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HP 12CP Financial Calculator
Price:$79.99+Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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176 of 185 people found the following review helpful
on December 14, 2006
The HP12c Platinum 25th Anniversary Edition (HP12cPAE) is the 2006 special commemorative limited edition model and the second official upgrade of the original HP12C. The HP12c Platinum (HP12cP version 1.0) has been improved since its released in 2003. Although the HP12cPAE is based on the HP12cP version 2.0,it would has its historical place as the 4th model in the HP12C lineage since 1981 and may be unofficially designated as HP12c Platinum version 3.0.

FIRST LOOK AND FEEL. HP has showcased this upgrade with an overall quality in both the looks and feel department. The "new" retro-styling and colours of the HP12cPAE closely resembles the exterior of the silver plated HP11C, a made in the 1980s HP scientific calculator cousin of the gold HP12C. As a bonus, HP had made this a special purchase for the fans and new owners by including a nice black 25th anniversary "PDA" style leather pouch with the HP12cPAE. The overall construction is firm and solid and the improved keypad buttons has a very nice tactile feel indeed.For better viewing, users can now adjust the contrast of the clear LCD display screen.

WHAT'S NEW? Since the HP12cPAE is faithfully and conservatively built on the time-proven functionality of the HP12C, existing users should not expect to see any major hardware and software improvements. However,it is evident that HP had listened to its customers negative feedback on its first half hearted attempt to upgrade the HP12C with the slow HP12cP version 1.0 released in 2004. HP had dutifully responded to its customers negative feedback on the HP12cP v1.0 and and demostrated their wholehearted effort with the HP12cPAE by incorporating all necessary enhancements which could be possibly squeezed into the package to expand the capabilities of the classic HP12C.

HARDWARE ENHANCEMENTS. The current upgrade is 6 times faster than the HP12C as claimed and probably 10 times faster than its slow early release HP12cP when performing certain TVM calculations. The improved speed is now up to par with cheaper products from its competitors. This upgrade has four times more data storage memory which is sufficient for input of up to 80 cashflows or 400 programming steps. With the HP12cPAE, advanced users have a more powerful tool which would enable them to store more keystroke programs into their HP12cPAE, to perform routine complex and customized financial calculations by executing the programs stored in its memory.

THE HP12C NICHE. Potential new users of HP12C series of financial calculators should be aware that the proven form factor of the HP12cPAE is quite a novelty product to get used to. Despite the age of its design, if new users are looking for the unique RPN input method and user programming capability, the HP12C series and the HP17B2 series are the only choices available.

AGAINST THE COMPETITION. It is difficult to compare the user programmable HP12C series against offerings by other manufacturers, simply because no HP rivals has ever managed to produce an equivalent product to challenge the HP12C series. Advanced "power" users of financial calculators would appreciate that complex financial calculation, such as the Black-Scholes European Option Pricing Model formula could be keystroke programmed and stored into any HP12C series. HP12C, HP12cP (versions 1.0 & 2.0) and HP12cPAE users could recall the program from memory to perform routine computations repeatedly.

WHO SHOULD BUY IT? A fan of the HP12C with some spare cash on hand would probably grab a HP12cPAE off the retail shelf without thinking too hard. From my personal experience, new users to the HP12C series would find that the HP12C actually glows on you and grows with you once you are familar with it.

WOULD IT BECOME A COLLECTOR'S ITEM? Savvy consumers should know that the HP12cPAE is mass produced and sold worldwide as a mainstream consumer product. IMHO, the HP12cPAE would have to be made with real titanium, platinum or gold plated parts and engraved with unique serial numbers if it were to qualify as a rare collector's item. Only time and actual HP sales quantity would determine if any collector-speculator would profit from an auction sale of a new and sealed HP12cPAE on e-Bay.

WOULD I RECOMMEND IT? Yes, definitely. By improving the on the HP12C, HP has again demonstrated in the HP12cPAE (and HP12cP version 2.0) that with the right effort even a good product design can be improved upon at the matured stage of its product life cycle. Now, there is a real rival for the much loved classic HP12C, and it is no other than its successor,the HP12cPAE. Realistically,it is difficult to keep improving a near perfect product such as the iconic HP12C. Judging by the high industry standard it has set, the HP12C would probably celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2031.

