quality vs. commodity



#23

Hey all,

I have a lingering question I'd like to throw to the group. It may seem trollish, but I'm actually hoping for a serious discussion.

It's the 21st century; you can get a seriously powerful computer that fits in the palm of your hand for less money than you'd spend on a one-way plane ticket; you can do some mind-boggling operations on a laptop, desktop, or cluster computer. In the past, HP made some calculators of astonishing quality, but nowadays you can pick up a surprisingly feature-rich calculator in the check-out line at Walgreens for only $15, even though its quality might be wanting.

Here are my questions:

(1) For those who routinely use calculators, how much is "that old-time HP quality" really necessary in their function?

(2) Does anyone feel that they would be better-served if HP also served the commodity calculator market?

I.e., does the world need quality calculators anymore? Do *we* need quality calculators anymore?

Sharp and Casio make some killer calcs in the sub-US$20 price point, with a feature set that surpasses that of many classic HPs; I would love to see HP throw their hat in this arena: make an HP 32s equivalent -- complete with squishy keys, no constant memory, and a small photovoltaic panel, small and light and disposable, light on the memory and programming capacity (but with RPN, of course) -- for US$20 or thereabouts. If they did this, I'd pick up a six-pack.

Right now HP seems to have a product line that doesn't know its target market. They're trying to maintain their reputation of creating industry-leading calculators, and ride that out for as long as they can, but realistically they've ceded the market to TI more than a decade ago, and honestly, the last HP calculator that shook the world was the 48sx (released circa 1990). By straddling the line between "quality" and "commodity", HP is looking schizophrenic and indecisive, as if they've lost their grip on reality.

I would love it if HP took a stand and created perhaps three lines of calculators: (1) Engineer-Grade: a serious piece of equipment, the calculator we're all lusting after, such as a true next-gen 42s with IO, the quality of yesteryear, more industrial engineering than you can shake a stick at, but costing >US$200 since it's catering to such a small market. (2) Student-Grade: i.e., the 50g and its successors. ~US$100. Nuff said. (3) Commodity-Grade: US$25 or less. Equivalent in function to the Sharp EL-506W, with both algebraic and RPN. A calculator that, if the dog eats it, you would pick up a replacement at the pharmacy.

I'd buy one of the engineer-grade calcs for work, and a handful of commodity calcs to keep around the house. Even if HP didn't create an engineer-grade calculator, I'd be happy with that classic quality being a driving part of my nostalgia, as long as it meant that HP would be making lots of calculators for a long, long time.

Mind, I'm only a nerd, I don't have the access to the same market-research data that HP has, and my suggestions above are ignoring HP's current breadwinners like the 12c so I'm not trying to claim that I think I know exactly what HP should do. That said, HP's current behavior in the calculator market is reminiscent of other "companies in trouble", e.g., SGI, so I'd just like to see them try something different, since the strategy of "desperately clinging to past success while producing new products of compromise" doesn't seem to work, for both the company and the customer.

(I also speculate that calculators are an endangered species -- that the market is going toward more generalized computing devices and that future school kids will have their classroom calculators as a software module in their mobile phones and MP3 players -- but that's a topic for another post.)

Cheers,
-cam


#24

Isn't that not what HP been doing the past few years? Making commodity calculators? My honest opinion is I like to keep using favorite calculator for a long time, so it help if calculator is well built. You want a cheap HP calculator, then get a six pack of 30s or 9s, both under $20. And what about cheap photo voltaic calculator that people keep talking about that HP making, that be out soon.

Personally, I do not think this wise direction for HP to go. Maybe they should make a few cheap calculators to sell to the masses, but they must also have quality calculator presence.

That just my two Hungarian forint, for what it worth.


#25

If I buy a calculator it must be of good quality. Even with the simplest 4 function one, it's the quality that makes me use it. There are so many alternaltives to a calculator, it doesn't make much sense to have a calculator of low quality.

#26

HP does have some of those commodity calcs, although they aren't truly HP models (they're rebranded). The 6s was solar, and aside from having an icky keyboard, it was something like $6 in cost. I almost got a handful to give out as gifts at work, but it really wasn't all that great. The next closest would be the HP-8s. Not available in the USA (normally), but it is a low-end education calc that has some impressive features in a very small package. You can get one on eBay occasionally from overseas sellers for about USD$25.

