HP 50g First Impressions and photos



#20

Hi all,

Received my new HP 50g today. I decided to take a quick few photos of it, including some tight close-ups, in case people are interested. Once you click on a thumbnail in the gallery, you can open a larger version by clicking the magnifier icon to the upper right of the image. Sorry, but due to the LCD's refresh, I couldn't get any decent flash shots with a clear view of the display. Couldn't be bothered to do any available light shots, but that would have shown the display better though.

Link: HP 50g Image Gallery

I won't state the obvious changes, but will comment on the keyboard. Compared to my serial number CNA402xxxxx hp 49g+, there is a night and day difference. The hollow sounding and stiff clunking of the 49g+ is gone completely, with a wonderfully smooth, softer and much quieter action. It is still slightly stiffer (for now at least) than my 48SX with a slightly less positive tactile click, but I would say it is 90% of the way there as far as feel and pretty much 100% as far as initial key-press registration reliability, at least with the limited testing I've done so far. I have the KEYTIME value at 500 and am not having any issues at all. On my old 49g+, I needed to have KEYTIME at around 1400 in order to suppress ddoubles with the latest firmware.

It is still possible to very slowly and gently press a key past its tactile rollover on the 50g and make it miss, whereas this is essentially impossible on my 48SX, 41CX and so on, however I don't believe that under normal use that slight detail will be anything to worry about. As far as keyboard noise, I would say that the 50G is actually even quieter than the 48SX! Obviously long term comments on keyboard reliability require much more testing!

Unfortunately the keys are not double-shot molded (will we ever see that again in an HP calc?), so I presume people will continue to have long term issues with the labels wearing off. On the bright side, the consistency of position of the key labels is much better than my 49g+, which for example had adjacent keys where the labels were all printed at different heights on the key.

Aesthetically, I think it looks good, although I have to agree with some that it does vagely remind one of a TI... too bad HP didn't go back to the classic dark "mocha" colour of many of their older models to distinguish it better from a modern TI colour scheme.

I would have to rate the LCD display as being slightly poorer than my 49g+ as far as contrast unfortunately. This could be due to a slightly more textured and more matte screen cover but some of it does seem due to the LCD hardware itself. In any case, the screen is still excellent and I am now merely nit-picking with those comments.

The stuck-on serial number label (a duplicate of which is stuck to the outside of the blister pack) seems like a rather cheap gesture and mine wasn't even stuck on straight in the groove provided. I ended up pealing it off and re-applying it straight because it looked so ugly.

Still no Macintosh software provided on the CD but it does include the Windows Connectivity Kit and well as manuals in 6 languages. The printed manual is again a basic one only, but the PDF on the CD has 27 chapters and 887 pages. Very detailed but I have not spent any time looking through it.

Finally, a quirk is that VER returns the same message as the 49g+... it says "HP49 CAS by Parisse...". I am a little surprised they didn't update this to say HP50.

That's it... my initial impressions are quite positive. I feel quite lucky that I was able to get one so quickly and hopefully others will be able to soon as well.

Regards,
Mike Mander


#21

Almost forgot to mention: the new soft case included with the 50G has a rigid plastic or metal insert in the front, whereas my 49g+ pouch was soft all around.

Regards,
Mike Mander


#22

Dir Mike thanks for all your information I would like to ask you if there is a swap key on hp 50g

Thank you in advance
Jim Fragos


#23

Quote:
Dir Mike thanks for all your information I would like to ask you if there is a swap key on hp 50g

Thank you in advance
Jim Fragos


Hi Jim,

Like the 49g+, on the 50g the x<>y swap key (technically the stack level 1 and level 2 swap) is simply the right-arrow, however it does not perform an implicit ENTER like a traditional x<>y key... that is, it does not terminate command-line entry, so it cannot be used while editing the command line since it is then used to move the curser to the right!

The other arrow keys also perform numerous functions, both on their own and shifted, as long as you are not in an "edit" mode. None of these functions are labeled unfortunately but once you get used to it, it becomes automatic.

Actually, my comment of an "implicit enter" is not quite correct with respect to how the x<>y key on older HP's work, but I hope you get the picture...

Regards,
Mike Mander

#24

Any comments on the software differences between the 50g and the 49g+?

- Pauli


#25

Software differences:

Only one is that the 50G has options in the transfer input form for USB, IrDA and Serial. To manually set serial, you need -33 CF -78 SF.

Comes with ROM 2.08 which I am sure has some bugfixes, although they are probably minor ones.

TW

#26

Is the memory issue still the same as in the 49g+? I continue to be frustrated that of the advertised 512k RAM and 2MB ROM, only a portion is available to the user, and even less than that which was available with the 49.