Thank you for reading my enduser review, hope it is useful to you.
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84 of 86 people found the following review helpful
on December 22, 2007
There's been many a good review on this calculator previously on Amazon so I won't delve too deeply into what has already been said. I will, however, off a few opinions that are gleaned fromm over two decades worth of using financial calculators, so I hope someone finds this interesting.

First, there are only three 'true' manufacturers of financial calculators: HP, Texas Instruments and Calculated Industries. Well, four if you count everyone else. But, HP & TI own the student and financial market. TI's calculators use the Algebraic Operating System (AOS) and HP uses RPN (Reverse Polish Notation) and some (the HP-12c platinum reviewed here) offer both. It's a matter of personal choice; RPN is more fluid once you learn it, but AOS is easier and flows math as you were taught in school. That said, once you master RPN, you won't go back to AOS.

Secondly, and this is my big beef with ALL calculator manufacturers. Handheld calculators need TACTILE feedback; meaning, notably, that you have to both KNOW when you press a button and, also, KNOW that when you do, it registers and doesn't do something funky (i.e. NOT register or DOUBLE register). This is beyond important and frequently overlooked by engineering types designing these calculators. Face it, a financial calculator isn't mainstream and it isn't used for insignificant calculations; they're used by investment bankers, accountants, analysts, etc. and these people have to be comfortable in the fact that the buttons 'work' and work everytime.

No one, not a single manufacturer, understood this except HP. And HP understood it to the point that their products were in a class by themselves. That was until about five years ago. Then, HP moved calculator production to China and the first products, notably the HP-12C Platinum and the HP 17BII+ suffered horribly in the hands of users because the tactile response simply was awful. Read the Amazon reviews on these products to get a feel for what I'm talking about here. I have a 17BII+ (2006 production) and call attest that if you don't watch it, it will frequently not register a number. That's useless in a financial calculator.

Fortunately, HP in this latest 25th Anniversary Edition apparently listed to consumers and got 'most-of-it' right on this model. Certainly better than the HP-12C Platinum and arguably better than it's more expensive sibling, the 17BII+.

Here, in no particular order is my Good/Bad list of features:


Follows typical 12C keyboard layout and convention. The 12C is THE standard in financial calculators and HP wisely left the form factor alone.

Faster than the original 12 and Platinum editions that followed. By HP's literature, almost 6x faster, but the big deal here is that it is faster than the horrible Platinum 1.0 version which suffered in TVM calculations.

Re-designed battery door. If you used an original 12C, you'll like the honking big door on this version.

VERY sweet rear labeling of functions; the metal decal attached on the back really goes a long way towards helping one with the keystroke/feature set of this calculator.

Runtime is just insanely long, which is useful since it uses non-standard batteries (CR2032's--better buy 'em now; you WON'T find them when you need them!)


Tactile response. Yes, it's better than the 17BII+ (much!) but it still isn't in the same league as the older US or Singapore produced calculators of the 1980's and 1990's. Arguably better than a 'cheapie' calculator but not what I would call 'good' by $50+ product standards. Honestly, I cannot fathom why HP won't belly to the bar on this and just spend $5.00 more and put a better keyboard on their high-end calculators. I will say this keyboard is the BEST keyboard HP has in their calculator product line, PERIOD. But that's not as big a compliment as it sounds.

Build-quality. Good. Not great, good. The thing still feels flimsy compared to the older products, plain and simple.

Case. Know what? On the web, that leather case looks very cool. In real life, it's three times bigger than the calculator and twice as hard to carry. A simple leather slip case would be nice.

Other odds and ends.

HP's manual for this baby is honestly worth the price of the calculator; maybe more. One thing I'll have to give HP is at least in this day and age of PDFs and web searches, they still give you an honest-to-goodness manual and a good one to boot. Kudos to them for that one!

