HP 35S gets returned


I've had it with the HP 35s - seems like everywhere I turn there is some limitation. I've been an HP person forever and I was quite excited about the "retro" 35s but reality is a harsh mistress.

First there is the problem with building complex exponents from variables or constants - My HP-42s did this without a hitch.

Then I'm told you can't use X^2 function for a complex number but you can square it manually. My HP-42s does this without a hitch.

When I try to figure out something from the manual I come across one of the poorest manuals ever written by HP.

Now I just discovered that the 35s does not have matrix capability! Say what? My HP-42s does matrix operations flawlessly.

I tried to do some binary logic on the 35s and got further unexpected results and the manual, as stated above, was totally useless in helping me. My HP-42s executes boolean logic flawlessly and intuitively.

I could go on but I think you get the idea. The 35s goes back, but the 42s gets a brand new shiny set of batteries!

In short, I am amazingly unimpressed with this effort from HP. I hate to sound like some old dude but did they have a bunch of kids with no concept of previous HP calculators design the 35s?

Cheers, old school dude.


Well, Ike, the 35s is claimed to be a replacement of the 33s, so the comparison with the 42S is a bit unfair. IMHO the 35s is a big enhancement over the 33s. It falls short, however, compared with the 42S, as you stated.

But who knows what the future will bring? A reincarnation of the 42S may well be in a shape similar to the 35s. Also a 42S+ or 45S is well possible within this design. Please see earlier threads.

Best regards, Walter (also old school, started with a 25C :)



Thanks for the help in perspective. I've never owned a 33, just my current 42s which I bought new back when wheels were square.

I've got to admit though it never even occurred to me that the HP-35s might not have a matrix mode - I thought that was derigueur for virtually all modern scientific calculators?

Thanks again.


Comparing the 35s to the 42s is comparing apples to oranges.

The 35s architecture and functionality are an extension of the 32s -> 32SII -> 33S line of calculators. Note which model that begins with.

The 42S of course had many more features and capabilities than the 32S did, so pretty naturally, the descendant of the 32S does not have all the features and capabilities of the 42S.

Personally, I'll take the inexpensive 35s over risking the increasingly rare 42s I have.

It might also help to check out a calculator's specifications before buying a new one. No where does HP say the 35s handles matrices...so why be surprised when you find out it does not do them? :-)



It might also help to check out a calculator's specifications before buying a new one. No where does HP say the 35s handles matrices...so why be surprised when you find out it does not do them? :-)


Like I said, it never even crossed my mind that it didn't do matrix operations so I didn't even look for that functionality - I just assumed it was there. This is a classic case of what "assuming" gets one.

Your point and those of the others is well taken, the 35s is not of 42s lineage so don't expect more that what can be expected.



I always supposed that the prominent "MILE" legend on the keyboard was an acronym for "Matrix Inversion and (simultaneous) Linear Equations". What other thing could "M.I.L.E." mean in an advanced HP scientific calc?



Well, since --> KM is on the same key, I think I'd assume kilometer to miles conversion.


Don: Please check the :-) symbol on the end of my previous post. It was kind of wordplay between "mile" and the made-up M.I.L.E acronym.

BTW, "mi" and "km" would have been more appropriate, as already noted by many people here and elsewhere.



OK, thanks Andres. After I responded, it occurred to me that you were poking fun and not serious. I think I need emoticon training!


Hi, Don,

I'd assume kilometer to miles conversion.
You would be perfectly right if the print would say "km". With "KM", however, I'd think of "Kryptic Measure". So I can understand why Andres came to his interpretation :)

While I certainly agree that the HP42S is one of HPs finest products, I think it's unfair to compare the 35s to the 42S. The 35s is based on the 33s, which was based on the 32sII. None of these ever had the features you're describing (which the 42s DID have, of course).

That said, of course it's well within your rights to return it if it doesn't do what you need it to do! :)


I really don't expect the 35s to be able to do complex number, matrix or boolean as to orginal 35 didn't do those. If I want to perform those function I see no problem with a 50G. In fact thing I dislike most about the 35s that it offers way too many functions beyond those of the original 35.


OK, I'll back off on the 35s since I seem to be examining it through 42 glasses.

However, please help me with this one:

On the 42s if I want to do the following operation in binary:

1101 AND 1011 I get 1001 just as I expect.

However, on the 35s I enter 1101 in binary mode hit enter and get 10001001101b

then I enter 1011 then LOGIC AND then I get 1000001b

What is this? The book was of no help.


