HP32SII - Keypad Labels


Can anyone tell me for sure why HP changed the colors of the HP32SII key labels from yellow/blue to green/mauve in the last model they manufactured. Was this an economic decision or what? - everyone I know seems to hate the new model because they changed colors from blue/yellow.

The contrast on the green/mauve design is pretty poor compared to the tradional blue/yellow setup they've had on their various other machines since the HP25 era (eg HP33E etc). My theory is that were trying to save money and they used green and mauve because it was cheaper - hence the reason why they also dropped the brown painted LCD surround and left it as silver - saves on brown paint and hence saves on money.

I guess only HP themselves can supply the true reason but it was a pretty poor management decision to change the colors after all those years of blue/yellow production models.

I also reckon the top painted shift keys look pretty ordinary compared to the all color keys they had on the HP25, HP33E etc - HP should go back to all color keys again including all white/cream keys for the number keys & the plus/subtract/multiply/divide keys. You compare the keypad on the HP33E with that of the HP32SII and you'll see instantly what I mean.

At least TI still makes the effort for all color keys on their TI-83 and in various colors too - the keypad on the TI83 is very pleasing - keys moulded in black, grey, blue, yellow, green - not painted on the top like HP. Unfortunately the TI doean't have CLICK-STOP.



My HP25 has two function keys, "f" yellow and "g" blue. On the other hand the HP32SII the function keys are ORANGE (not yellow) and blue with the bent arrows.



IMO, it had absolutely nothing to do with cost. This silver color is ink, not bare metal, so the cost between the two should be the same. Each scheme had four different inks used in the printing process.

It had everything to do with change for change sake by the marketing department. The HP fashion police wanted to compete with TI, the old brown looked dated. It was OLD HP. This is the NEW HP. The teal and purple colors where the same as used on the 48G series, they just applied it to a black background. You know, black, the new designer color awhile back. The fad that lasted for about a year with a appliances until people realized it showed every last finger print.

It wasn't just the 32Sii, the black scheme also appeared on the 10B, 17Bii and 20S before they shut down the Pioneer line in Indonesia. It was not about cost and certainly not about usability, but about appearances.

Then came the red and blue keys of the 49G on a light blue background. Beginning to see the pattern here?

Edited: 8 Aug 2003, 11:59 p.m.


I agree with Randy. I think this change of color is only for aesthetical and fashion reason. At first sight, I find the 32SII "Silver bezel" nicest than the old one. But one don't speak about usability here...


As an aside, the 19BII case colour also changed from brown to black when they launched the redesigned battery cover.

The colour of the keys also changed from grey to black. AFAIK, however, the LCD remained the same.



I think the change had something to do with the change from light brownish LCDs to later more grey LCDs. 17BIIs for example made up until about 1997 or so have the lighter brown LCDs with yellow markings on a dark brown case.
Later 17BIIs have a LCD with darker activated segments and have corresponding black cases with yellow markings.

I think the earlier 48SXs had less-contrasted brownish LCDs whereas the 48GXs (not the latest with the black/grey screen) have darker, more greeny-blue LCDs. Hence the 48SX has a brown case and blue and orange markings to blend with their LCDs, and the 48GX has a grey case and turquoise and lilac markings to blend with their greeny-blue (and post 2000 black-grey) LCDs.

The contrast between 32SIIs is not as obvious as the other two, but you can see that earlier models have more brown LCDs.

I've not seen this explanation as a reason for the colour change -- it's just my opinion based on my observations.



the HP-48SX doesn't have a brownish LCD.
Instead, it is blue with extremely bad contrast.
And when the machine is off, I think the LCD more tends to green.



The color of the Pioneer LCD polarizers never changed. They are all a neutral gray. It's an illusion due to the change in surrounding colors. I've got a pile of broken ones here that says so. There are major differences in the display timing and resultant contrast of the LCD's on the 32Sii and 17Bii. You can't compare apples and oranges.

The 48 series did change for not so obvious reasons. The original 48S/SX and early G LCD's were simply larger versions of the Pioneer displays. They did go to a light blue polarizer for unknown reasons with the resultant lousy contrast. The LCD's have silver reflector on the back of the LCD, but it is not totally opaque. After the 48 machines started getting replaced under warranty, they found one of the high rates of failure was LCD breakage. In order to strengthen the LCD, the HP engineers designed a molded black plastic plate that attached to the back of the LCD with thin double sided tape. This gave the glass some support and distributed the load for a non-sharp impact. This also changed the light transmission due to the reflector now being backed up with an opaque material. Since the contrast was also a problem and the reflective characteristics had changed, it was time for a polarizer change. They did add some green to the blue as we all know. While the reinforced LCD's are better and less prone to breakage, it still happens.

With the advent of the 39 and 49, they went back to a gray polarizer and put the LCD behind an acrylic lens to totally prevent breakage. That just created a new set of problems. Maybe the 39/49 team maybe didn't know about how hard it was to read an LCD through a secondary clear, reflective lens. Just ask anybody with an older Pioneer (17B/32S/42S) with the clear lens in front of the LCD. And then there is the issue of the softness of the material. Maybe it was just to make them look more like a TI. I certainly don't know for sure.

PS: Just a thought on 48 LCD swaps. Should you ever find yourself swapping a newer, reinforced LCD for an older non-reinforced, make sure you use the zebra strips from the new one - they are 0.015" thicker to accommodate the thicker LCD.


Hi Randy, folks;

About protective lenses: I think the best ones are those used in Voyagers and in the HP71B (does the HP75 also have it?). Voyager's and HP71B's lenses are perfect! They have such a high degree of transparency that they do not interfere. And you are also correct: I have an older HP42S (deceased) that has the protective lens: it is not as good as the one found in Voyagers and HP71B's. I noticed that Voyager's lenses have a thin coat that seems to be the "trick": once it is removed by any reason, the protective lens seems to be as reflexive as regular protection. Is it some sort of silicon-based film? Looks like a thin silicon plaque.

Luiz (Brazil)

Edited: 9 Aug 2003, 6:44 p.m. after one or more responses were posted


On Voyagers, it's a thin film metallization anti-reflective coating that will wear off over time. It will also come off when trying to polish scratches out of the lens. You can certainly tell the difference side by side when the coating is missing.

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