Motorola MC45 Versus Dotel H300 – Rugged PDA Showdown!

10 07 2013

Just how does the Motorola MC45 fair against our budget rugged PDA King?

Just how does the Motorola MC45 fair against our budget rugged PDA King?

We haven’t done a Rugged Handheld PDA showdown for a little while and in fact never done a proper Motorola MC45 review either so with a spare Motorola MC45 and Dotel H300 sat on our loan device shelves, I thought I’d do a long overdue one for both of these devices.

Why the Motorola MC45 V Dotel H300?

Well the MC45 is sold as “a budget conscious rugged pda, without compromising quality” and at a guide price of £600 it does put it firmly in the budget range of most businesses looking for a rugged handheld solution.  The Dotel H300 is our King of the budget fully rugged at the moment so we wanted to find out just how it fares against the might of Motorola!

Spec – Winner Dotel H300

The Motorola MC45 first came out with in 1 spec, very much like the ES400, however a few more have silently found their way on to the price sheet, weirdly omitting items like WiFi saving more cost.  The general spec is pretty un-moving but that was the point with the MC45, “to product a budget priced PDA by removing or reducing the spec, so that quality was not affected.”  You’ll note I use quest there because with huge amounts of Motorola experience and expertise, I might not quite agree with some of the words in there!  The Dotel is freely configurable, you can even take the Bluetooth and GPS off the board and spec it up freely to include RFID, GPRS or 3G, SUMMIT or normal WiFi and more.

In the box – Winner Dotel H300

The Motorola MC45 incudes the device and a battery, it doesn’t even include anything to charge it with! On the other hand, the Dotel H300 includes choice of 2 sized batteries in the box (2400/3600mAh li-Polymer), a cradle, power supply and all leads, screen protector and 2 stylus types.  Yes if you want to just replace your device then we get that but that’s not what the everyday business is looking for in our view.  No comparison!

Price – Winner Dotel H300

So the MC45 is about £600, you’ll find it for £560-ish but trust me not many people are making money selling it at that price.  The Dotel in the same base spec as the Motorola MC45 as we can get to (the Dotel has a higher general spec) comes in a guide price of £630 but you have to add a charge solution to the MC45 which adds on £10 if you want the budget and non-rugged USB charger or about £60-70 for the rugged snap on.  The Dotel also has all the kit in the box mentioned above.

USP’s – Winner H300

Well the Dotel H300 has a great HF RFID solution, has 2 UHF versions, can be specced freely and is fully supported in the UK which is becoming a rarity these days!  They also have a modular snap on accessory system that works really well and they listen to feedback and change and add new apps and features to their growing SDK every month.

The Motorola MC45 really does not have any USP’s or innovative features that we can see because that’s not the idea with this device.  Its a cut down spec rugged pda designed to be inexpensive, giving the Motorola brand as a choice at the cost of features and spec.

Reliability – Winner Dotel H300

We’ve repaired Dotels right here for 18 months now from warranty up to comprehensive service models so we know how they perform.  We have seen just under 6% come back with what we would call warranty based faults in the last 12 months.

The MC45 is too early to tell, but judging on general and more recent Motorola performance, reliability in our humble view is not something that any of our customers would say their ES400’s have in bunches so we’d just say that in many of our customers experiences, the Motorola logo has not equalled instant quality on the cheaper Moto devices.

In the box and part of the price, the Dotel H300 gives you everything you need to get going.

In the box and part of the price, the Dotel H300 gives you everything you need to get going.

Service, Repair & Support – Draw

The Dotel H300 is an adopted product here at Rugged and Mobile.  We only adopt products that we can help innovate on, that we can ensure eliminate risk for our clients and that pass a certain quality level and that offer a more social and connected way to work.  Why would be peddle crappy kit from a digital era? we’d just lose money in the long run!  So we’d put our RAMCare packages, our expertise up against anything else on the market.

The Motorola service from the start service products are still the benchmark but they are very off the shelf for most customers and remove the relationship away from the reseller somewhat but they do work, are well oiled and we would say offer a product that eliminates the risk that day to repairs bring.

Warranty/out of warranty, we take an average of 5 days and £190 to repair Dotel H300’s, MC45’s we’ve had a few reports back from customers of £300 and 3-4 weeks time which is pretty typical for Motorola’s warranty service.

It depends what you’re looking for so we’ll call this one a draw.