As it stands, this HP 12C 25th Anniversary Edition stands as my pick of the absolute best available financial calculator on the market today. I say that because it's better built than it's bigger brother (17BII+) and offers RPN and programming and a familiar keyboard and layout.

However, I wish HP senior staff would puruse these reviews and take heart to producing a calculator with 1980's build quality and 2007 microprocessor guts. I mean honestly, I have a Blackberry with a 2GB memory card; and this thing has 28K? It runs on the 6502 processor; does that ring a bell with anyone over 40? It was the processor in the original Apple II!!!! Why not:

>Build the case out of higher quality plastic? Maybe ABS.
>Use a modern processor.
>Give us a removeable memory stick.
>Give it a USB port for programming.

That CANNOT be that big of a deal to incorporate and HP would OWN the calculator market again.

That's my .02 cents worth on the HP-12C, 25th Anniversary Edition.
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160 of 169 people found the following review helpful
on April 24, 2007
I have been using the HP12C for about 20 of the 25 years it has been around. I love the calculator, and this is why I have used it for so long. I would recommend a purchase of an HP 12C to everyone. I also recommend purchasing the HP 12C instead of this anniversary edition. I only have a couple reasons for this.

1) The keys of the anniversary edition do not respond as well as on the regular HP 12C. For example, when I turn on the anniversary edition, I have to check to make sure it actually turns on.

2) The quality of the anniversary edition is just not on par with the regular HP 12C. For example, the screen on the anniversay edition is already getting scratched up. I have a twenty year old and a five year old HP 12C, and neither of them has any scratches on the screen. Also the keys are just not as solid and they don't have the nice tactile feel of the regular HP 12C. The anniversary edition just feels cheap.

So I would recommend skipping the anniversary edition for the regular HP 12C.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
The HP12C is as emblematic of financial calculators as the zippo is to cigarette lighters. It is a sort of "ultimate machine" in its class. It is small, handy, robust, and it has ridiculously long battery life. Quite simply, you cannot buy a better calculator for finance than the HP12C. If you can't find an unused older "made in USA" HP12C, this is the best one you can own. In some ways, it is arguably the best one to own, as it has some improved features over the original HP12C (a version of which is also still made, believe it or not: that's how good these things are -though the modern Chinese version is inferior in construction to the old American and Brazilian versions). I'm docking it a star (it should be more like a half star) as the old versions were somewhat better made, and because the new version could have far more features without detracting from utility or functionality. For example: I'd rather have a numeric integrator and matrix math like in the old HP15C, than algebraic notation. Algebraic notation is only useful for loaning the thing to your friends, which is not something you will want to do. Also included in my one star off is the case, which is almost completely useless. It is giant! And it has a magnet in it, which could destroy your credit cards if they are rattling around in the same bag as your calculator. I do use the case, but only to let it rattle around in my briefcase with other junk; otherwise, if it had the old leather glove style case, it would go in a shirt pocket (though it also could be used to rattle around anywhere, without taking up so much space or having a magnet in it).

It is important that anyone looking to buy a 12C establish its provenance; the platinums came in three versions. The first version was garbage. The second was acceptable. The third, the platinum anniversary, is the best of the lot thus far, excepting the case.

The book is excellent as well; I've seen it touted as a useful tutorial into accounting theory in quantitative finance forums. You will probably need to read the book if you have not used an HP calculator in RPN before.

Who should buy one? Anyone who deals with finance on any level needs one of these. The legend goes, you can get 50 basis points off your loan just for showing up with this calculator.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2006
NOTE: This is a review of the 25th Anniversary Edition from 2006, which Amazon has now tossed in with reviews of the 12C Platinum.

I still have my "Made in the USA" 12C from the Eighties, and didn't know what to expect after reading reviews of the newer versions (rattling keys, numbers rubbing off, etc.). Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised by the Anniversary Edition when it arrived today. The keys do not rattle when I shake it, and it feels just as solid in my hands as my vintage 12C. Some reviews have said it does not have the "heft" of the original, but I put them on a scale, and they both weigh the same. The numbers in the Anniversary model's display are slightly larger than the original, but not enough to make much difference to anyone.

