HP keyboards, past and present


I was playing with a few old non-HP calculators I just recently bought. They are all from the early 70's. And they all have really horrible keyboards. The keys are mushy, bouncy, in a word almost unusable; while HP keyboards from that era are really nice.
But you all know this.

What I was thinking today is that the quality of even non-HP keyboards is much better these days. I sometimes play, for example, with a ultra-cheap, modern Casio fx-570. Its keyboard doesn't "rotate and click", but I find it reliable: no missed keys or bounces *ever*. True, it doesn't have the pleasant click, but it's perfectly usable. Some modern HP keyboards instead, despite having the click, aren't all that reliable. I use, for example, the HP-50g and the WP-34s (30b hardware), and with both I have to keep an eye on the display, to see if all the keys registered because they sometimes don't.

I still like HP keyboards a lot, maybe I'm just saying that the "gap" between HP and others has gone - or worse yet, has reversed...

OK, "rant" over! :)



I always liked the HP-41 keyboard layout for the function keys, on the left (L) side of the numbers with the order top down (-) (+) (*) (/).

Never heard the reason why HP moved the function keys to the right (R) of the numbers with the order top down (/) (*) (-) (+).

Does anyone know HP's motivation to this change?



No one so far as I know has successfully answered this question.

If the premise is that the most-used keys should be closest to each other, then the four basic math operators, number keys, and Enter should be grouped together, which they basically are on all HP's.

If + and - are used more frequently, then these should be closest to Enter, as on the Classics.

Why are the Pioneers and 48's the opposite of this?

The Voyagers may offer the best arrangement, since the numbers are flanked by Enter on the left, and four basic math operators on the right, plus the order of operators, combined with the dropped down Enter key, puts all the most-used keys closest to each other.


Huh, I thought the 30b had a good keyboard..? The design of the 15C LE keyboard appears to be good, however. Are these 'loose' domes in the new Voyagers a first? It's great! HP should take the good job their employees do serious and care for a likewise good manufacturing. But that won't happen, unfortunately.

BTW, all my Casios had reliable keyboards, and so did my Commodores, Corvus' and Sinclairs. The only exception were TIs and some minor calculator brands like Philips.


Yeah, my fx-7000g's keyboard works fine, it's just very mushy. The molded rubber 'keys' are very flimsy and flex a lot, and there's no tactile feedback.

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