Casio IT-800 Versus Pidion BIP-6000 – Rugged PDA Showdown!

9 11 2012
BOO!! Can the Casio IT-800 Frighten the Pidion BIP-6000?

BOO!! Can the Casio IT-800 Frighten the Pidion BIP-6000?

As you all know, we like to pit Rugged PDA’s up against each other and today we take the Casio IT-800 and pit it up against one the more established and competent devices that Pidion provide, namely the Pidion BIP-6000.  Doing show downs like this helps customers to uncover the nuisances of devices, to scrape back the BS and to get to the real nitty-gritty of them which really counts when you have to live with them for 3 or more years.

We do the test fairly keeping the rules the same for each showdown, lets see how the Casio IT-800 faired against the best from Pidion.

Spec – Winner Pidion BIP-6000

The spec of the Casio is not  up to the same level as the Pidion,  it is generally of a lesser spec using an Xscale 624MHz CPU at its core.  128MB RAM is the minimum requirement for WM6.5 devices and the camera is a 2.0MP affair, although it does have AF.

The battery capacity options are small for the Casio IT-800 too.  1850mAh is almost smartphone in size and whilst the extended battery is 3700mAh this is still lower than most standard batteries of this class of device.  We understand that mAh is not the be all and end all of battery performance but commenting on the mAh alone, the battery sizes are small against the Pidion’s.

The Pidion BIP-6000 in contrast is updated gracefully every 6-9 months and in current form has a bang up to date spec with 806MHz Xscale Processor, 256MB NAND RAM.  The standard battery is 4400mAh (and a previous holder of or battery durability test), however there’s also a 5200mAh high capacity battery that gives a welcome boost, especially for RFID users of the device.  If you’re worried, this battery fits into the exact same battery shell as the standard battery so no extra bumps on the device!!

Configuration – Winner BIP-6000

Both come with lots of configurations so you can remove expensive chips that you won’t use, like the phone and 3G.  The Pidion however just edges this one as it simply has more options like keypad configs and also extra RFID options for HF, UHF and long rnage UHF.  Whilst the BIP-6000 also has the latest Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 OS it can also be downgraded to WM6.1 for compatibility, Android versions and also RAM/ROM upgrades can be applied.  It also has an HD “High Density” 2D bar code scanner option which allows you to scan the tiniest high density barcodes.  Whilst this is a specialist level of scanning, it is still an extra now found on that Casio IT-800.

The BIP has 2 keyboards...

The BIP has 2 keyboards…

Service, Repair & Support – DRAW

We have removed this  item from the blog temporarily until we clear up an issue with Casio.

Usability – Winner Pidion BIP-6000

The Pidion has 2 keyboard types so it’s already ahead on this test but even taking just the numeric keypad, the Pidion’s keys are nicer to use, with far better, reassuring feedback, there’s also more of them, with dedicated volume and camera buttons missing from the Casio.  Both have dedicated function keys that can be mapped to macros or functions which is nice but the joy pad on the Casio is a bit fiddly in gloves, we like to see separate buttons for up/down/left/right on Rugged PDA’s here!

The Casio IT-800 has a slightly larger screen at 3.7″ to 3.5″ but you hardly notice that.  Both are bright, respond well and are in fact Casio LCD’s anyway.

I would add that the Casio has a matt effect to the LCD which in bright sunlight was good to use.  The LCD protectors that come in the box with the BIP-6000 did help with this but the Casio was ahead on this.

The hand strap and stylus on the Pidion are far nicer in our opinion.  The Casio we had didn’t have a hand strap so we do not know if it has one as standard or not.  Casio have commented and stated it does indeed have one so we stand corrected there! The BIP-600 still narrowly wins this one in our view.

Developer Friendly – DRAW

Both devices have extra applications and SDK’s for developers to program with.  The Pidion’s is mature and full, the Casio’s is slightly smaller but it’s all there.  I will admit we can’t be totally impartial on this as we have not used the Casio SDK anything like the Pidion, Motorola,Intermec or Psion ones.  So with what we know in mind, this ones a clear draw.

The Casio IT-800 has WM6.5, The BIP-6000 has 3 OS options.

