HP-33S user opinion


After working (and playing) with my HP-33S for a couple of months, I begin to enjoy using it. Sure, there is a lot of controversy over this "third-party-made" calculator, but here is some of my comments:

1. There is the problem of chevron keyboard layout, and the small enter key. But after using for some time, I become so accustomed to the keyboard that when I once revert to use my 32SII, I pressed wrongly the R/S key (the position where the ENTER key for 33S is located). I think it is truly a matter of familarity/habit. And you complain about the small size of the "ENTER" key? I don't find any problem with that. Afterall, the number keys and the +-*/ keys are used so often that it is strange then why nobody ever complained about their small sizes?

2. About the small no. of labels. True we can never use all the available memories with the 26 (or 27?) labels. We all hope that we can use infinite no. of labels, like the 42s do. But when I got my first 32sII, I thought that the calculator would be quite perfect if its memory can be increased from 384 bytes to 2kb. And now comes 32k. I am already quite satisfied with that. Also, I have learned to change my programming style so that now I can use less labels in programs (by extensive use of flags).

True 33s has still a lot to improve: the small period, the polar/rectangular bugs, the finite no. of labels, etc, but I think it is already a good calculator. It has some advantages over the 32SII: large memory, readable X,Y stack, easier to use "algebraic mode" of complex number operations. It is strange to me that people are still eager to buy expensive 32SII on ebay when inexpensive 33s is on the market. And you say, well, the quality of 33s is far inferior to that of 32sII. People said that 32sII (and the other old HP calculators) are very robust. Then how "unrobust" is 33s? I don't know. Maybe somebody can give me some figure. (percentage of deficient models, the no. of times it drops to the floor before it failed to work, etc) Also, some people like the "feel" of older models. Then it is truly a matter of subjective view. HP introduces the "interesting" 33S keyboard in the hope of attracting students and teenagers (I think), and they party succeeded.

No, I am not against the old calculator models. (and I am not an HP employee either). I have 32SII and 42S, and I LOVED them, but I think 33S deserves to have a better reputation.




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