Customer Review

20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Service, September 6, 2011
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This review is from: HP 50g Graphing Calculator (Office Product)
I purchased an HP 50g about three years ago from Amazon. It's a great calculator and about the only graphing calculator with RPN logic. Surprise, surprise, recently the LCD display has vertical bands that are blank on the right of the screen and so frequently I can't see results of a calculation. I called HP and they no longer repair these calculators although they still sell the 50g as their top of the line graphing calculator. I was told that I need to have it repaired by another outfit and the only one I could find is fixthatcalc.com but they said there are no parts available and the architecture is not amenable to repair. If I toss this one out and by a new one and I have a problem in a year and a day(warranty is a year) I will end up throwing it out since I'm back in the same jam. I don't understand how a company can manufacture a product and not support it. HP used to be a great company but now it is headed for the junk heap. I have also had 3 HP printers that had to be returned during warranty. Don't buy a 50g unless you're willing to replace it after a year if you have a problem!
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Tracked by 6 customers

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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 4, 2012 12:30:51 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 4, 2012 12:31:51 PM PDT
David J says:
Thank you so much for your review. I found it hard to believe at first, but I called HP customer service and posed as an HP-50g owner with an out-of-warranty problem. Their tech support is farmed out to India (no surprise there) and I was told exactly what you were: that they don't repair their calculators. They will only replace them if under warranty. When pressed, the Indian tech support guy wouldn't vary from his script, either. Although calculators are not inherently prone to failure, the large LCD is a concern.

I had done quite a bit of research and would have definitely preferred this machine to a TI, but how can I in all good conscience buy something this expensive from a large corporation that refuses to support what it sells?

Your statement that third-party techs can't repair the calculator makes sense, since HP doesn't have any interest in stocking or providing parts whatsoever. It's made cheaply in Asia and that's as far as the components travel.

HP has all but abandoned its calculator line; it is only maintained as a vestige of their past. If they had any interest in re-entering the market, they would have spent the last decade heavily promoting RPN to the latest generation of high school and university students to win market share from TI. As it is, the young engineering and mathematical workforce has been weaned on TI and will most likely support that company for the life of their careers.

Shame on HP.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 19, 2012 7:41:21 AM PDT
VK5OX says:
Well all I have read so far has put me off of getting an HP50g. I don't know what the hell HP are playing at. It seems they go out of there way to piss people off. I have an HP 32S II and wanted to learn the extra functionality of an HP 50g. As much as I want one, I am not prepared to buy something that is going to fail and not be supported by the company. What the hell is wrong with you HP?

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 16, 2012 2:44:54 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 16, 2012 2:45:25 PM PDT
I have an HP 12C that is about 30 years old ... and is only on its second set of batteries! It is rock solid and I LOVE the damn thing. I love RPN and hate to have to return to standard infix notation. Before my 12C, we got my dad (a retired EE) an older one (red LED display, don't remember the model) and it lasted him decades. I simply don't get it. HP used to be THE name in calculators. I'm so disappointed.

Posted on Nov 7, 2012 4:37:21 AM PST
Tom says:
It's true, the old trusty 41C (or 67/97) are light years away from the quality sold today. But I'm a bit amused when I read all this whining about having had an HP-xx for 20 or 30 years. Exactly THAT is the reason for the decline. Ever wondered how a company can survive if it sells only ONE calculator to a certain person in 30 years? The current economic system is driven by revenue/volume/turnover. This system does NOT appreciate quality but fosters products with intentionally short lifetime (thereby burning our resources very quickly). This is not helped by the fact that people tend to pick the cheaper alternative when shopping (or are forced to do so by economical constraints). Consequently, back in the good old days there was competition in the market with the common goal "Who can make it better?". Competition is still there but the goal has changed. Now it's "Who can make it cheaper?". All that leads to the dropping quality levels we see everywhere, not only with Calculators. All show and no substance! I hate to say this but I consider this a natural evolution of the economic system practiced in the last decades.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 7, 2012 8:53:49 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 7, 2012 9:17:51 AM PST
@Tom,
extremely well said. I had the same thought about most items we buy today from refrigerators to cars. As you state quality is not the point. Churning goods of shoddy quality is the point. The same holds true for entire businesses. For example when our local "Borders" store closed people were in a tizzy. But I am willing to bet that most of the same people opted for Amazon when they purchased books because of price etc. Borders, a great business model for the nineties became a veritable Amazon showroom where people browsed through books and then ordered the same from Amazon. Our entire economy now is driven by consumerism and thus depends upon stuff breaking down in a year or two.

In reply to an earlier post on May 14, 2013 7:58:49 AM PDT
Bruno Leite says:
Refusing to service a recent product that is still in production is a completely different ball game from dropping quality control in favor of substantial price gains and making higher tech possible for consumers - the latter, as we can see in the matter of acceptable rate of dead pixels in consumer LCD TVs/monitors.
One year or two lifetime is not acceptable. And there is just no excuse for that. If 20-30 years is a nonsense today (I agree on that), so it is 1-3 years.
Why can't they just be reasonable? How about a 5-year (time of an engineering graduation program) parts warranty? Can one justify making an engineering student buy the same calculator model up to three times before graduation because the manufacturer has decided not to give a damn after taking his hundred dollar bill?
This is insane!

In reply to an earlier post on May 3, 2014 2:06:32 PM PDT
Meow says:
Given that I can't use my HP 15C for graphing, and that displays are always improving, I don't think the notion of "selling only one calculator to a person every 30 years" holds true anymore.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 23, 2015 2:17:56 PM PST
calc geek says:
HP-41C, CV and CX were around $300 when introduced in 1979 - 1983. This is approximately $900 in today's dollars. Back in 1980 I could get a trained mechanic to work for an hour on my card for about $30. Today, there's a $90 minimum charge, and that's the cheapest place I can find.

Mass production and LSI have made calculators far, far less expensive. The expertise needed to repair a device packed with microchips exceeds the expertise needed for most car repairs. It makes no sense to repair something worth $80 with labor costing $100. By treating calculators as disposable items, they've been able to reduce prices even more.

There are firms that will "insure" your electronic devices against breakage. What they do is replace broken items, after you jump through a half dozen or so hoops. Nobody repairs solid state devices anymore. This type of insurance is a bad gamble. Here's what you do if you're unlucky, and your 50g breaks before its time: you SUCK IT UP and buy a new one.

Times change; economics change. You can buy eleven 50g's for the price of one 41CV. Get over it.
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