OK so today we’re showing you our top 5 Large Rugged PDA’s and these slightly more brutish devices are generally the choice  where bigger batteries and more ruggedness is required.  Whilst on paper these devices don’t seem more rugged than the lightweight class below it but then take a look at the subtleties of what their size brings, the overall ruggedness of their design and the fact that they are just built to be tougher for tougher environments and you begin to see their USP in the market.

Now one note I would say is that this list could be slightly different in a specific solution scenario.  For instance the Trimble would be the best by a mile if you needed devices for steamy tropical environments and the Intermec is going to give you the best battery life (Although the BIP-6000 runs it close).  So read the comments below and alter as you need or come talk to us here.  We’re seeing a lot of customers opt for the lightweight rugged PDA these days so sales are down on this class compared to a few years ago but they still have their place and these are our top 5 below.

1. Pidion BIP-6000

A second Pidion at the top of another top 5 list!, Pidion continue to grow and we continue to grow with them but we remain totally agnostic and true to our roots here so the devices really are standing on their own 2 feet.  The Pidion BIP-6000 is top because like the BM170 they have got the whole thing sorted out.  Firstly the device is superb, as soon as you pick it up it exudes quality whilst the spec drips with features.  Sales are very strong across Europe and growing here fast and this is the only device here that has a built in HF RFID reader option.  The service is complete, the device tops our battery test here and its the best value for money by far with cradle and all leads in the box at a £700-800 typical price.  People love this device when they see it and they never look back once they have it.  Its number 1 here by a fair margin not a slither.  Come and have a look at one and judge for yourself, you’ll be surprised what else is out there.

2. Motorola MC75A

It wouldn’t be a top 5 without a Motorola would it and the MC75 comes in here because it’s simply too old, too normal and doesn’t offer enough above and beyond the MC55 it sits above in the Motorola MC series and its hard to sell this device due to this.  It’s dependable however, has a decent battery, has decent service but it’s fast becoming nothing special in a class that needs something special!  Its expensive, leaving you with little change from £1000 for the most basic model, £1400 for a typical model and it’s getting outsold by the rest in this top 5 now other than the IKON.  It’s here because it’s a good all-rounder and it’s still the bench mark device in this class with lots of 3rd party add ons being available but there is better I’m afraid.

3. Intermec CN70

The CN70 series is brand new and a series of devices aimed squarely at cementing Intermec’s position at the top of the board when it comes to quality at certain level of QTY.  The CN70 from Intermec is definitely the best quality for the money here but it’s not just the IP67 rating or general ruggedness of the device.  The service is great, I mean it truly makes you feel valued, the software and support application family around Intermec devices is fantastic, taking care of a lot of provisioning and management needs and the technology going into Intermec devices at the moment is beyond that of the rest here.  For instance the way the CN70 sips power means it can have a slightly smaller battery than the rest in this class but first tests are showing that this device is going to smash our battery record when we test it to the full.  I have said this before and will say it again, the CN70 is going to be a real contender in this with only a Motorola and above price level being the major hurdle for customers.

4. Trimble Nomad

This raised an argument but it’s here because we sell more than we realise and in the right place it’s a great choice.  We had to find some way of getting a Trimble in our top 5 lists too because it would somehow be wrong if we didn’t.  If you need a properly rugged waterproof device then this is it.  From £600 upwards you can choose from loads of configurations (Yellow is an option too!) and people who buy these stick with them for years.  Trimble are one of those manufacturers who just work for some customers and become the natural choice.  We sell these to forestry people, water based people and it’s the only option if you need anything like accurate GPS for your project.

5. Psion IKON

Oh the Psion IKON!!  This is here because take the Psion logo off it, put a Motorola one on it and it would sell like hot cakes.  Brand aside you get a very rugged device, small-ish for this class with a 3.7″ LCD, and whopping 5500mAh battery to boot which is class leading on size, if not quite on actual hours (held by Pidion BIP-6000).  The IKON has great support products, it has the best developer community outside of Motorola’s and we can’t really understand why we don’t sell more…..then we scratch deeper and do…..because it’s a Psion.  If they sorted out their distribution, levelled the playing field so it was fair for all resellers and helped the experts (not the big boys) then they’d pick up more support and they’d sell more.  It’s number 5 here despite all this because we love Psion devices here and on a technical level the IKON is very good indeed.  It is expensive though with service products almost double that of Motorola’s and a device that’s almost as much as it.  It has potential but in this company it doesn’t seem to me as having a distinct USP or reason to buy though.

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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