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Calcloverhk Hors ligne Membre Points: 293 Défis: 4 Message

fx-3650PII Review: An Absolute Lackluster

Posté le 15/01/2022 19:42

Two years ago I posted an article talking about the issues of mainstream calculators (fx-50FHII and fx-3650PII) used by HK students. At that time I didn't have an fx-3650PII on hand as fx-50FHII was (and is) a superior model in HK. Today, I have to buy it as there will be some upcoming tests for definite integral and my fx-50FHII doesn't have it. Therefore, it's time for the review of this calculator and comparison to my 3-year-old fx-50FHII

Unboxing

Package (Front)


Package (Back)


Content: fx-3650PII, Chinese/English User's Guides


I bought fx-3650PII at the price of HK$248 in The Commercial Press (商務印書館), though I redeemed it using $250 worth book vouchers Before the pandemic, it was sold at around HK$200 and $175 at my school in 2019. Although it's reasonable to raise the price because of shortage of chips, the price of fx-50FHII as of now is $268 which is just $20 more expensive but with more general features.

The package design and content of this calculator are very similar with those of fx-50FHII. From the package, it clearly shows this calculator has 390 bytes for programming, which is smaller than 680 bytes found in fx-50FHII. Also, fx-3650PII has a mix of both dot-matrix and segment displays as seen in the package, again the same as fx-50FHII.

At a glance

Covered


Back


Front (Left: fx-3650PII, Right: fx-50FHII)


fx-3650PII has exactly the same key layout and almost has the same functions as fx-50FHII, with the exceptions of [Prog] being grey instead of orange, [FMLA] being replaced by [∫dx] (thus missing 23 maths formulas) and missing of 40 scientific constants (Shift + 7). This means fx-3650PII is for HK students who rely on calculus calculation.

Since the texture of this calculator is exactly the same as fx-50FHII, I will say both of them have a metalic coating and bouncy keys when they unboxed for the first time, but after a year or two, they start wearing out and become a heavy-duty plastic. However, this is still better than my fx-9750GIII where it just started out as a plastic

For now it seems like both calculators have not too much differences compared to each other, right? Well, the next section is an another story.

Criticism 1: Extremely poor display

This is what the display looks like when you turned on this calculator for the first time:


Even worse, when you adjust the viewing angle, the whole screen is completely blackened:


That is just under the normal contrast. When I set it to the lowest possible:



This time the display gets a bit better, but as a result, the texts become lighter and barely readable when directly looking at the display. Compared to fx-50FHII:

Darkest contrast



Lightest contrast


fx-50FHII has a way more consistent display at any viewing angles. This fact single-handedly proves that fx-50FHII is just superior. I don't know why fx-3650PII has such a bad display quality.

Criticism 2: Even fewer programming bytes

390 bytes for programming... and still 4 program slots And the program editor is completely linear. Moreover, when you create a new program, you have to choose one of 5 modes (COMP, CPLX, BASE, SD, REG). That means you cannot use the complex functions or stat commands in COMP mode. Besides, Casio Basic in this calculator is absolutely lackluster. Why? It has no Locate, Getkey functions etc, no nest feature (you cannot do double nests in other words), only 7 letter variables with no list variables... Certainly, this calculator is not suitable for storing complex programs.

Criticism 3: Very slow calculus operations

Calculus in fx-3650PII is super slow. Sometimes, it can take several tens of seconds to calculate some of the integrals. This wastes your precious exam time if you don't properly practice time management, especially in HKDSE where the maximum efficiency is the crucial point to achieve higher levels.

Conclusion
If you are an HK student, do not buy fx-3650PII unless you attend calculus electives. It's such a pity that students who choose M2 as one of their electives need to pay for the similar price just for single usage. Casio, if you do not want to add any new features in the next generation of HKEAA-approved calculators, at least combine them into one as splitting both only creates economic pressures to some families with M2 student. A total price of both calculators, which is HK$516, could buy an fx-5800P which has far more features and larger programming bytes.


Lephenixnoir Hors ligne Administrateur Points: 22869 Défis: 149 Message

Citer : Posté le 17/01/2022 10:29 | #


Thank you for the review! It is sad indeed that even the display is difficult to read. Normally that's the kind of things you find in cheaper knock-off models... and on some of the photos here you can't even figure out what's written (._.")

