30b, Reviews, HHC2010


I wanted to post this in a separate thread as it is a bit assorted and doesn't fit perfectly with the ongoing discussion. There are several things I want to bring up to the group in whole.

First, if you are not aware, I work for the HP calculator group as one of the R&D engineers. Everything I say here is my own opinion and is not official policy or thinking.


I am glad to see a bit of general excitement about the 30b. I think it is a great unit, (granted with some shortcomings as some point out) but a very nice machine overall. I definitely think it beats the BAII+ professional hands down. :-D


One of the most frustrating things to see for me personally is how there are some many ridiculous reviews out there on the internet, and a shortage of knowledgeable ones. For example, I remember reading one on the HP website that basically gives the 39gs a 1 of 5 rating because the user couldn't install notes easily using the connectivity kit (for cheating during exams I'd presume).

Granted, there are issues with the 39gs series in terms of connectivity ease of use, but the fact that there is almost no useful information there, and no other informed reviews leaves a potential buyer with little information and the idea that it is a horrible machine. Personally, I think it is better than the 83/84 series, much better in many ways, and a bit lacking in others, but overall a superior choice if it isn't for a specific class that require it. A general consumer would have no way to know anything though to make an informed decision. . . :-(

Other times, there is just silly or strange things. For example, there are plenty of people who make reviews of the 12c and say things like "I've had mine for 25 years now and it still works. A+++!!!! Highly recommended!" and so on. Unfortunately, they often do this on a 12cp model. . .

People often wonder how they can help the calculator group. Writing useful, informative reviews on internet sites (amazon, hp.com, and the like) is a simple way to do so. Simply put, the more calculators that are sold, the more likely the calculator group will grow and develop things that continue to excite us calculator nuts.

Please note, I am *NOT* in ***ANY WAY*** suggesting that people go out and write padded, glowing reviews; nor am I trying to imply that by doing so you will receive any personal benefit or compensation.

Feel free to criticize or complain as needed in reviews. A larger number of knowledgeable, informed, and easy to find reviews is always an aid to consumers. What doesn't help is reviews with bad information, no information, or just nothing relevant. Unfortunately, those tend to be all there are for many machines. :-(

Rather, if you have an informed, knowledgeable review or comment, don't hesitate to share it in places *besides* the hpmuseum forum. General customers don't tend to hang around here, and so they don't see the amazing discussion that happens.


Wrapping up, I'd like to extend a personal invitation to everyone out there to come to HHC2010. It is hosted in Fort Collins, Colorado (United States) again this year. HP is taking a big part in the conference and there will be many very exciting things.

Have you wanted to ask us why the calculator group does X or Y and not Z? What was the thinking behind N? What are the plans for Q? This is the chance to do so.

You also get to put faces to names, talk about lots of fun stuff we all love, and just have a great experience. I don't think I've ever heard anyone express regrets after going to an HHC conference.

Please also invite other people you know that enjoy math, calculators, or things like that. You never know who might want to go.


Edited: 26 Aug 2010, 12:56 p.m.


Well said Tim!

I am ashamed to admit that I probably do not put positive reviews out there as often as I should for good products that I buy. I, too, occasionally come across a completely bogus review out there and it's frustrating. I suppose I should do more to actually write some that are positive and help balance it out. In fact, I'm going to go blog about the 30b today. Count on it. ;-)

I have to say, though, that SOME of this is HP's fault. Now you KNOW that I love HP and their calculators, so take this as constructive criticism from someone who is a huge supporter. The sad fact is that someone above you -- perhaps in charge of the marketing and sales of recent calculators -- is doing a really really BAD job of promoting these calculators!

I mean, it's one thing to say that we should post positive reviews, but it's quite another to consider that there are like FIVE places you can buy some of the HP calculators. If they were available in more places (like at Target, Wal-Mart (only 50g, 17bii, 10bii), Radio Shack, OfficeMax, Costco, etc), then you probably would see many more reviews. All of those sites have a review section which can be used to pass the message, but they do not sell HP calculators (or only sell the token ones).

The idea of getting the word out only works if the word is wide spread and available everywhere. If I wrote 1,000 positive reviews of the 30b, but it was only available at Office Depot, then what value is that? On the other hand, if I wrote 10 positive reviews on 10 different sites where it was available, THAT would be helpful.

Another issue is misinformation.

If the information being sent out were accurate (like the fact that the 30b does NOT have 32kb of RAM, even though that's been corrected about 100 times), then we probably would have fewer negative reviews as well. Fortunately, I have yet to see one person complain about mis-marketing the memory size on a 30b, but it will happen one day. I would think HP would really want to go to great lengths to correct these mistakes and make sure the right information is out there. My perception is that this is NOT happening at all. It's not just the 30b, but also the 12c/p/+ family.

Finally, the other issue is the education market. As you know, this is my pet peeve. HP let this market fall to TI back in the past, and that is understandable given what happened then. But it doesn't appear that HP is doing anything to try and take back that market (or heck, even just make some sincere inroads). I can write positive reviews of the 50g (or 39g) all I want, but the fact is that TI has like 5-6 models in the same space, all heavily marketed, available just about anywhere (including my local supermarket, for goodness sake), and which students are conditioned to use. If you want good press, get the dang calculators into the hands of the teachers and students! Incur a cost of marketing and *give away* a crapload of them to a bunch of schools! Give huge discounts to students on back-to-school promotions! And then go write learning modules that show how the same exercises in textbooks can be done with non-TI calculators.

I'm not saying that any of these items are things you and Cyrille need to address, but that they are perceptions of why it's hard for us dedicated fans to keep supporting the brand. It almost feels like HP is working AGAINST us at times, you know? Try helping us out and giving us opportunities to praise, and I bet you'll see it.

I also bet that if you asked members of this forum for more information, the majority would say that they are frustrated by the lack of marketing by HP. I mean, most of us here *really* have no problem with any of the calculators. Some are better than others. But it's incredibly frustrating to try and be the field sales force for HP when HP is working against us, you know?

(Okay, I feel better now... ;-)

I will be there at HHC2010, so can't wait to hear what everyone has to say!




An excellent point Tim, and well articulated.

You might also consider tapping the user community for other volunteer work. For example, if HP needs learning modules for the 39gs, you could ask here for volunteers to write them and post them to hpcalc.org.

I'll be at HHC2010 and I hope to meet you and others from this forum.



There *are* learning modules for the HP 39gs. :-)

HP 39gs learning modules


Here's another idea for volunteer work. It's my understanding that many math books have exercises for calculators but they are taylored to the TI 83 line of calculators. Perhaps we could write companions to these textbooks that show how to setup the problems with various HP calculators instead. That way, if a teacher wanted to use HP's with a certain textbook, they'd have the resource.


Just a note (since Bruce brought it up), the PDF version of the specs on HP's site (linked to from the specs page) STILL states that the 30b has 32KB of RAM. Copied below.

Memory Stores up to 50 cash flows or statistic data items, plus 10 storage memory registers.
Stores up to 32KB of user programs.




I'm sure Tim knows, and I imagine he's reported it to somebody with authority to do something about it. The fact that it is still not fixed speaks volumes about HP's support for its calculators.

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