Musings and comments about our common interest
I have now besides me a mint unit. No box, slightly used pouch, but absolutely mint body, screen and keyboard. As you can imagine, I have a quite good supply of HP calculators, and I have to say that the initial models of the HP48 family were probably the most beautiful, highest quality calculators HP ever did. Later green-based models were not as beautiful for my taste (plain ugly, I would say), and keyboard quality would be worse in some later models (I would say the latest G/GX versions, not the prior ones)
I don't know why HP departed from the brown color of this 48SX. The orange, white and blue colors of the additional key functions are very readable (less so the blue than the others, but still very much), and the matt tone of the background makes a pleasure to work with this calculator on the heave light of many offices or classes.
The only bad point compared with what HP is capable is the screen. The blue color LDC is much more difficult to read than the current LDC screens of the HP50g or the newest HP39GII. Now it seems uncomfortable - but I have the same sensation when I start working again with the acknowledged top of RPN calculators - the mighty HP42s. Contrast in that screen is minimal, when compared with the newer HP17bII or the old HP15c. Nevertheless it remains the calculator of choice for many things, since it fits perfectly in the jacket pocket.
The keyboard in the HP48SX has the same feel of the Pioneer family. It is one of the best HP has produced, but still after the HP41c family, which for many were the best keyboards HP produced. (While it may seem blasphemy, I think that the keyboard feel of the current silver HP17bII+ is excellent, and it is my every day office calculator. As it is thicker both in body and in its pouch than the Pioneer series, it does not fit comfortably in a jacket pocket - I carry there a new HP15c LE)
I see that today I am diverting too much from the original aim of today's blog: the HP48SX. Coming back to what I was elaborating: The keyboard visibility is higher than today's graphical models, with the exception of the HP50g Blue; the keyboard organization seems better to me; the color scheme is unsurpassed to date, in the HP48 series or in any other series, for that matter, save for the voyager series; and the keyboard feel remains among the best.
It is just that it does not make sense to me to get accustomed to a 20-years old system that has been superseded by more modern and complete models like the HP50g. If it was instead RPN, I could live with that; I have hard time to make more than very basic programs in RPL; my mind is wired in either basic-like languages or RPN; but RPL, despite being very close to RPN, is substantially more complex to follow than RPN. YMMV, of course.
Please take a look to the article of Mr. Wickes, one of the creators of the RPL concept. It is in the HP journal of June, 1991. You can find it in the url below:
(By the way, there are many articles worth looking at in this journal series. It is a testimony of the HP quality of that time, that resources were allocated to create interesting, well documented and produced company newspapers like that.
To find a list of articles in the series, in order to look for a particular subject, go to this link:
All the Journals were digitized from 2006 onwards)