We normally do a first look with new devices but in this case the Honeywell Dolphin 60S took us a little by surprise as our first demo units arrived, so instead we’ve been playing and tinkering with the new small rugged PDA to see exactly what the fuss is all about.
The D60S is first and foremost what we call a “small rugged PDA”. The give aways are that it has a 2.8″ screen, it’s rugged (more on that in a minute) and it also has a barcode scanner built-in. However as part of Honeywell’s “Scan phone” offering, the idea is that the Dolphin 60S enters Honeywell’s range as a more budget offering.
But what about the Dolphin 6000
The Dolphin 6000 is a really cheap budget rugged PDA. It’s barely rugged, has 1 model type and has been specifically designed to use the cheapest, often Chinese innovated equipment and what you get is what you get. The D60S is designed to give people a choice in the small rugged handheld arena so there’s just enough there to warrant the new model coming in and it will stand side by side with the Dolphin 6000, or at least that’s all we know right now. I’d think if the 6000 as the cheap budget experiment and the D60S as forming more of the base line for the Dolphin field based rugged PDA’s.
Currently the D60S comes in 4 of configurations so you can buy the model that suits your business best. Choose either numeric or qwerty keypad in both Wifi only or full GSM/3G spec. The device is also a little more rugged in the hand than the Dolphin 6000. Sure it’s still only IP54 and has a 1.2M drop spec but it actually does feel like it would withstand more in the hand and a more in-depth tumble spec shows that a little more thought has gone into ruggedness on this device. It’s certainly going to last longer than a Motorola ES400 that’s for sure.
The battery is also nice and big, although an odd shape that’ll make it awkward to carry spares around for. However 3340mAh is going to be ample for most to keep this device running all day. We also like to see a proper rugged connect on the device too. There is a micro-USB connector on the side but this is for occasional use and the Honeywell rugged connector is present to all for more rugged snap on chargers that will withstand the every day abuse mobile workers will dish out to their device!
The barcode scanner is a budget 1D/2D affair and it did pretty well, scanning everything we could throw at it. A nice feature is the pure white light it throws out which will aid scanning but there was no red/green lights to improve contrast and the beam was very wide so it made aiming a difficult process. It’s going to frustrate you if you are scanning barcodes in a confined area.
The Cortex A8 800MHz CPU, 256/512 RAM/ROM config and Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 aren’t going to light anyone’s fire but in the hand the device felt speedy enough as it ran our apps and took calls and made emails without any drama.
We tested both keypads and they were nicer to use, the qwerty one is of course fiddly on such a small device but again it was way better than the ES400’s although fell short of the Pidion HM40’s which has space between it’s keys.
So the pricing is disappointing with the WiFi only versions starting at around £415 and the GSM/3G versions starting at £555. We think the D60S has missed a trick here and could have stole a lot more sales from the ES400 and HM40 if the pricing was a little lower. These devices are both sub £500. The quality of the D60S isn’t any different than the HM40 for instance in our opinion and the Pidion brand is probably also worth more these days as a focussed rugged provider.
The D60S will be adopted here so we’ll be adding it to our Warranty+ products so you can get 5 day warranty repairs for very little. You can;t get the full gamut of Honeywell services but there is a 1 and 3 year comprehensive cover product available if you want more.
The device looks very nice and it’s well put together which is what you’d expect from a Honeywell Dolphin series device and it has everything you need in a small rugged PDA. However it’s not as rugged as it could be, the spec is in the budget area and the price doesn’t reflect that. I think it’s hard to buy a poor rugged PDA these days as long as you make sure the support is there for you so with that in mind, the Honeywell Dolphin 60S is a decent little device but there is now better out there for less money.