Calculator`s stylingcasio fx
Posted 03 September 2020 - 02:58 PM
1) These are classic representatives of calculators for high-paying consumers of the early 90`s: hp-48gx(~$1000)/ti-85(~$550). Approximate retail prices are given in the modern equivalent for 1993. For such a price, the manufacturer did not spare the paint for the letterings.
2) ti-85/fx-2.0. In 1999, CASIO released the fx-2.0 model(~$300 in modern equivalent). Note the size of the labels for x^2, 10^x and e^x on the left and right. This extravagance on the right did not extend further to arcsin, arccos etc. But in general, the inscriptions are quite satisfactory.
3) fx-2.0/graph25 from CASIO. The quality of the paint above the keys in graph25 is slightly better than in fx-2.0. However, to compensate for the cost, the letterings are either thinner or smaller. Visual perception has deteriorated.
4) graph25/fx-9850gb+. It seems that the price of paint exceeds the price of gold. According to some distributors, modern buyers can`t afford an extra $1 for the beauty in one calculator, so here we see another masterpiece of design thought.
5) ti-83+/ti-83+SE. Texas Instruments took care too of low-income engineers and students, saving on design. In the "Silver Edition"(sic!) the LCD was also "optimized" (by reducing its quality).
6) fx-991 classwiz(brand new)/(used). After several months of using the device in the production room and after a dozen wipes with a dry cloth from dirt, the inscriptions above the keys became unreadable. And then my talent as a graphic designer was awakened ...
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Posted 07 September 2020 - 02:42 AM
Wear and tear of the printing on calculators is something that unfortunately isn't featured in reviews.
For myself the Casio fx-991MS 2nd edition has to me the nicest printing for labels I've seen so far in a calculator; but it barely gets any use (and has had it's battery removed and been packed away as of today) so I doubt it would fair much better than your fx-991ex. What does impress me though is that the printing on the fx-991ex buttons presumably got similar treatment but seem unworn to me, so that is something in it's favour (I have some old fx-82AU Plus's and all of them have some sort of button print wear).
LCD displays also deserve to get a decent review as well. Initially I thought the contrast was decent on the fx-991MS 2nd edition and it was great having the contrast adjustment, but the calculator as I discovered would be very difficult to use without it. It has one of the worst viewing angles of any calculator I have used, forcing you to lower the contrast if you aren't looking directly at it; it may look dark and contrasty straight on, but once you are at any angle it gets progressively harder to read the digits until they all become "88888888's". Older single line Casio's and Sharps don't suffer from this problem (I just acquired recently a Sharp El-506P from the mid eighties that has both a great contrast panel and fantastic viewing angles), although most of the modern natural VPAM models have great viewing angles as well....perhaps it is just the 2-line Casio's that have the viewing angle problems?
In any case good job putting the labels on...still, I have to ask why do you have such a huge label for the QR button
Edited by MJim, 07 September 2020 - 02:47 AM.
Posted 10 September 2020 - 05:41 PM
unfortunately isn`t featured in reviews", as you`ve mentioned. The size of the labels and the correct color scheme in the design also matter.
Oops, I was going to draw a NFC support :-)
I have to ask why do you have such a huge label for the QR button
The market for scientific calculators today is focused on a huge number of consumers who are poorly versed in the merits of the product.
Scary and incomprehensible letterings (LCM, GCD, log, HEX, List, nPr, Rec) should not be conspicuous, so as not to frighten potential buyers.
Advertising tricks from the last century (64KB RAM/3-colour display/basic-like programming/1.5MB flash memory) now may bring a smile to the smartphone`s user.
Abbreviations like QR, 5G, Gorilla Glass, USB power, SOLVE, COG LCD are modern, cool and attractive, so they should stand out from the general background.
Edited by Hlib2, 10 September 2020 - 05:45 PM.
Posted 18 September 2020 - 02:38 AM
I was poking fun at the QR verification feature having such a big spot, but I think that you can use the QR function for graphs, so that backfired a little.
I picked up a Casio fx-570s quite recently; the first generation VPAM model which doesn't feature a 2-line display, nor does it support implicit multiplication. It does have an interesting styling choice where it paints an Aluminium front cover with black-paint. Certain letters like the hexadecimal characters are displayed by removing the black-paint to let the silver aluminium shine through.
It has a terrible display though, and interestingly, the internal LCD display is set tilted slightly towards the operator, making it difficult to read while looking perfectly perpendicular to the display. I don't know what happened with Casio's display quality, but it took me obtaining an old Sharp EL-506P to realize how fantastically vivid 7-segment LCD's actually were from the 1980's.
I put 3 old calculators together (all 3 have pretty much brand new batteries) to show how their displays look front on and from a angle.
The Contrast on the fx-570s is pretty bad compared to the other older calculators. Part of it can be explained by the clear plastic window adding to the overall number of reflections, but it is still much harder to read regardless.
To be fair the plastic window doesn't help the fx-570s much with reflections, in fact this second picture I tried to use a polarizer to cut down on the reflections (which is hard to do without turning the displays black) to show how at steep angles the fx-570s display becomes unreadable since the other unused segments become dark.
