So, if you want a scientific RPN calculator but you’re unwilling to pay prime coin for a used device, what options are left? In the early 2000s it meant getting a 33S, developed when HP was led by Carly “why do we employ engineers” Fiorina. I held out as long as possible, and eventually after clenching my teeth got a butt-ugly HP 33S when it became apparent that there was not going to be a successor any time soon. That was about one month before the HP 35S was announced, it seemed.
The keyboard of the 33S was hardly better than that of ZX Spectrum computer and when I was able to offload the 33 to some dude in Australia I happily did so, to upgrade to the much more classic feeling 35S.
What’s great about the 35S, and what’s not great? Great are the slope-fronted keys, just like the classic models. Not great is that the text is printed onto it, unlike the double-shot molded keys of yore, that could not rub off. Ironically, the keys on my (now dead) HP DV7 rubbed off as well, although my 35S is still holding out.
Speaking of keys, when using the calculator in hexadecimal mode the keys labelled H-M are used for entry of A-F. Why the alphabetic keys (for programming) were not simply labelled in rows going up instead of going down (since it is not a Qwerty lay-out it doesn’t really matter anyway) is beyond me. Carly oh Carly, why did you lay off the engineers…
At least the Enter key is large, the calculator is fast and while the “cheat sheet” is missing it does have a ton of conversion functions onboard. I still like the 15C more but it’s an acceptable replacement that found a place at my desk both at work and at home.