The HP30b

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The HP30b

Now that I am working a lot with the HP Prime, using the little tips and user keyboard, I am getting used to the low displacement, clear click of the HP Prime family. "When was the last time I felt a click like this?", I ask myself. And the answer is clear - in the Hp 30b Financial Calculator.

This little machine has never enjoyed the cult status of the other machines: both the 12c/cp family (with their classic keys with three functions in each, and programmable in RPN), or the HP17bII+, with its very good keyboard feel and intelligent solver, which can be turned in a programming language with a little knowledge and ingenuity, have enjoyed a "top" status that the 30b did not reach.

And the 30b is the fastest of them all, and as well the one that has a better set of functions - but that you know only when you have bought it, not before. Its menu system, while not as "beautiful" as the one from the HP17bII+, is well organized, and you can perform solver-like calculations in one of its mini-solver 3- or 4- variables calculator. You can even perform Black and Scholes calculations off-the-shelf - a first for an HP calculator. Both the HP12c and the HP17bII could do it; the first one, fully using the 99 memory steps (in a program made, I think, by Pablo Fernández, engineer and Finance professor in IESE MBA); the second one, via some complex programming of the solver. 

But as well, it is the ideal statistical calculator. Apart from creating lists of points, which is much better that just feeding some accumulators like the previous calculators did (apart from the HP17bii), it has a set of "descriptive statistics", another set of data fit in many types (many more than the ones that appeared in the statistic pacs of the HP 41c), then the typical accumulator set (that we have from the very first HP calculator that had statistical functions) and another set of quartile analysis. If you look at the manual (pages 69 and onwards) you will see all of them in a very clever "function map". 

The front panel is made obviously made of plastic - the metallic aspect, while elegant from far, and resistant to scratches, fools no one. It cannot be compared with the nicer livery of the HP17bII. 

The screen, while much more descriptive than the one on the 12c family, has an alphanumeric upper part (where you see the function you're performing or the place in the menus your into now), and a numvrica part, but not made of dot-matrix characters, but with segments instead. Curious. It is much clearer than a dot matrix display, but it seems odd in these times of "retina" displays.

(I always forget to state that one of the advantages of a calculator is that it is nearly impossible that it runs out of power while you're at a critical situation like an exam. I almost also forget to tell you that it can be algebraic OR RPN !!)

We have lowered its price to 40€. Now we have plenty - probably more than what we could convert to wp34s (which is another of the beauties of this little machine!). I leave here a good picture of it, for you to enjoy.

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Más sobre: hp 30b, wp34s

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