HP 39gs - Calculator or possessed demon from outer-space?

While it doesn't quite fit with any of our product categories, I was still interested in checking out the 39gs graphing calculator from Hewlett Packard.

Back in the day, during the prison sentence that was two-unit mathematics, I would look at my calculator and marvel that I could write the word "Shell" in upside-down numbers. When I discovered that I could draw the Starship Enterprise on the HP 39gs, I was blown away... it appears not much has changed in 10 years.

This calculator is not meant to be used by regular folk when balancing the household budget. It is specifically engineered for scientists and mathematicians and, to a certain extent, university-level science students.

In order to unlock more than its uncanny ability to draw crooked smiley faces I assembled a group of scientists in the fields of quantum physics and bioinformatics to gauge their reactions to this mammoth calculator.

While this merry bunch is usually fairly stoic, a barrage of oohs and ahhs befell them when using the 39gs. They were impressed by how well it handled itself and the multitude of obscure functions it could perform. "It does derivatives!" one could be heard exclaiming. "Run (X)=SIN(1/X) through it!" said another. I'm not sure what language they began speaking, it sounded like English though my brain quickly became convinced it was otherworldly.

In the end, the overall impression I got from our panel was that the HP 39gs is a very cool calculator that does wondrous things and will suit those that actually understand what it does. I was a little concerned about its ability to possess people and make them speak in tongues and will forever regret asking the question "What's Quantum Physics?" but if a mere calculator can made a group of scientists happy for even one moment, who am I to judge?

HP 39gs
HP 39gs

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Dave Jansen

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