The Casio IT-800 has WM6.5, The BIP-6000 has 3 OS options.

Ruggedness – Winner BIP-6000

The Casio IT-800 is IP54, with a drop spec of 1.5M.  The Pidion is IP65 with a MIL-STD 810F drop spec of 1.8M and also an operating temperature of -30 degrees.  To be honest though the Pidion also “feels” far more rugged, it has double case seals, 8 screws securing the case and the keypad has a full screwed down facia to it like the better Motorola devices have.  The Casio fights back with its tougher “impact resisting” LCD.  This has a layer of impact absorbing material between the LCD and touch screen to stop LCD’s cracking.  When we tested this it certainly saved the LCD but the touchscreen cracked.  Maybe we did something wrong in our tests which, admitidly are more “real world” than “Scientific” so we might have got unlucky.

It’s novel tech anyway so if you’re interested in it there is a video on Casio’s site that shows this in action.

The Pidion’s touch screen is also raised from the LCD so this also protects the LCD from damage, whether it is better or worse than the Casio’s we simply didn’t see.  In terms of overall ruggedness, this is a win for the BIP-6000.

I must add that we could not get any parts lists or any advice on roadmap of the casio device so whilst the BIP-6000 commits to parts and roadmaps in years not months or weeks, we have not got any advice on that for the Casio.

In the box – Winner Pidion BIP-6000

The Casio has the device and you add the battery as an extra.  The Pidion has a choice of batteries, and everything you need to get you going including desktop cradle, LCD protector, power supplies and all the leads you need.  It also currently comes with a free charge/Sync lead and vehicle charger solution.

Accessories – Winner Pidion BIP-6000

The Pidion has a plethora of proper rugged accessories like quad cradles, cases, leads and snap-ons but there’s also a healthy range of non-manufacturer provided parts too which is one of the marks of a successful and long-lived Rugged PDA in our opinion.  The Casio has a few single slot desktop cradle options, a vehicle cradle, trigger handle and RFID snap ons (The Pidion is included in the device itself) so the accessory range of the Casio is not quite as extensive as the Pidion.

Price – Winner Pidion BIP-6000

Pidion’s have always been keenly priced and off the shelf pricing they beat the Casio easily coming in about £200 per device lower.  On larger projects, it can get tricky talking about price as both companies have a project process.  However if price is your key motive then the Pidion is the  least expensive.

Quality – Winner Pidion BIP-6000

Usually this ones hard to judge and we call it a draw but in this case you only have to pick up the Rugged Handhelds to know which one is instantly more solid and will last longest.  The Pidion also has a lot of rugged features that it has gathered over time like a grippy case, angled barcode readers, straps and tethers .  Inside there’s also a lot of rubber grommets and rugged materials that mean the device is built rugged from its roots.  In response the Casio IT-800 has a lighter and more plasticky feel to it in our opinion.  It does have the extra protection that the “tuffscreen” gives it but it falls short of what the Pidion offers in our opinion.

Both devices use Casio screens which are bright and very nice to use.

USP’s – Winner BIP-6000

The BIP-6000 has many firsts to its name.  It was the first Rugged PDA to sport HF RFID fully embedded.  It was the first Rugged PDA to develop an Android OS and this highlights the main issue with Casio in our view.  The devices are not only very old in their spec but there’s no development going on or a community of resellers that are helping push it, probably due to the way Casio do business.

Before you think we’re a Pidion loving hugger, go check the last showdown where the BIP-5000 got a rightful bashing, to prove we remain impartial at all times here.  The Casio IT-800 is a clear loser in this battle, but don;t forget that the Pidion BIP-6000 is a very hardened and mature rugged PDA.

The Rugged and Mobile blog.





Rugged PDA Showdown – Pidion BIP-5000 V’s Dotel H300

21 09 2012
Can Dotels H300 knock out the Pidion BIP-5000?

Can Dotels H300 knock out the Pidion BIP-5000?

