As you all know, we like to pit Rugged PDA’s up against each other and today we take the Casio IT-800 and pit it up against one the more established and competent devices that Pidion provide, namely the Pidion BIP-6000. Doing show downs like this helps customers to uncover the nuisances of devices, to scrape back the BS and to get to the real nitty-gritty of them which really counts when you have to live with them for 3 or more years.
We do the test fairly keeping the rules the same for each showdown, lets see how the Casio IT-800 faired against the best from Pidion.
Spec – Winner Pidion BIP-6000
The spec of the Casio is not up to the same level as the Pidion, it is generally of a lesser spec using an Xscale 624MHz CPU at its core. 128MB RAM is the minimum requirement for WM6.5 devices and the camera is a 2.0MP affair, although it does have AF.
The battery capacity options are small for the Casio IT-800 too. 1850mAh is almost smartphone in size and whilst the extended battery is 3700mAh this is still lower than most standard batteries of this class of device. We understand that mAh is not the be all and end all of battery performance but commenting on the mAh alone, the battery sizes are small against the Pidion’s.
The Pidion BIP-6000 in contrast is updated gracefully every 6-9 months and in current form has a bang up to date spec with 806MHz Xscale Processor, 256MB NAND RAM. The standard battery is 4400mAh (and a previous holder of or battery durability test), however there’s also a 5200mAh high capacity battery that gives a welcome boost, especially for RFID users of the device. If you’re worried, this battery fits into the exact same battery shell as the standard battery so no extra bumps on the device!!
Configuration – Winner BIP-6000
Both come with lots of configurations so you can remove expensive chips that you won’t use, like the phone and 3G. The Pidion however just edges this one as it simply has more options like keypad configs and also extra RFID options for HF, UHF and long rnage UHF. Whilst the BIP-6000 also has the latest Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 OS it can also be downgraded to WM6.1 for compatibility, Android versions and also RAM/ROM upgrades can be applied. It also has an HD “High Density” 2D bar code scanner option which allows you to scan the tiniest high density barcodes. Whilst this is a specialist level of scanning, it is still an extra now found on that Casio IT-800.
Service, Repair & Support – DRAW
We have removed this item from the blog temporarily until we clear up an issue with Casio.
Usability – Winner Pidion BIP-6000
The Pidion has 2 keyboard types so it’s already ahead on this test but even taking just the numeric keypad, the Pidion’s keys are nicer to use, with far better, reassuring feedback, there’s also more of them, with dedicated volume and camera buttons missing from the Casio. Both have dedicated function keys that can be mapped to macros or functions which is nice but the joy pad on the Casio is a bit fiddly in gloves, we like to see separate buttons for up/down/left/right on Rugged PDA’s here!
The Casio IT-800 has a slightly larger screen at 3.7″ to 3.5″ but you hardly notice that. Both are bright, respond well and are in fact Casio LCD’s anyway.
I would add that the Casio has a matt effect to the LCD which in bright sunlight was good to use. The LCD protectors that come in the box with the BIP-6000 did help with this but the Casio was ahead on this.
The hand strap and stylus on the Pidion are far nicer in our opinion. The Casio we had didn’t have a hand strap so we do not know if it has one as standard or not. Casio have commented and stated it does indeed have one so we stand corrected there! The BIP-600 still narrowly wins this one in our view.
Developer Friendly – DRAW
Both devices have extra applications and SDK’s for developers to program with. The Pidion’s is mature and full, the Casio’s is slightly smaller but it’s all there. I will admit we can’t be totally impartial on this as we have not used the Casio SDK anything like the Pidion, Motorola,Intermec or Psion ones. So with what we know in mind, this ones a clear draw.
Ruggedness – Winner BIP-6000
The Casio IT-800 is IP54, with a drop spec of 1.5M. The Pidion is IP65 with a MIL-STD 810F drop spec of 1.8M and also an operating temperature of -30 degrees. To be honest though the Pidion also “feels” far more rugged, it has double case seals, 8 screws securing the case and the keypad has a full screwed down facia to it like the better Motorola devices have. The Casio fights back with its tougher “impact resisting” LCD. This has a layer of impact absorbing material between the LCD and touch screen to stop LCD’s cracking. When we tested this it certainly saved the LCD but the touchscreen cracked. Maybe we did something wrong in our tests which, admitidly are more “real world” than “Scientific” so we might have got unlucky.
It’s novel tech anyway so if you’re interested in it there is a video on Casio’s site that shows this in action.
The Pidion’s touch screen is also raised from the LCD so this also protects the LCD from damage, whether it is better or worse than the Casio’s we simply didn’t see. In terms of overall ruggedness, this is a win for the BIP-6000.
I must add that we could not get any parts lists or any advice on roadmap of the casio device so whilst the BIP-6000 commits to parts and roadmaps in years not months or weeks, we have not got any advice on that for the Casio.
In the box – Winner Pidion BIP-6000
The Casio has the device and you add the battery as an extra. The Pidion has a choice of batteries, and everything you need to get you going including desktop cradle, LCD protector, power supplies and all the leads you need. It also currently comes with a free charge/Sync lead and vehicle charger solution.
Accessories – Winner Pidion BIP-6000
The Pidion has a plethora of proper rugged accessories like quad cradles, cases, leads and snap-ons but there’s also a healthy range of non-manufacturer provided parts too which is one of the marks of a successful and long-lived Rugged PDA in our opinion. The Casio has a few single slot desktop cradle options, a vehicle cradle, trigger handle and RFID snap ons (The Pidion is included in the device itself) so the accessory range of the Casio is not quite as extensive as the Pidion.
Price – Winner Pidion BIP-6000
Pidion’s have always been keenly priced and off the shelf pricing they beat the Casio easily coming in about £200 per device lower. On larger projects, it can get tricky talking about price as both companies have a project process. However if price is your key motive then the Pidion is the least expensive.
Quality – Winner Pidion BIP-6000
Usually this ones hard to judge and we call it a draw but in this case you only have to pick up the Rugged Handhelds to know which one is instantly more solid and will last longest. The Pidion also has a lot of rugged features that it has gathered over time like a grippy case, angled barcode readers, straps and tethers . Inside there’s also a lot of rubber grommets and rugged materials that mean the device is built rugged from its roots. In response the Casio IT-800 has a lighter and more plasticky feel to it in our opinion. It does have the extra protection that the “tuffscreen” gives it but it falls short of what the Pidion offers in our opinion.
Both devices use Casio screens which are bright and very nice to use.
USP’s – Winner BIP-6000
The BIP-6000 has many firsts to its name. It was the first Rugged PDA to sport HF RFID fully embedded. It was the first Rugged PDA to develop an Android OS and this highlights the main issue with Casio in our view. The devices are not only very old in their spec but there’s no development going on or a community of resellers that are helping push it, probably due to the way Casio do business.
Before you think we’re a Pidion loving hugger, go check the last showdown where the BIP-5000 got a rightful bashing, to prove we remain impartial at all times here. The Casio IT-800 is a clear loser in this battle, but don;t forget that the Pidion BIP-6000 is a very hardened and mature rugged PDA.
The Rugged and Mobile blog.