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HP 15C Limited Edition Scientific Calculator

by HP
4.5 out of 5 stars 95 customer reviews
| 5 answered questions

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  • The classic HP 15c scientific calculator
  • Simple, intelligent design. Advanced scientific features
  • It has unique HP RPN
  • It has portable, user-friendly layout
4 new from $695.00 6 used from $118.00

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Product Description

The intelligent design of the HP 15c Scientific Calculator facilitates portability and convenience, ensuring that your 15c is always handy, and incorporates RPN mode, simplifying data entry. The 15c provides what engineers and scientists rely upon: complex number calculations, matrix operations, numerical integration and root solving. For the collector, the Limited Edition 15c presents an opportunity to own a classic HP calculator that has not been available for over 20 years.

Product Information

Product Dimensions 0.6 x 5.1 x 3.1 inches
Item Weight 4.2 ounces
Shipping Weight 1.6 pounds
Domestic Shipping This item is also available for shipping to select countries outside the U.S.
International Shipping This item is not eligible for international shipping. Learn More
Item model number NW250AA
Customer Reviews
4.5 out of 5 stars 95 customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
Best Sellers Rank #162 in Electronics > Office Electronics > Calculators > Scientific
#138,018 in Office Products > Office Supplies
Date first available at Amazon.com July 25, 2011


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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Nate on September 18, 2011
HP has finally re-released the classic. It is available directly from HP and other retailers for ~$99. Please don't get suckered into paying the 3-4 times list price that some sellers are trying to charge...

Another reviewer mentioned receiving an error message after running the self-test. The procedure listed in the manual is correct for the original 15c, but was never updated. The self-test for the 15c LE can be performed as follows:

Turn the calc. off
Press and hold 'g' and 'ENTER'
While still holding down 'g' and 'ENTER' press the 'ON' key
Release 'ON', followed by 'g' and 'ENTER'

The test screen will display ' 1.L 2.C 3.H '
Press 1 to perform the LCD test
Press 2 to display the Copyright/Checksum message
Press 3 to perform the keyboard test

Press ON to exit the self-test.
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This new HP 15C is a real winner. I've owned a 15C for many years and use it every day. I jumped at the chance to buy the Limited Edition (LE), and I can report that they did it right.

If you're familiar with the 15C, you already know it has an almost perfect combination of engineering/scientific features coupled with extreme ease of use. Support for complex numbers, hyperbolic trig functions, combinatorics, matrices, and high-quality numerics is legendary. And this is implemented with all functions clearly visible on the keyboard itself -- no multi-level menu system to learn (and forget!). Programming is simple and direct. If you don't know all of this already, trust me, the 15C is all the scientific calculator you're ever likely to need. If you need anything more, you'll turn to your computer.

The first thing you will notice about the LE is how fast it is. It's so fast that when I was first trying it out, I felt like I might have pressed the wrong key. All the functions return a result virtually instantly, including the trig, log/exponential, and even functions which are noticeably slow on the original 15C like the factorial of a non-integer number. I haven't had a chance yet to explore all the features fully, but I tried the integrate and solve functions on a few simple polynomial, gaussian, and rational functions, and the results are consistent with HP's claim of a 100x speed improvement. It really is fast. Integrations which took several minutes on the original return in a couple of seconds on the LE. I compared the results side-by-side with my old 15C and saw no differences in output, right to the last decimal place. My tests are by no means extensive, but this thing sure acts like a 15C, with lightning in its veins.
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I still own my second HP-15C, which I bought in 1984. I have used it every working day of my engineering career. Naturally, when the Limited Edition was released I ordered it immediately. Compared to the original, the LE has a keyboard with a less solid feel, and strangely rough keys, although it is generally as responsive. For complex functions it has much faster execution, running a modern CPU that emulates the HP-15C code. HP also re-created the cheap-o case that the original HP-15C came with. Now there was something they could have improved.

I give the original HP-15C about 10 stars: 5 stars for performance plus 5 stars for reliability. What 27 year-old electronic devices are you still using daily? The new one gets 4 stars. Mostly that's me nit-picking the keyboard feel. New users will probably think it's great, since they are used to the abysmal keyboards shipped with ordinary calculators. The display is actually better than the original, having a wider viewing range and better contrast. However, there is also the user's manual screw-up with the self-test. See the other reviews for a thorough discussion.

As a real plus, the calculator ships with a program that emulates an HP-15C on your computer screen. While I found software installation kwirky, it is great to finally have the '15 available for a quick calculation when I'm on my computer. I just leave it running in the task bar.

As a final negative- to Hewlett-Packard: Why did you stop at 10,000 units? This isn't enough to satisfy e-bay merchants. Now they have all been sold, and are being scalped at $200-300, and the original HP-15C's are still selling for $400. Why can't you keep this product on the market, just as you did with the HP-12C????
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Not the most powerful, mind you -- but something like the HP 50g won't fit in your shirt pocket and this will (even while protected in the included slip-case)!

Other than that, it's advantages over many of its larger and more modern alternatives are its easy to read display (The seven segment LCD is limiting in what it can display, but its clarity when displaying numbers is a welcome respite from the tiny dot-matrix characters of the graphing calculators); its landscape form-factor along with the RPN data entry method in addition to its tactile keys makes it easy to quickly get the result you need (I cup it in my hands and press the keys with just my thumbs); Keystroke programming is simple and straight forward. As the manual states, it's simply a matter of recording repetitive keystrokes sandwiched between a label and a return.

Among the other features the 15C has that aren't typically found on other non-graphing calculators is: matrix operations, integration, complex number support, matrix operations with complex numbers and a built-in root solver.

Granted, if you have no interest in the RPN method of data entry then this might rank among the worst calculators one might purchase.

Of course, if it's powerful features you're looking for and you're willing to sacrifice ease-of-use and ultra-portability then one of the graphing calculators is probably what you want.

Lastly, I'd like to note that the manual is just a copy of the original from the 80's (and it's a good one), but it does create some problems. The hardware test shown in the back is incorrect -- it applies to old classic 15C. The correct test is the same one used on the current HP 12C which can be found below in other reviews.

P.S.: I wouldn't entertain paying this much for one as long as HP continues to sell them for far less.
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