To round off our top 5 picks this week of blogging we’re going to look at Rugged PDA’s for hospitals or lab environments.

We’re servicing more and more NHS customers and we think we have a good idea of what Hospital PDA clients are looking for so what does a device need to look like for this category?  Firstly and rather surprisingly we’re not going to consider “Anti-Microbial” coated devices.  Despite being aimed squarely at hospitals, we’re being told by most we talk to that these are not desirable to them any longer.  Odd it may seem….fact it is.  The Rugged PDA’s in this category need to be small and light with multiple ways to carry devices.  Remember that nurses, doctors and bedside staff tend to wear scrubs that have no pockets and elasticized trousers!  The devices need barcode scanning ability, but if it can be specced out this is a bonus.  WiFi is important here so Summit or Cisco approved chips and software to help keep connected to the NHS wireless LAN is a must and lastly the devices need to be WAN-less (No GSM/3G) as they are used largely indoors but again the option is useful to have for some staff who tend to work outside the LAN area.

Our top 5 currently are:

Janam XM66

The Janam XM66 ticks pretty much all the boxes.  Its small, light has a large screen and multiple keyboard options.  The device has a great battery, warehouse style charging cradles which make it easy to not forget to charge them up and the device has a neat carry holster that can be strapped so no belts of pockets are needed.  The Xm66 is WLan only but it is Cisco CCX approved and works very well and interestingly you can also spec out the BT and WiFi on some models making this device radio-less which is useful for some areas of the Hospital.  The scanner can be specced as none, 1D or 2D as a firmware upgrade which means you can invest in 1D now and worry about 2D later which is a bonus to hospitals where money is always keen.  They even do an antimicrobial version but don’t tell the NHS that!!  The price is around the £500 mark for the none scanner option.

Pidion BM170

The Pidion BM170 is being sold into a number of NHS clients and we first started selling it to the engineering teams where jobs were being picked up by cleaning and repair teams across the hospitals.  However due to its small size, super lightweight and carry case options the medical side of things are starting to look closely at this device and the BM150R too for WM6.1 requirements.  The BM170 comes in WAN and WAN-less formats, and is a very good all round Semi-Rugged PDA that is a compelling solution at under £500.

Motorola MC5590 / MC55A0

This device is the MC55 without a GSM/GPRS WAN chip and a better WLan cip making it a very strong device for indoor use.  The new model has an AB coating as an option and where we’ve tested this it has done very well indeed.  It is the largest device here but for those needing something a bit more substantial, it is the best choice/.  It’s the most expensive device here.

Honeywell 6100

This is the only Honeywell in our top 5 lists, maybe if they stopped focussing on bespoke devices for UPS in the states they might remember they have other customers here in Europe and they have let go of the button somewhat in my view.  However Honeywell does have roots firmly in the medical market and correct me if I’m wrong I think they invented the Anti-microbial devices (Shhhh I didn’t say that!).  The 6100 is everything you need again here.  Small, light, rugged.  The Windows CE OS is what probably hampers it most but i the right ands this is a compelling product.  It has a good price point at £600 but remember no Windows Mobile here.

Partnertech OT-100

The curveball here as the OT-100 is not suited to medical scenarios at all.  However it is suited well for more hospitality type solutions which are gaining popularity in schools and hospitals.  It is rugged enough to wash under a tap, despite looking like an iPhone and it does have a Windows Mobile version now making it perfect for certain portering and bedside care solutions.  We’re also looking at the tertiary market with this device and it is holding up.  It doesn’t sell in numbers but the 4.3″ LCD is nice and it does have some unique features that make it worth a look depending on what you’re using the device for and feedback has been that this device is perceived by patients as less intimidating due to its look, take that comment as you want.

We did consider Socket Somo, but they’re all over the place at the moment with direct sales appearing on their website and through Expansys, an aging device and little in the way of distributor support which all leads to increased risk in our view.  Their solutions for scanning are not great, not rugged and the devices here do it far better now at a cheaper price.

That’s it we’ll do another top 5 listing later in the year that will update our views and of course keep you in the know!

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.