I really love the little Sharp EL-506P, but I'm currently attempting an introductory course on probability online, and I am very much missing the nPr & nCr buttons. I would love to get a hold of the EL-506A (it's successor).
Edited by MJim, 18 September 2020 - 04:44 AM.
Posted 20 September 2020 - 10:27 AM
Displays in handheld devices are a separate broad topic. I believe that the quality depends on the customer`s requirements, not on the manufacturer. Here is a typical example:
I don`t know what happened with Casio`s display quality ...
On the left - a LCD with good contrast and large viewing angles (1995).
On the right is a terrible display in CASIO products made for another region a year later (1996)
Next picture: the two same TI`s calcs. Left is made in 2004, the right one is from 2000.
Here the differences are not very noticeable, but there are cases much worse.
Posted 21 September 2020 - 12:36 AM
Thanks Hlib2 for providing some examples of display quality.
When talking about Casio's display quality I was more referring to the segment display versions, but perhaps I'm being a bit unfair; as I do have an old fx-82LB which has pretty poor contrast compared to it's successor the fx-82SX. However, while the fx-82SX has better contrast for the most part, it also suffers from problems with a narrow viewing angle (the same problem I see with the modern fx-991MS 2nd edition), while the fx-82LB maintains it readability through a much wider angle.
Posted 21 September 2020 - 10:38 AM
fx-82lb was my first scientific calculator from CASIO, which I bought back in 1995 in its advanced reincarnation (on the right). I don`t have this calculator at the moment, so the image is borrowed from Google.
... perhaps I`m being a bit unfair; as I do have an old fx-82LB which has pretty poor contrast ...
The new fx-82lb had the DEL key (➝) and the BASE-N mode.
Posted 21 September 2020 - 11:49 PM
Hey!, the one on the right which says it is a casio looks to be another Sharp EL-506P clone; compare it to the one I posted above, same keys and functions. The one on the left is the one is the fx-82LB I have.
I decided to post both the fx-82SX and fx-82LB to show the contrast problems with the fx-82SX at wider angles (apologize for the drunken looking angled shot):
As can be seen all the unused segments become visible at steep viewing angles for the fx-82SX and that also seems to be a big problem with the 2-line series from Casio. In saying that, the fx-991W (probably my favorite of all the Casio's I've used so far outside the graphing ones) is subject to the same problems, though now the display cable is disconnected and in need of a new one, so it's more or less out of order for good.
Posted 22 September 2020 - 05:07 PM
I have never seen a better keyboard and lettering in calculators than in the SRP-325. In addition, the weight of the srp-325 is 85g (against 125g for HP). But CITIZEN didn`t have enough money for a good display, they even made a decimal point half a pixel in size. As for HP - they saved as paint for inscriptions as for the normal design of the case.
CASIO probably still wins. Junk like the fx-82sx is bought by 90% of calculator consumers.
Following picture: dark gray pixels in some batches hp-50g instead of real black pixels as in hp-48gii and rejection of the Japanese style in the design in favor of a terrible black body. I don`t understand all the nuances of big business.
Posted 26 September 2020 - 01:58 AM
I would love to know the origin story about EL-506P clones, since even today you can still purchase them in one form or another; the give away being those "a" and "b" buttons, which are used for complex number (a + bi) calculations (although it is used for rectangular to polar conversions as well).
Looks like in the case of the SRP-325G some extra effort was put into rearranging the keyboard. Don't think I like having the number keys sandwiched between other functions, as on the HP 9g, and the number placement is a lot more normal on the SRP-325G. I think I can see that the SRP-325G has nice easy to read labels, but, and this is a purely subjective opinion, it is very ugly to me (alright, I admit I'm not a fan of blue as well, so that doesn't help), and I'm also not a fan of that navigation button, though it is just as bad on the HP 9g. I also prefer the colours for the labels on the HP 9g, even though the size isn't quite as good (maybe orange and green paints cost more than white and blue?), and I also like that the HP 9g uses a dimmer blue color for their letters, as on the SRP-325G the number keys looks cluttered by having both white numbers and letters on them.
The HP-50G and HP-48GII comparison is interesting; I started up my old HP-49G+ (same as HP-50G+ except for colour and keyboard) to check out the display, but without the HP 48GII to compare I can't really comment on the level of black, although it does seem that I can't really make the HP-49G+ contrast darker without the whole screen being overdriven. I noticed that there is a fairly big gap between pixels on the HP-49G+, which might be part of the problem as the light escaping between the pixels does mean that you cant really get a pure black.
The reflector, though seems to be better on the HP-50G than the HP-48GII, which is also a pretty important part in contributing to the overall contrast of the display with most black only LCD's.
Posted 11 October 2020 - 07:01 AM
In Australia, the CASIO line of calculators has always been the most dominant and commercially successfully (which tends to be the trend in Asia) - at least in middle and high school. Generally I'm pretty happy with the layout, placement, etc mostly because the alternatives are worse. Other than that, the only real advantage for current calculator designs is that it's easy to produce and it's pretty sturdy.
However, I would definietly buy a pimped-out calculator with a backlit display and cherry mx blue keyswitches - could be a fun engineering project actually.
