Ruggedized Devices

The Perfect Companion for Field Professionals

Author: Rene Tse



Every field professional whether gathering swimming with the Dolphins experiences, counting trees in the forest doing inventory, training survival skills in the wilderness needs to have one all-purpose ruggedized mobile device. The problem is that many ruggedized handheld computers can cost up to $2200. Getting a new rugged device is exciting and also can be a nuisance. It's exciting because it means you can dunk it in water, drop it, expand memory, connect it to the Internet and run Windows mobile operating system. The nuisance comes with not knowing which rugged mobile device to buy. Ruggedized mobile devices afford us yet unseen possibilities. They'll withstand harsh weather conditions such as: shock, vibration, humidity, altitude and extreme temperatures. If you plan ahead by reading this article and the reviews below, you can avoid potential problems and save time. Make sure to write down a wish list of what features are important to you. We reveal what the pros and cons are of owning a ruggedized handheld computer.

Pros: The Ultimate in Protection and Wireless Connectivity

Field professionals can now work faster than ever using a ruggedized handheld. The features and advantages of a ruggedized device include:

Cons: It's not all good news though

Disadvantages include, ruggedized mobile devices tend to:

Controls on the ruggedized mobile devices below are wonderfully simple for fast navigation ease-of-use. Whether you'll be doing inventory control, factory work or collecting data in the field, you will need basic skills to operate a Pocket PC.

The Windows mobile 5.0 ruggedized handhelds featured in this article comes with everything you need.

In The Field - Ecom X20 EXi.roc series
An Ecom device

If you're going to be working with explosives or unlucky enough to be doing fieldwork in a land mine, you'll definitely want buy an Ecom X20 EXi.roc 620 model. The Ecom X20 EXi.roc ruggedized device will not detect where a line mine is if you happen to be standing close to it. As long as you will not be standing beside a bomb and it happens to explode while you have the Ecom X20 EXi.roc in your hand, the x20 roc PDA will withstand and survive an explosion if it occurs. The high performance industrial PDA from Ecom comes in three models: 420, 520 and 620. The Ecom X20 EXi PDA will also stand up to dust and moisture. The first thing you'll notice about to the Ecom X20 EXi PDA is that it is powerful for its compact size which is 19.4 ounces for the 420 and 520 model; 24.6 ounces for the 620 model. All Ecom X20 EXi.roc series runs on the Windows MobileTM operating system has 64 megabytes of RAM, a 128 MB of flash ROM storage, and Intel Xscale 520 megahertz processor. Another practical feature about the high performance industrial PDA from Ecom is that you won't become fatigued with continuous use of the ruggedized device. A fully charged battery will give you 15 hours of use. An integrated WLAN, USB, Bluetooth TM and an IrDA port is available for you to connect wirelessly to the Internet.

Intermec CK60 & CN30

Intermec CK 60

Intermec hit a bullet in the chamber by introducing the CK 60 and CN30 model recently. The CK 60 model is to your left shown in the diagram courtesy of You'll notice shown in the diagram there are two rubberized bumpers on each corner of the Intermec CK 60 redeye's device. Intermec's new baby, the CK 60 model very simply has permanently redefine ruggedized devices with the next generation processor technologies; an Intel XScale 520 MHz processor, 64 MB of RAM, 128 MB flash ROM storage and 32 key or 50 key keypad, Bluetooth and WiFi, a 5232 port, host for/client USB port, Microsoft® Windows® CE or Microsoft Windows Mobile™ operating system, QVGA display with touch screen enables both text-based and graphical interface applications. The Intermec CK 60 case is sealed against water and dust to IP64 standards and can withstand repeated 6' drops.

