HP 15C LE - review wanted


While all these messages about serial numbers, fedex packages and key rattle are very interesting, I really would like to see a decent writeup, preferably with pictures, describing the new calc in comparison with the 15C classic. All of you lucky guys/gals are undoubtedly absorbed by this new toy for weeks to come, but inquiring minds that haven't yet received or ordered their units, would like to know what they can expect.

Thanks in advance!


Those who snooze will lose....why wait?


At least, I would like to have updated Calculator Benchmark with HP-15C LE and HP-12C AE.


If I enter the program provided for the HP-15C from the "Calculator Benchmark article", my 15c LE returns a result of 876 in approximately 28 seconds.



Thanks a lot for your test! :)

A classic HP-15C gave 1:19:10 or 4,750s. Your HP-15C LE gave 28s, i.e. an HP-15C LE is 170x faster than a classic HP-15C.

Edited: 14 Sept 2011, 11:43 a.m.


Yes, that is what I calculated for the speed increase factor. That is the highest speed increase that I have seen for any test. Most reports and my tests of other routines seem to indicate a speed increase factor of 100 to 150. I don't know if the N-queens routine lends itself to higher speeds for some reason, or if the results for the HP-15C were from a slow example of the original unit. I may test it on my old 15C, but for such a long running program it is difficult to make sure you catch it when it finishes.

Edited: 14 Sept 2011, 1:00 p.m.


Perhaps HP should issue an alternative firmware with enough delay loops to match the original speed, to emulate that typical 1-second delay for trig functions or the eternal "running"-message, just in case you really want to have that Voyager experience ;-)

Edited: 14 Sept 2011, 4:27 p.m.


Not sure exactly what you want, but here are a few random comparisons:


The biggest difference in appearance between the 15c LE and a classic 15C is that of the keys themselves. The 15c LE keys have a matte finish to them and are (very slightly) rough to the touch, while the 15C Classic’s keys are glossy in appearance and quite smooth to the touch. The blue and yellow (or gold, if you prefer) colors for the legends appear to be essentially identical between my 15c LE and my 15C Classic. (Much closer than the 15c+ units given to HHC2010 attendees, which used the orange and blue font colors from the 12C Platinum, I believe.) The display on the 15c LE is very slightly yellow as compared to the 15C Classic unit. The silver “15C” logo badge appears to be identical to the old, expect of course it is shiny and pristine on my 15c LE and beat up and worn on my 15C Classic. The silver line that surrounds the keyboard may be ever-so-slightly wider on the 15c LE, but that is really splitting hairs. The back label is of course much different due to the need to rearrange everything because of the much larger battery compartment door. It is also black print on a silver background instead of the silver on black of the original. All of the same information is included, except for a diagram of the battery insertion orientation. The silver bezel surrounding the display is very close in appearance. I cannot tell if the 15c LE is actually a brushed aluminum or a painted finish that mimics brushed aluminum.

Key-press feel

The key press feel is slightly different between new and old. The new is very good in my opinion, the difference is difficult to describe in words. The old is perhaps a slightly softer feel, not mushy soft, of course. I believe the old keys have slightly less travel, but again it is a very subtle difference.

As for pictures, Gene posted a link to a very large photo of the 15C LE here, and there are photos of the 15C Classic here at the museum.

Don’t know if the above is the type of information you were after, if you have any specific questions, just ask.


Thank you, Jeff, for this clarifications. I am glad that they got the blue/gold colors for the legends right. On the FlickR picture that Gene linked to, the gold color was definitly not identical to the original Voyager color scheme.

Most important thing for me is the feeling of the keys, but your description gives me a pretty good idea, thanks. I hope that the legends on the keys do not wear off too soon... I guess that will be the only long-term cosmetic disadvantage, compared to the injection molded keys of the original model.

I still have this question: is the 15C LE level on a flat surface? No instances of slightly warped cases?


I have a glass table and tried to rock it by pressing keys on the edges and couldn't get it to even slightly wobble.


On the FlickR picture that Gene linked to, the gold color was definitly not identical to the original Voyager color scheme.

Comparing the two side by side, I can confirm that the gold on the LE is more yellow, and therefore brighter. It is indeed more readable IMO.


I hope that the legends on the keys do not wear off too soon... I guess that will be the only long-term cosmetic disadvantage, compared to the injection molded keys of the original model.

Some of the original Voyager models had painted keys near the end of their production run. Also I believe many of the more recent HP-12C models have painted keys so there should be some history of how long they last out there somewhere.


I'll add some additional observations. Mine arrived today and so far I like it a lot. Key press is much better than I anticipated, and I think Jeff O. described it pretty well: firmer keypress than original, but not as nice/smooth, yet still very respectable.

I get no key rattle at all, and while the colored function keys do drift a little, they're not bad, and I probably only noticed this because it was mentioned here. The display is great, basically identical to the vintage 15c display, with maybe a slightly (as in very slightly) yellowish tinge.

Cosmetically it's an almost-perfect reproduction. I'll concur some of the other points: the yellow labels are a bit brighter, making them easier to read. If one really scrutinizes, you'll find that the border around the edge of the keyboard is slightly thicker, and that the "HEWLETT-PACKARD" branding on the bottom is bold Helvetica instead of plain. (And now the label runs to the near-end of the RCL key instead of to the middle.) And comparatively, the LE's plastic case is more black than then vintage 15c's brown.

If you stand them on a desk side by side, the LE stands a tiny bit higher (1mm, maybe 1.5mm), and I can see that the LE is more uniform in thickness (in that the original 15c has more of a taper toward the front/bottom edge). I first attributed this to the fact that the LE has thicker feet pads, but upon inspection it actually is thicker, especially on the front/bottom edge.

(I suspect that this is the same physical form factor as the modern 12c calculators, but I don't have one to compare.)

The back side of the calculator, of course, looks totally different. The big metal label (with error codes, &c.) is silver instead of black. I personally find this contrast jarring, but nothing substantial to complain about. Also, the brushed aluminum bezel on the front is different ... it doesn't actually feel like brushed aluminum in that it's totally smooth.

All in all, I think it's great. HP, this totally made my month. Many thanks.

For full disclosure, I do have one complaint thus far, which is regarding the slipcase. It's fractionally too small for my calculator (both in width and length) and irregularly sewn. Even when I fight the calculator all the way in there, it sticks out of the case by about 3mm. Just by trying to force the calculator into the case, one of the seams at the opening has already started to come undone. Annoying, but not a big deal, especially since I think I have a spare kicking around in the office.

Edited: 16 Sept 2011, 10:28 a.m.

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