Saturday, June 18, 2016

HP 50G vs. HP Prime

HP 50G vs. HP Prime

Jason Foose has challenged me determine which of the two calculators, the HP 50g or the HP Prime is the best.  To help me, I will determine which of the features one calculator has over the other.  Here we go:

HP 50g over the HP Prime
HP Prime over the HP 50g
RPN mode is complete, can do everything with ease

Can use SD cards as a source of outside storage options

App specific commands don’t need an “app.” Suffix

3D Graphing without the need to download anything extra

Easier transition from the HP 48S/HP 48G/HP 49g+ family

No need to have separate modes for Home and CAS

Keyboard:  good contrast between the keyboard (black) and its labels (white, yellow, orange) (black HP 50g). 

Can make noise/music with the BEEP command. (tone in HZ, seconds, BEEP)

No need to enter a separate program mode, just need the ≪ ≫ brackets

You can plot more than 10 separate functions f(x) on a single graph (never done it myself)

Built in Equation Library without need to download anything extra

Screen is in color – easier to differentiate graphs and geometric models

Advanced Graphing App (implicit graphing) without the need to download anything extra

Memory: Over 32MB RAM

In addition to the Gamma and Psi functions: Beta, Zeta, Error (erf), Error Compliment (erfc), Ei, Ci, Si

Online help is for every command, not just for the CAS commands on the 50g

Better integrated Equation writer, more intuitive to move around the equation

Faster Processor:  400 MHz opposed to 75 MHz (both have ARM 9 chips)

Literally draw a function and the Prime (usually) figures an appropriate equation (Ver. 10077)

Software for transferring programs and screen shots for the Prime is better integrated than the 50G

Rechargeable Battery

Easy way to write comments inside of a program (//)

More Curve fitting options: Polynomial, Trigonometric
Total Pros: 11
Total Pros: 12

At the end of the day, the HP Prime and HP 50g are both great calculators.  Please let me know if I forgot something. 


This blog is property of Edward Shore, 2016


  1. Me, I'm sold to the HP Prime. I smiled a little when I read being able to do a "beep" was a pro. It seems you ran out of good point for the 50' . But like I wrote, I'm sold to the Prime so I can't be too much objective.

    It probably looks a "detail" but I enjoy being able to remap a few keys on the Prime, not only to assign different function but directly call program of my own, call them from a list.

    Regarding the RPN thing's, maybe ten years ago I was still an unkillable staunch disciple of the RPN claiming it was faster, quicker, etc. But now, I've switched. I don't know how often in the last years it was pretty useful to be able to look back at the calculation I did and *clearly* see what I made as calculation, where was my mistake, to be able to recuperate part of calculation from a point, to be able to show clearly to a colleague how to calculate something so simply how the history of a calculation, etc. Nope, with today ability of looking back by scrolling up, I don't need RPN any more. I consider now it's more important to be able to make revision, look back, recuperate, etc. than the speed of entering it the first time, stacking, unstacking but if things got screw up, and it happens to best of us, it's harder to cling to the branches... But don't say that to the "Ayatollah" of the RPN who will start war for the RPN!' :-)

    Still in the same idea, the touch screen of the Prime is nice to recuperate numbers from previous calculation. It's easy and quick to scroll back and then punch right on what I want to reuse. No need to keep pressing dozens of time to move back a cursor to the top.

    I would not exchange my Prime for fifty HP-50. (or maybe to re-sell them on e-bay and take the money to buy a new Prime). :-)

    1. Great summary of the disadvantages of RPN (and I too am a long-time HP fan).

  2. Hi there, I am Arjunaidi aka hpnut on the HPMuseum forum. Thanks for the comparison.

    I like the HP 50 G keyboard for better tactile response and more importantly for the legibility of the colours.

    1. Agree on the HP 50g colors, especially the black HP 50g with the white, yellow, and orange keys and fonts. Still, my favorite will always be the color scheme of the HP 48SX.


    2. See my teste with HP50g and HP prime, prime failed, 50g succeeded it.

  3. I prefer HP50g because it takes (easy to replace) AAA batteries. Just ordered a new one as a backup.

  4. Rechargeable battery is not a pro imho...

    1. Right, why recharge the batteries when you can just throw them out and by new ones ???

    2. You can use rechargeable AAA's. Then, if in a bind, you can grab a set pretty much anywhere.

  5. I own both 50g and Prime (G2) and as you highlight, both have their plusses and negatives. However the 50g has a critical plus that set's it apart - the speed and ease of working with matrices, vectors, arrays and lists on the RPN stack (especially when you avoid the Matrix Writer). It's this that gave the 50g it's reputation of being a pro and university level calculator. The Prime is fantastic hardware but it's RPN capabilities are an afterthought (worse still, apologist) and it's core UX is built for high school students (A level and International Baccalaureate students here in Europe).

    As a graphing calculator it's leagues ahead of the HP-50g but the 50g is leagues ahead for a raft of real world linear algebra type tasks. I'd also suggest that USER RPL is far easier to use for those typical small programs that string a set of calculations together.

    As others have highlighted the physical UX is far better on the 50g too.

    Don't get my wrong, I like the Prime a lot but I tend to use it most when helping the kids with their homework.

  6. I had a HP 48S, then a 48GX. Now I've just bought a HP prime.
    However, in the 48, at the solve ambient, i used to use the equations with or without units. More than that, whit any unit as desired, since compatible with the equation.
    In the equation V=S.t, inside the 'solver' ambient, entering S in 'm', t in 's', I could get 'S' in mph, or kph, or ly/y, just putting 1_ and asking for solver.
    I'dnt figured out how to do this.
    Is that possible in the Prime?


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