improved hp 33s-reason for hope?


I recently purchased an HP33s from wal-mart, serial number CNA 50201642, and it has the improved decimal point and also seems to have a better tactile feel to the keyboard. They addressed the decimal point crowding by downsizing the numbers so there is more space for the decimal. While I realize the good old days of HP are behind us, I am optimistic that HP will stay in the RPN calculator business because they have at least expended some effort to address the shortcomings in their (actually kinpo) calculators. By addressing the decimal point, I feel that they have finally made the 33s a usable calculator. Overall, I am satisfied with it, and I hope that they will work on a successor to the 33s.

In terms of quality, my 33s doesn't compare to my 11c or my early 32sii, but I do think it competes in quality with the latter 32sii's that were manufactured in Indonesia. My 32sii's from Indonesia feel cheap, the keys make annoying clicking sounds, etc.


It certainly shows that HP is not asleep at the wheel, as some have charged. I'm confident at the progress being made by such a small group of HP employees. Keep up the good work.


Recent observed units with serial nos. beginning with CNA 527XXXXX (versus the remaining ones with serial nos.435XXXXX) have the LCD modified for readability of the decimal point. Raadix legibility was probably the most serious (and valid) criticism of this . Other criticisms of hp33s include:
- Build & feel are not as good as the previous historical units such as 32S, 32SII & 42S
- Display readibility (view angle & shadowing)
- Unit is larger
- Controversial style/design

My assessment is that this calculator is certainly more functionally capable than its predecessor (ie, 32SII) and, in general, represents a reasonable upgrade. True, it is not the build quality of my hp32S, but it is quite useable nevertheless. No doubt HP had to contain costs (as there is not much profit in calculators), and this may turn out to be throwaway due to failure associated with build quality (time will tell). However, after testing it, I certainly would buy a new hp33s rather than bid for a used 32SII on ebay.


I can understand why some have made that charge. I think they were asleep at the wheel, but have started to wake up a bit. I still can't believe that they let the 33s go to market with the obscured decimal point. I do really like the 2 line display though. My next wish is for a big enter key and to be able to have multi-character variable names. I'm also not crazy about the styling of it, but it's not so bad when compared to the other offerings out there.


True. While they may have been asleep, it does not appear they are sleeping now. That is a good thing.


I am also optimistic that the current HP calculator division is still working hard on their products. This is definitely true with their new 49G+ with its new ROM upgrade and their new 12C Platinum (and 33S). When I was having problems with my 49G+, someone from the HP calculator division actually called me to see how I was doing and helped me solve my problem. This kind of support keeps a guy like me a customer for life. They (HP) does realize that there is a dedicated group of users that will support them, and they are listening and reading these forums to bennefit their line. Thanks HP! Based on my conversation with the HP guy that called me and his overall concern for our satisfation, I would not be surprised if we saw a 15C Platinum coming soon. I really don't know for sure (and don't have an inside scoop), but predict this to come to fruition within a year. Of course, I could be way off!


I agree that HP is not sleeping behind the wheel. I too am glad to see improvments on the newer calculator models. You should keep in mind that these improvements are quietly introduced to avoid a massive replacement drive by customers. What will HP do with the "earlier" models? What can they do?

While hope is beautiful there is also reality. The HP calculator division (mostly located in San DIego) is about 20 people. Cyril de Brebison (sp?) is, from what I understood, the one-man R&D department in Boise, Idhao. It's Cyril who sets the specs for the new machines and sends them to Kinpo. I'm not clear on who else looks at the specs.

For those who want to see the HP-15C back, I say contact Eric Smith. My guess is that you will have better luck convincing eric to bring back a "version" of the 15C. Of course be prepared (assuming Eric says yes) to pay something like $400, $500, or even a $1000 per unit. If you truly Loooooooooove the 15C, a thousand dollars would be a MINUTE token of your love and devotion to the 15C.

So the ball in Eric's court.


Namir wrote:
> For those who want to see the HP-15C back, I say contact Eric
> Smith. My guess is that you will have better luck convincing
> eric to bring back a "version" of the 15C. Of course be prepared
> (assuming Eric says yes) to pay something like $400, $500, or
> even a $1000 per unit [...]

I am sure this has been discussed before, but since the HP12C form
factor and display is identical to that of the HP-15C and the HP-15C code
is (I think) available, then by changing the CPU chip in a 12C with
one emulating the 15C (or even the 16C) you can have your 15C.

The main problem is (of course) the keyboard. But the current 12C models have painted keycaps, so perhaps they can be painted over with the new assignments. E.g.

Modifying the keyboard is tricky but it can be left as an exercise to the new owner, so the real cost in producing a 15C would be the development of the CPU mod (one off) and the cost of retrofitting it (per unit).Given that retrofitting the 12Cs is probably too labor intensive, the mod will be provided as an upgrade kit installable by the end-user (who may even buy the 12C separately)

Assuming a small production run (about 1k units?), then charging $100 over the cost of a 12C would provide a development and production capital of $100k.

Some kind of agreement with HP would be necessary to ensure that no copyright issues are raised. I am sure that for a 1k production run (i.e. not smth that would create competition with the main HP calculator production, PLUS the fact that it WILL sell HP-12C calculators) there may not be any real problem. If this is dressed up as some kind of publicity stunt (resurrecting the 15C in time for its 2xth anniversary) HP may actually provide token support for the project.


Edited: 11 Oct 2005, 12:25 a.m.


I may have never had a 15C before, but I would like to see it come back. I like the landscape of the 12C(P). However, I feel that HP would like to go in a new direction, or build on the 33S and 9G for the lower-end calculators.

Also, let us point out that the 19B were supposed to be part of the released family of 2003. I have yet to see the 19B in the market or on HP's web site.


I have never had the pleasure of owning the 15c, I was a user of the 11c which had all the capability that I needed. I do however realy like the design of the voyager series, and would like to see a successor to the 33s that is in the voyager case and has the functionality of the 33s but with improvements. The main improvement that I would like to have is multicharacter variable names in equations. I would like to have larger equation libraries in my 33s (and 32sii) but am limited by single character variables. The equations capability fills a niche that is useful to me in my line of work (structural engineer). Most of my day to day calculations do not need a computer, (nor is a computer always apropriate) and the equations capability improves my productivity, especially when roughing out various alternatives. But I digress.

I hope that HP sees that there is a continuing demand in the market for a basic RPN calculator, and will continue to service it, and to listen to what the sonsumers of its products want.

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