens.com/blog/2006/05/chicken-or-egg.html


Re: I played with a Casio fx9860 today - Dave Shaffer (Arizona) - 08-09-2007

Quote:
I love the clickity, mechanical key press and the tactile feel it provides. All of my non-laptop computers use either their keyboards or actual IBM PC keyboards.

I love that, too. The IBM PC/AT keyboard is the best ever made - I have 4 of them, one on every PC (and some times plugged into my laptop via a USB adapter). And, they have the function keys on the left, where they belong, so that I can do more, more quickly, with WordPerfect for DOS!! Your hands never leave the keyboard. I can select, cut, and paste a column in WP for DOS before a Windows user can even begin to get his mouse moving!


Re: The Rooster? No, no - an egg! - Vincze - 08-09-2007

Yes, but something must "come" before egg is fertilized. :)


Re: The Rooster? No, no - an egg! - Walter B - 08-10-2007

Hmmmh, what about parthenogenesis? :)


Re: The Rooster? No, no - an egg! - Vincze - 08-10-2007

Last I knew, chicken can't do that.


Re: The Rooster? No, no - an egg! - Walter B - 08-10-2007

Probably because they are no virgins anymore :-)