Usability – Draw

You get 1 numeric keypad version with the Motorola MC45.  Now, I think that Motorola do generally make nice, easy to use rugged pda’s.  The buttons on the MC45 are in the right place, they’re nice to use, if a little bit close to each other and generally the device is light, small enough to use 1 handed and it’s just good to use.  The Dotel has 2 keypad options, with a qwerty and numeric keypad and the buttons are bigger, better spaced and there are more scanner buttons.  Don’t forget that the screen on the MC45 is smaller, good for some, not for others.  The scanners are equally good, with the opticon affair in the Dotel easily as good as the Motorola in the MC45.

Developer Friendly – Winner MC45

This is where the Motorola scores, however when you look online these days, there’s nowhere near the people talking and helping with their kit than there used to be.  Whilst the SDK is good, mature and full on the MC45 you are more limited.  However the MC45 does also have a raft of apps and features to help with productivity and this is where it scores its first win!

The Dotel H300 has a good decent SDK, its growing fast and there’s nothing wrong with it, it’s just not quite as good and full as the Motorola’s just yet and the bundled apps aren’t quite a s good to use.

So, brand is a powerful thing, it’s why people buy Audi’s and BMW’s when a Ford Mondeo is a better car than either according to the What car anyway!  Everyone buys with their hearts, whether for business or personally and this is why a Motorola rugged handheld PDA will always have appeal.  However just use your head a tiny little bit and you’ll find that there’s a lot of alternatives out there that are very good, if not better and I’ll just leave you with this thought.  Where are all the resellers and communities moving to?  I don’t see people advocating or flying the flag for the bigger brands these days?  So where’s all the expertise and knowledge going that’s the real stuff that will get you out of trouble when you need it?….I’m just saying….

The Rugged and Mobile blog.

IOS 7.0 finally exposed!

12 06 2013
Does IOS 7.0 give Apple devices the edge again or has it simply played catch up?

Does IOS 7.0 give Apple devices the edge again or has it simply played catch up?

We don’t do an awful lot here with IOS any more, not because it’s no good, far from it but largely because Apple is not rugged.  However we’re still passionate about anything mobile so lets explore what changed on Monday’s expose of IOS 7.0.

For those of you that don’t know IOS7 is Apples latest mobile operating system for the iPod touch, iPhone and iPad.  We unwrap the new features it brings to user right here:

  • Flat design.  You’ll blink, think you just picked up an Android device and then realise…no… it’s an iPhone with IOS 7 on it.  IOS 7 brings a new “flat” look to its OS, moving away from the “glossy” button look and feel.  Its had a general overhaul too so inbuilt apps have adopted the whole new look and feel too.  Part of this also includes and new unlock mechanism which has you swiping form the bottom up much like “pulling the ring” on an Android device.
  • Control panel.  Again a most useful feature already found on Android devices, the control is accessible with a swipe up and has all the much-needed quick access features you need, like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi etc.
  • Notifications – Swipe down instead and you get your notifications for the upcoming day.
  • The camera app has had an overhaul, with new filters and features to manage and view and share your photos.  We liked the square photo function which will allow for easy updating of your profile image for instance.
  • Airdrop kind of replaces the NFC tap n share that everyone is doing on android right now. Using Wi-Fi it allows iPhone users sat next to each other to share directly.
  • Apps have had an update, so expect to see changes in Safari, twitter, email and other built-in apps including the app store itself.
  • iTunes radio – think Spotify and this is Apples attempt at creating a cloud based MP3 streaming service that runs either free with adverts or paid for, for added features.
  • Siri has been improved.  Does anyone actually use Siri with any success though?
  • IOS in the car is a new way to integrate with IOS enabled car dash systems.  Much like the Microsoft Ford system it allows for connecting and sharing of data between your vehicle and phone.

Business wise we saw some improvements:

  • Multitasking – This is a big change in the way apps work behind the scenes and its far more…well…normal!  This will impact what apps can run and update in the background which will have business app developers very happy.
  • Data is better protected as are app licenses which are better managed and we thought we heard that they would be managed better across devices too but not 100% sure about that just yet.
  • Mobile device management will be better integrated.  Again not sure who’s behind this as there are good and bad MDM products and how easy it will be to install your own but at least its a step in the right direction for BYOD’ers.
  • A few new security measures for single sign on and data protection on 3rd party apps.

So the update is a big one!  i think there’s a few decent updates for the business community there, however it will leave the rest of us phone users wondering if Apple even caught Android up, let alone passed them over with these changes.  With Android 5.0 “Key lime pie” on the horizon, I would imaging Google is very happy to see not much catching up going on at all.

The Rugged and Mobile blog.

Intermec Rugged Handheld’s – Meet the manufacturers!

26 04 2013
Will Intermec finally be a brand that vanishes in 2013?

Will Intermec finally be a brand that vanishes in 2013?

