At first glance the Dotel H300 (middle) has more in common with the MC65 (Right) than the ES400 (left)
Today’s Rugged PDA Showdown is all about finding a Motorola ES400 Alternative and in theme with our “Inexpensive Rugged PDA” series that’s ongoing this week. The whole idea of this article is to shake things up a little bit and wake people up who are buying Semi-rugged when they could get a fully rugged PDA for almost the same money!
In the red corner we have Motorola’s ES400 which is a £420 device here at Rugged and Mobile, yes I know you can get it cheaper elsewhere but we actually pick the phone up when you call for help afterwards, we repair them too and our ES400 customers get access to Rugged Rescue, so well worth little bit extra!!!
In the blue corner, aiming for the title of Motorola ES400 alternative is the new lightweight Rugged PDA from Dotel, the Dotel H300. We can sell this in equivalent spec to the ES400 for £530 or less if you opt for an Edge Chip instead of the HSUPA one and when you add up all the accessories in the box too it makes the Dotel a genuine Motorola ES400 alternative device.
From the side, the H300 is slimmer.
What to watch for
Well clearly here we have a size mis-match and the H300 is far more at home up against the ES400′s bigger brother device, the MC65 (Shown in the photo) but the H300 is actually slimmer than the ES400 which makes it a real pleasure to use and hold. In the hand it’s a whole different story.
With size comes bigger battery, a bigger LCD and the keyboard on the H300 is sublime, rivalled only by the CN50 it seems to be modelled on and there is a Qwerty keypad option too. In comparison the ES400 seems too deep for its size, the 3″ LCD is very small and the keyboard is fiddly at best.
Both devices benchmark very closely with the H300 edging it slightly but the average user won’t even notice, they’re evenly equipped with the ES400 using slightly cheaper components in our view.
The Dotel Rugged PDA will grow with you though which is a major. We can fit Barcode scanners, RFID and other items after the sale so you can see how your solution goes and not have to throw the Dotel H300′s away when you start using barcodes or RFID.
The H300 is rugged, with IP54, a proper drop spec, recessed screen and tough plastics. The ES400 is “durable” but barely so. IP42 is meaningless to be honest and Moto even took that off their spec sheet after complaints and according to our helpdesk figures the ES400 is also our No2 problem PDA (behind the Pidion BM170) with more repairs per 100 sold than anything else we sell.
The H300 has a hand strap, is more usable by rugged staff. The stylus can be specced with the “puck” or a full stylus.
The ES400 does have a Motorola Smartphone-ness about it though and I mean this in a good way. The Skin isn’t for everyone but I personally find it a nice way to navigate around the WM6.5 OS. It’s also well put together in terms of the firmware, it has clearly got users in mind however if you want to stick an app on the phone and nothing else it becomes a problem.
- The Dotel H300 and ES400 feel very similar in the hand
The H300 also has Li-Pol batteries. This is the tech that you see in Apple’s products and its the very latest in battery technology. Despite the smaller 2400mAh size, they last for hours longer than the equivalent Li-ION ones. Having said that the ES400 in extended battery guise does not get too shabby performance out of its 3080mAh battery either.
Price – The whole story
£530 Vs £420 I hear you say isn’t actually that great, but it’s only half the story. Firstly the repair service is far cheaper, see below for more on this. Secondly the devices include the following in the box:
- Dotel H300 - Rugged Cradle with battery extra charger, Handstrap, stylus, tether, USB Lead, PSU, Screen protector, 2x Li-Pol batteries.
- Motorola ES400 – USB Lead, PSU, Stylus, Tether, Battery.
Making the Dotel H300 far great value for money.
You can also spec the H300 right down. Replacing HSUPA with Edge drops the price by £40, you can take out the WLan, BT, GPS, pretty much anything!
You can pay £150 for 3 years Service from the start with the ES400, or £180 for the Dotel H300 and both will give you roughly the same service, in fact you get a better product and better service with the H300. However opt for the standard free warranty and you’ll get your H300 back, repaired in 1/3rd of the time and for half the cost. Just 1 repair in 3 years will put the Dotel H300 ahead on price.
It’s a tough fight at first glance. At first all you see is the lighter, cheaper ES400 jabbing away at the Dotel H300 and winning on points! However stand back, take a Line of business view on this and you find that there is a true rugged equivalent that could be bang on right for your solution. I think the Dotel H300 wins this with a knockout punch in later rounds!
Ask any questions you want tomorrow we’ll put the H300 back into its comfort zone, beating up MC65′s and CN50′s!
The Rugged and Mobile blog.