16 Rules You Should Consider Before Buying a Rugged Handheld Computer

If you want to choose a rugged handheld computer for a project, it will be an important decision, especially you want to purchase in a big quantity. You need the make sure the handheld device can meet your needs, provides good productivity, and is a good investment.

There are so many rugged handheld devices options available, it is hard to make a decision. So in order to make the process a much easier, we listed 16 rules that you should check before purchasing a rugged handheld computer. If you check out each of these items, you will find yourself more professional on what to look for in a rugged handheld computer. You can always contact us for some more advice as well.

rugged handheld computer

What do you need to be accomplished in the job?

  • First, thinking about the entire procedure that need to be accomplished, including everything from the office, to the road between work sites, to the field, along with required periodic maintenance or service, etc. Choose a handheld with the functions that you need, not necessarily functions you could possibly need in the future, and not only what you are using in the past.

Which level of quality do you need in the handheld?

  • Some rugged handheld computers are cheaper and some are more expensive, but you need to consider that paying less for a low quality handheld now might mean you will need to replace it very quickly. Whereas paying a bit more for a high quality handheld that will work reliably for years may be worth the extra cost.

Which level of ruggedness do you need?

  • Will the handheld computer be used outdoors or exposed to water, dust, extreme temperatures, or other harsh environment? If so, you will want a handheld computer with a high level of ruggedness, which includes an IP67 or IP68 rating for dust and water, drop-proof, a wide operating temperature range, and a sunlight readable display that is high-visibility.
  • If the handheld computer will not be used in those types of conditions, then a less rugged handheld with IP65 or IP54 will suffice.

What kind of data protection do you need?

  • How valuable is your data? Is it OK with you to lose some data collected? If not, choose a handheld that offers hot-swap, so when you are changing the battery, the data will not lose.

What factor will be best for your application?

  • Consider the type of information you’ll regularly view on your handheld computer. If you’ll be viewing maps or other imagery-rich content, or even if you simply want as large an area to view your data as possible, you may want to select a handheld computer with a larger display. Otherwise, a smaller, more compact handheld computer may meet your needs perfectly.

Does the handheld computer have the operating system that you need?

  • Check which OS you need to work with your solution, Windows or Android.

Will the handheld computer work with your software?

  • Related to the above, ensure that the handheld you’re considering is compatible with the software you’ll be using.

Do you need a physical keyboard on the handheld computer?

  • Will you use your handheld computer to collect large amounts of data? If so, you will probably need a handheld computer with a physical keyboard. The keyboard will make it easier and faster to collect large volumes of data. See the other benefits of physical keyboards here.

What kind of touch screen do you want?

  • Rugged handheld computer come in 2 different touch screens: Normal and High sensitive. For High sensitive touch screen, you can operate it with gloves or water.

What kind of battery power do you need?

  • Choose a handheld computer with enough battery power to work at least a working day (8 hours). But maybe you want to have a easier charging way, just like wireless charging or DC charging.

What kind of ports do you need for attaching accessory devices?

  • Do you need ports for Micro USB, Mini USB, RS232, HDMI, audio, etc.? Make sure the handheld computer has the necessary ports for attaching any accessory devices you will need.

How is the display visibility?

  • Make sure the rugged handheld computer has a display that will perform well outdoors, in bright sunlight.

What kind of connectivity do you need?

  • Do you need Bluetooth®, Wi-Fi®, GPS, radio, RFID, or cellular? Make sure you choose a handheld computer that supports the connectivity you need.

Do you want a handheld computer that is serviceable, meaning you can send it in for repair if necessary, or do you want a “break-and-replace” handheld?

  • Some handheld computers, such as Bright Alliance’s, are able to be repaired in the case of damage, whereas other handheld computers cannot be repaired and must be replaced. You’ll have to decide which type of handheld computers is best for you.

What level of support do you need for my handheld?

  • If customization service is important to your project, looking for a handheld company that can offer that. Some companies, just like Bright Alliance, keep all of their operations, making their entire pool of resources available and accessible whenever customers have a need. Other companies outsource some or many of their operations, or offer very limited, if any support. Consider if you’d benefit from having a high level of support available to you or not.

What kind of warranty do you want?

  • Most rugged handhelds come with 1- or 2-year warranties. Check the warranty on the handheld you’re considering before you buy.

Still can’t decide on a rugged handheld? Contact us and we’ll be happy to help.


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