Intermec 750 b & 700 series - One Step Ahead

Another Intermec

The Intermec 730B runs on Microsoft® Windows® Mobile software for Pocket PC and can be upgraded to include a high-speed linear image scanner to read bar codes. The 750 be model runs on a Lithium-Ion, 3.6V (1 x 2400 mAh cell) battery. The charge time is only four hours and can give you six to 10 hours of use. The Intermec 730B PDA can withstand: 5 foot drop, temperatures between -10° to 55° C (+14° to 131° F), Relative Humidity of between 5% to 95%. The 730B Mobile Computer has a microprocessor: Intel® Xscale™ PXA255 Applications Processor 400 MHz, internal memory of 64 MB RAM and 64 MB Flash ROM; also includes ROM folder for application storage. It features 802.11b WLAN (Wi-Fi® certified) radio and integrated Bluetooth capability. Not only will this 730B Mobile Computer with stand falls, moisture and drops but also come with the following accessories: portable and vehicle-mounted printers, vehicle dock, desktop connectivity dock, desktop dock with integrated modem, charge-only Multi-dock, battery pack chargers and scanning handles. There's another model called the Intermec 730 I-safe model which will also withstand an environment where there are flammable gases, combustible dust or ignitable fibers.

Juniper Systems Archer Field PC - Winner of the 2006 Intel TIA Mobility Award
The Juniper Archer

The Juniper Archer is the kind of ruggedized device I've been trying to find for a long time. It can withstand: humidity, sand and dust, vibration, altitude, shock, high temperature, low temperature, temperature shock. The Archer PDA is also: waterproof to IP67 and shockproof. The housing is a tough magnesium case rough enough to take outdoors in most harsh weather conditions. Not only is it robust and powerful, the lithium battery pack will give me 20 hours of continuous use where the nearest AC outlet is a city block or country away. You can easily change the battery in the field without tools which is very handy. The Juniper archer field professional is ergonomically sculpted making it easy to hold in my hand. The large, tactile, tough, backlit keys makes it easy for me to read the co-ordinance of where I'm located. The Juniper Archer comes with an Intel XScale PXA270 operating at 520 MHz and runs on a Microsoft® Windows Mobile 5.0 operating system, with 64 MB of RAM, 128 MB flash ROM storage. The Juniper Archer has a TFT active matrix color display with backlight giving you excellent visibility in all lighting conditions. The Juniper comes with wireless via Bluetooth® technology, Wi-Fi and modems. You can upgrade to have Internal Bluetooth® capability. It runs mobile versions of Microsoft Excel®, Internet Explorer®, Word®.

Tds Ranger Series - What A Smart Buy
The Tripod Data Systems Ranger

The real ground breaker, as far as the field professional marketplace is concerned, is stunning TDS Ranger 300x, 500x, 400x, 200x, and nx series. The 200x Recon TDS model starts at $1,234.05. For the TDS ranger 300x model, prices start and $2300. The cat is out of the bag. The TDS ranger 300x, 500x, NX runs on the Windows mobile 5.0 operating system with an Intel XScale 5.2 MHz processor or 312 MHz for the (300x & NX series). The TDS ranger 500x comes with 128 MB of RAM, 512 MB of flash ROM storage. The 300x TDS ranger on the other hand comes with 64 MB of RAM, 256 MB of flash ROM storage. Bluetooth comes standard on the 500x series. It's an optional upgrade for 300x series and currently not available for the TD ranger NX model. Wi-Fi is optional on both the 500x and 300x and not available for the NX model. All TD ranger: 300x, 500x and NX organize devices comes with 53 key integrated keyboard and 30 hour battery life under normal conditions.

The better ruggedized handhelds like the advanced TDS ranger and the Juniper archer PC professional can certainly take some abuse. They can be dropped or rained on. If the job site is outdoors it can be really hot or really cold. You'll also want your ruggedized device to be ergonomically sculpted making it easy for you to input data when you are out in the field. For these kind of industrial conditions, a standard PDA won't perform for you. That is why you will want to consider either the TDS ranger series handheld computer or the Juniper archer PC professional when shopping for a ruggedized handheld computer. Both the TDS ranger and the Juniper archer PC professional are for the really serious "enthusiast" and the field professional.

Copyright © Rene Tse, the founder and president of the website: tmobile cell phone deals.

Rene Tse is on the look out for mobile devices to enhance her productivity. This website cuts to the chase and has valued information on: family cell phone plans and which is the best Geo caching solution available for your Linux PDA, Pocket PC or smart phone.

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Last edited Tue Apr 03 00:42:04 2007.