HP49G+ Improvements?



#5

I've been reading about all the problems with the keys, garbage on the screen, necessary ROM upgrade, etc. Hopefully HP is paying attention to all these problems and will improve the way that the 49g+ is manufactured to fix these things.

I was just wondering, for all those of you out there who are familar with the manufacturing process...How long, assuming HP is looking into improving the keys (which I consider the number one priority) and other problems, before the upgraded models find their way back into stores/distributors?? THe 49g+ looks and sounds like a great calculator that I will definitely buy, but I'd like to wait for things to improve before buying one. Hopefully it won't be a long wait.... Any thoughts?


#6

Lately there have been lots of complaints about the 49g+, especially from people who have never used one or seen one. Realize that it is MUCH easier to complain about what is wrong than what compliment HP for what is right. Even if all of the given problems were fixed, we would find more things to complain about. For example, if the keyboard was perfect for everyone's tastes, then we would start complaining about the LCD screen. If that was fixed, the power consumption would be next. Then the size. And so on and so forth.

Realize that for every bad point you hear about (rom updating, LCD screen, keyboard, power consumption etc) there are literally 20 good points. The most obvious being the speed. A close second is the weight (especially when compared to the 39g. The 49g+ weighs less with batteries as the TI-89 does without) Furthermore, the software is great, along with the documentation (compared especially to other current calculator manuals) There are wonderful asthetics, and the memory size is amazing. The USB is fast, and it has IR. The SD slot is a great addition for future uses. The leather cases is to die for. It is RPN!!!! It has almost every function under the sun.

In my personal opinion, it will become the HP-41 of my generation. Everyone talks about how the HP-41 and the 16c are great, but let's face it they are not available to the general public. This, on the other hand, is available. I plan on keeping it for many years, and hope one day to be writing on this same forum about when I got my 49g+, and how I have used it for 15 or 20 years and can use it faster than the current calculators, even though it is so slow.

my 2 cents
-Ben


#7

Great post, Ben.

I think I mentioned in another post here yesterday that it takes time also to build a fan following. One interpretation of this is that people need time to actually get to press the keys and write a few quickie, but useful, programs for their most routine uses and then get to see how good it really is.

I just got my 49G+ today, despite my putzing around (which delayed it) I also finally got to figure out how to update the ROM to v. 1.22 via Conn4x (I don't know how to get the update .bin file from my PC's HD to the SD I installed on the 49G+; I only know how to d/l a file from the PC to the calc's HOME directory) and saw how stinkin' fast that was! Who here remembers or had to stupidity to try transfering files via a serial or parallel cable between two PC running DOS 3.x? You went to lunch, came back, did some work, went and got a couple of beers, came back, went to the rest room, did some more work, went to grab a cup of Joe, chatted with the fellas, came back, did some work... and it STILL wasn't done!

Okay, so that wasn't fair. The update .bin file was what, about 1.2 Mb? It took about as long as a 48G series would to download a multi kb file. Over the next years, lets see what kind of math this 49G+ dude can do. I'm not going to worry about (even though I'm thinking about it) some version of 48Trek or chess or pretty pictures on it. The reason all the calcs in this museum became worthy of their places is because of all the real work we could on them... enjoyably! So far, from a couple of intermittent hours of exposure to this beautiful, golden, shining tricor... uh, calculator, it looks like it can do math, unlike many college students today (no offense to any one here... only those not here ;) ).

Oh, my hours were intermittent because I had to drag the kids out to search for a reasonably priced SD card for the 49G+ that came to my door just today and this is what I saw in case anyone is interested:

Best Buy in NYC area- Fuji 128 Mb SD card for $40 USD.

Costco, again in NYC area- San Disk 256 SD card for $65 USD.

Great prices, but don't forget the 8.5% to 9% tax in our area. I hope these chains have the same cool prices in other areas as well. I also hope you folks overseas from here can get decent prices on these as well. I think I saw someone from Germany(?) say that his 49G+ came free with a 8 Mb card! That's great!

#8

Quote:
Realize that for every bad point you hear about (rom updating, LCD screen, keyboard, power consumption etc) there are literally 20 good points. The most obvious
being the speed. A close second is the weight (especially when compared to the 39g. The 49g+ weighs less with batteries as the TI-89 does without) Furthermore,
the software is great, along with the documentation (compared especially to other current calculator manuals) There are wonderful asthetics, and the memory size is
amazing. The USB is fast, and it has IR. The SD slot is a great addition for future uses. The leather cases is to die for. It is RPN!!!! It has almost every function under
the sun.

I understand what you're saying, Ben. However, keep in mind that for some of us, most of the things that are positive for you are neutral or negative for us:

Speed? I don't care much about speed; the 48 (and the 41 in many cases) is fast enough for me.

Weight? I like a heavy, solid-feeling calculator. One of the things I like about using memory cards in the 48 is that they make it heavier; a 48 without cards feels almost too light to me.

Software? The software is nice, though MetaKernel + Erable + Alg48 gives me most of that on a 48.

Documentation? From what I've heard about the documentation, at least some of the people who have it feel it's inadequate and recommend supplementing it with the 48 manuals. (It is supposed to be better than the original 49's documentation, though.)

Aesthetics? Though it's an improvement over the 49G, I still don't like the looks of the 49G+. I still think it looks too much like a consumer appliance and not enough like a complex piece of industrial/technical apparatus. In other words, it looks like it belongs in a living room, not in a laboratory. Of course, as I've said before, the puny [ENTER] key is a showstopper for me. No matter what other features a calculator has, I won't buy it unless it has a prominent double-sized [ENTER] key. That's an absolutely non-negotiable point with me.

Memory size? After a year of using a 2mb card in my 48GX, I still have 634kb free. I could free another 896kb by deleting 7 ports filled with backup objects (some dating back to July). They're already backed up on my laptop; I only keep them in the calculator because at present I don't need that memory for anything else. If I needed more I could get a 4mb card, but I don't anticipate ever needing more than 2mb. (It would be nice to have a larger port 0, but I've learned to manage just fine with what I have.)

USB? I like RS232C better than USB. Since the 49G+ is a USB client device, you can't hook it directly to another USB client (like a printer or another 49G+). A plain old RS232C serial port is more flexible.

IR? Already have that in my 48.

SD slot? Useless for me. (See comments above about memory size.)

Leather case? Sounds nice, but I've heard that the large magnetic clasp makes it difficult to fit in a pocket. If that's true, it would be a problem for me because I frequently carry my 48 (case and all) in my pocket.

RPN? That's great, but my 48 has that already. (Well, RPL, which is almost as good as having genuine RPN.)

Functions? My 48 (with MetKernel + Erable + Alg48) has many functions I've never (yet) explored, and probably always will. I don't need any more.

So while the 49G+ may be perfect for you, it falls far short of being right for me.


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