In answer to your question, though, I think quality is important to a certain degree. Very much so at the engineer-grade level. We expect it from HP, and the proof is in the pudding. I firmly believe that, even with the bugs in the HP-35s, it will outsell the HP-33s. Not because it has that many more features, but because of the quality. They took the time to address remarks from long-time HP users for years.

Commodity-wise, I'd like to see them make their OWN HP-8s (not a rebrand), with RPN built in, and then -- like you -- I'd buy a handful. That would be a good calc to just toss in the car, trailer, backpack, whatever. Mind you, the 35s is *almost* to that point; I'm thinking of getting more. The 33s was overpriced for the value, and I will not get any more of those.

Education-wise, I think the 50g and the 40gs models are truly great calcs. Could use a few tweaks here and there, but...awesome. Probably the first in years to give due credit to the HP-48xx family name. Maybe fix some things, produce some in different colors and they could (COULD) make a run on the education market again. Especially with the HP-35s in the secondary.

(As an aging HP calc user, I came to the conclusion last year that if I had ONE goal in my remaining life, it is to see HP calcs take back the predominant spot in the education market. Obviously, I can't control or help HP with the calcs, but I can certainly do all I can to push them in the education market, tell friends, profs, make deals, create web sites, offer help, etc.)

The quality will always need to be there, IMHO. Maybe not as much as in the heyday of HP dominance, but it needs to be there. I won't be interested in some crummy little calc. Like you said, if you want a cheap and reasonably powerful calc, TI and Casio both have them. And now with the new Ativa (?) brand from Office Depot, there are three low-end challengers. So I COULD go get one. Would I? Probably not. I'd rather pay a few bucks more for quality.

thanks,
bruce

#27

I would be served if HP delivered a solid RPN calculator in the commodity market. I'd buy them by the dozen and hand them out as gifts to every student (elementary, secondary, college) I know (nieces, nephews, mentees).

I believe HP has lost (at least) a generation of calculator users. One way to reverse this would be putting an RPN calculator into the hands of as many users as possible. RPN sells itself to serious math, science, engineering and finance users. But HP must do a better job delivering it to them. A low cost RPN machine would address this.

More RPN users = more HP customers. More HP customers = more HP research, development, improvement, advancement. And this would serve me and my personal interests.

The "stand alone" calculator has been threatened by PCs, PDAs, Handhelds, mobile phones and declining math literacy (in the USA). But the calculator has survived and in many ways thrived.

Todays calculators are more powerful and reliable than their ancestors. Future advancement in micro processing, battery technology and manufacturing will continue the calculator's evolution.

I believe there will always be a need for quality calculators. Certainly academics will demand them. Industry will as well. Particularly in fields requiring accurate math and analysis, top quality calculators will necessary.

The great irony of technological progress is that the items that threaten the calculator (the PC, PDA, handheld, mobile phone, etc.) are disposable consumer goods. They are technilogically obsolite the moment the consumer acquires them. It is accepted that they will be replaced by a "better" product in 2 - 3 years (if not sooner).

A quality calculator never needs to be electively replaced. I've used my HP 15c for over 20 years. I can't count how many PCs, Palm Pilots and mobile phones I've replaced during that time period. But my HP 15c is still dependable, accurate and capable of handling anything I throw at it.

I've purchased two of the new HP 35s machines. After a long downhill slide, it's a step in the right direction. A direction I hope HP pursues.

I'll be the first to admit that the HP 35s doesnt hold a match to the HP 15c. But I firmly believe the HP 35s is the absolute best scientific calculator currently manufactured and sold.

For me "that old time HP quality" is absolutely necessary.

Just my two cents....


#28

I don't think this is specifically a HP problem, rather more of a general corporate mentality problem:

I don't think the board members, executives, and managers at HP pay much mind to the opinions published on this site. As someone has already posted, those of a like mind to us here have moved on in HP. In fact, what we might have recognized as HP is now Agilent, producing equipment more along the lines of things many of us might use. Unfortunately, calculators have been designated as a consumer item, not research equipment, not analytical equipment and so was retained by the "corporate-ized" portion that also retained the company name.

Until they return to the old American mentality from this current American mentality with respect to business, we will continue to see products that either trail or at most keep pace with the market, rather than lead it or define it.

So, things as they are, I'm happy they made a 35s, and not another 9s or some such (even the 33s really was a decent product given today's context, even if the visual design could have been... otherwise).