Thanks for the pics and detailed review. I am one of those rebels who doesn't mind the 49g+ that much, and I just got one, so I will probably wait until the furor has died down to see if I should bother upgrading.

Les


#27

Memory is still the same. No changes.

The keys work.


#28

Besides the look what's the difference between the 50 and the 49G+? I am thinking about getting the 49G+. Should I wait?


#29

The keyboard is supposed to be improved; I'm sure better than early 49g+ units; perhaps the same as the most recent 49g+ units with the "improved" keyboard design?

The 50g has RS-232 (more or less) compatible I/O available, as well as the USB and IrDA of the 49g+.

The 49g+ uses 3 AAA cells plus 1 CR2032 cell. The 50g uses 4 AAA cells plus 1 CR2032 cell, so it should have better battery life, and perhaps would work better with rechargeable cells.

The 50g switches to drawing its power from USB when that's available.

The 50g soft case is said to have some sort of stiff insert to protect the calculator.

Presumably some bug fixes.

I wouldn't buy a 49g+ now that the 50g is available.

Regards,
James

Edited: 25 July 2006, 12:57 p.m.


#30

Thanks for the info, James. Pretty well solves my problem of whether to replace my broken 49g+.

Did you get a chance to review any new manuals yet? I just had "Advanced User Reference Manual" printed and bound at Staples and was on the way to get the guide done also - when your post came through. Do you know if there are any major changes in the development area? (access to code, etc.)

VERY happy to hear that the keys are solid again! I almost bought a TI 89 because of the keys in the 49, but I think HP is entitled to a mistake now and then (well under the mistakes of others). At the risk of exposing my near infidelity to HP, I didn't get around to fully testing the unit, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night and was planning a review of specs tonight. One of the sources of specs mentioned symbolic solutions of differential equations which I find interesting - that was one of the items on my front burner until your post came through.

An aside on the TI 89. It reminds me of my early enthusiasm for the new world as viewed in 1977 when the first programmables hit the market as a TI-59 as I recall. I even wrote an article for a professional group's journal about handheld solutions to FAQ's about learning curves, reliablity of computer devices, queing theory and recruiting for field service organizations circa '77. What I (and many of you) would have given to have had this much computing power in my bike pack in the sixties! "Digital Slide Rule," that's what I called my '77 model.

Ron Allen


#31

I do not believe there are any changes to the manuals in the development area. Chapter 6 of the AUR is still your best bet.

#32

based on your review and the photos, the 50g looks promising. Maybe HP has listened. Hopefully the 33s will get an upgrade in the near future.

#33

It seems that the advertising material has been updated. Also, HP, and Graphing Calculator are capitalized (this kind of bothered me with the 49g+).

#34

Been busy until now, but I think most people's questions in this thread have already been answered adequately.

At the request of a few people, I have added a few more images to the gallery, including a close-up of the USB and serial ports.

Regards,
Mike Mander


#35

Thanks a lot for your review and the excellent photos on your website. But I wonder why nothing can be found about the 50G on the HP.com website. Do you have any idea about that ?

Regards

Karl


#36

What's about this modele ? It seems different in some points of the 50G.
http://www.kor.dk/borge/inflate.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.hp.com%2Fcalculators%2Fgraphing%2F49gplus%2Fspecs.html&style=


#37

That's NOT an HP web site. It's a spoof. Anyone can edit and make up any calculator model.


#38

Thank's Namir. Anyway, will it bee followed by other and upper models ?

#39

Thanks for the kind words.

I wish I knew... I am surprised too that HP has not yet posted anything, no press release, no product info, nothing. AFAIK, on some European HP websites, the 50G is already mentioned but so far, not in North America. I presume they are waiting for a back-to-school announcement maybe?

The distributer I deal with made no mention of any embargo dates on the 50g although the strange thing is, now that their initial shipment has sold out, it does not appear that they have re-ordered more units from HP... however they have placed an order for more 49g+ units!

Regards,
Mike Mander

#40

Display contrast not as good as a HP 49g+. Darkness of numbers and soft key labels need work. Key feeling good. HP can do better if they want to. Carly's gone.


#41

The screen on the HP50g is the exact same part # as the screen on the HP49g+.

They are identical components.


#42

They may be the same part number, but they do not necessarily all look the same visually when installed in the calculator! On this message on comp.sys.hp48, I describe a comparison I did between several different versions of the 49g+ (serial numbers startring with CN402, CNA502 and CNA620) and the 50g...

Regards,
Mike Mander


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