A comparison of three Hp 17bII generations


I have the chance of having all three models (original, gold trim and silver), and I have made a comparison in the blog:

Comparison between all three HP 17bII generations

Surprisingly, the original one was the nearly the fastest (the silver being the slowest!), and the key feel is still the best.

The silver one is a clear improvement over the gold trim version in all respects but speed. And there is a quality factor that I had not considered until now: how they are suited for single-handed calculations (handling the calculator and keying numbers with the same hand, like in a presentation). There were huge differences in that respect!!


Jose, this is a good comparison of the three 17bii units, but I have to believe that your speed figures for the 17bii+ gold are in error. I don't currently have the silver unit, but a few years ago I did some benchmarks of the solver and found virtually no difference between the 17bii+ gold and silver: both were substantially slower than the 17b or 17bii. You reported the gold unit took 78 seconds to do your benchmark; I just ran it on my gold unit and it took 167 seconds, comparable to the 17bii+ silver. My 17b ran it in 80 seconds.

You mention that later units do not have the Let and Get functions, nor do their manuals mention those. My experience is different. All versions of the 17b, including 17b, 17bii, 17bii+ gold, and 17bii+ silver, have the Let and Get functions. The manuals for the 17b and 17bii do not mention Let and Get, but the calculators have the functions. The manuals for the 17bii+ gold and 17bii+ silver do mention Let and Get, and those calculators have those functions as well.

While the plus units have much more memory, the solvers are different between the 17b/17bii and the plusses; the original solvers were faster and executed in a logical way. The new solvers are inferior.



I have rechecked the loop results - I might have lost 1 minute in the count - but I still get 85 seconds (today is 5º colder than yesterday - I don't know if that can be a factor), still much better than the silver model and in the same region as the original,

When it comes to Let and Get, I cannot find them in my Spanish hp 17bII manual, first edition; but it does come in the downloadable English manual, second edition. I stand corrected !!

Best regards,



Thanks Jose.

I have a hunch that Let and Get may have been put in the original 17b solver as a debugging tool for the developers, and perhaps they found it so useful that they left it in the production version but forgot to update the manual. Later, when users discovered it (probably in this forum!), the manuals were updated. The "Technical Applications for the HP-27S and HP-19B" manual (on the museum DVD) has a whole section on the Let and Get functions and many equations using those instructions.

I read a post a few years ago in this forum that Let and Get were not in the original 17b solver, but I got a 17b on EBay and they are there.

These are the types of things I really admire in HP calculators. For the 17b, Let and Get, If, and turn the solver into a minimal programming language capable of many things that a simpler solver would be unable to do. And on the 12c, cfj effectively gives you indirect addressing, and Valentin pointed out how NPV and IRR can turn the 12c into an equation solver. Amazing.

Edited: 9 Apr 2011, 9:40 a.m.


Hi Jose,

Nice review of the three generations of the 17bII's. I ran that loop test twice on my 17bII+ (gold) and got 85 and 87 seconds respectively.

The one small gripe I do have with mine is the grey rubber on the sides of it. When holding the calculator, it kind of feels like your fingers are sweating. Also, the case provides good protection but it's bulky.

What case is supplied with the silver one?





The case is equal in material, slightly large for the silver one. It looks better than the previous Pioneers, but when you look at how you use, the original is better for most applications (jacket pockets and so on)

The gold is not a bad calculator, but pales in comparison with the former and the latter ones


Added some pictures to the review...

HP 17bII 3 generations review


With fresh batteries I got 170 seconds on my gold 17bii+ which has s/n CNA61801536.



Thanks John. It seems that a couple of people got a much quicker response on their 17bii+ gold units, so I have to wonder if maybe later gold units had a faster processor or something, compared to earlier gold units. Oh well, I guess it doesn't matter since the silver unit replaced the gold one. I assume that the gold ones aren't in the supply chain anymore.

As for me, I'll take the 17b or 17bii.


I've posted this before, but here's the evolution of the 17B ...


Cheers, Keith

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