So we touched on all the rugged PDA case styles you could have right here yesterday and today we’re going to go deeper into the kinds of case you might need for each scenario you’re in. We’ll cover off the main case styles right here:
These are designed to be attached to the Rugged PDA in a permanent manner and then used with the case always on. Typically there is a flap that covers the LCD that “Flips” over so you can use the device. Flip cases come in synthetic or leather and will offer the best protection against wear and tear of the device. because they are designed to be used with the case on, you know that you have that extra little protection all the time. This means that it’s easy to attach loops, handles and straps to the device which makes them far safer to use up a ladder or when passing to customers to sign on etc. Usability-wise they are also nice because they can also offer more stylus/pen holders and can make a device more holdable/grippable.
The negatives of the flip case is that they are a pain if you need to constantly cradle/de-cradle in the vehicle as you will need to remove the case at least partially to do this. You tend to see field users take the Flip case. Engineers of sales people coming to site or where they are moving door to door. We also see a lot of ticketing or outdoor people take the case on as you can attach straps which aids not losing the devices and it also helps to just drop the device by your side when 2 hands are needed.
Largely synthetic these days but the holster is essentially a holder you drop the device into, with or without a top lid to keep it secure. Our couriers have an open-ended holster and perhaps the feedback we got from our guy best states where the pros of the holster are. He said that he needs to charge the device all day in the van, so he needs the device bare, when he arrives at a drop off he takes the device, holster it and knows its safe from drops and theft as it’s by his side. He can also then carry parcels with both hands free. He wouldn’t want straps as they would get in the way and a flip case would make charging difficult. He also needs the device to be as its meant to be when scanning an using it as it’s a nice shape and a case would make this more difficult. Holsters are often the best option for a trigger handled device.
The cons are that the device is bare when being used and we have seen it drop off our delivery desk here which is about 4ft off the ground on more occasions than we like to admit. We always joke about it being rugged and the device is fine, but every drop is a risk to your business.
Easy to attach we do have these available for some printers and semi-rugged PDA’s as an extra form of protection and even giving IP ratings to the device. They do give a bit of case protection but they also tear easily and don’t last. They generally give you nothing more than an extra skin to help save the device from scratches.
Again in the semi-rugged market we’re seeing Otterboxes available on some devices like the Motorola ES400 and we’ll talk about these more in the next post. These are permanent cases that are designed to give your Semi Rugged PDA more impact and scratch resistance. They do work, they don;t last as well as a leather or synthetic case but they do make for a tidy case that will protect the device well. Convenience is the order of the day here as you can use the device without really noticing the case is on it. They are also getting quite competitive now on price, matching most case designs here now.
Negatives are that you are stuck with the one design and there is no bespoke design available on these or branding/logo addition. They also make the device quite large and don’t necessarily give it any better protection.
Plastic/Metal clip holster
These come in various shapes and sizes but they’re all hard and rigid and offer a clip style housing for the rugged pda. More about convenience they can help you clip the device to anything and some, like the rigid plastic holders that Motorola sell will protect the LCD when not in use. These tend to be quite inexpensive.
Tomorrow we’ll take a look at the Otterbox in more detail and see if it gives us semi-rugged folk a reason to swap from the more classic cases!
The Rugged and Mobile blog.