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Showing 1-10 of 730 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 926 reviews
on September 17, 2013
The model being reviewed is the latest version (as of Sep. 2013). There have been, if I remember correctly, three versions of this calculator:

1. Original design, which utilizes three, small, button-size batteries. These were made in USA, Brazil, Singapore, etc. and have the quality which made HP legendary.

2. Second generation design, which uses a single CR2032 cell battery, made in China. Feels cheap compared with the older units; the keys are "loose" and will rattle if you shake the calculator.

3. Third generation design, which uses two CR2032 batteries, also made in China, but with a much faster processor and a revised keyboard design. The new keys have a firmer, bouncier (in a good way), more "solid" feel, reminiscent of the quality of the calculators manufactured in the 1980s and 1990s.

(Note: The HP 12C Platinum is a completely different calculator.)

I've been using the HP-12C since 1987. My first 12C, made in USA, has held up well over the years and still works fine despite having been dropped many times, scratched up, etc.

I purchased a second generation unit (single CR2032 battery) c. 2005, and although the quality is clearly inferior to that the HP's calculators from 20+ years ago--the keys do not have a good, solid feel which the older 12Cs have--it has not given me any problems.

This review is to specifically address the newest design, which uses two CR2032 batteries. It is very, very fast, returning computations almost instantaneously, whereas the older designs will take several seconds before displaying an answer. The keys have a nice, improved feel to them, almost as good as--or perhaps better than--the first generation HP-12C.

However, the new keyboards have been very problematic. Three out of four that I have purchased over the last year have had issues with keys being pressed but the number or function not registering with the calculator. My most recent 12C has a flaky "0" (zero) key, which makes the calculator unreliable for adding up numbers. You press the zero key three times, thinking you've entered a number in the thousands (e.g. 3,000), but what you get in the display is only 300; one of the zeros did not register, despite the press being firm and the tactile feedback the calculator gives you indicating that the digit had been entered. This makes the calculator useless for what I primarily use it for these days, which is just adding up checks.

Hewlett-Packard once delivered the very best that money could buy when it came to calculators and scientific equipment. It is disappointing to see that this is no longer the case.
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on April 22, 2012
As a non-traditional, adult accounting student, I got tired of purchasing a new calculator for every class. Every professor was recommending a different calculator, and most of the students have TI-whatevers. I wanted to purchase ONE calculator, and I wanted it to be THE calculator for my entire college and working career. After a little research, and a speech by my intermediate accounting professor about this little black box of perfection, I decided to purchase it last fall.

I think the biggest reason most accounting/finance professors don't recommend this calculator outright is due to the RPN learning curve. Let's be honest: Most 20-somethings have grown up with their ginormous TI graphing calculators. Younger classmates prefer "computer-like" functions. Truly, I cannot imagine most of my classmates bothering to learn RPN in order to use this calculator. Fortunately for me, their loss is my gain. I purchased this last fall, when I started my upper level accounting courses in earnest. The first couple of weeks, I was a bit frustrated with the Reverse Polish Nation keystrokes. But once I got used to it, I tried to learn a new computing technique or formula every week or two. By the time the serious time value of money calculations came around, I was way ahead of the curve.

I can't really explain it, but there's something about RPN, the way these keys are labeled, and the size, shape and feel of this thing that just helps me grasp underlying concepts better. I don't know, it just seems more visual and instructive to see it all happening in the HP 12C versus just entering it all on one screen of a graphing or typical calculator. I'm a 4.0 student for a reason, and I partially credit this little gem. If you can invest a little time to learn RPN, which makes a ton of sense once you get used to it, you WILL be better equipped than your classmates or co-workers to deal with accounting and finance computations. Depreciation is like a smooth shot of sunshine on this thing: I can't tell you how many answers I was able to check or arrive at, just from the depreciation functions. Who calculates SOTYD without this thing anyway?

