HP 33s revisited (LONG)


Hello all,
As an HP collector, and occassional visitor to the daily list and archives, I had some small comments to make about the loved and hated 33s. I'm no mathematician, and others have dissected the pro's and con's on that point a long time back. But having just picked the 33s up again out of the bottom of my drawer, I had just a few personal remarks to make.

I originallly bought the 33s as soon as it hit the Internet, and like so many, looked forward to discovering it and examining the newest HP product. That interest died within 3 days. The keyboard was one issue, but much worse was the decimal point, which was so useless it left me cursing HP for wasting my money. The keyboard was unacceptable in looks, but worse was that the buttons were so firmly made, that you lost calories just entering data for a few minutes! It went to the 'drawer of lost opportunities amd sentiment' with many other articles...

Prompted by mention of the newer version, and having trawled the archives here, I went to dig it out and take a new look- with some new reactions:

1. First thing: the batteries were dead! Unbelievable, as any owner of an HP 41cx or 42s will tell you. Unused for a few minutes and then properly turned off since it was released, the batteries were drained! Either the cells were less than good, or the memory or other systems are sucking up enough juice to run 4 of the older HP's...! Not so good.

2. Still experience the keys as giving too much resistance.

3. The layout, however, after a few years distance, really seems OK. In fact, there is not any more info here than on a 48 keyboard. What at first seemed 'unreadable', I now find perfectly fine. After just about 1 hour of use, I was at feeling at home. I must have changed. The readability issue against the silver background is actually better than against the dark green of the 48 for instance in my present opinion. So what's the fuss? Chevron shape is fun, but unecessary. However, it is OK to use (for me anyway).

4. The new placement of the ENTER key: actually OK. I will always miss the old placement, which is visually the only place for it after my years of use. But, having it close to the numeric input area, is actually handy- you are always inputting numbers, so why not have it efficiently placed right there under the 3? It actually works for me. I would be much more upset though if I had a 50G with the different placement. There should only be one spot for it in all models!

5. The lightness: Yes it 'feels' light. However, it reminds me of the differences between the full and half nut 41cx. To me the halfnut versions always feel 'cheap' in comparison- but my electtonic friends always remind me that with fewer parts, there is less to lose contact or go wrong, and it is actually better for long term use. Maybe this is the same.

6 Made in China. Ok, ok. Buth these days there is great quality coming from China. Many of the best Grundig models are made there, and CE norms are often used. So to say it is cheap, is not the case in my opinion, it doesn't stand.

7. I suspect that the 10c, 11c, 12c, etc. were also viewed as 'cheap' when they came out, with a key feel unlike any before them. Maybe the 33s will follow the same route in our perception?

To close, I haven't yet seen the new version 33s; but if the decimal is fixed, and the keys work better, then I might just try it.

Although I still prefer the old models the most, in time, the people after us may just as well be writing about their 33s calculaotrs with the same affection as we discuss the 'golden oldies'. Times change, and you gotta grow...

Just my 2 cents!



I have comments for two of your points:

5. The lightness: Yes it 'feels' light.

6 Made in China. Ok, ok. Buth these days there is great quality coming from China. Many of the best Grundig models are made there, and CE norms are often used. So to say it is cheap, is not the case in my opinion, it doesn't stand.

5. It is not only light, it is much too light. When I was trying mine out, I pushed it all around my desk while pressing the keys, until I placed it on a non-slippery surface.

6. Concerns about "Made in China" for many people (me included) do not only regard quality issues, but rather human rights and environmental issues. So much has been disclosed about child labour (only one example from many!) in the Chinese industry, that one becomes more and more reluctant to enjoy Chinese products. But this is not a political forum and I am not pushing this issue further.

Greetings, Max


What is the CE-Norm?
AFAIK, CE is only a declaration by the manufacturer that the product meets some requirements. No "official" tests are actually performed.

Edited: 13 Feb 2007, 10:29 a.m. after one or more responses were posted


Wikipedia to the rescue...


. . . and following that Wikipedia article's link to the "GS Mark" article, I find the following external link,

Compliance mark definitions

which seems to address most, if not all, of those mysterious symbols branded on various electronic gadgets.

Edited: 13 Feb 2007, 10:55 a.m.

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