Why choose a larger Rugged PDA

Continuing our series of benefits of each class of rugged PDA, we’re looking at the larger rugged PDA.’s  In my last article I described basically how th market has changed and how the smaller handhelds now seem to have all the latest tech and functionality in them, pretty much rendering the larger PDA obsolete in todays rugged and mobile world.  So why are they still here and why would you still pick a heavier, more bulky Rugged PDA?

I’ve collate a bunch of reasons here gleaned from customers who actually bought larger ones.

Battery Life

Larger device = larger space for larger battery.  If you need something that gives massive battery staying power then you need something larger.  Lightweight class rugged PDA’s top out at around 3800mAh, whereas a heavy weight typically has around the 5000mAh capacity.  We start to see higher voltages too so the higher the voltage, the more capacity and power the battery has.  Devices like Motorola’s MC9500 or 9090G series has a superb 7.4v battery, as does Pidion’s BIP-7000 and 1300 series which gives them real staying power.


Or should we say lack of it.  Some customers genuinely like the larger, bulkier design as it makes them less desirable to pinch!  I know I wouldn’t be happy talking to my wife in the pub on a CN70!!


On paper they tend to be only slightly more rugged than their smaller counterparts but heavier Rugged PDA’s are clearly more rugged when you actually see and use them.  They tend to bulk up the corners with large rubber pads, the screens are hidden behind plastic covers which not only protect them better but enable you to use them in food conditions where glass shattering is a big no-no.  You also see a lot more think metal in the cases and the accessories are straight out of the Tonka Toy handbook too.  These devices tend to be tough and they will put lighter field mobile handhelds to shame in the right (or wrong) environment.

Less clumsy and more usable

Bigger devices mean there’s more room for the keyboard and there’s often more keyboard options too.  They often have multiple scanner buttons to make life ergonomic for your users and they are clearly more suited to those glove wearing folk!

Better functionality

Despite not really having better specs any more, their size still makes room for modules that smaller devices do not have.  The Pidion BIP-6000 for instance carriers an HF RFID reader in it with no changes to the casing.  The Psion Workabout pro series also has a tonne of snap-ons that extend the functionality of the device that you just don;t see on the smaller devices.

Longer Life Times

Many of these devices have been around for years and still will be around for years and whilst the smaller devices are trying to contend with a market that is perhaps starting to chase the latest technology a little too much, the larger devices stay largely the same for years, despite the odd refresh for instance.  Add to this they will last longer than a lighter weight PDA  and this all adds up to less risk to your business.  Yes some people do keep MC55’s for 5 years but its rare if I’m being honest.  If you need 5+ years cycle then it’s probably wise to consider a heavier rugged PDA.

That’s not all, come talk to us here if you need to know more, but these are the main benefits and hopefully it will get you thinking.  In the next and last article we’ll round off by looking at some unusual devices for more unusual circumstances.

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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