So, we move on to the penultimate in the established brands today by looking at Intermec.  You know, you  never know the real truth with these big companies, transparency is a word they simply don’t understand, so my opinion is what we have to rely on here. Intermec 10 years ago were an established, go to brand for me, but over the years they’ve had their issues, rumours have been everywhere and they have become far more difficult to work genuinely with in my opinion.  The result of this is that they are about to fail and be bought by Honeywell who have a $600M offer on table as we speak.

Why we sell Intermec

We sell Intermec because they are still one of the leading brands in the rugged market, their kit is still great quality and has its own innovative features and it is kit you can rely on.

3 Intermec Benefits

Intermec kit is stable, solid and good quality.

The service options are pretty good and we also have a nice process for warranty too.

Intermec arguably have the best voice picking solution in the business with their VoCollect system.

3 Intermec Drawbacks

Intermec kit is not cheap and some devices you have to argue are possibly over the top for all but the most rugged scenario’s.

Intermec has become far more difficult to work out the past few years and staff have turned over quite a bit. I’m not sure we know where we stand with them right now, especially with a take over happening and rumours about an investigation into their management too.  Is that a safe bet for your business to run on?

Some warranty service costs take the P***.  We just had a device with a failed scanner and it cost £800 and 6 weeks  to fix….why?

The Rugged and Mobile blog.

Motorola Rugged Handheld’s – Meet the manufacturers!

17 04 2013
Meet Motorola - The market leader

Meet Motorola – The market leader

So first up in our series looking at the rugged handhelds manufacturers we work with is Motorola.  I’m still pretty sure Motorola are still the leading provider of rugged handhelds in the data capture market, despite Honeywell currently buying everyone they see!  What is for sure is that Motorola are very established, they are great to work with and we understand their products and processes very well.

Why we sell Motorola

We sell Motorola Rugged handhelds because Motorola give us a stable, reliable platform that’s easy to commit to and build solutions on top of.

3 Motorola Benefits

Motorola like to work in a trusting way on deals and with resellers and there are clear processes we can use with Motorola to motivate everyone to win out of a deal.  This in turn gives you a product and support that works hard for you over years. We have a saying here “It’s hard to buy a bad Motorola!”  Whilst this isn’t strictly true these days with their cheaper products like the Motorola Es400 not quite living up to many expectations, it still holds true for most of their range.  The MC series of handhelds has many unique features, lots of patented ruggedness design features, they stay up to date and above all they just seem to work. Because Motorola are the most popular in our market, there’s always a forum or help at hand.

3 Motorola Drawbacks

OK, price is the clear drawback, you’re going to pay £1000 for a device not £600 here unless you go for the ES400 or MC45 where you have to compromise. Whilst the comprehensive service options are good, basic Motorola warranty support is what you’d get from any large corporate. We feel you get treated like a number not a person a little bit too often. Feature-wise there are better products for less these days, but only IF you buy from the right reseller.

Rugged Handhelds, Printers and bluetooth barcode scanners – Meet the manufacturers!

15 04 2013
Meet the rugged manufacturers

Meet the rugged manufacturers

With all the changes we’ve been doing the past few weeks I thought it was time to meet all the hardware manufacturers we work with. Times are changing and the way hardware manufacturers want to sell is getting desperate in some cases but in our opinion a great hardware reseller is worth their weight in gold if they can help you reduce all your risks before and after buying your hardware. If you go to our main website you can find all kinds of information on each manufacturer but here we’ll try to be more candid, transparent and opinionated, just like a blog should be! Over the last 12 months we’ve clearly moved away from some brands and gotten closer to others and we’ll tell you why and we’ll also try to give each supplier some good rational reasons why they compliment each other and why we’re not just selling everything any more!

Why reduce brands?

We have a website? shelf space is infinite? Why not just add all the brands?  Well we actually still do test and play with everything and we brought you what we felt were the best.  We also found that we simply had too many devices that we could deliver deeply on and without deep expert knowledge of the hardware and the manufacturer it puts customer deployments at risk so we decided to focus down on the right number of brands.

Is Rugged and mobile still impartial?

Oh yes, you bet!  and if you ever came here and met us you’d know that was still core to what we say and do. Passionate at times…yes!, but always transparent and honest. But, how do we remain impartial if not selling everything?  Well like I said above, we still test and play with everything, we still check to see if the channel is honest and fair and we still aim at giving customers hardware, expertise and support they can rely on over years not for the sale. We’re still impartial, we just decided to stop selling what we thought was not providing this to customers, so you’ll still see other hardware in our tests.

Our brands

I’ve listed the brands we’ll be covering right here and i’ll link to them as we go along.















The Rugged and Mobile blog.

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