84 of 87 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: HP 12C Financial Calculator (Office Product)
I've been using this calculator so long, over fifteen years, that I can't imagine working without it. When I bought this thing it was alone in the field of financial calculators and the 12C is still the standard by which other calculators are judged. It has become the standard "tool of the trade" for financial professional types. I have a senior position with a leading money management firm and I require all of my financial analysts to learn how to master this tool. Learning to master the functions is like taking a review course in finance. The calculator can be used for a variety of financial functions including calendar (day count), interest, cash flow, IRR, compounding, NPV, standard deviation, weighted average, simple programming and more. The calculator is nearly indestructible which can be very handy when a trade goes against you and the calculator is suddenly flying across a trading room. The calculator has a nice form factor, the buttons are easy to use, it fits in a shirt pocket, and it has an auto shut off for battery conservation.
There are other calculators available from HP such as the 10B for about a third the price and the 17B for about the same price. The 10B is inferior to the 12C and I see little reason to buy it. The 17B has greater functionality than the 12C, but I feel it is harder to master, harder to navigate, and it does not fit in a shirt pocket. However, the 17B does allow users to work in standard algebraic or RPN modes. The 12 works only in RPN (Reverse Polish Notation) which can be difficult to get used to. For example using RPN to add 1 and 2 you enter 1 <Enter key> 2 <Plus key>. In simple algebraic notation the key sequence is 1 <Plus key> 2 <= or enter key>. The difference is that with RPN you enter the operation (plus, minus, etc.) after you enter the values. With simple algebraic you enter the operation between the values.
Overall, this is the "industry standard" calculator for financial professionals and is recommended by AIMR for people taking the CFA exam. I would not recommend this calculator for casual home use as it does take some time to master, but once mastered it is a very powerful tool.