#29

It is obvious to me that the corporate execs have listened to this site (and others). Of course they are really listening to some internal champions... The 35s would never come about unless there was a perceived need to return to their roots. Of course it had to be developed in the context of HP's position in the calculator market and could not be a tremendous capital investment. It appears they are on the right track focusing on the key characteristics, incorporation of the ENTER key in the classic location and maximizing the key stroke programing ability. If they had more resources I am sure some of the bugs would not be there, but part of our 'fun' is finding, dealing with these devices... Thank goodness they modified the algebraic system as their 33S was not usable (Try explaining to anyone why it is sometimes prefix and sometimes postfix and entering algebraic expressions as written). The benefits of RPN are all understood but if expressions can be viewed and edited, algebraic or function entry can be practical.

#30

Major problem. Current student see calculator as disposable item. They also see calculator come with Windows or Mac OS, so why buy.

I do not agree with that stand, but I think that is reality. We all know that computer not fit nicely in pocket, but phone or PDA do, so as student, why I need nice calculator? That problem we face. We all know that HP make very good calculator, and back in 1970's they were cutting edge, but let face it, calculator is "old school" as kids say now. Calculator go way of Atari, and other old school thing and only used when mandated. It sad but so true. I think in coming years, we may not see quality calculator. I think we see disposable calculator, graphing calculator, and financial calculator. Of those, I only think HP will be selling one of three.

#31

Speaking as a current EE student, I think I've seen perhaps 2 HP calculators besides my own, and they were both used by professors. On a certain AC circuits exam, the professor restricted calculators, but let the students come up to use his 32sII for the last problem. The students were bewildered by RPN, and scoffed at the calculator. I love the 35s, warts and all, but HP is going to have a tough time convincing current students to purchase a $60 non-graphing calculator when they can get one from casio (that does definite integrals and is solar powered) for $17.

There are typically two types of students currently. There are those who have $15 calculators who would find the prospect of spending $60 on a scientific HILARIOUS, and then there are those with TI 89s (soon to be NSpire CAS). From my vantage point, it seems that HP has all but lost the calculator war with the coming of the NSpire CAS. If they want to get back into the game, these are the two fronts that TI needs to attack on. Commodity RPN calculators to get the cheapos (better students, almost to a man) hooked and feature-rich, expensive graphing calculators with symbolic CAS for those willing to put down $150 on a calc. It's going to be virtually impossible to convince a student to buy a 42s caliber scientific for $150-200 if it doesn't have graphing capability. Why spend the same or more on a calculator that, upon first inspection, does less than the competitor's graphing solution?

It's only when they get out of school that students will want a nice portable solution like the 42s, but they're going to go to TI for a $20 scientific because that's all they know. I would love for HP to come out with a new 42s so that I wouldn't have to spend $400 on ebay for an end-all scientific, but it simply isn't good business at this point. The only people who would buy them are professionals with nostalgia. Kids would buckle over laughing at the prospect of paying graphing calculator prices for a scientific.

Quote:
I believe there will always be a need for quality calculators. Certainly academics will demand them. Industry will as well. Particularly in fields requiring accurate math and analysis, top quality calculators will necessary.

The sad truth is that this need is filled by TI. The 89 is a wonderful machine, and the NSpire looks amazing. If only they had an RPN mode the HP calculator division could finally fade away.

#32

A large feature set does not equal usability. That's my main gripe with Japanese calculators. They are cheap and have plenty of features, but I find them difficult to use. It doesn't help when the manual is poorly written, set in tiny type, and printed on a large sheet of paper.

A quality keyboard and display are essential, as are legible markings on the keyboard. If the user interface sucks, I don't care how cheap it is.

Calculators are still important. The ability to run Mathematica on a laptop is irrelevant if you can't afford Mathematica or a good laptop.


#33

... or do not want to lug a laptop around to some places, but still need some significant (mathematical) computing power.

#34

Quote:
(1) For those who routinely use calculators, how much is "that old-time HP quality" really necessary in their function?

In my opinion, no. I just want something that has the intended functions I need and works they way I want expect it too.
People talk about HP quality, but every one of my Casio's I've had for 20+ years are still working just great, so they can't be bad quality either.

Quote:
(2) Does anyone feel that they would be better-served if HP also served the commodity calculator market?

They are already trying to do this with the new 10S and other low end models.

Quote:
I.e., does the world need quality calculators anymore? Do *we* need quality calculators anymore?

Quality is hard to measure, and people's ideas of what quality is is different.

