Calculators Why is the HP 15C so expensive?

  1. So I've been shopping around for calculators for the past week or so and I stumbled upon this gem...I'm looking at its features and specifications and there's nothing on the surface that stands out to impress me. Compared to another model such as the 35s, why is this thing like $150?

    I'm also considering the Nspire CX CAS but I'm not sure if this graphing calculator will be better than using a scientific calculator for everyday use (not just for school, but for research as well as work in engineering/physics/high-level mathematics).
  2. jcsd
  3. Greg Bernhardt

    Staff: Admin

  4. jtbell

    Staff: Mentor

    More like $190 on Apparently this "Limited Edition" reissue was $99 when it first appeared last year. I think its basic appeal is to long-time HP fans who have used similar models for years (I have a 25-year-old 11C that I still use almost daily at home) and are looking for a new one, and to collectors.

    If I had seen it when it was $99, I would have been tempted, myself.
  5. turbo

    turbo 7,063
    Gold Member

    The HP 15C is less than $100, and it was THE killer scientific calculator for engineers and chemists back in the '80s. Fits in a shirt pocket and does everything its larger predecessors did. I'm tempted to order one.
  6. jtbell

    Staff: Mentor

  7. turbo

    turbo 7,063
    Gold Member

    Yep! Still a favorite with loan officers and real-estate agents that want to be able to crunch numbers on the fly.
  8. So is the price reflected mostly due to its nostalgia as opposed to its performance? Meaning if I care more about its function and purpose rather than owning a piece of history, would this purchase not be worth it?
  9. turbo

    turbo 7,063
    Gold Member

    It's not just all nostalgia. It is a compact calculator that could do more than 99% of its competition at the time. It might not be the best calculator for you, but it is still shirt-pocket sized with all of the functions of the original (more than most people need!) and a lot more speed. I'm still temped to buy one, even if I only use it to balance my checkbook and make an occasional ballistics calculation.
  10. So my main concern is, is it still competitive with today's modern technology? Or are there "better" calculators out there (similar size to the 15C with all of its functions, maybe more and faster)
  11. turbo

    turbo 7,063
    Gold Member

    You'll have to rely on younger members for this. The 15C is an impressive (and tiny) scientific calculator. Do you need to have a graphing calculator with a large screen everywhere you go? Would it be nice to have a shirt-pocket-sized calculator with advanced trig functions that you could tote everywhere? How often would you you use it? If that calculator is going to last you a few years and end up costing you pennies a day in return for its convenience, that is not a bad thing.
  12. Greg Bernhardt

    Staff: Admin

    well hmmm you'd think that one would cost more then!
  13. turbo

    turbo 7,063
    Gold Member

    HP sells a lot more of them! There are a lot more loan-officers and real-estate agents in the US than engineers. That model has been production for close to 30 years IIR, and still selling well.

    Edit: Compound interest and amortization calculations do not change over time. The 12C is a classic in home-finance.
  14. jtbell

    Staff: Mentor

    For that size, I don't think you'll find anything more advanced. The next step up would be a graphing calculator like the TI-89 or the HP 50g.

    The 50g is less than $120 on right now. :bugeye: But you need a pretty big shirt pocket to put it in, unless you don't mind having half of it stick out, and probably fall out when you bend over.
  15. Well, I just spoke to a retailer concerning the stock of this and they told me that HP suddenly within the past few weeks became very exclusive to who they distributed the 15c to, so I placed an order with them for $105 because I didn't want to lose out on the opportunity since I'm not sure what the limited supply for this thing is and I don't want to miss out on a good calculator.
  16. Update: The ETA on the delivery is scheduled for some time in mid-April. LOL
  17. HP basically made the market for calculators (the ones that replaced slide-rules) and old-school scientists and engineers grew up on them. If you were born after 1980, you were more likely to have been using a TI in school, so the nostalgia might not be there for you.

    Is the 15C really worth $100-200? I doubt it. For $50 you can get the 35s, which as far as I can tell is superior in every way other than size (disclaimer, I bought it for one class and have barely used it). For $100, you can get an HP 50g or a TI-89, both of which are basically mathematical mini-computers and terribly more advanced.

    From where I stand, I think the point on portability is moot. If you just want a small, powerful calculator that will last a long time on watch batteries, HP already makes several that are far cheaper (and have RPN mode, if that is your thing). If you want a calculator that fits in your pocket, virtually everyone carries a smart phone these days and you can buy a calculator app from HP.

    The only valid reasons I see for buying this are:

    1) Nostalgia / collecting.
    2) You used to own one, are familiar with it, and do not want to waste time learning something new.

    Both these reasons seem perfectly valid to me.
  18. What if I want both?

    I haven't seen any Android/iPhone calculator apps that can match the functionality of an advanced scientific calculator and are significantly cheaper than one. I've used some clones before, but they're incredibly buggy.

    As far as functional density+longevity goes, I don't see anything better than the 15C (fits in your pocket, don't need to recharge every day (my iPhone4S doesn't even last 12 hours with my volume of usage).

    If the 35s was about an inch smaller, it would be probably be the best, but it's still an inch too big for my tastes.
  19. turbo

    turbo 7,063
    Gold Member

    If I could get a 15C for $100, I'd probably jump on it. Nice solid machine in a compact package.
  20. HP actually makes an 35s (their current top of the line scientific) and 15c (their classic favorite scientific) apps, although they are windows and iPhone only at the moment. I am not sure what the cost is.

    HP is selling them for $129 right now from their website and this website is selling them for $100.
  21. And they're now $100 and in stock on HP's Home and Home Office web site. Fantastic calculator for the price, IMO. This article might explain why it's been in held such high regard for so long. Original HP-15C calculators have been going for serious money so it's nice HP has re-issued it for a reasonable price.
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