To be a truly rugged PDA we believe at Rugged and Mobile that it has to pass 5 tests, which are:

1. Ruggedness of device

2. Service and Support

3. Roadmap and History.

4. Parts Availability

5. Data Capture Abilities and configurability of components.

Every one of these has to make the grade here at Rugged and Mobile or we don’t consider the device to be rugged or line of business material! We’re going to cover these off in 5 separate blog articles and today we look at PDA Ruggedness.

Rugged PDA Ruggedness

IP Rating

We talk about IP ratings a lot and there are far better articles on this site if you search for IP ratings in the search box.  In a nutshell, IP ratings come with 2 numbers, E.G. IP65.  The first number is a measure of its ability to cope with physical things that can get inside the rugged PDA.  On a scale of 1 to 6 we tend to stick around 5 and 6 which is all about dust resistance.  The second digit is about how water proof the device is and the scale goes from 0 to 8.  To be rugged you need at least IP54.  IP42 or IP43 is not rugged what-so-ever, most smartphones are IP42 if they took the test!

Drops and tumbles

Every rugged PDA should at the minimum have a drop spec of 1.2 metres.  We’d really like to see 1.5M to be honest but 1.2 is better that most smart phone kit.  This isn’t a guarantee that you can drop the device from 1.5M though. Drop anything on its LCD screen and it risks breaking, however it is a good relative measure of ruggedness.

The tumble spec is a measure of how many times the device has been tumbled about and this is usually done in a washing machine style test.  It gives you an indication of the general wear and tear resistance ability of the Rugged Handheld.

It must be said that the above tests can be self certified in most cases so always look for the signs of something that is truly rugged by inspection too.

Rugged by Design

Take a look at the device and see if there are any potential areas that look weak.  Aerials for instance break and render the device useless while needing repair and some keyboards can be poor too.  Is the LCD recessed?  Does the battery cover look IP65 as well as the device?  Are the plastics used solid like in the Dotel H300  and has the device been put together well?  It might be IP 65 on paper but if the case has been poorly fitted then it will leak.

Does the PDA have any design features.  The MC65 has a fair few that allow it to claim a degree of ruggedness over its competitors.

Tomorrow we’ll talk about the support that is required for a device to be deemed rugged here at Rugged and mobile!

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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