Edited: 11 Oct 2007, 3:28 p.m.


However, on the 35s I enter 1101 in binary mode hit enter and get 10001001101b

The fact that you are in binary mode doesn't say anything about the base you are entering your data in (except in hex mode it enables the 3rd row to be A-F :-)

When you hit enter, it reads 1101 as decimal, and then the display is in binary. You have to type 1101 -> BASE 8 ENTER to enter binary data.


Edited: 11 Oct 2007, 3:36 p.m.


The 35s assumes all input is in base 10 unless it is appended with 'b' (binary), 'o' (octal), or 'h' (hex), regardless of what base the calculator is set. This is one of the more annoying aspects of the 35s.

To do your calculation on the 35s:

1011 [blue shift] BASE 8 ENTER    ; 8 is 'b', for binary
1101 [blue shift] BASE 8 ; 8 is 'b', again
[yellow shift] LOGIC 1 ; 1 is AND

Far too many keystrokes, but it does work.


Alain and Seth,

Wow. I'm so amazed I'll say it backwards, "wow". Could they have made that any more complicated?

This is starting to get funny now, thanks so much for your help. I would have never figured that one out.



You wouldn't have figured it out without reading the manual, where it explains how to do it.

It is also covered on the HP calculator web pages in the HP 35s learning modules.

While I am no fan of this "approach" to doing binary math, figuring things out often takes an investment of reading the manual.

Of course, buying a machine sight-unseen and specifications-unread and assuming it does things the way a 20 year old machine did ...


Well, assuming that it would do things intuitively... like assuming the number you are entering is in the base mode the machine is operating in... seems reasonable. Automatically assuming decimal independent of operating mode is (insert your favorite expletive). It's still my everyday machine, but boy this feature stinks.



And, oh I agree with you there!



I looked at the manual, again, and I know I still couldn't have figured it out. Apparently I'm not as smart as you.



I'm not saying you are stupid.

But the manual does indicate these things are required. Pages 11-1 through 11-3 are most helpful about the BASE issue.

For example, Bottom of page 11-1: "To enter an hexadecimal number, type the number followed by “h”"

Gene: So, if I want to enter the Hex number 1F I have to place an "h" at the end of it.

Middle of page 11-3: "A number without a base sign is a decimal number"

Gene: So, entering 101 without the appropriate "b" at the end is a decimal number. Entering 1F without the "h" at the end will not be considered hexidecimal but decimal with perhaps odd looking results.

In fact, EVERY example in the entire chapter indicates keying in the base sign for the base of the entry, whether b for binary, o for octal or h for hex.

I believe working the examples in chapter 11 would have let you figure it out.


I believe working the examples in chapter 11 would have let you figure it out.


I suppose you are right. You'd think if the binary annunciator was on that things would be in binary. I was just hoping for something a little more intuitively obvious.



Try working in hexadecimal and you'll find it's even less intuitive! (Even more "untuitive"?)

Digits A-F are entered, not via the keys marked "A" ... "F", but via the third row of keys, "A" being the first, "B" the second, etc. (Of course, they're marked with entirely different letters . . . )

But I'm piling on. I guess that's the feature of its design that I find truly annoying. (I suppose if I had a need for complex numbers, I'd jump on that bandwagon, too.)

All that said, I think the 35s is really sweet. I love programming it, and I love the printed key-faces and its clean look. Aside from the bugs, it represents several steps in a few right directions. (I'm surprised they even bothered to try!)

Edited: 11 Oct 2007, 6:48 p.m.


Ike's point of view is interesting and I understand why he hates the HP-35s (so do I).

For years he has been happy with his wonderful HP-42s, having absolutely no need to wonder or to bother what's going on at HP.

Now in 2007 he wants a new scientific calculator and it has to be an HP, because HP calculators are great, functional and built wonderfully. So he opts for the current top level RPN calculator from HP: the HP-35s.

Unfortunately he didn't get what he expected. In the last 10 years many things have changed at HP, unfortunately in the wrong direction. So isn't his reaction more than normal?

Even the cheap Casios can do matrix calculations ...


HP moved Matrix etc into the "graphing" or "RPL" models and eliminated the "top dog" of RPN, and for good reason: The RPL models can emulate RPN models, and they have their own robust system (RPL) capable of dealing with RPN logic, algebraic objects, programs, a multitude of datatypes, complex handling etc that far exceeds the 42s. It is a different way of thinking that an old dog (like me) can find daunting, but then again I never leaned on a claculator for linear algebra...

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