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HP 12C Financial Calculator

by HP
3.5 out of 5 stars 831 customer reviews
| 30 answered questions

Price: $55.00 & FREE Shipping. Details
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  • Calculator with built-in financial functions and statistics
  • Uses Reverse Polish Notation (RPN)
  • More than 120 built-in functions, including register-based cash-flow analysis
  • 10-character, 1-line LCD display
  • Device measures 5.0 x 0.6 x 3.1 inches (WxHxD)
200 new from $50.00 84 used from $15.99 11 refurbished from $40.20

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Product Description

Product Description

The HP 12C Financial Calculator features built-in financial functions and statistics, uses Reverse Polish Notation (RPN), more than 120 built-in functions, including register-based cash-flow analysis, 10-character, 1-line LCD display, Device measures 5.0 x 0.6 x 3.1 inches (WxHxD).It has 10-character, 1-line LCD display.

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If you bought yourself a financial calculator during the 1980s, chances are it was this bad boy. Nothing has changed since its introduction--it still uses Reverse Polish Notation (RPN), is easy and versatile in programming, and has a thin, sturdy casing. Certainly, there's been newer, fancier calculators introduced since, but there's something to be said for the quality of classics.

The HP 12C's functions include all the basics--such as calculating APR, NPV, and IRR--and statistics are a snap. For students new to financial calculators, this is an excellent place to start. For the most part, the manual reads like a minitextbook, walking you through sample problems and situations followed by graphs and tables demonstrating the technique--and you can even check your results. The section on creating programs does seem to be written for the technically ignorant, addressing in detail how you could possibly benefit from using programs, but it'll still help you get the job done.

In general, it's a bit slower than newer models, just like last year's computer isn't as speedy as today's new release. On the plus side, it's just 3 by 5 inches and slips easily into a pocket. The bottom is printed with a few little cheat notes for common functions, which is nice for quick reference. The HP 12C's one-year warranty and available tech-support line offer reassurance this little workhorse will continue to be an industry standard for years to come. --Jill Lightner

Pros:

  • Pocket size
  • Thorough and simple instruction manual
  • Competitive price

Cons:

  • Calculates more slowly than modern machines
What's in the Box
Calculator, user's manual, installed batteries and carrying case

Product Information

Technical Details

Brand Name HP
Item Weight 1 pounds
Product Dimensions 6 x 3 x 1 inches
Item model number HP12C
Batteries 1 Nonstandard Battery batteries required. (included)
Color Black, Brown
Material Type N/A
Number of Items 1
Size 5 x 3 1/8
Manufacturer Part Number HP12C

Technical Specification

Additional Information

ASIN B00000JBLH
Customer Reviews
3.5 out of 5 stars 831 customer reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
Best Sellers Rank #2,405 in Office Products (See top 100)
#4 in Office Products > Educational Supplies > Math Materials > Calculators > Financial & Business
#15 in Office Products > Educational Supplies > Math Materials > Calculators > Scientific
#3,053 in Office Products > Office Supplies
Shipping Weight 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
Date First Available June 1, 1999

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This item: HP 12C Financial Calculator
DM-15 B014FPNDEU
Customer Rating 3 out of 5 stars (831) 4 out of 5 stars (6) 3 out of 5 stars (63) 4 out of 5 stars (30)
Price $55.00 $95.00 $11.99 $7.99
Shipping FREE Shipping $16.00 FREE Shipping FREE Shipping
Sold By shopsaveshop SwissMicros HyperTech Bargain Always Tax Free
Color Black, Brown metal Information not provided White
Display LCD LCD LCD LCD
Dimensions 1 inches x 6 inches x 3 inches 2.32 inches x 3.46 inches x 0.28 inches 5.89 inches x 0.77 inches x 3.24 inches 1 inches x 6 inches x 3 inches
Item Weight 1 pounds 0.15 pounds 0.33 pounds 0.2 pounds
Size 5 x 3 1/8 Information not provided 3.04 x 0.59 x 5.79 in 3.04 x 0.59 x 5.79 in
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Customer Questions & Answers

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Why would you buy a 1980's calculator? Because it provides the best combination of form and function.
While other calculators have gone high-end and become curiosities of mathematics and graphics, HP's customers do not want to let go of the 12-C, despite the fact that HP has more powerful calculators at a slightly larger price. Here's why I think:
Just the right set of features. The average Joe using a financial calculator needs no more than the HP-12C provides.
Sturdy and strong. The keys have a wonderful feel.
Fits in a shirt pocket.
Very reliable. They've had two decades to iron out any bugs.
Large user base. Most financial courses will use this as the calculator of choice
Buy this calculator, if you need a financial calculator. You will not regret it -- I daresay that it will still be around when your kids need their own calculators.
9 Comments 133 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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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>.
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Comment 95 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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This is "the calculator that wouldn't die". There were several other excellent HP calculators in this same series, including the HP-11C and HP-15C (scientific calculators) and the HP-16C (the only Computer Science calculator ever made), all of which shared RPN functionality (think of RPN as an adding machine on steroids), programmability, extremely long battery life (measured in years, not months), a sturdy case and keypad, and the perfect size, weight and ergonomics. Unfortunately, the rest of this line was discontinued by the end of the 80's in favor of fancier models. (I own an HP-11C and an HP-16C as well as an HP-12C; they're all excellent calculators. Used HP-16C models often sell for more than the original list price, they're in such demand.)
So why is the HP-12C still around, virtually unchanged from its introduction in the 80's? Because Finance people are VERY conservative, and they just kept buying the 12C because that's what their mentors used, that's what classes were teaching with, and that's where the most help and information is available. They simply ignored newer, fancier models of financial calculators because the 12C already worked so well that nobody needed or wanted anything better! Sure, they're imported these days instead of being made in the USA as the original units were, but the design is unchanged. The packaging has changed, but the user manual has not.
This calculator is a classic, destined to remain with us for many years...
1 Comment 41 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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I've had my HP 12C since 1982. They cost($$) then. It spent 5years rattling around in my college bookbag. Now I use it daily at work and have dropped it many times. While some may say it is slow, you'll never notice a speed problem on regular arithmetic calculations. The RPN feature makes complex calculations easy to enter. Its easy to learn and you won't have to lend it to your co-workers in meetings because most of them don't know RPN!
I hope HP gives plenty of notice before discontinuing this calculator. I'll buy another just in case mine breaks in a decade or two. END
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Verified Purchase
I work in finance and use HP12Cs constantly. They are, hands down, the best calculators I've ever used.

The HP12C Platinum offers three features that are improvements over the HP12C (which has a gold faceplate and which I recommend): slightly faster processing (though you won't notice the speed difference versus the current "gold" version of the HP12C), more functions (which nobody I know ever uses), and the ability to use standard notation as well as reverse Polish notation (but RPN is easly to learn and much more efficient).

The "gold" version (marketed as the HP12C without the word Platinum) offers only one advantage over the Platinums, much better manufacturing quality. When you press a key on the "gold," you can feel a click when the keystroke registers; the Platinum lacks this tactile feedback. As a result, it's easy to miss a keystroke with a Platinum (I've done it a lot) but nearly impossible with a "gold."

My bottom line is that I can't afford errors, so any calculator that is prone to errors in entering the numbers is worse than useless. If the HP12C Platinum were built as solidly as the HP12C, I would have given it five stars, but it's not, so I haven't. I strongly recommend buying an HP12C with the gold faceplate (the product you're looking at now).
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