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Nothing says "I Love You, Dear" like screaming lower back pain!

Sometimes Wrong but rarely in doubt!

17 June 2010

HP 50G Scientific Graphing Calculator

 Puts A Smile on Your Face

Despite my screed about the manual there are a few improvements from the 48GX to the 50G:
  • The screen is bit bigger so you can see up to line 7 in the stack or if you disable the information header up to 9 lines in the stack are displayed.  Whether this is a positive or neutral feature depends on how you use the calculator, for me it's a positive.
  • SD card expansion, HP joins the real world and no longer uses proprietary cards to expanded the memory of the calculator.
  • No more custom cable, a common USB cable can be used to connect your HP to your PC.  Last time I scratch built the cable since HP wanted an arm, a leg and my firstborn for the cable.  Having said that the USB that ships with the calculator should be thrown out, I've been using the one that came with my digital camera.
  • 3D Graphing, handy if you need it, I don't but it's still pretty cool.  I could do this on both the 28S and the 48GX but it required some programming.  In the 50G it's built in.
  • The advanced manual is available for free from the HP website, if you can frickin' find it.

Ho Hum, Yawn, Stretch
  • It's a bit heaver, but it also has one more battery.
  • New Bigger buttons.
  • Dedicated arrow keys for stack functions
  • Sleeker look.

Downright Irritating

  • The LCD screen has gone from blue back to black.  For some reason this irritates me.  It might be because of all the other niggling little things.
  • HP moved the ENTER key and made it the same width as all the other buttons.  In fact just to really throw broken glass in the personal lubrication HP put the ENTER key where the + key was.
  • This one is just dumb on HP's part.  The HP has three shift keys,left shift, right shift and α. Most of the keys have three functions, unshifted, right shift and left shift and 26 also have letters (α-shift).   The Left shift is white and the right shift key is orange and the shift function of each key are helpfully inscribed above the key in white on the left and in orange on the right.  Great, handy obvious.  Except the text on the key itself is also white, when you're quickly scanning the many functions in white it becomes confusing.  Bad ergonomics HP, for shame.
  • The default mode when you first get the calculator is algebraic entry.  Dammit HP, the only reason I'll pay your exorbitant prices is because I want RPN.  Stop listening to the morons in marketing and be proud of your RPN calculators.  You're in a frickin' niche market and you're risking alienating the few, the proud, the Geeks that want your RPN products.
  • A word of advice for HP, put all the manuals on the CD not just the user's manuals.  C'mon PDF's aren't all that big and most people can handle a DVD if you ship that instead. And get somebody to clean up the grammar in the software while you're at it, and the gliches, the OK button should be visible when you pop up a CHOOSE box Window on the Desktop.

Overall I still want an RPN calculator.  As soon as someone can provide one for my Sony Touch Reader I'll be a happy man.


  1. Anonymous18 June, 2010

    I doubt your touch reader will do math at the speed of the HP.

    I did a test some years ago of my very fast computer against my 28S. The computer lost badly.

    What batteries does it use?

  2. The HP uses 4 AA's and the touch has one of the coin type NiCd batteries.

  3. AAA's in the HP50g, my bad

  4. Get yourself some rechargeables then. Best in the long run if you use them a lot.


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