Upon some comments from Don Shepherd about the speed of the solver of the different versions of hP17bII
HP 17bII original: 80 seconds, serial number ID90700765, made in Indonesia
HP 17bII black: 80 seconds, serial number ID11400944, made in Indonesia
HP 17bII+ gold: 80 seconds, serial number CNA 43000634, made in China
HP 17bII silver:173 seconds, serial number CNA 04401226, made in China
Don made me doubt about the gold version measurements, but I have now confirmed them.. His is as fast (or slow in this case) as the silver version. His serial number is CNA 62900787, but I am at a loss to explain the meaning of the serial numbers of the new models.
Don is a frequent poster in www.hpmuseum.org that shares with me an appreciation for the humble HP17bII. It is for us one of the best thought out HP calculators. The menu system is so well organized that HP did not feel the need to clutter most of the keys with several functions. And it is quite easy to navigate or learn - easier than the HP50g or the 30b.
The only missings thing in the HP17bII to be complete are:
The newest model has a good keyboard (clearly better than the gold version, not able to make up my mind between the oldies and the newest) and a fantastic screen (the best of all the series). I am still on my first set of batteries, so I do not know about its consumption (it is the calculator that I use the most at work)