HP 42s Review

I wanted to put down a few thoughts as to what I was looking for in a calculator and why I like this one.

It’s not a perfect calculator, I think more lines on the screen, alpha entry could be better, and equation entry is a bit convoluted but overall it’s a fantastic calculator.

This review is a bit rambling and certainly could be better. It basically covers my thoughts as to what I think an engineer should be looking for in a calculator (now that computers do most of their functionality). I still think a good scientific (or graphical calculator with the right keyboard layout) still fills an excellent niche though.

Comments

Bill Zimmerly says:

Logan, how did you write the “Length” program? I’m confused because (from what I read in the manual) it seems like you need to run the solver menu first before executing the length program. Please help! (Thanks in advance.)

Matt Neff says:

How does the 42 compare to the 35s?

Jamie Tyson says:

Wow, that is a really clean 42s. Very slick. Thanks for the vid!

Michael Palacio says:

Dear Mr. West; I enjoy all your HP 42s videos, they are coherent, well paced and add a lot of value to old RPN guys like me. You are a true educator Sir. I can only hope you consider recording new videos based on the upcoming DM42 that I’m also waiting. Perhaps a variety of them: math, programming, physics, finance or… Kind regards, michaelpalacio

ffggddss says:

≈ 6:40 . . “or regular miles . . .” – They’re called, statute miles, BTW ;–)

Yeah I had a 41C, dating from 1979, and loved it. The 42S inherits a lot from the 41C series (esp. program compatibility); and differs in some important ways.

I’ve just recently loaded Free42 on my iPhone, and really love it so far. And I too am looking forward to the debut of the DM42, with its larger screen.

I first got hooked on RPN in college, ca 1968, when one of the school’s labs had a desktop RPN calculator with a 3-register stack. It displayed all 3, so that you could see right away, the effect of each operation. This makes RPN much more intuitive to learn IMO, and makes clear why it beats out the so-called “algebraic” system championed by TI and Casio, hp’s main competitors in the hand-held market at that time.

But I also agree that a true algebraic system – textual entry of actual algebraic expressions, like in a computer language – beats both those other two systems. It greatly eases editing of formulas, vs either of the other two.

Falcrist says:

The HP 42s is the single most powerful scientific calculator ever made, with the possible exception of the HP 41 (and only because of its expansion pacs).
The only thing it lacks that would be really useful is some kind of serial input.

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