Quote:
Sharp and Casio make some killer calcs in the sub-US$20 price point, with a feature set that surpasses that of many classic HPs; I would love to see HP throw their hat in this arena: make an HP 32s equivalent -- complete with squishy keys, no constant memory, and a small photovoltaic panel, small and light and disposable, light on the memory and programming capacity (but with RPN, of course) -- for US$20 or thereabouts. If they did this, I'd pick up a six-pack.

A programmable calc requires a lot more development effort than a scientific calc, someone has to pay for that somewhere. And little things like extra memory easily add up in the final retail price.

I suspect HP aren't geared up as well as casio to churn out a good low end calcs like say the FX-991ES or EL-506W.

Quote:
Right now HP seems to have a product line that doesn't know its target market. They're trying to maintain their reputation of creating industry-leading calculators, and ride that out for as long as they can, but realistically they've ceded the market to TI more than a decade ago, and honestly, the last HP calculator that shook the world was the 48sx (released circa 1990). By straddling the line between "quality" and "commodity", HP is looking schizophrenic and indecisive, as if they've lost their grip on reality.

I would love it if HP took a stand and created perhaps three lines of calculators: (1) Engineer-Grade: a serious piece of equipment, the calculator we're all lusting after, such as a true next-gen 42s with IO, the quality of yesteryear, more industrial engineering than you can shake a stick at, but costing >US$200 since it's catering to such a small market. (2) Student-Grade: i.e., the 50g and its successors. ~US$100. Nuff said. (3) Commodity-Grade: US$25 or less. Equivalent in function to the Sharp EL-506W, with both algebraic and RPN. A calculator that, if the dog eats it, you would pick up a replacement at the pharmacy.


Maybe I'm strange, but my idea of an "engineer-grade" calc is *not* a high end programmable one!
I don't need programming on a daily basis at all, but I do need lots of good primarily functionally, sensible dedicated key, a nice easy to use solver, and a nice small case I can *really* slip in my pocket.

I would love to see a low end calc specifically targeted at engineers, like say the way the Casio FX-61F was targeted at electronics engineers.
There could be one for electronics, mechanical, surveyors etc.

Dave.

#35

I would think most recent grads would prefer mathlab on a laptop or something equivalent than some old fashioned high priced calculator. But, it would be fun to run those focus groups, wonder if hp has. The HP Calculator may still have some lore left with the younger engineers/scientists and technical students


#36

Quote:
The HP Calculator may still have some lore left with the younger engineers/scientists and technical students

Nope. Not at UTexas EE at least. As far as students here are concerned HP makes computers and printers.

#37

Quote:
(1) For those who routinely use calculators, how much is "that old-time HP quality" really necessary in their function?

Critical. The ability to quickly enter calculations, have confidence that all keystrokes registered, and that the result is correct is of the utmost importance. There is a reason I always have an HP calculator nearby at work, at home, and in my briefcase.

Quote:
(2) Does anyone feel that they would be better-served if HP also served the commodity calculator market?

I believe so. Mind share is market share.

Quote:
I.e., does the world need quality calculators anymore? Do *we* need quality calculators anymore?

I hope so. This is why the 35s is refreshing. Sure, I can use Excel or code to solve many problems, but sometimes the calculator can answer the question much faster. I find the calculator essential for meetings. (RPN is such a spoiler for the uninitiated that reach for your calculator...)

Quote:
make an HP 32s equivalent -- complete with squishy keys, no constant memory, and a small photovoltaic panel, small and light and disposable, light on the memory and programming capacity (but with RPN, of course) -- for US$20 or thereabouts.

As is, I'm going to have to give each of my kids a 35s for RPN at a minimum.

Quote:
Right now HP seems to have a product line that doesn't know its target market.

Agreed. Although, I think the 35s may reflect a course change for the better.

Quote:
[m]y suggestions above are ignoring HP's current breadwinners like the 12c...

At least the 12c is holding its own.

I just wish there was a non-graphing HP calculator that combined the 35s and 12c in either form factor since I use both (and a 50g too--although that's overkill for my needs).


#38

Quote:
I just wish there was a non-graphing HP calculator that combined the 35s and 12c in either form factor since I use both (and a 50g too--although that's overkill for my needs).


I guess a 48 or 50 is an overkill for at least 80% of us. The rest is 5% professionals dealing daily with really HEAVY math, and 15% students going through all pleasures of engineering science the rest of us hardly remember. On college I really needed most of the functions on my 28s. Today (33s) graphing is not needed. I use the solver, trigs, statistical functions and rather seldom the numerical integration.