I actually have a HP financial calculator - 17bll+ - has some really well printed (though bare) keys with even an in-built beep speaker but most importantly - a very good tactile build quality to the keys (and it generally looks pretty nice)
Posted 13 October 2020 - 03:08 AM
NZ here, so I know about the Casio indoctrination, but I do have some love for Sharp.
The Sharp EL-W516X is awesome for the 4 formula memory storage, 4 custom key shortcuts (can be also used to assign functions from the MATH menu as well), separate store and recall buttons and of course it's best feature, persistent memory on power off. It is however let down by terrible integration (speed and accuracy) and a fairly limited complex mode, ie storing variables in complex mode is limited to M memory, so you can't really write equations easily in complex mode on the Sharp, while it was pretty nice to work with on my Casio fx-991W (when it was working).
I have my eye on the fx-991EX, but the memory loss on power off combined with an unadjustable auto-power off feature locked in at 10 minutes really bothers me (the German version (fx-991DEX) allows you to at least set this to 60 minutes; who knows what kind of reasoning was used to justify the absence of this convenience feature in the english version).
I have recently obtained 3 older Casio's (fx-50f, fx-550S and fx-3600PV), which happen to be the first rubber keyboard based Casio's that I own.
The fx-50f seems to be a bit harder to press than the other two, with the fx-550S being very light and rather responsive. The fx-3600PV is also a light touch rubber keyboard, and visually, I prefer the grey to the black keys with the blue coloured [RUN] button. I also prefer the separate [Kin] & [Kout] and [x^y] buttons on the fx-3600PV, though having the [1/x], and [x^2] buttons become shifted was a mistake IMO. The [DEC], [HEX] buttons were a waste, since they only work in Base-n mode, so I think these should of been the [ENG] buttons, which would free up another button for [x^2]. Finally [P1] and [P2] could of been moved to a single button allowing us to make [1/x] a primary function.
I used two pictures, since the readability of the fx-550S is greatly affected by the direction light hits it (something to do with it's polarizer at a guess, but it does make for some cool visual effects when you rotate the calculator under light), so these were taken at 90 degrees to eachother; to show how much the readability of the fx-550S LCD improves. The fx-50f fluroescent orange printing on the calculator does appear too bright and hard to read from the photos, but does better than the fx-3600PV in more subdued lighting conditions.
It's pretty neat to see how much the fonts vary between all 3 of these models which all were introduced in the latter half of the eighties (1986 for fx-550S, 1987 for the fx-50F and 1989/1990 for the fx-3600PV).
Edited by MJim, 13 October 2020 - 03:22 AM.
Posted 01 December 2020 - 01:02 AM
However, I would definietly buy a pimped-out calculator with a backlit display and cherry mx blue keyswitches - could be a fun engineering project actually.
Hi, I think Casio already has something similar in its range. They advertise it as a Heavy Duty Calculator, especially the model JS-40B should meet the highest standards. It is a desktop calculator with anti-fade keys so that the labelling remains legible even after a long time. However, there is no background lighting, otherwise the energy consumption would be higher and the ecological standard would no longer be complied with.
Posted 12 December 2020 - 05:22 PM
In 991ES, the main keys have optimal concavity, and their shape improves interaction under pressure. In CLASSWIZ, the concavity of the keys is reduced, the outline is made rectangular, and the bottom row of keys has a flat surface (i.e.  and [=] should not be as comfortable as [+] and ?). The ergonomics of the calculator is degraded – this is a fact.
The following image shows the quality of the labels and an abnormal design for the front surface of the gadget. Usually the relief pattern is placed on the back of the case.
I wiped the labels with an alcohol solution (never do this with calculators!) on CLASSWIZ and on the back of the case of a cheap Indian LENOVO gadget. The result is visible in the photo. The CASIO lost the test here to a little-known manufacturer.
The last photo shows the keys of an old calculator. This old technology guaranteed the readability of inscriptions for 50 years and was relatively cheap.
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Posted 12 December 2020 - 11:58 PM
I didn't notice that the fx-991EX had flat keys for the bottom row...interesting, I wonder why they designed just that bottom row keys that way?
All the function keys in the top row are convex as well which I also didn't notice until now...but overall I liked the feel of the keys more than the fx-115ES Plus I used to have (though that may be more due to how loose the keys appeared to be in the case rather than the actual feel).
The fx-991EX has some of the worst labeling I've seen for Casio (despite how much I like it), so it doesn't improve my opinion to see how easy the labels are to wipe off with simple Alcohol. I do appreciate the warning, as it could be something I would try myself in the future only to find I damage/destroy the labels after the fact, so thanks!
I have a few fx-82AU Plus calculators and they all suffer from label wear on the keys themselves. It seems a bit cheeky that Casio is talking about key wear resistance for their newer 2nd edition series as a way to identify fakes, when they had the same problem themselves. The plastic molded keys as you showed above have fantastic wear resistance and is something I saw on the teardown of my old Casio fx-102, but that was from 1976, so I'm not sure when this practice stopped with Casio.
Thanks for the post and pictures!
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