So it’s winter, the blog has been quiet largely due to flu, colds and sore throats here at RAM but we’re soldering on today with a look at one of the most popular Rugged PDA’s we sell, the Pidion BIP-5000, or should we say used to be the most popular.  We get a little bit slammed at times for perhaps leaning towards certain brands, however I can honestly say we’re totally impartial, we just rave about stuff that’s great and that we have sold for many years and if anything we knock the kit that’s at the top, there for being knocked a bit in our view!!  So we’re starting a series of rugged pda showdowns that get us back to our PDA roots whilst giving our customers a flavour of what choice is out there.  There’s a longer tail of kit every single day and there’s a lot more out there than you think!

We’ll keep to a rigid set of rules and fight each PDA off in each category.  Will the BIP-5000 be knocked from its perch!

In the Red Corner from South Korea, we have the ever popular Dotel H300….In the Blue corner, also from South Korea we have the champion, the undefeated Pidion BIP-5000.  Ding, Ding, Ding…!

Spec – Winner Dotel H300

This is purely about the spec and features of the device.  Both of these devices are very similar at the heart with the Same CPU but that’s where the similarities end.  The H300 has 256MB RAM though, the BIP-5000 128MB, WM6.5 V 6.1 and it’s simply newer in every aspect.  The H300 also has the option of HSPA (3.7G), the BIP-5000 is showing its age with only an Edge (2.5G) chip.  Camera, BT, GPS and WiFi are also all better and newer in the H300.

Configuration – Winner Dotel H300

Well the BIP-5000 comes in many configurations but the H300 is freely configurable.  Want a BT only device, no problem.  Qwerty or numeric keypad…no problem, Want a device with UHF reader, gun handle and larger battery to run it…no problem!  The H300 can also come with GPRS or 3G options, a standard or SUMMIT WiFi chip and QVGA or VGA screen.  It’s just totally configurable to any config you want.

Service, Repair & Support – Draw

Both devices enjoy the exact same service products which will beat any Motorola, Psion or Intermec service product hands down in my humble view.  This one’s a draw.

Usability – Winner H300

The H300’s keyboard in numeric or qwerty guise is a joy to use.  Big spaced out buttons are superb and remind us of Intermec devices of old!  The H300 is also much lighter, largely due to it’s smaller Lithium Polymer batteries that last for ages.  The H300 also has a big backup battery which means swapping batteries does not require a reboot.

Which rugged pda would you rather use?

Which rugged pda would you rather use?

Developer friendly – Winner BIP-5000

The BIP-5000 has far better software support.  It has Pidion based applications that help you use the device, better scanner apps and most importantly a far fuller and more usable SDK.  The H300 has all of these, they improve every month but it’s still a way behind the BIP-5000.

Also the connector development on the BIP-5000 is way easier to use so if you need to talk to other machines using serial, the BIP-5000 has been there and done it.  The h300 can do it, but it needs some work!

Ruggedness – Draw

Both have a similar drop spec and recessed screens.  The BIP-5000 has an IP65 rating with the H300 at IP54.  The plastics of the H300 are better and its better screwed together in my view.  I think the H300 just pips this one in my opinion but on paper this one’s a draw.

In the box – Draw

Both these devices enjoy the same “in the box” accessories as part of the price and you’ll have everything you need to get running without having to buy extra’s.  Both have a cradle, PSU, all leads, an LCD protector, stylus/tethers and batteries so this ones a draw, well done to both!

Acessories – Winner BIP-5000

The Pidion BIP-5000 has a lot more accessories but they’re arguable a bit of a jumble too.  It enjoys more 3rd party involvement like Brodit for its car cradles and it has quad cradle options as well a better lead support.  However the H300’s accessory list, small as it may be is extremely  modular, clever and better value for money.  I think the BIP-5000 just pips this one although its close.

Price – Winner H300

This is a close one.  If you go for a common model of BIP-5000, say the MG2 then you’ll find simply through competition it’s a tickle cheaper…but not much.  However add in a 2D scanner and it starts getting cheaper.  But and this is a big BUT.  You can have the H300 with no scanner which makes it terrific value for money and you can spec out everything you don’t want too so I think this one goes to the H300.

Quality – Draw

This explores the components in each device and in both cases you won’t be disappointed.  Both use decent Centerion based chips, have extremely good scanners (Opticon and Adaptus in H300) (Moto and Own brand in Pidion),

USP’s – Winner H300

We’re always looking for something unique or special in a Rugged PDA and the BIP-5000, over time has lost all of its USP’s.  The H300 however has a list as long as your arm.  Lithium Polymer batteries, HF and UHF RFID options, the way you can configure it, QVGA or VGA screens, a lovely modular field accessory charging and syncing setup and more.  This one is a hands down H300 win.

