Funnily enough I have been asked this about 10 times in the past 2 weeks so as usual I thought I’d put the answer up in a blog article.

The MC55 is a great device, it’s small, rugged, widely adopted and just doesn’t do anything badly.  When we had the MC70 and MC50 the differences were clear as the MC50 wasn’t really all that rugged with some serious functionality floors, however these days the MC55 overlaps it’s bigger brother, the MC75 quite heavily.

So, whats the same?

They share the same size screen, the standard batteries are the same size and they share the same barcode scanner engines, cameras and GPS units.  Both units use WM6.1 and they both have 128MB RAM.  What is most surprising is they also share identical ruggedness on paper with IP54 rating and drop specs of 1.5m.

What does the MC55 have extra?

Well it does have slightly larger ROM with 512MB if that’s any use to you and it does come with a an extra PDA style keyboard which does suit a certain set of users.  The accessories, whilst almost identical, are cheaper than the MC75 versions.

So what has the MC75 got extra?

The main difference is that the MC75 is an HSDPA data device so it has a far quicker 3.5G data transmission rate to the MC55 which uses 2.5G edge technology which is still good enough for most users in the rugged PDA market.  The MC75 uses the slightly faster 624MhZ variant of the Xscale processor but you probably won’t notice that and its LCD, whilst being the same size (3.5″), is VGA not QVGA.

The MC75 also has some better accessories with a 4800mAh extended battery and an RS232 communication cable and it can still be specified with Windows Mobile 5.0.

Lastly there are Hazloc versions of this device (intrinsically safe to you and me!) so you can find electrostatic safe and radio free versions as well as configuring out some of the other radios.

The price difference

Well if we take the most popular MC55 configuration, the MC5574-PYCDURRA9WR.  To you thats with a 1D barcode scanner, camera and numeric keypad then this comes in at £1289 RRP.  The comparable MC7094-PUCDCRRA9WR then this comes in at £1506 RRP which is hard to swallow, especially when it has less ROM.

So why buy the MC75?

I’ve even heard Motorola people struggle to answer this but the answer is largely down to what your solution demands.  In my opinion the MC55 is stealing a lot of business from the MC75, especially in these harder, more budget lead times and for most field solutions it will do you proud, and I include parcel delivery in that too where we have seen the MC55 do very well in a market previously the domain of the MC75.

However the MC75 still has its uses!  If you need faster data transfer over 3G then you need the MC75.  Thinking of sending inspection photos over the air or simply using data intensive solutions then the MC55 might struggle.

Secondly the form factor and extra size of the MC75 still makes it inherently tougher than the MC55.  If you are in a more rugged environment with more rugged users then the MC55 is more of a risk in terms of ruggedness.

The MC75 also has better options where full shift battery life is needed.  If you have a vehicle and can charge during the shift then your fine with the 3600mah battery of the MC55 but the extended battery that the MC75 offers is the onoy one that will trully get you through the whole day uncharged.

So if you need a slightly tougher chunkier device with full shift capability then go for the MC75, otherwise try the MC55 as you might be surprised.


The Rugged and Mobile blog.

About The Author

Dave's one of the founders of Raptor, his rants are memorable, his thoughts are stimulating and his heart is set on helping, entertaining and making things like mobile, Android, ruggedness, 3D printing and IOT simple.

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