So to round off our series talking about Cheap Rugged PDA’s I thought i’s actually give you some pointers as to what’s out there and what can be viable option for you if you need to save money on your hardware.  Remember all of these rugged handhelds have been thoroughly tested by us, are serviced and repaired by us, in fact they’re cared more by us than our own family (or have I just been spending too much time with these things!!).

Lightweight Rugged PDA

Dotel H300

This is the most popular class for us and contains prestige brand devices such as the Motorola MC65, Intermec CN50, Psion EP10.  Our best picks here are:

Dotel H300, this is a superb slim Li-Polymer batteried device that just works.  It’s easy and cheap to repair, uses nice rugged plastics has great ergonomics and has a bang up to date spec.  It also has the option of being upgradable after you buy so you don;lt have to make expensive decisions about the bar code scanner just yet.  This is the cheapest device you will find at this price, in fact so cheap people buying Semi Rugged are considering this and the price includes all your leads and a cradle.

Pidion BIP-5000, Slightly aging device but regardless of a replacement in the pipeline now, this device will still be around for a couple of years yet.  It has a great base spec, has a slightly quirky keyboard and just lacks fast 3G but everything else is more than adequate.  Mature and it makes for a great buy, but we’d go for the Dotel right now being frank about it.

Heavy Rugged PDA

The Pidion BIP-6000 is the best value for money in the middle weight Rugged PDA class.  Highly specced, very tough with the best battery we have tested. - Main ImageThis category is where the MC75A sits along with the Intermec CN70, Psion Ikon etc.  There is one device here that really beats the opposition up, the Pidion BIP-6000.  This is a mature, well specced device that has been around for years in some guise or another.  A good sign with Rugged PDA’s is if the design has been consistent with multiple upgrades to keep it current and the BIP-6000 is just that.  It was the first RUgged PDA to have built-in RFID and is the best RFID reader/write you will find and it is also the first to have an Android option.  In fact many people considering MC65’s buy these because the BIP-6000 is cheaper and far better than it’s rivals in our opinion.  This device is a real steal.

Established quality manufacturer, the Dolphin 6000 is no exception. Fully featured small rugged PDA with the lowest price point in its category.  - Main ImageSmall Rugged PDA

These sport 2.8″ LCD’s, are small but still contain bar code scanners.  Intermec CS40, Opticon H21 are noth here.  This is where we think GaneData have it right.  The GX8010 is a super low-budget device with a very basic spec but the GX8900 GSMART is superb, fully featured and all in a great small package.  Honeywell recently released the Dolphin 6000 so the bigger bands are trying to geta piece of the action now and to be honest we’d choose a Dolphin 6000 over a CS40 any day and they’re half the price!

The Pidion BM170 with FREE Commercial Vehicle Charger. High spec, low price and probably the most attractive semi rugged PDA on the market. - Main ImageSemi-Rugged

Although the Pidion BM170 isn’t any cheaper than the ES400 it still represents a far cheapr option in the medium to long term.  ES400’s are like a rash, everyone sells them, they are being sold at too low margins and as such it’s all falling apart when it comes to help and support.  THe BM170 has a roadmap, guarantees parts regardless of which service plan you have and it will also cost you half for any repair and it’ll be fixed quicker too.  THe BM170 is a proper rugged PDA that’s semi rugged, whereas the ES400 is a durable smart phone.

The Dotel H300 also features here.  You can have an ES400 specced device which gives you a superb fully rugged Device for only little bit more.

Mobile Printers

The classic 3″ Fully rugged mobile printer will set you back over £600 if you buy Zebra, a little less for a Datamax but at least you get a better printer.  However if money is tight then Woosim’s WSP range offer 2,3,4″ fully rugged printers with IP54 at a fraction of the price, in fact half the price.  Parts are string, repairs are far cheaper and quicker and if you want something even cheaper, then go for their semi rugged range instead.

All of the above products are ones that won’t let you down and that are designed to be quickly supported and repaired when needed.  The products themselves are also more than comparable with good quality parts and great functionality.  If we were talking cars then these devices would the Fords of the market not the cheap Chinese copies so next time you;rei n the market for something come talk to us and take a good look at some of the alternative kit you can buy.

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.