Only a couple of months ago . . .


. . . I would have said my favorite day-to-day calculator was the 33s. I recently had occasion to pick one up again, to compare some function or other with that of the 35s.

What a difference a new model makes! I was long ago able to get past the 33s' legendary and superficial chevron keyboard design (in its way somewhat successful, I must admit, in that my teenage son carried a 33s to school with pride -- albeit in ALG mode). But upon renewed acquaintance, its perverse and seemingly random function assignment had me flummoxed.

The 35s layout isn't perfect, but it's such an improvement as to render the 33s (for me at least) (at last?) all but unusable.

(It's amazing what one may grow accustomed to!)

Edited: 21 Aug 2007, 2:59 p.m.


I am not a fond proponent of algebraic modes but the HP-35s algebraic mode is a tremendous improvement over the 33s. It let me give my son the calculator to learn about RPN but works in algebraic mode. I could not give my son a 33S as it was not possible to use the algebraic mode to write equations (the stupid combination prefix and postfix input system). The 35s is far better and though not perfect a great improvement!!!!


I gave my son a 39G.

For a short while, he was into it. However all his teachers and classmates use TI graphing calcs in class, so that's what he uses in class; I didn't buy him one- he just borrows the school units.

However, I've just printed and bound for him he 39G/G+ AUR and got him (on sale at Samson Cables) the 39G-PC cable. So, the long and short of this is that he's going to go algebraic for a while more.

On advice a long time ago, I believe from our legendary Norm Hill, I'm holding off REALLY teaching him to use RPN until just a bit later... if for no other reason than just that at this age, all his peers and instructors are TI-bots.

Also, for a younger child, there may be no patience for RPN, especially if they've just mastered PEMDAS not too long ago.

But when it's time, I plan to show him the 33s. What do you all think, 33s or 35s? (Norm recommended the 32E; I'd love to, but can't afford the exorbitant collector prices for such a lovely unit.)


The first, best destiny of the 33s was simply to appeal to appearance-oriented teenagers. Given that, the optimum use of a 33s may be to capitalize on its "attributes": set MODE to ALG and hand it to a high- or middle-schooler (or maybe even a high middle-schooler ;-). If the kid happens to ask something like "What's this RPN thing all about?" then offer a 35s replacement.

It will probably be flexed to death in an overloaded backpack anyway. (I had a 28s de-part in that manner!)

Where before I snapped up a couple extra 33s in case they'd be the last RPN keystroke programmable to be made, I now doubt I'll even save one for my "collection" (such as it is). (Maybe the newer units will be useful as sources of replacement LCDs for the 35s.)

Edited: 21 Aug 2007, 4:22 p.m.


... (Maybe the newer units will be useful as sources of replacement LCDs for the 35s.)

Ouch! Rough! I still think the 33s has redeeeming qualities, not in the least of which is RPN and a fair amount of calculational power and decent amount of programming power for its size.


I still think the 33s has redeeeming qualities,
I still waiting to hear what the redeeming qualities are. ;)

Also, for a younger child, there may be no patience for RPN, especially if they've just mastered PEMDAS not too long ago.

Hmmm. If they've just mastered PEMDAS and then start using an ALG calculator, they'll quickly forget PEMDAS because the calculator automagically does it for them, with no indication that it's doing so.

With RPN on the other hand, they have to remember PEMDAS because order of operations is completely up to the user in RPN, just as it is with pencil and paper.



Good point!

I suspect this was one reason why Norm (yes, the famous one) recommended that more advanced (mature?) students begin to learn to use a RPN calculator.

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