Cipherlab CP50 tested

There’s been a whole raft of rugged PDA’s come out the past few months but we’re always careful to only review ones when they’re ready, not when they say they are!  One such PDA is the Cipherlab CP50, which is selling and we have been playing around with for a week now and I wanted to share with you what we think about the new device.


To position the Cihperlab CP50 properly it’s Cipherlabs mid sized rugged offering. It sits above the CPT9200 but the CP60 is a bigger better device. So for us it’s kind of mid-way between the classic lightweight rugged class where the Pidion HM50, Motorola MC65 and Intermec CN50 sit and the larger class BIP-6000 or MC75A etc. What’s for sure is that the size and shape bring something slightly different.


So on to what we like about the CP50:

  • Shape – The shape of the device is nice. Its nice to hold, the main functional buttons are in the right place and the qwerty keypad was usable.  We were a bit confused around the Fn key and what it did but the CP50 is largely quite user friendly.
  • Despite being fairly small, the battery did seem to last. We didn’t test the battery fully but we did get a full 8 hours+ from it over a few days.
  • 2GB ROM storage memory is nice to see in a Windows Mobile device and will certainly help with any solution.
  • HF internal RFID reader option.
  • Decent 1D laser scanner.
  • Nice build quality, the device does feel tough and decent quality in the hand.


  • Despite being a nice shape to hold, we did find the CP50 a bit big compared to rivals. See the image below.
  • I don’t know what it is about handstraps right now but the Cipherlab CP50’s is yet another one that’s got a bit fussy!  It has a dual point Velcro fastening affair which we found hard to get right, you had to adjust it every time someone else used the device and also when replacing the battery.
  • Cipherlab “sign” software seems to just be a simple app with an image panel you can save as a BMP.
  • We found the CP50 a little bit slow to use.  It wasn’t glitchy or super slow but it hasn’t got the greatest core spec to be honest and you could tell during use.


There’s everything most people will need including vehicle options, cables and a trigger handle. No quad cradle kit but for a mobile “field based” device there’s pretty much everything you need.


There’s 10 different configs you can buy so you’re sure to find a CP50 that fits your business needs and pocket.  These give you a choice of 3G or WiFI only, qwerty/numeric keypad, 1D or 2D barcode scanner and HF RFID.

In the box

In the box is the device, battery, LCD protector, stylus, tether, handstrap, USB charge/sync lead and global power supply.


Price-wise the Cipherlab CP50 isn’t going to be headline news at all. Starting at about £670 you get the base spec device with laser scanner, but add 3G/phone, and this rises to about £850 which puts the CP50 only slightly under equivalent pricing from Motorola and Intermec (roughly £1000-1100), a tickly under the Honeywell Dolphin 7800 but way over the price of a Pidion, Dotel or Winmate device which are typically around the £600-700 mark for a fully specced device.

Service, repair and warranty

All repair services are done from Cipherlabs centre in Leeds, UK.  It’s good, they talk to us and things get done pretty quickly.  So warranty-wise they’re definitely better than anything we don’t repair ourselves here, and there are also a range of service based uplifts you can add on.


We’ve decided that the best way to describe the Cipherlab CP50 is as an “honest PDA.” There’s nothing wrong with it, it’s not the latest and greatest but it has a solid build, it fits in with the latest Cipherlab range and we can’t really see anyone being unhappy with it unless they had a really demanding application. It’s not going to set any hearts racing, the size and shape will be liked by some, not by others and it’s a shame that the CP50 isn’t as super-a-device as the CPT9200 and CP60 but it does work.

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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