But isn´t it a real nice feeling to have a BIG calc around knowing one is prepared only in case of...?


#39

Yeah.

I keep it either in my drawer or briefcase. ;D


Really though, this is because either at home or at work, it's going to be the 35s, 33s, or 32SII that's used most of the time!

But that is only about 75% true, seriously- there are times I need the 48G, G+, or 49G+ because of their superior STORAGE capabilities. That is, I often store lots of constants or need one of the big programs, like Chem48 by Arnold Moy, either because I am not near or don't have a reference book at the time.

Fortunately for me, most of my programming needs can be filled by a programmable scientific. However, I'll admit that now I've learned a little user RPL, programming a 48 or 49 series machine may be easier if I have a somewhat more complex program. But I still like the simplicity and convenience of RPN keystroke programming in the HP scientific programmables.


#40

Quote:
However, I'll admit that now I've learned a little user RPL, programming a 48 or 49 series machine may be easier if I have a somewhat more complex program. But I still like the simplicity and convenience of RPN keystroke programming in the HP scientific programmables.

For me the opposite is true. My very first HP calc was the 28s. Hence User RPL became my natural monther tongue. Now, dealing with an 33s since some month ago, I have to learn the "simple" keystroke language.


#41

Very interesting!

Perhaps it was just my prejudices; I had assumed that since the HP scientific programmables' programming methods required only one or just a few keystrokes per step, that it would be easier for everyone.

However, I learned FORTRAN first above any other programming method. Keystroke programming still seems easier than that. Maybe HP's old calculator manual was a better teaching instrument than my programming texts and professor. ;)


#42

OK, the keystroke method actually is simple. But I need to get used to GTOs and the special loop programing.

The last time I used GOTO was in the early 80s when I teached myself BASIC on a C64. With RPL it is easier to handle subroutines which can be adressed simply by giving them real names, not only single characters or line numbers.


#43

Others here disagreed, but I was struck by how FORTRAN-like User RPL was to a fair degree. Less so, except in the looping features, was the use of ISG and DSE in RPN keystroke programming. They really remind me of FORTRAN DO loops...

... and there's lots of GTO (GO TO) in FORTRAN...

... but most computer languages and programming methods share lots of commonality.

Edited: 16 Aug 2007, 12:06 a.m.

#44

HP still makes the 12c...if one takes a look at the prices the 15c commands on eBay, it seems to me that they could reintroduce the 15c and be back in the game instantly.

Once you leave college, does anyone ever use the graphing functionality again? I've been an engineer for 22 years, and never felt the need to use such a capability (I've got a 48 and 49; foolishly replaced my 41cx), nor have I noticed any of our new hires using them. Unique to my experience, or common?

What I would like is a bigger, easier to read display (we're not all in our twenty's anymore). I like the idea of using OLED and a backlight keypad I read in the archives :-)

Off to order a 35...


#45

HP still makes the 12c...if one takes a look at the prices the 15c commands on eBay, it seems to me that they could reintroduce the 15c and be back in the game instantly.

That's the interesting thing to me.

One thing about calculators, specifically mid-range calculators, is that, frankly, the technology curve has flattened out.

That fact that you can get a capable and powerful CASIO for $15 just reinforces that.

The 12C is an anachronism. It's a "BMW" business calculator. I think that the only reason that the 12C costs as much as it does is because it can be sold for that much, and it can be sold for that much unrelated to its actual functonality.

It's valuable becuase of its history and the broad general knowledge sourrounding it. I'm not in that field, but if you're selling a 25 year old calculator design (Now it PLATINUM!), there must be a lot of users to provide an ad hoc support network.

Materially, there's no reason a 12C should cost what it does. HP made it's money back on the research, development, and tooling on that machine a LONG time ago. The real "cost" of a 12C is prestige and branding.

It's a fine calculator, but even HP sells competing ones for far less, yet the 12C is there on the shelves of every Office Mart in the US.

A run of 15Cs would sell quite quickly I think. There are a lot of Dads out there sending kids to college that cut their teeth on this calculator, and I think they could be made easily, and cheaply. Would it really be that hard to retool the 12C line to start stamping out some 15Cs?

While calculators can and do advance, we're at the stage where they don't need to. They're commodity items, many based soley on looks rather than functionality (witness the recent styling attempts from HP to appeal to a younger market).

Why not sell a 42S again? Beyond fixing any known bugs, what's wrong with the designs they already have on the shelves?