On the negative side, the keys look and feel cheaper than the originals. The originals have a solid feel, while the new ones seem "hollow." My biggest complaint is that the display no longer "flashes" off & on when you make an entry. It is reassuring to see that visual confirmation, especially when you are entering a long series of numbers. It is unfortunate that HP chose to eliminate it.

The new models are much faster than the "Gold" 12C's and have 4X the memory. The Anniversary Edition comes with a cool but impractical (bulky) leather case with magnetic closure and business card slot. The instructions on the back are printed on a metal plate that has space for engraving, and says "25th Anniversary Edition 1981 - 2006". You have the option of Algebraic entry, if you are so inclined.

Although this "Made in China" 12C has minor shortcomings compared to the original USA and Singapore models, there is still nothing on the market that comes close to its understated elegance and functional design.
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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon July 27, 2006
I know that many people have complained about the 12C Platinum original. The updated Platinum was slightly more well received due to it's increase speed and undo function. However, there were still a few cosmetic complaints such as how the red function labels above keys looked faded against a silver back ground. Well this limited 25th anniversary version has the best of both worlds! It has all the updated functionality of the version 2 Platinum AND the better cosmetics of the original 12C. In fact I like the silver uppers much better than the original gold.

Yes the buttons and the display are still like the new Platinum's but I don't think it's that big of a deal to have buttons and a display just like the original. It's close enough for government work as they say...

Since these will only be available for a limited time I would suggest that everyone pick themselves up one even if you already own a 12C or regular Platinum. These will be sought after once they're gone. I'm sure that by this time next year we'll see eBay selling the 25th Anniversary ones for much more than what they're going for now.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 2006
In the reviews for the HP 12c Platinum, one reviewer commented on many things. ALL BUT ONE are fixed in the new HP 12c Platinum 25th Anniversary calculator.

The one thing: The display "flash" when you input a figure into a financial register. I miss that. Probably the ONLY reason I'll keep my HP 12c "gold". That helps to "know" that the number was input into that register.

It doesn't "wobble" on the desk (unlike my "gold). You can see the orange/red text on the BLACK background (versus the silver). When you shake the calculator, the keys don't rattle as well (versus the gold). Oh, and I prefer the "matte" plastic keys over the somewhat shinier keys of the gold.

It's a great looking calculator. REAL black with nice-looking silver accents. It's got a nice "Star Wars" look.

What I don't understand is why the different case? This new case is not slim and not able to fit into certain pockets of my briefcase. And what's up with the clear ID pocket on the back side of it? I know the 12c was originally touted as a "financial powerhouse in a pocket-size unit", but I don't think people actually carry them in their pockets??? Purses and briefcases, sure, but it's not a substitute wallet. It's a good thing I still have the case to my "gold". It's a better fit.

At least HP seems to be committed to good product research and the input of their product reviewers.

BTW, those extra 10 "functions" over the Gold must be the way to calculate things using ALGEBRAIC notation versus RPN; because I don't see any real differences between the functionality of either calculator.

*****UPDATE 08/03/2007*****

Since I reviewed the Platinum Anniversary edition of the HP 12c, I had acquired a "classic" HP12c made in 1984 made in USA. In comparison to the "Made in USA" 12c, the anniversary one feels cheaper somehow. The keys sound hollow compared to the tank of the older 12c. The slightest touch to the USA-12c will turn on the calculator, while the same touch to the Anniversary 12c is spotty at best. The display on the Anniversary 12c has a "greener" tint to it compared to the original. And I STILL love seeing the display "flash" with each input. The keys are "injection molded", but my USA-12c keys were actually HP15c keys painted over for the 12c. The keys don't rattle when the calculator is shaken and it sits evenly on my deak with no "wobble."

