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HP48GX , HP49G+, HP48Gii, and HP33s

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A Buying Guide for Land Surveyors and Engineers

Now that the HP48GX has been discontinued, many of you in the Land Surveying and Engineering professions are wondering where to turn.  The HP48GX has not only been discontinued, but it has been banned from the NCEES PLS, PE, LSIT, and EIT exams, supposedly because it has both an alphanumeric keypad and has communication capability.  This leaves Land Surveyors and Engineers in an interesting predicament.   You have the option of trying to find a used HP48GX at Amazon.com or on E-Bay, or you can move into the 21st century with Hewlett Packard's new line of calculators. 

Which calculator is right for me?

The HP48GX remains the industry standard for handheld calculators.  The 128kb of on-board RAM and two expansion slots for add-on cards are unique among calculators.  If you plan on using an add-on card, such as TDS, SMI, or RAMSS, or you plan to use your HP48 as a data collector for field work, then this is your only option.  Unfortunately, Hewlett Packard has decided to discontinue production of this model.  You can still find them out there, but the prices have been being jacked up now that they are no longer being manufactured.

Now the all-new HP48GII and HP49G+ have hit the market!  The HP49G+ offers the memory card expansion slots like the HP48GX, and both calculators offer graphics, programmable memory, and communications abilities.

The HP48GII has 128kb of Flash ROM, and is intended as the replacement for the HP48GX, however it doesn't seem to offer expansion slots for your COGO cards.  The HP49G+ has 512kb of Flash ROM and holds up to 800KB of available user memory via SDRAM cards.  The HP49G+ is the top-of-the-line of HP calculators, with expansion slots, a fast 75MHz processor, and that whopping memory!

The HP-48G has only 32kb of RAM and no add-on slots, but has all the other capabilities of the HP48GX.  However, it is only about a third of the price.  So, if you are a student, who doesn't need a lot of add-on programs, or you don't plan on creating too many of your own programs, the HP48G is certainly an option.

The HP-48G+ has 128kb of RAM, but no add-on slots.  It also offers capability to hook up an overhead projector for presentations.  If you prefer to make your own programs, or want to download programs off the internet, the 48G+ may be for you.  It costs about twice as much as the 48G, but a third less than the GX.

The HP-49G has a whopping 1.5MB of on-Hewlett Packard 49G+ Graphing Calculatorboard memory (512k RAM and 1MB of flash ROM), but has no expansion slots.  You won't be able to use it with TDS, SMI, or RAMSS, but you'll have plenty of space to write your own programs or download from other folks, and you can hook it up to a projector for overhead presentations. 

If you're looking for a calculator to assist you on your NCEES PLS / PE or LSIT / EIT exams, the HP33S is probably the best option out there.  NCEES has banned the really good calculators due to communication and text-editing abilities, so you might want to add this one to your collection.  The release date is slated for October, 2003.

All the calculators are able to hook up to your PC with the connection kit, and all have infrared capability for printing or connecting to another 48.

For more information about which HP calculator to buy, try the links below.  To see prices and specifications, click on the images in the table at the bottom of the page.

Will the new calculators be compatible with my COGO card?

HP48GX Books, Programs, and Accessories

HP49G+ Books, Programs, and Accessories

HP33S, the Choice for the NCEES Exams

HP48 Series Calculators

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