So there we have it a 5-2 win for the Dotel H300, also knocking off the BIP-5000 from it’s best value Rugged PDA title too.  Come talk to us if you want to know more.  However with the newer Pidion HM50 coming in the next 6 months or so maybe we shouldn’t hold our breath for too long.  We’ll see how that fairs when we get one!

The Rugged and Mobile blog.





Rugged Androids – The pros and Cons of the Android OS on a Rugged PDA

25 06 2012

Android is here, but is it good enough to beat Windows Mobile in a Rugged environment?

Android is here, but is it good enough to beat Windows Mobile in a Rugged environment?

So we’re continuing the Android theme this week, where we started off with a high level overview of Android in the rugged marketplace on rugged PDA’s. This post will take a look at the pro’s and cons of running Android on a rugged PDA or rugged tablet.

The first thing to just remember is that we’re not talking smart phone here, we’re talking about running Android in a Mission Critical environment.  The devices don’t just have to be rugged, they also have to be mission critical and rugged in 5 ways to ensure that they can be relied upon for years by companies running core solutions on them, so…there’ll be no Windows phone, no IOS and no Blackberry mentioned here!

Android V’s Windows Mobile – The Pros

  • User interface is better, so if you’re a user that needs your staff to use the PDA as a phone, PIM device and email then the Android has a better interface to use. Android has been written to use capacitive screens and fingers.  WM is still a little bit in the Stylus era!
  • Internet browsing is better on the Android.  It’s just got a better browser than Microsoft Mobile Explorer.  If you plan on running your apps through a web browser then Android is the best here.
  • Screen sizes are handled better by Android PDA’s.  Change the ratio and Android apps seem to be able to cope with it far better.
  • OS development is free, open source and far easier than Microsoft WM. Sure CE is equally free and easy but full WM OS development is tricky, locked in to a few people and not easy to bring a product to market on.

Android V’s Windows Mobile – The Cons

  • Windows Mobile is lighter, smaller and contrary to belief needs less power and RAM to run well.
  • Android requires you to run apps in local memory. With WM you can install apps onto SD cards, persistent memory and all kinds of places.
  • WM is far better at integrating with Exchange Servers and your PC.  It’s had years of syncing experience and in our view most Android devices still have trouble connecting to PC’s and syncing to servers.
  • Device SDK’s are lacking in the Android versions right now.  THe WM ones are fuller, less buggy and as such less risky to use.
  • Android OS’s change….a lot and even Android books go out of fashion in about 3 months!!  You have to look for a hardware provider that will support your version or you need to do it yourself.

Dispelling The Myths!

  • Android is a multi tasking OS though?  Yes and so is Window Mobile, in fact WM will happily run all kinds of things in the background and has been doing so for years!
  • But the app store is where it’s at, WM doesn’t have one of those?  Yes but Mission critical users develop their own apps or install bespoke services.  The App store is a moot argument here.
  • Windows Mobile is end of life though isn’t it?  absolutely not.  It’s here to stay, its called Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 in it’s current form and Microsoft have committed fully to it, see right here!

Conclusion

So the burning questions we always get is whether Android is as good as Windows Mobile.  The short answer is, unless you have in-house expertise that can support you then no, nothing is better right now for a mission critical rugged PDA platform. Android is good, there’s no doubt about that and many people with the in-house skills are looking at it and testing Android Rugged PDA’s and there is a definite area of PDA users that will benefit from Cheaper, smaller Rugged Android devices but most people are waiting to see, not buying just yet.

The Rugged and Mobile blog.





Rugged Mobile Printer Showdown – Zebra QL320+ Vs Woosim WSP-i350

23 05 2012
The Woosim WSP-i350 - Smaller, Lighter, Cheaper....Sounds like it's better?

The Woosim WSP-i350 – Smaller, Lighter, Cheaper….Sounds like it’s better?

