[ Originally pubished in Datafile, Vol 22 No 6, Nov/Dec 2003, page 24. ] Initial Impressions of the Aurora FN 1000 Financial Manager by Craig A. Finseth, #745 This is a newly-released clone of the HP-12C (but not HP-12CPt). I first heard about it on Comp.sys.hp48, then located it at www.outpost.com (Fry's) web site. Price is $24.95. The calculator comes in a blister pack along with a hefty manual. The manual turned out to be 160 pages printed thrice: in English, Spanish, and French. There is no keystroke reference, but with the HPDATAbase, who really needs one? The calculator itself is your basic cheap plastic unit with cheap keys. Do not expect the quality and feel of the original HP-12C! It is in a beige clamshell case and measures 160 mm wide by 138 mm high by 9 mm thick open and 82 mm wide by 138 mm high by 12 mm thick closed. Mass is 94g. A picture appears at: http://www.finseth.com/hpdata/aurora_fn1000.jpg It has all the same functions as the HP-12C. Although all of the functions are there, the layout is quite different. There are two shift keys, labeled "SHIFT" and "ALPHA"(!). The base keyboard is laid out as: SHIFT ALPHA ON/OFF EPX n i PV PMT FV COM x y 1/x %T \GD% % DATE R/S SST GTO x<=y x=0 \GDDAYS 7 8 9 + - 4 5 6 x \:- 1 2 3 CLx STO 0 . +/- Rv ENTER SHIFT keys are:    FIN AMORT INT SL SOYD DB PRGM PRICE YTM NPV IRR RND \GS PSE BST P/R INTG FRAC REG MDY DMY MEM \GS+ \GS- BEG END x~   x-,w x^,r y^,r LSTx RCL n! s  x<>y PREFIX and ALPHA keys are:    -| 12x 12\:- CFo CFj Nj -| x | \v/ e ln   -|      CLEAR                     The "EEX" keys is named "EPX" for unknown reasons. It is also placed way on the top right corner. The HP-12C's STO+EEX mode is on the COM key. The layout was clearly not done by someone familiar with the calculator. For example, the "GTO", "x<=y", and "x=0" keys are on the base keyboard, yet the "RCL", "\GS+", and "x<>y" keys are now shifted. Go figure. Also, the "clear" keys take an extra keystroke: the sequence is ALPHA, then CLEAR, then FIN, PRGM, \G+, or REG. I was not able to detect any operational differences in my quick use. However, program steps are numbered according to the place on the Aurora, not the HP-12C. For example, "DATE" is 36 instead of 43 7. Continuing the example presented in "Impressions of the HP 12C Platinum" by Jordi Hidalgo in DATAFILE V22 N3, I performed the same speed test: CLEAR FIN n 10 PV 100 FV 0 (implied by clear) PMT -20 Then calculate i. The Aurora came up with the exact same answer as the 12C: 15.09841448. It was a little faster, with the first time through taking 12 seconds and the re-calculate about 2-3 seconds. The display shows a "BUSY" indicator when calculating. There is a gold label with an instruction summary on the inside of the cover. As the printing is too small for me to read comfortably, it is a moot point as to whether there are any errors on it. In summary, it is exactly what it claims to be: an inexpensive HP-12C clone and I think it is a great offering. Maybe this machine will encourage Aurora (or others) to clone the HP015C and/or the HP-16C... BTW, this is NOT the first clone of an HP calculator. For 15 brownie points, does else anyone out there know of an earlier one?
I am Craig A. Finseth.
Last modified Saturday, 2012-02-25T17:29:02-06:00.