I still like the Anniversary edition of the 12c, because of the processing speed. (I have very little need for Algebraic entry, the back-space key or "undo" keys. They're not as easy to use as the CLX key is.) I wouldn't want to attempt any exam (like the CFP or CFA exams) with the slower 12c, but I don't think I'll ever give up my "Made in USA" 12c for daily work now that I know what a jewel it really is.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon February 2, 2010
This was a breakthrough financial calculator when it was released in the early 1980s. They have improved on the original version mainly by making it much faster and making the digits go to 10 places. There are MANY financial calculators, including from HP, which are just as capable and but are much cheaper. HP can charge higher price of this calculator because it has reached an iconic "THE financial calculator" status and because so many financial professionals use it and most of them do not want to bother learning to use an another calculator. So if cost is a concern, then I do not recommend this calculator.

This calculator, along with TI BA II Plus Professional, are the only two calculators allowed for the CFA exam. So if you are studying for your CFA, you will need to practice with one of the two. I have both calculators and they are both excellent choices. Some say HP 12C is better because of RPN and it requires fewer keystrokes. True, but that advantage is negated by HP 12c's fewer buttons and since each button must perform 3 separate functions, one may occasionally punch more buttons to perform the same calculations on HP 12C than on TI BA II Plus Pro. HP 12C Platinum is just as fast in financial calculations as BA II Plus Pro. The TI BA II Plus Pro, however, is just as effective at half the cost. The main advantage of HP 12C is its RPN capability and the "The financial calculator" factor. It is also smaller than TI BA II Plus Pro.

This calculator performs most of the statistics functions which are largely done using Excel (or its equivalent) these days. Its statistics functions are lacking a Z table. Most scientific calculators have a Z table but not business calculators. So if you are looking for a true statistics calculator, then I recommend a scientific calculator that allows data entry and a large screen size such as HP 50g.


I have used this calculator for almost 2 years. This calculator has serious durability problems. First, the screen scratches VERY easily. But that is not the biggest problem, the all-important ENTER(=) key only registers my entries about 80% of the time. Pressing the key harder does not help. That one flaw makes this calculator very unreliable as I need to double-check all my entries as I am making calculations. To those who are using this calculator during an intense (and often difficult) finance exams, that could be a serious flaw. I have decided to dump this very expensive calculator for a cheaper alternative. I am very disappointed with this purchase. That's too bad, because whent this calculator works, there are few, if any, like it.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on March 19, 2007
The first thing you will notice is the color scheme. Gold has been replaced by platinum (silver) surrounding the screen. The yellow function key [f] and its related commands are now reddish (actually a burnt orange). The weight of the model is the same as my twenty-plus year old model (Why was I afraid it would be lighter?). But the processor speed is a substantial improvement. This is what all the fuss should be about. A monthly mortgage payment calculation - $210,000 at 6.125% for 20 years, end of the month - takes 2 seconds (-$1519.69)on the original model. On the new edition this answer flashes instantly. Calculating the yield to maturity (YTM) for a municipal bond trading at 101.25 with a 4.25% coupon for 20 years takes 20 hum-de-dum seconds ("running...running...running") on my scratched-up 'old buddy'. This answer comes in just 3 merciful seconds (4.16%) on my new model. HP, you have done good.

This 25th anniversary calc comes with a beautiful leather case-folder with a plastic window for your business card. The case is twice the thickness of the old soft leather dust cover. It fits into my inside jacket pocket, but its thickness may take a little getting used to (HP: why not a belt clip?).
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on October 9, 2006
I needed a financial calculator and I had received a lot of good feedback from 12c owners. This added to my experience with two HP calculators one 15c and one 48G, told me I couldn't go wrong with this special edition.

Unfortunately, at least for my taste, It has a kinda cheap look. The flat buttons have started to polish after few days of use. The red text for financial functions, doesn't offer good contrast. HP should keep the display flash after data input, this is one easy way to know data has been entered (something mentioned in one previous review).

The overall aspect doesn't measure up to the quality standard when compared with my old 15c from 1983. Some how, the made in china thing is evident.

The only reason I got it over the 12c gold is its speed and the limited edition.

If you don't mind about speed go for the 12c. It's closer to the original voyager series looking and quality.
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