So we’re continuing our Mobile printer theme this week by looking at probably one of the most popular choices in the durable mobile printer class, the Zebra QL320 and one of the best Zebra QL320 alternatives we sell at the moment.  At first glance the Woosim WSP-i350 seems to be the “budget” mobile printer alternative, but when you delve deeper it actually has far more up its sleeve than just price.  It’s actually far better in our humble opinion in many areas.  We’ll point out all the pro’s and cons right here for you to help you choose.

Features

WSP-i350 isn't too shabby on features!

WSP-i350 isn’t too shabby on features!

In Use

To be honest the SDK of the WSP-i350 is so easy to use that we binned writing our own in favour of just writing a few decent helper documents for customers, it’s really easy working in both image and fast print modes and direct manufacturer help is usually only a few hours away at most.  It doesn’t matter whether you’re working with the Windows MObile, CE or Android ones, they just work really well.  The Woosim WSP-i350’s are also our demo printers that have been sat at shows and here in our demo lounge for days and they simply don’t falter.  The BT connection works, they print and they work.  We spent far more time setting up the proprietary Zebra SDK’s.

50mm paper roll in both devices - 50mm is larger than many rivals give you, the Zebra QL320+ gives a bit more.

50mm paper roll in both devices – 50mm is larger than many rivals give you, the Zebra QL320+ gives a bit more.

Service

WoosimCare is delivered from right here in the UK, its quick, it’s inexpensive and it’s awesome. Service and repair has changed and despite being the less expensive mobile printer this is where Woosim printers really score against the Zebra QL320+.

Proper Rugged! - String, thick, metal rollers don;t break like QL320+ ones do!

Proper Rugged! – String, thick, metal rollers don’t break like QL320+ ones do!

Rugged Mobile Printers in a nutshell.

OK, so the QL320+ still does a few things better.  It will handle a larger paper roll, but this also makes the size and weight of the device much more.  It also has more RAM and flash but the RISC 32Bit CPU in the WSP-i350 in our opinion evens that out a bit.  100 V 80 mm per second print speed will not make any difference to most users.  The 3″ mobile printer market is hard fought but if you want something different, something really decent and something with great service, expertise and support behind it then  the Woosim WSP-i350 is really a very hard package to beat.

Times are changing, and whilst there are still a few areas the Zebra still wins (Paper roll size, Battery size) you only have to look at the Rugged PDA market to know that things will change.  There really are very few reasons why you’d buy a Zebra QL320.

The Rugged and Mobile blog.





There’s more to life than Zebra Printers!

21 05 2012
There really is more to life than Zebra when it comes to Rugged Mobile Printers.

There really is more to life than Zebra when it comes to Rugged Mobile Printers.

Wow, first Man City win the Premiership title, then Chelsea win the Champions league.  It’s a bad time to be a liverpool fan (like us!!) but it just shows that all good things come to an end and new teams or products will eventually catch up and often surpass the leaders!  In line with our current theme looking at Mobile Printers, we’re going to take a step up from the “budget” class and look at more Rugged Mobile Printers.  Now some of these printers aren’t officially rugged, some are but the important thing to do is notice what else on the market there is.  There really is more to life than Zebra when it comes to mobile receipt printing!!

Features

Need a plain old Rugged Receipt Printer - There's more to life than Zebra now!

Need a plain old Rugged Receipt Printer – There’s more to life than Zebra now!

Service

WoosimCare is delivered from right here in the UK, its quick, it’s inexpensive and it’s awesome. Datamax we’re hoping to take on soon and Zebra uses a manufacturer lead service.  This is where Woosim printers will really score on service and price against the Zebra.

Rugged Mobile Printers in a nutshell.

You want the cheapest rugged mobile receipt printing on the market without compromising on quality then the Woosim WSP-i450 is very hard to beat.

You want a better known brand, still with great quality then go for the Datamax Apex series.  Great brand, great products and for those who aren’t ready for the east just yet these offer the best alternative.

Times are changing, and whilst there are a few areas the Zebra range still excel with (Paper roll size, Battery size) you only have to look at the Rugged PDA market to know that things will change.  There really are very few reasons why you’d buy a Zebra QL320 or Zebra RW420 now.

The Rugged and Mobile blog.








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