The HP12c Platinum
While we run a company 100% devoted to HP calculators, old and new, and have been carrying the HP12c Platinum since day one, I had never opened one of the boxes and actually used it. I figured out that it would be too close to the 12c to be of any interest. But today I have tried!
First of all, these are quite new! This is not the old model with a single CR2032 battery; it has TWO CR2032 batteries, and the box is the very same one used by the newer, ARM-based hp12c Anniversaries. You can see it in the interior of the battery bay. The only difference is the lack of connector to reprogram the ARM Atmel processor. The covers, by the way, are completely exchangeables.
The back side in silver is similar to that of the hp15c. There is room for engraving your name in it.
The main difference between this calculator and the plain HP12c is the twin entry method: algebraic (with parenthesis) and RPN. This implies reassigning some keys (the parenthesis and the equal sign). Additionally, the designers took the opportunity to add the much used x2 key. But for sheer usability, the main drawback of the HP12c was the fact that it did not have a backspace key. This model has it! I would not have made it as a g-shifted key, but on the upper key position. The designer wanted instead to keep the front keys exactly as the original hp12c.
Other feature is the undo key. There is a sign in the screen that shows that the last keystroke can be undone, and there is a g-whited key that allows it.
These new features required a different LCD screen. The screen is grey, as opposed to the greenish tint of the new hp12c, and the digits are taller and thinner. If I have to choose, I would take the 12c's one. There are as well indicators for RPN.
I think that the enclosed pictures tell the story very well, despite the low quality.
When it comes to programming, the main difference is the memory space: 400 steps instead of 100. Bearing in mind the limited memory size of the original calculator, I adapted my needs to it and never used the full memory; when I needed more complex programs, I always reverted to the HP15c - my main calculator, together with the HP42s. Now you can think about bigger programs: 400 steps give a lot of room.
I do not like the stronger color of the f- and g- keys, and the red color of the f-shifted functions, compared with other Voyager calculators. But seeing them together, now the others seem quite shy and bleached!
Used to the HP15c, it shocks to leave f-shifted positions empty. Only two more are used (ALG and RPN)
The key feel is excellent, as we have learned to expect from the old HP calculators and the new Kinpo-made HP calculators. It is a pleasure to use. Good as it is the new HP10bII, this one (and the Kinpo-made Voyagers) is several level above.
There is a leather-like pouch, sturdier and thicker than the one provided with the 12c. It comes with room to place your business card. On the other hand, the main advantage of this calculator is that you can carry it on your jacket pocket, and the thicker case partially defeats this feature.
Many prospective users are attracted by the professional look of the Voyager family, but are put off by the RPN entry method. This may be an attractive option for them!