I never go anywhere without this calculator, it's always in my backpack or purse. Like I mentioned, I can't really put my finger on it, but I've never purchased a more useful tool I love more than this thing. I'm about as practical as it gets, and this thing is the epitome of practical. But somehow, old technology is still uber cool in this case. Strangely, I even find myself judging people who DON'T use it. Idiots.
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on February 4, 2017
These people sent me an HP12C, and the instruction manuals, both of them, were not in English. They were in Spanish or Italian. There was no indication up front that the instruction manuals would not be in English. I'll just go over to Best Buy and pay the $3.00 more.
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on June 26, 2014
I bought this calculator on August 13, 2013, it was my second 12C, the first one lasted for 4 years and I am okay with that, that is long enough relative to other products I purchase that are made in China. I am studying for the CFA exam and this is one of two calculators that may be used on the exam. The second 12C didn't last as long but was still under the one year warranty. The display would give a 'pr error' every once and a while and get this, you have to get out a paperclip or a coin, pull out the batteries and drain the capacitor. Huh? Its a calculator. I did not have to do this on my previous 12C but I suppose technology is improving. Then the numbers weren't showing on the display very well, only parts of the numbers were showing and it was time to get a replacement. I called HP on May 29, 2014, they requested follow up emails which I sent that day, they are sending me a replacement, it is June 26, I have called twice since sending the emails, they have a back log of calculator orders and are waiting for the supply to show up from China. I may have to switch to the other calculator that is allowed on the CFA exam.

Update 7/9/2014 I received the replacement calculator today.
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on April 27, 2017
This is my second HP 12C calculator. The first one lasted from 1982 to 2014, and it was solidly built. This new one, purchased in 2014 is already showing signs of pending failure (not due to batteries getting low - I've checked). This one is more cheaply built than my old one, and I am quite disappointed in its performance and the cheap "feel" of the calculator in general. The keys do not have that solid feel to them. All in all, I would not recommend this calculator.
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on August 25, 2016
Way back when Nixon was a choirboy I bought an HP 12C calculator. It worked faithfully and flawlessly through the decades--until I lost it. So I bought another, and it too has performed like the champion it is. My 12Cs have had a hand in all my real estate transactions; I never go to work without it!

When my niece got married in the late 80s, my wedding present to the happy couple was George Clason's classic "The Richest Man in Babylon" on audio cassette, an HP12C Financial Calculator, and a crisp $100 bill to put toward their first house. After not so long they bought their house, and since then they tell me they use the calculator for all their investment decisions.

The 'net is awash with praise for this device, so I'll shut up and let you get on with deciding whether to buy one for yourself.
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on June 26, 2014
The unit I recently purchased on was a gift for someone. I purchased my HP 12C in 1982; a friend got it for me direct from HP at his wife's employee price of $62. After 32 years it's still going strong. As a mortgage and real estate broker I have used this calculator exclusively since I got it and have no plan to ever use anything else.

I like this calculator very much and recommend it to anyone in finance or real estate. Also in all of the years I have had mine and using it daily, the batteries have only needed to be changed 3 or 4 times. Reverse Polish Notation (RPN) was very easy to adjust to and a much better method to input...

For basic finance such as loans, amortizations, yields, future values, etc. this calculator has gone unchanged for close to 35 years and it's still the absolute Ayatollah of rockin' rolla..

May I suggest that you consider buying a used HP12C made in USA version off eBay. It uses 3 batteries, has gold trim around display and USA will be etched in the plastic just to the right of battery door on back. Manual for early version was spiral bound. Can be found on eBay for around $20 complete with case and manual. The amazon 1-star ratings for this calculator are for the newer China made units which are not the same quality as the older ones that were made in USA so unless you just have to have new, consider the used eBay option. As for HP, they have become little more than a high volume junk dealer...

Would I purchase again? YES but used off eBay
Do I recommend? YES but only the USA made ones
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on June 7, 2014
I hesitate to admit I bought this HP in 1985 before the Series 7 exam....I haven't been able to use another calculator since. I replaced the batteries twice in it's lifetime and after nearly 30 years of use, not all the led display bars were working after I dropped it in a I re-ordered the best amortization calculator ever.
The new one is slightly lighter weight but is the same great financial machine

This does not work like the average calculator in that the manner in which the numbers are entered and sequence of keys pushed to find present value and payments etc initially seem to be out of order so there is a learning curve to use it. It comes with a very explicit guidebook (I still have my first one though have not referenced). It is as though it is running a program every time you enter information.
[ I wish they made cell phones of this quality as I have had 32 in the same time frame ]
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on March 15, 2015
My first HP12C calculator, which I purchased in 1998/1999, was perfect until someone stole it 4 years ago. Since then, I've gone through 2 of them It appears that they are not made to last and seem to breakdown quickly with keys sticking, incorrect outcomes (yes I know how to clear the previous memory) and my latest one didn't even last 2 weeks without the numeric images fading out and fractured. In short the quality has significantly deteriorated but it is the only calculator that has such functionality. I was hoping to at least get 2 to 3 years of functionality but it is apparent that HP's quality control is poor or their component parts are inferior. My first one was made in the US and the last 2 in Asia.
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on October 9, 2009
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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