Calculator blog

Musings and comments about our common interest


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Wsih list for Moravia-Royal

Now that the calculator business is in the hands of Royanl and Moravia, let's see what could be our wishist, now that the HP35s has been discontinued. A customer called me on Friday, and he told me "I want a RPN scientific calculator" - then I realized that there is no scientific RPN calculator anymore!!!

Rumours are that the HP12c will be put again in production (despite being in some dealers' inventories, it has been discontinued for at least 4-5 years). This would open the door for other Voyagers calculators - and I am thinking about my long time love - the HP15c - again.

Among the units in production we have the HP17bII+ - which is an excellent product and the most powerful current financial calculator. However, it has the same body and key disposition of the HP42s - so that is another possibility for a scientific calculator (the HP42s has not been bettered in my opinion) - with limited development time (both models could eventually be run on emulation layers with the original firmware)

However, the calculator market is based on school needs. These are best covered with the 300s+ and 10s+, and then with the Prime as graphical calculator (which runs circles around most of the competition).

I will try to send these thoughts to Moravia, who has been for some years my distributor.

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HP current scientific calculators

10splus_1_lrgWe have discussed several times hp financial calculators, but we have not talked about scientific calculators for a long time.

We have 4 models in the roster - although one of them is difficult to find. I even don’t have a unit of it, and I think I’m not missing too much.

These models are the 10sII+, the 300sII+, the hp30s and the hp35s. It is a pity that the hp15c LE, which was built in limited numbers, is not anymore in production. Used models sell for over 150€.

If you are in the market to buy a scientific calculator, you should also consider graphical calculator alternatives. They can do so much more, and for not so much money, when you consider the offers you can get for older models.

Let’s start with the cheaper ones: the hp10sII+ and hp300sII+. And let’s get it out from the beginning: THESE MACHINES ARE NOT RPN. Moreover, the logic in the machines has been seen in at least another two brands- it seems to be a rebadged design. This doesn’t mean that these are bad - far from it. I would have recommended against the previous units (hp10s and hp300s): they had basically the same logic, but they were cases in extremely ugly bodies, and the screen quality was not fantastic, to say the least. But these two units are much better: the screen has much more contrast, and the casing shows iphone 5 traits of design. You can see the pictures and judge for yourself. The 300sII+ is more advanced and has a greater range of functions, and, at 15€, is a safe bet.

The HP30s we do not carry. We don’t think it is good enough to bear the HP logo - and the price is not rock bottom. Pass.

The HP35s is one of the most beautiful calculators ever produced. Its black background, its clever use of colors for the different key functions, its legible screen with two lines of dot-matrix text, and its cursors to operate calculator and navigate the menus, make it really appealing. And it has real RPN and algebraic entry, and all the important scientific functions you may need, including complex and solving simple equation systems.


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Scientific Calc's Collector's Pack

Scientific Calcs Collector’s Pack


In a previous blog page, I told you that many of our customers are calculator collectors as well. Many of them will not stop until completing their collection. And some of them have just decided to start theirs. These packs are for them.

Although HP calculators started by scientific models, they soon completed the line with financial models, distinguished by the Time Value of Money algorithm. Over time, HP has mastered this market, while during the 90’s they lost the scientific market to Texas and others. Since HP is so strong in financial calcs, we started these packs by the financials. You can see them here.

Now is the turn for the scientific. We have assembled the HP standard scientific models, and we have added as well the brand new kid in the block: the wp 34s, based on HP30b hardware.

The units included in this pack are:


  • HP10s
  • Smartcalc 300s
  • HP30s
  • HP35s
  • HP15c
  • WP34s with latest firmware

 There are a very limited number of units of 15c (150 in total, and HP told us they would not produce any more), and as well we have difficulties to locate HP30s over 70 units. So you need to make up your mind!


 The true HP connoisseur will know that both the 10s, the Smartcalc300s and HP30s have not 100% HP pedigree; they cannot be used in RPN mode. I have a hard time using a non-RPN calculator, so these units will see limited use on my desk; but as a collector, I need to have them all.

 If I had enough supply of classic units, I would include them; but as I seldom have more than one or of each (and often one of them belongs to MY collection), I cannot include them in the pack.


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HP35s Appreciation

You know my fondness of the HP17bII in all its different models. The last one, while not purely an HP, has the best HP keyboard around, a much better screen than the original HP17BII and a nice aspect that can be presented in any business meeting.


With the same body, and nice, professional colour scheme, you can find as well the HP35s, a successor of the ugly HP33s, that sports the same very nice keyboard and a 2-line alphanumeric screen. Here you have a picture of it:

The HP35s shows the first wide ENTER key in several years, and we can only hope it returns back to the graphical calculators again.

I entered the HP35 with some aprehension, after reading some negative reviews. I have to say that it appears to be an excellent calculator. Despite my limited time with it, it is clearly better than the 33s (not too difficult), and much better than the lower current offerings. Still, it does not hold a candle to the HP42s in sheer power, or to the 15c (my current favourite in its latest LE version) in ease of use and elegance of design.

Let's focus instead in what it does have that the 42s hasn't:

  • constant library - useful in physics
  • Algebraic mode: cleverly designed, a truly "equation operating system", as Gene Wright named it.
  • Three modes of complex number notation
  • fraction mode(s)
  • unit conversions on keyboard (not submenus)
  • the ENG-> and <-ENG keys, useful when choosing electronic components like capacitors and resistors (it's oh soo easy to drop a zero when specifying a capacitor...), but is really just a convenience, not something you need if you really put attention to what the result should be.

I need to delve deeper in this calculator: the programming paradigm, the use of variables and memory, the huge number of possible registers, etc. At first sight, it seems intenresting for a student, but does not have the same professional appeal of an HP42s or the newer HP15c LE. As it is now 1h22 i9n the morning, let's leave this for another day.

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