What is nice about the 35s is that it's got a handy size, and it's programmable with good storage. And it's keystroke programmable (or, at least, menu programmable). I've not seen one yet (it, alas, ISN'T on the shelf of every Office Mart in the US). But keystroke programming I think is more user friendly than RPL for most folks, as it's basically a macro language. "Watch me do this calculation."

My father, a 15C fan, laments his 48 over his old 15C and some Commodore calcs before that, specifically for that reason.

But basically, I don't see why HP couldn't sell the 15C today for $30. They'd sell a bunch I'd think, and not just to collectors.


#46

Hi Will,

I do not know how long you join this forum already. IF you are a seasoned member, THEN GOTO next paragraph. ELSE please scan the archives for keywords like "15C" or "42S" and you'll be drowned. To survive, you may filter using "bring back the 15C" or "42Sii" and the like. There were many extended (!) discussions about this topic, and I think almost every aspect has been covered at least once. Long story made short: It's not so easy for todays (!) HP to just resurrect any of the vintage calcs we all love so well, and to make money with it. Please proceed at conclusion.

next paragraph: Please accept my apologies for not remembering you. My brain is getting older every day :)

conclusion: IMHO it will be easier to use an existing platform of today and develop a new calc on this basis. The 35s may be a good mechanical platform (take the housing and keys without the print) to set up an advanced model. The 12C Anniversary may be another one but has 2 keys too less IMO. In either case, new displays are necessary to cope with the requirements and expectations of the "advanced" users of today.

Just my 20 Milli-Euros.


Edited: 18 Aug 2007, 4:50 p.m.


#47

Quote:
... new displays are necessary to cope with the requirements and expectations of the "advanced" users of today...

You mean kids...


#48

Even Nobel Prize winners have been kids once :)

Seriously: In the time of PDAs and mobile phones, LCDs featuring comparable resolution and briskness should go without saying with mid-range calculators, too. They will allow for state-of-the-art alphanumeric display of constants, matrices, equations etc. IMO the LCD of HP33s, recycled in HP35s, will be no more tolerable in an HP45s.

#49

Will --

Please read Walter B's post about the HP-15C and HP-42S.

There are two obstacles for resurrecting the HP-15C: Its microprocessor code and engineering documentation has probably been lost; also, its 7-segment display precludes alphanumerics -- a limitation that would not be tolerated by today's buyer of an upper mid-grade calculator.

The HP-42S is too complicated to resurrect as a calculator, with palmtop computers available and affordable.

That said, both calculators are examples of engineering excellence.

Quote:
That fact that you can get a capable and powerful CASIO for $15 just reinforces that.

I suppose you mean the fx-115MS. I bought one to get an example of a "modern" product. I agree that it has an impressive amount of functionality for the price, but it's not very intuitive to use, or well-integrated. It's more like a learning aid for a schoolkid's "lesson du jour", rather than a tool for professionals and serious students.

My archived comments about the Casio fx-115MS

Quote:
The 12C is an anachronism. It's a "BMW" business calculator.

What does that mean? BMW is still a leader in the automobile industry, although I can't stand their styling of recent years, which other manufacturers -- e.g., Honda/Acura -- have emulated. I've got an older, traditional-looking one.

Quote:
I think that the only reason that the 12C costs as much as it does is because it can be sold for that much, and it can be sold for that much unrelated to its actual functonality.

It's valuable because of its history and the broad general knowledge sourrounding it. I'm not in that field, but if you're selling a 25 year old calculator design (Now it PLATINUM!), there must be a lot of users to provide an ad hoc support network.


The appeal of the HP-12C has been its compact size, desktop-orented horizontal layout, and elegant appearance. Being a de facto standard for so many years certainly helps. It's admittedly not a good functional value for the money.

-- KS

Edited: 18 Aug 2007, 10:40 p.m.


#50

Quote:
I suppose you mean the fx-115MS. I bought one to get an example of a "modern" product. I agree that it has an impressive amount of functionality for the price, but it's not very intuitive to use, or well-integrated. It's more like a learning aid for a schoolkid's "lesson du jour", rather than a tool for professionals and serious students.

The FX-115ES has replaced the MS for some time now. Also known as the FX-991ES in some countries.

It's my current daily use calc and I find it supurb. I love the "table" mode, which is basically a solver that can give you spreadsheet-like tabulated results of a range of values for a variable.

One of my major gripes with it is the lack of rubber feet, it just has plastic dimples which give it even less desk grip.

Dave.


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