There is now a forum thread in hpmuseum.org about which is the best financial calculator made by HP. It is curious how every model has its proponents - except the original 10b.
Most old timers swear by the 12c. No one mentioned the CP version - all of them are used to the RPN entry method and no one values the ALG entry method available in the 12cp; and the numbers in its screen are taller, with worse readability in my opinion.
There was a couple of proponents of the HP30b. If you look at the raw capabilities and speed, it is by far the best of them all. It has a huge quantity of scientific functions, absent in most other financial calculators; but both its keyboard (the worst of all of the units discussed) and its many system put it in the back in my opinion. Only the 20b, with its rubber keyboard, fares worse. The best feature in my opinion, is that it can be converted in a wp34s…
Tim Wessman, the HP calculator designer, chimed in to praise the HP10bII+. And if I had to recommend a financial calculator for someone that doesn’t want RPN, and is not willing to shell out 90 bucks for a HP17bII, this is the one I would push forward. It has everything: functions that can be accessed directly from the keyboard, without menus; a panoply of scientific functions, much wider than that of the HP17bII, and including trigonometrics; a breakeven point calculation; percentage functions well designed; and a clear screen and fantastic keyboard. As true as it is that I don’t recommend the HP10bII “old” for anyone but the most jaded collector, the HP10bII+ is a must for any calculator lover, and a safe recommendation for any economics student not willing to learn RPN.
Existing the hp10bii+ and the HP12c, there is no point in getting a 12cp - except for hardcore collectors. It is of good quality, but the choice of keyboard color is just awful. Quality is identical to the 12c, for that matter; but, as said, the screen is worse. And it is much slower than the latest, ARM-based 12c.
We have then the different versions of the HP17bII. Keyboard quality of the old versions is better, IMHO, than the new; but the screen quality of the latter is miles ahead than that of the old; so much so that I can’t stand the old screen for long periods, once accustomed to the new.
It has to be mentioned that everything within the HP17bII+ is different from the HP17BII. The processor, the machine code, the algorithms - everything is different. In fact, the solver is based on a different paradigm - the original one being far more advanced than the latter. And it is not 100% compatible: the functions L() and G() (which turn the hp17bii solver in a true programming language) don’t work in the newer model.
From the aspect point of view, it is a tie between the 12c and 17bii+; the superior portability of the 12c against the silver cover and nice, ample slanted keys of the 17bII.
Then there is the 19bii, which is the best ever made; but then you come into reliability problems - that damned battery door…