Motorola MC45 Rugged PDA is Launched

I’m actually quite excited about the Motorola MC45 and after seeing it in action I think you will too!

Motorola typically exist at the upper end of the Rugged PDA market, but more recently have been reacting to the wave of cheaper devices coming from the far east as more and more new and different businesses adopt a mobile strategy and need new kit that doesn’t bust the bank.  The Motorola MC45 is just that, a rugged PDA for the budget conscious and we got our first full exposed look at the device this week.

So just what is a Rugged PDA for the “Budget conscious?” I hear you say!  Well actually it means different things to different Manufacturers.  In Motorola’s case the MC45 is still aiming to have a quality about it, something more MC65/67 but by removing or downgrading critical features of the device, Moto have managed to get the price down.  So, there you have it, a quality rugged PDA but at an affordable price.

The MC45 in a nutshell

The MC45 is a pretty cool looking, mid-sized Rugged PDA.  It’s rugged, with IP64 and drop spec of 1.5M, has a resistive touch 3.2″ screen and is powered by Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5.  It has 3G, phone, 1D scanner, Camera, a/b/g Wifi. Bluetooth, GPS and is Host USB capable, so all the normal features a business needs are there.

Add to this there’s 1 model only.  No tricky configs to contend with so you buy it and that’s that!  The same 3080mAh battery as the smaller ES400 comes in the box as does a USB charger and cable and it’s heart beats with a Qualcomm MSM7627 600MHz CPU, 256MB RAM and 1GB ROM.

So all in all not to shabby, but also nothing to write home about either.  So far the Motorola MC45 is exactly what it says on the tin!


The pricing is going to be about the £600.  It’s not quite the same great value as a Dotel H300 for example but it’s going to turn your head as its close.

What to watch for

Motorola have openly cut corners on features, rather than quality to get the price down, this is what they did:

  • CPU – is not the best out there, it’s a workhorse CPU though and it’ll do the job for 90% out there.
  • 3.2″ QVGA LCD –  It makes the device small, in fact it has as much in common with an ES400 as an MC65, it’s bang on in the middle of the two.  The 3.2″ screen might be too small for some though and QVGA gives only 320×240 resolution.
  • 3.5G – is a bit old now, think iPhone 3GS, it’ll be way quick enough to do your emails, sync data (Even photos) and to browse the internet or run an HTML5 application.
  • 1D laser scanner – is the only option for the full bar code scanner.  Motorola say that their camera technology is good enough for occasional 2D scanning.  We’d agree with the occasional bit but the camera does have full support for the ScanWedge application and SDK so you can use it.
  • One keyboard option – The numeric one in the pictures is it other than for language variations.
  • Mini USB connector – It’s not rugged, it could be a risk for some.
  • No RFID – or NFC for that matter.

Worth a mention

The Motorola MC45 does however come with a well targeted range of accessories. There’s not a tonne to choose from but what there is, is well thought out and probably will cater for 90% of what is generally needed by customers.  Again we see here a reduced rnage of products so the costs can be kept down. You can judge form the phot here though that the accessories look pretty nice and well designed.

I also think in this class the battery will out perform most rivals, Motorola is also saying the MC45 will be more durable than the likes of the Intermec CS40 and Honeywell D6000.  Don’t forget that the MC45 is running a smaller LCD and a quarter of the pixels so the battery should stand up quite well.

The full gamut of “Service From the Start” products are available, judging from the list pricing on these they will also be very affordable.

What we think

There’s no doubt that the Motorola MC45 will sell in numbers.  The small screen will put it up against some stiff competition, but I think the quality and services that Motorola bring will mean it will fend off quite a lot of this.  It will be a little more expensive than a Pidion HM40 for example but for some the difference will be enough to shell out for the prestige brand and the quality advantage it will have over any far eastern brand in our experience.

The MC45 will compliment a growing range of Motorola Rugged PDA’s and it will give many businesses a decent option at an affordable price.

The MC45 is available and shipping now, please come and ask about lead times or if you want more information.

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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