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As requested, my DM42 Thoughts (May 2019 order)
05-13-2019, 03:47 PM (This post was last modified: 05-13-2019 04:23 PM by Androsynth.)
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As requested, my DM42 Thoughts (May 2019 order)
I've had several requests to post my thoughts on the current production models of the DM42, as of 2019. There were multiple concerns with the quality of the build in previous years, and several people here wanted to know if they had been resolved. So, in no particular order, here are my thoughts:

1. Keyboard: We'll start here, as this seems to be a point of contention with past models, mainly due to the excessive stiffness and dropped keypresses. I can say conclusively, on my unit, this is not a factor in any meaningful sense. The keyboard is one of the best I've used on any calculator. The keypresses are firm, but not at all stiff, and feel like a quality, expensive piece of tech. I have no issues at all with keys requiring different amounts of pressure, as the keyboard feels sturdy, responsive and uniform. At least on this unit, all of the keys feel and respond the same. In terms of feel, the keyboard feels similar to an HP 35s, with smaller keys and a bit more firmness required, but not so much it would slow you down inputting a problem. I'd say resistiveness/responsiveness is roughly on par with that model. In terms of missing key strokes, I have not found this to be a major issue. You will occasionally get a missed key, but no more so than on my 50g, 35s or Prime. I've had it happen once in a weekend. Labels on the keys and body are bright and clear, and easy to distinguish. I'd give the keyboard a solid A.

2. Screen: When people have said 'pics don't do it justice', they mean that literally. My first impression was 'WOW, that is a NICE screen!'. This thing is the gold standard for b/w screens on pretty much anything I've used, calculator or otherwise. It's not an e-ink, but if you told me it was, I'd absolutely believe you. It's Scarlett Johanssen pretty. A+

3. Design: Like others have said, this feels like something from the past in terms of the build. It's heavy, on par with my Prime, while being half the size. This is due to the thing being made out of solid brushed metal (stainless steel, or so I've heard). It feels like it would stop a bullet if you carried it in your shirt pocket. This doesn't feel like something made in 2019. It feels like something made circa 1983 when tech was built to last. It feels like you spent a lot of money on it, which you did. A+

4. User experience: Exactly as advertised. It's an HP 42s in a modern body, with extra features. Free42 is excellent, so I won't go in to any of that here. It's exactly as you would expect it to be. In terms of new features, they interface is pretty adjustable in terms of layout, font size etc, and you can save multiple calc states to file and swap them out with a couple of button presses. This is very nice, especially if you wanted, say, a financial, engineering and programming setup with different menus, decimal places, font sizes, stack layouts etc. The usb port allows simple and easy firmware and program transferring.

There are a few things I'd like to see in future firmware updates though. First, the RPN/keystroke language doesn't have much there to support manipulating the nice, big screen. You can do it with some tricks, but it would be nice to have some native commands accessible like you do with some of the non HP42 flags. It would make writing graphical applications much easier. Second, since RPN programming is so terse anyway, it would also be nice to have a routine that split the big screen vertically to allow you to look at two different programs at once, particularly if you were writing one that referenced another. RPN is not the most readable scripting language, after all. Minor quibbles though. Overall, A-

So, as you can probably tell if you made it through all that, I *really* like this machine. It is an extremely robust, solid piece of tech that exceeded my expectations. It's definitely a niche product, but if you are in that niche and can afford it, this thing should last the rest of your natural life. And probably your grandkids.
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As requested, my DM42 Thoughts (May 2019 order) - Androsynth - 05-13-2019 03:47 PM

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