To be fair, even if you could have complex functions like Locate/Getkey for programming, with less than 1000 bytes and just two lines of display you wouldn't be able to do much. Even the fx-50FH II is a clear step below the usual fx-9860G series models.

I can understand the appeal of C.Basic, coming from there! Can you remind me what calculators you have? The fx-3650P II, the fx-50FH II, the fx-9750G III, something like that?

Good luck for your exams in any case, I hope they go well
Gladosse Hors ligne Membre Points: 169 Défis: 2 Message

Citer : Posté le 17/01/2022 11:28 | #


The colour on the fx3650p’s screen looks nicer, maybe it’s just harder to display stuff on gray lcd screens instead of the usual yellow colour for monochromatic calcs.
Calcloverhk Hors ligne Membre Points: 293 Défis: 4 Message

Citer : Posté le 18/01/2022 16:31 | #


Lephenixnoir a écrit :
Thank you for the review! It is sad indeed that even the display is difficult to read. Normally that's the kind of things you find in cheaper knock-off models... and on some of the photos here you can't even figure out what's written (._.")

Lol, Casio being like a counterfeit manufacturer right here

Lephenixnoir a écrit :
To be fair, even if you could have complex functions like Locate/Getkey for programming, with less than 1000 bytes and just two lines of display you wouldn't be able to do much. Even the fx-50FH II is a clear step below the usual fx-9860G series models.

That's why I've already made a switch to graphic calcs programming in late 2019 as there're just too many limitations on these calcs. Honestly Casio could have had the opportunity to develop graphing calcs market in HK around 00s, which was also a golden period of programming on Casio calcs, and the syllabus from HKEAA could have included programming on-calc because at that time computer electives still taught BASIC. They could have been the great tools for students to learn BASIC programming firsthand (and program anytime, anywhere on-calc just like what C.Basic aims for!)

Lephenixnoir a écrit :
I can understand the appeal of C.Basic, coming from there! Can you remind me what calculators you have? The fx-3650P II, the fx-50FH II, the fx-9750G III, something like that?

Good luck for your exams in any case, I hope they go well

Thank you
Yes I have the calcs you've mentioned above and fx-3650PII is the newest addition to my Casio calculator collection The next step might be either fx-9860GII SD or fx-CG50. Since fx-9860GII SD is discontinued and it's now difficult for me to find it, I prefer fx-CG50 for now, but at the same time I wish I could test the FA-124, backlight and SD functions of fx-9860GII SD to document their properties in C.Basic Fandom Wiki (Yes I finally restarted this project a while ago)

Gladosse a écrit :
The colour on the fx3650p’s screen looks nicer, maybe it’s just harder to display stuff on gray lcd screens instead of the usual yellow colour for monochromatic calcs.

However, when this calc was released back in 2013-2014, it seems to have a better display than mine. See this video: (This video is a comparison of the new fx-3650PII and fx-50FHII at that time, but look at fx-3650PII, its screen has no difference with fx-50FHII's one at all)
Calculators fx-50FHII, fx-9750GIII, fx-3650PII

C.Basic Fandom Project progress as of 2023/1/26
   10%
Lephenixnoir Hors ligne Administrateur Points: 22869 Défis: 149 Message

Citer : Posté le 18/01/2022 17:03 | #


Yes I have the calcs you've mentioned above and fx-3650PII is the newest addition to my Casio calculator collection The next step might be either fx-9860GII SD or fx-CG50. Since fx-9860GII SD is discontinued and it's now difficult for me to find it, I prefer fx-CG50 for now, but at the same time I wish I could test the FA-124, backlight and SD functions of fx-9860GII SD to document their properties in C.Basic Fandom Wiki (Yes I finally restarted this project a while ago)

Just wondering whether you can import calculators (order them abroad) somehow? I feel like with the price tag that you reported for the CG-50 it would be plain cheaper to buy it on a American website and have it shipped to HK...

The fx-9860GII SD is a cool model too (the SH4 version I mean), but yeah it's hard to find now. Personally I've always preferred the CG-50, once I started working on it I never really went back to the other series.

However, when this calc was released back in 2013-2014, it seems to have a better display than mine

Oh yeah it doesn't even start to compare with what you have today... to be honest it feels a little more like Casio to have a decent display. I wonder what went wrong here.

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