So what we call the lightweight Rugged PDA category here is probably still the most hard-fought area of our market with offerings like the MC65 from Motorola, CN50 from Intermec and BIP-5000 from Pidion now dominating a market that is proving the one customers naturally start from when choosing a rugged PDA.

So the Psion EP10 sits bang in this category and we wanted to just take a quick look at the spec sheet, pricing and other elements of the offering to see what is going on with it!

The Device

Like all Psion’s, we have no doubt that the device will be of a decent enough quality.  The IKON has a quality if nothing else and the Work about series from any age has a dedicated following that’s down to the longevity of the device.  The EP10 doesn’t fail us here with a bang up to date spec, in fact if anything a slightly more up to date spec than the newly launched Motorola MC65 which remains the biggest seller in this sector of Rugged Handhelds after taking over from the MC55.  The Cortex A8 CPU is an interesting choice (CPU that the iPhone 3G uses), it’s seen more in tablets and smartphones and it’s not a new CPU and whilst more comfortable in the company of Apples A4 and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 1GHz chip it isn’t massively better than the PXA320 or dual core Qualcomm it’s up against here.

Its size is at the upper end in this market if anything but we’re only talking the odd mm and the options are very similiar to competitor devices with keyboard, camera and snap in modules to boot.  In fact it looks too scarily like an MC65 for my liking!

IP54 and drop spec of 1.5M is lower end.  Most new devices are touting IP65 now so IP54 is disappointing and it means expect a lesser quality of device than the IKON.

The Price

Well you know that the playing field is not even here, it has somewhat killed the IKON in our view but our indicative pricing is showing that we’ll see pricing from £740 to about £850 depending on the config chosen.  For 1 unit, it’s competitive but only just and for larger orders we’ll probably be at the higher end unless Psion have changed how they do things here.

The Service

Our personal experience of psion service has not been great of recent.  This is pure fact not fiction and their iServ product continues to be expensive for the EP10 as far as we can see.  In fairness though Psion simply do not have the QTY’s of scale of sales to get near to the likes of Motorola just yet.  However what we do like about Psion devices right now is the engagement of the community and the fact the EP10 is something that has taken a more open sourced view of the product.  I do think this is the way forward and it means we can offer far more flexible help and service on products like this from here where we can be in control of excellent service to you guys!

The conclusion

OK, so the EP10 is the much needed mid range Rugged PDA that Psion has always wanted but other than this I can’t quite see what else it brings.  The trouble we’re finding is that everything else in this segment of the market has a USP whereas the Psion struggles a little bit.  It’s not the cheapest, it’s not the best quality, it has the same service products, same accessories and its spec is a mere mid-year evolution that is barely at the top and won’t be at the top for long.  Nothing radical and its a shame that Psion didn’t take the opportunity to do something different.  Where’s the big battery?  Where’s RFID? and where’s the 1 thing that would make people sit up and listen?  BTW a3.7″ LCD is barely noticeable in reality!  When you sell based on transparency and honesty, fitting a device exactly to your customers needs, there is nothing here really where we could say don’t buy the MC65 or BIP-5000 or even CN50.

We’ll get hold of one as soon as we can here and out it through its paces soon

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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