12c vs 17bii+ comparison?


I have to admit that I'm not all that familiar with the 17bii+ model, mainly because I have both the 12c and the 12c 25th. However, now that I'm messing around in the financial world -- AND, of course, being a collector :-) -- I'm wondering if it might be neat to own the 17bii+ model.

That being said, what are the major pros and cons of these two models, from your opinion(s)? I'm not talking about form factor, keyboard, things like that -- I'm mainly looking for functionality/feature differences. Does anyone have a pointer to a good written comparison, or care to share your own opinion?



Why look no further than here at the comparision corner (a feature found on the main page).

True, it will only compare the older 12c to the older 17B, but the newer 12c only has additional keysteps, and perhaps an algebraic mode. The newer 17Bii has only an RPN mode and 32K of RAM compared to the older 17B. The older 17B had a working LET and GET function and so should the latest release 17Bii (but I am not sure).


Hi, Ron --

The newer 17Bii has only an RPN mode and 32K of RAM compared to the older 17B.

Both my HP-17B (S/N 2816Axxxxx) and my HP-17BII (S/N 3223Sxxxxx) have about 7 kB of RAM, as do the HP-42S and HP-27S. Only the HP-42S can be upgraded to 32 kB RAM, to my knowledge.

Unless, of course, by "the newer 17Bii" you meant the KinHPo 17BII+ ...

-- KS


I guess he meant HP-17BII+, which has 32 KBytes of memory.

-- Antonio


Fingers out paced brain (similar to mouth in drive-brain in nuetral syndrom). Yes, I meant the Kingpo model.

Thanks for the correction so I don't mislead.


yes, Kinpo.

-- Antonio


You know, I didn't even notice that the 17bii+ wasn't programmable. That may be a deal killer for me, even though I admit that I've only written minor, trivial programs for the 12c. I just like the option of knowing I can automate a sequence or process.

The thing about the 17bii+ that is attractive to me is that it has the two line display (something I love when I'm RPN'ing) and the soft menus are nice too. Form-factor wise, it's about a tie; both are reasonably small and compact.

Now, give me the programmability of the 12c, on the form-factor of the 17bii+, with the stats functions of the 10bii, and I'll buy it NOW. :-)



The solver feature is far superior to the programming of the Hp12c. It doesn't come with 32K of RAM for nothing.

The stats are the best available for a pocket calculator, exceeding many graphics calculators as well (not the high end ones, of course).

My own recommendation would be to buy a new Hp17Bii (Only has 7K RAM, but is Hp Quality made and still available new for about the same price as the newer Hp17Bii+, although you will have to hunt for it from overstock via the web) 7K RAM is a lot for this type of calculator since it HAS NO real I/O and it is a flat file structure/menu system.

I have no experience with the newest Hp17Bii+, so that is why I do caution against it compared to the KNOWN Hp quality of the older Hp 17Bii.


...does not show two numbers on the stack in RPN mode.

One line is ALWAYS there showing the menu labels at the top. Only one number is on the display at a time.

It is different from the 42s where you could remove the menu labels and show X and Y at the same time.



I'm never satisfied. :-)


Hi, Bruce:

    If you're intending to do more serious financial computations than what the HP-12C's extremely rudimentary programming capabilities, awfully scarce RAM, no alphanumerics, and absolute lack of I/O have to offer, while still using a very small, slim, quality handheld, perhaps you might want to search for a vintage Sharp PC-1421 Business/Financial Computer (sold in the US as model SHARP EL-5510).

    This beautiful, metallic, very slim and light machine is fully alphanumeric, has a complete qwerty keyboard, all financial and statistics functions, a fast 768 Khz 8-bit processor, 4 Kb RAM on board, full serial and parallel I/O for connection to a PC or
    peripherals such as a printer and external mass storage, and further it's programmable in an enhanced version of BASIC, including two-dimensional numeric & string arrays, long variable names, input/output commands, all standard mathematical functions (yes, trigonometrics too !!) and of course all financial functions are fully integrated as BASIC commands and can be included in complex BASIC programs ! All this in a beautiful, solid, very small machine.

    If you want to see what it looks like, visit these links:

        Link 1



    I do own a mint one and it's awesome as well as beautiful. I used to store all programs and data in a micro-cassette and it worked like a charm. The pictures don't really do it justice, it's much smaller than it seems and much prettier in real life, in the hand.

Best regards from V.


Hey V --

Sadly, I *owned* one of those way back when. After a number of years, I found it in a pile somewhere and decided it just needed to be thrown away. Little did I ever expect calculators to be collectibles.


Thanks for the link though -- bittersweet memories...



Hi Bruce,

I have a 17bII+ bought new when they first came out and the keyboard is awful - wiggle fix required, key presses not registered and some double up. Unusable for any work, let alone financial.

So, don't buy an early one of eBay. If they are still on sale then I would insist on having the dealer open one up to try. Maybe they are better now since this was 3 years or so ago now.

If you can live with the clamshell design and the weak battery cover then 19BII's can be had quite cheaply off eBay and they work very well. (But list stats rather than traditional which may or may not be a problem.)


Thanks for all the help guys.

First, I probably should have just downloaded the manual to make sure I had my facts straight, but that was too easy. :-)

The HP site lead me to believe the 17bii+ didn't do stats, which is weird. The folks here and the compare calculator function showed me differently.

The HP Solve app is good, but it's still not keystroke programming. I like to create my own repetitive loops, add values conditionally, etc. I will probably be okay with the Solver, but I'd prefer conventional programming.

I ultimately just went down to Fry's and pawed one through the package for a while. Decided to get it, and now that I've played with it for a while, it's truly nice. I wish the 2-line display was a true 2-line display (thanks for clarifying that, btw), but still, it's impressive. I think I do like it better than the 12c at this point.

Anyhow, time will tell. Thanks everyone!!


I would love to try the 17bii+, but trying to find a good price eludes me.

The only official seller in Canada is York University Bookstore. Coincidently, I am studying music there right now. With taxes, their price works out to about $155US ($160 + 14% sales taxes in Canadian funds, divided by the 1.17 exchange factor).

HP's official online price is $99US but I don't think they ship directly to Canada.

I have seen some on fleabay for around $100US, but with shipping and duty I may end up paying about the same as what I would pay if I just went into the Campus store. If I am lucky it may work out to $10 to $20 less, depending how the seller marks the package for Customs.

Any ideas?



I just nabbed one from a guy in FL for the BIN of $80. Shipping is reasonable and even if Canada Customs nabs me the max in taxes this will come out as far less than what I would pay if I bought retail here.



I bought mine at Fry's for $97, which is $2 less than retail, but Wal-Mart also sells them online for $87. I just didn't want to wait for it to get here. That's probably the lowest price online that I could find other than eBay, as you just did.


Edited: 17 Feb 2007, 10:47 a.m.


I bought a 17BII+ a year ago and ended up returning it after much frustration with the hard keys. I found it much worse than the "defective" keys on the 49G+ prior to the ROM 2.00 update. The keys on the 17BII+ were for deliberate pushers and not fast pokers like myself. After a year now it might have a better feel, but I bought a new old stock 17BII RPN and find it much, much better. For straight-forward calcs and statistics, I use the older 12C at work due to its quickness. I don't run any programs, though.


I have a 82240 printer and like the idea of IR printer output.

I have a 14B too, rather like it algebraic entry notwithstanding, but was disappointed to find it doesnt offer IR output even though it is a Pioneer.


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