.Semi-rugged PDA’s never bother to get an IP test, why?…Well because their Semi-rugged PDA nature meant that this was not needed as it was the drop spec that was important in this area.  When was the last time your mobile phone got water in it from daily usage?  But cracked screens, broken buttons etc from drops are what causes the grief, right!?

IP Ratings need to be explained and I would go as far as saying that Rugged IP Ratings need to be put into context, from device to device as there is a lot more that can affect RuggednessI’m intrigued that the new Motorola ES400 has come out and stated it has been tested to IP42.  It’s really odd in my view and I’m going to tell you why here as well as making you think before you think IP42 turns this semi-rugged PDA into something that it is not.  IP42 is a bit misleading.

Lets look at the IP tables just for 1 minute:

Dustproofing IPXX

No protection 
Protection from large surface of the body such as a hand, (deliberate access not covered). Solids objects > 50mm in diameter. 
Protection against fingers or other < 12.5mm in diameter. 
Protection from using tools, wires, etc. with a diameter > 2.5mm. 
Protection from solid objects with a diameter > 1.0mm. 
Not fully dustproof, protection from dust that would interfere with operation of device. 
Dust tight. 

Waterproofing (IPXX)

No protection 
Protection from dripping water (Vertical drops) 
Protection from vertically dripping water at 15 degrees from normal position. 
Protection from water sprayed up to 60 degrees from normal position. 
Protection from splashing water from any direction. 
Protection from water projected by a nozzle from any direction. 
Protection against powerful jets of water from any direction. 
Protection against immersion < 1m. 
Protection against complete, continuous submersion in water > 1m (see manufacturer specification). 

So we can safely assume that any electronic device will be at least IP 4X and in my opinion at least IP 42.  If your mobile phone can’t resist a few drips of water then it’s not up to much is it.

We feel that any device saying it is IP42 is really only therefore designed to confuse an already confused market because people could, and are being, easily mislead that IP42 is rugged and the ES400 is far from it.  IP 54 is the minimum IP rating we would recommend for a fully rugged PDA.

Lets look at this in practise.


Here you’ll see 2 rival devices, the Pidion BM170 and the ES400 side by side.  If I told you both of these would be IP42 which do you think would be slightly better rugged?  The BM170 has less keys, the keys are flush, the screen has a plastic cover to it.  Whilst the ES400 has a qwerty keyboard, recessed and uncovered screen where water can collect and has a worse drop spec to match!  The BM170 however has not got an official IP rating, why?  because its costly and people just don’t do it for semi-rugged kit.

Make sure you address this when you look at devices, the experts will be able to guide you through and just be careful as information on a spec sheet, especially in this semi-rugged area, can often be very misleading.


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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2 Responses

  1. Derek

    I think you have the titles above the tables the wrong way round and Waterproffing should be Waterproofing