Pidion HM50 – A first look

So, the Pidion HM50 has been actually live for a few weeks now with most versions of the rugged handheld pda coming in to general stock now.  First impressions are that the HM50 is solid and better built than it’s predecessors however our first device would not boot up, the second device had a screen issues and the 3rd HM50 only booted up without the battery inserted!!  Is this the same of story from Pidion….?  We find out here.

Positioning and line up

The official line from Pidion so far is that the HM50 doesn’t really take over from any 1 specific device and it will run along side the BIP-5000 and BIP-6000 for the time being.  This is typical Pidion and we in fact like this way of doing things.  It means that customers with older BIP series devices have plenty of time to move onto the HM50, it also means that their kit has by no means been end of lifed yet.  However  for most new customers the HM50 will be the choice for them.

 

Price

Price-wise, the Pidion HM50 isn’t cheap any more.  The classic specced rugged handheld with full field 3G spec and 1D barcode scanner comes in at a guide price of about £650.  Compared to the BIP-5000 MG2, that’s about a £100 price hike for most or 20% increase and the BIP-6000-AA users it’s close but slightly more expensive.  At a time when rugged PDA’s are getting cheaper, this bucks the trend and we’re slightly concerned that more is not really being offered here for more.

When compared to something like a Motorola MC45 or Dotel H300S, it’s starting to look expensive and the service is nowhere near as good as the Dotel gets too.

At a glance

In the box, we’re glad to still see the same array of accessories, including a cradle, all leads, battery and PSU.  However we have noticed that the cradle doesn’t have any lights on it so we weren’t sure that the battery was charging. The cradles are also huge compared to the BIP series ones and we did knock the battery out of the cradle easily here during testing.

The device also just seems big and heavy.  It has a lot more in common with the BIP-6000 than the ageing BIP-5000 in terms of its size and weight but it does feel solid in the hand.

 

Main features & Spec

You can download a spec right here , lets see the main things we can pick out!

What we rate…

  • Large standard 4000mAh battery.
  • Android OS or Windows Mobile 6.5 ready, although Android versions still haven’t been released at time of printing this.  In fact we haven’t seen one yet at all!
  • Good general spec, with 1GHz CPU, 3.8G, AGPS, WiFi, Bluetooth, 5MP Camera and b/g/n/a WiFi.  This device was fast to use.
  • Vastly improved keypad over the BIP-5000.
  • Definitely a more solid device than the BIP-5000 and its IP65 and 1.8M drop spec is far more believable with MIL testing at last!

What we hate!…

here’s some things we noticed.

  • The big omission is the lack of an RFID option. With the RFID tipping point happening this year, we feel this is a mistake but maybe Pidion are trying to push RFID users to the BIP-6000?
  • No reset button, this means a new way to learn a fiddly reset and re-image process.
  • Cradle is missing lights and seems to be a bit cheap in our view.
  • Hand strap is rubbish. It’s fastened using a buckle from the 1800’s, gets in the way of everything and the faux leather sleeve is cheap.
  • Keypad is missing F1-F4 keys that many BIP-6000 users will miss.
  • The Pidion HM50 is hefty and solid but comes with a size and weight trade-off which might put some off.

We gave the HM40 a first look last and i’ll say the same thing here.  The hardware seems sound, just like the BIP series was but these days the difference in how well a device performs is in how stable the firmware is and how good the support will be.  There’s a new piece of hardware coming on to the market every week these days, all of its good, but we don’t sell it and the reason for that is the support, the lack of quality in the firmware and the strategy behind the devices is not sound so quality reseller expertise cannot be applied to it.  Whilst the HM50 looks good on paper, feels good in the hand, the acid test so far for us is that we already had issues with it.  Add to this there is better for less money from Dotel, Motorola and more and we’re just starting to struggle to see the rationale here.

We’ll give you more in group tests coming soon.

www.ruggedandmobile.com

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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