Compare HP 48G/GX, 49...?


For various reasons, I would like to better understand the differences among some of HP's late model calculators, in particular the 48 series and the 49. I've looked through the site, but the 48 references don't focus much on differences and there are no obvious 49 comparisons. Could someone write a brief sentence about each to highlight the most significant differences? The 48GX was the same as the G except it could take an expansion card? The G+ was ??? The 49 was more powerful and had flash memeory update capability? Was that about it???


These sites have some details of differences between the 48 series models and possibly 49 as well:-


The traditional 48G lineup included three models: the G, G+, and GX. The G had 32KB of memory and no expansion slots. The G+ had 128KB of memory and no slots. The GX had 128KB of memory and two slots. They were otherwise similar.

There was also an older 48S series. The S had 32KB memory and no slots. The SX had 32KB memory and two slots. The S series lacks some of the bells and whistles of the G series.

HP48GX enthusiasts ultimately developed some major improvements for the GX, including an alternative operating system (the Metakernel) and greatly enhanced symbolic math software (Alg48, Erable). A 48GX can, in effect, be upgraded to another level by purchasing memory cards and loading this software. However, the memory cards significantly increase the overall cost of the calculator.

HP ultimately incorporated the improved software into a new generation of graphing calculators, including the discontinued 49G and the current-model 48GII and 49G+. These newer models are faster and less expensive than a 48GX plus memory cards. However, I still use an old 48GX with cards, so I will leave the description of the newer models to others.


Norris, thank you for your comments. That was exactly the sort of clarification that I was hoping for.

As you seem to imply, the 49 series may be more powerful but the 48GX looks like the device of choice when all other factors (quality, cosmetics, etc...) are included.

Now, would anyone else care to make the case for the 49 series (at least what we know of it to date)???


More fun to play with? But seriously, the new "CAS" commands may be
useful for students of advanced math, and the new editor capabilities
such as "find", "replace", "copy", "cut", and "paste" are generally
useful, as are the commands SREPL (substring replacement), UNROT,
UNPICK, PICK3, and NIP. The 49 series has built-in non-volatile user
flash memory, and the 49g+ can use an SD card.

But so far, for getting any real work done, I still prefer a 48SX or
48GX. But the keyboard on my replacement 49g+ isn't as bad as the
early production unit; I might actually start using it for "real work"



Don't get me wrong -- I am not suggesting that the 48GX is superior to HP's current models. I bought the 48GX several years ago, when it was still the top of the HP line. I upgraded it with memory cards, Java, Erable, Alg48 etc. and it's worked out fine for me. Since I'm basically satisfied with it, I don't have a compelling reason to upgrade to a 49G, 48GXII, or 49G+.

But if I had to replace the 48GX today, I would most likely get an 49G+ instead. A used 48GX is probably in the $150 to $200 range. I have 128KB and 512KB memory cards from Cynox; the combined cost is currently 93 euros, or about $115 plus shipping from Germany. So it would probably cost some $250 to $300 (or more) for a similarly-equipped 48GX today.

That's twice the cost of a brand new 49G+, which is in the $130-$150 range. And the 49G+ is much faster, has 2.5MB of memory, an SD card slot, a larger display, and flash memory upgrades. And all the software improvements are preinstalled.

I suspect that the 48GX is more attractive and has a better keyboard; don't know for sure since I have not actually seen a 49G+. But I also expect that the appearance and keyboard of the 49G+ are at least adequate. Given the lower cost and other advantages of the 49G+, it seems like the better choice today. I suspect that if I actually tried one, the old 48GX would seem impossibly sluggish in comparison.

If you want to do general scientific or engineering number crunching, then any 48 or 49 series calculator will be fine. But if you also want to handle symbolic math, then you are probably better off getting a newer model like the 49G+. You can add symbolic math capability to the 48GX, but you will pay a lot more for less memory and slower performance.

Actually, if I was starting over today I might choose the 33S. I originally got the 48GX for use on the NCEES engineering license exams. All 48 and 49 series calculators have since been banned on these exams.


Here are some of the benefits of the hp49g+, compare to the hp48gx.

-Speed. It's much faster, and the gap is growing as people rewrite commands.

-Third party programs. 99% of new interesting programs will be written for the 49g+ instead of the 48gx.

'Al Borowki' has released a program that will calculate 1000 factorial exactly, in under 3 seconds. 'Douglass Ripper' has just released a program to draw flickless greyscale density plots.

-Larger screen with a plastic cover, so it's less fragile

-Vast software improvements built in. Symbolic Exact math is included.

-SD expansion cards are extremely cheap compared to 48 ram cards

-Price. Work out how much a decent 48gx will cost compared to the 49g+. Remember the cost of ram cards, and even then it will still be much slower.

If HP hadn't stuffed up the keyboard, the 49g+ would be a steal.

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