Handheld computers are an integral part of the modern workforce and rugged models are particularly well suited to a variety of industries. With so many devices on the market, search for the perfect rugged handheld computer can be challenging. You’re likely looking for a durable construction that can withstand jolts, shocks, drops, vibration, dirt, liquids, and extreme temperatures. Naturally, apart from military-grade physical features, a handheld computer needs to remain a functional device capable of capturing data using cameras, scanners, or MSR technology. A daylight display and long battery life are a must for outdoor workers and extra-long shifts.
At Energy Electronics, we understand your need for an advanced device resistant to any extreme conditions and we offer a selection of rugged handheld computers. Below, you’ll find detailed reviews of some of the top picks of 2021, as well as our brief verdict. Such devices are usually purchased for business needs, so we accept bulk orders for any of the computers in our guide. Fill in a contact form found at the bottom of this page to request a quote.
1. Sonim RS60
Sonim is a name synonymous with durability. All of their device carry the classification of ultra-rugged as they’re built to the toughest standards, using industry-leading materials. Their RS60 handheld computer and scanner is no exception, providing you with a reliable and advanced companion that remains lightweight and compact.
The device features an IP-67 waterproof protocol and MIL-STD-810G military-grade protection against any physical damage such as jolts, shocks, drops, bumps, and vibrations. It operates in temperatures from -4F to 131F with up to 95% humidity and can be safely stored in even more extreme conditions.
In terms of size, the Sonim RS60 has a full HD 6’’ display that’s large enough for convenient use, protected by Gorilla Glass 3 and anti-fingerprint coating. And it’s both sunlight readable as well as glove and wet-finger optimized.
The Android 10 platform makes operating the RS60 a simple and easy process. Another advantage is the 8000 mAh Li-ion removeable battery and quick charge 3.0 support. This gives keeps the RS60 powered for extra-long shifts, without needing to recharge.
As far as connectivity is concerned, there are two nano-SIM slots and a Wi-Fi calling feature so you can stay connected from any work location. For EMT and emergency workers, the Push-to-Talk functionality allows instant communication between devices. You can also easily share files using Bluetooth 4.2 and NFC. In addition, the advanced GPS functionality ensures that you won’t get lost, no matter where your job leads you.
The device also features a barcode scanner trigger that’s especially beneficial for professionals working in manufacturing, warehouses, or logistics. Not only that, but the barcode scanner can recognize even worn-out barcodes and performs in low lighting. There are also programmable hard keys that allow you to customize the user experience to your preference and simplify daily work operations.
To sum it up, the Sonim RS60 provides you with all the required equipment in one smart device, including ambient light and proximity sensors, accelerometer, e-compass, barometer, and barcode scanner. The 4G LTE support and the compact design makes the RS60 easy to transport and fully functional, no matter the location. It’s an ideal option for industries such as warehousing, courier services, and construction.
2. Sonim RS80
Alongside the RS60 Handheld, Sonim also launched their RS80, which combines all the necessary features in a slim, yet rugged tablet. While larger than the average rugged handheld computer, the RS80 is lightweight in design, weighing just under 1.5 pounds.
Gorilla Glass 3 protects the 8’’ Full HD display from drops and bumps. In addition to the anti-fingerprint coating, the display also supports glove and wet touch modes. Even with the larger the screen size, the RS80 can still fit comfortably in one hand, unlike many of the rugged tablets on the market.
In terms of build, the fully-rugged construction features IP-67 ratings and MIL-STD-810G military standard protection that allows you to use the R80 in any condition. Additionally, the device remains operational in temperatures from -4F to 131F and can be safely submerged in harsh chemical agents such as bleach and alcohol.
The RS80 supports 4G LTE and is FirstNet and Push-to-Talk enabled, making it ideal for EMT and fire service organizations. Bluetooth 4.2, Wi-F, advanced GPS, and NFC ensure that you can share files and find your way whenever necessary.
Battery life is another crucial factor for any computer used in harsh conditions that often lack charging stations. The Sonim RS80 features an 8200 mAh Li-ion battery that lasts all day and can be easily replaced. The device also supports fast charging via USB-C.
Powered by Android 10 and equipped with programmable hard keys, you can easily tailor the user experience to your personal needs. With two high-definition cameras, workers can easily capture and transmit vital data from any work scene. Additionally, the Sonim RS80 incorporates enterprise-level ambient light and proximity sensors, a barcode scanner, accelerometer, e-compass, gyro, and barometer. In short, all the tools needed to get the job done.
Overall, the Sonim RS80 is combines the features of a rugged handheld computer in a tablet form with a large display. With all the necessary features you can easily customize the RS80 to fit your workflow. The physical protection is top notch, and the integrated scanner makes it perfect for any operation that involves barcode capture. This model would work well for professionals working in tough conditions such as law enforcement, healthcare, and field service.
3. Honeywell CT60 XP
Honeywell CT60 XP is a compact, rugged device designed for users that require secure data collection and processing. The device runs on Mobility Edge platform and is compatible with Android versions 9 and up.
The main advantage of this handheld computer is the Security Technical Implementation Guide recognition by the Defense Information Systems Agency. Simply put, your sensitive data is always safe with Honeywell CT60 XP.
As for physical protection, this computer can withstand multiple drops from 8ft to concrete, 3.3ft tumbles, and features IP65 dust resistance and IP68 waterproof protocols. It works in extreme temperatures from -4F to 122F with up to 95% humidity.
This device is fully touch-operated with no physical controls apart from the power and volume keys. It does lack customization options like ones found in Sonim devices, so that’s something to consider. However, the Honeywell CT60 XP does come with plenty of other useful features. The 4.7’’ display is readable under direct sunlight and protected with Gorilla Glass 5. It also recognizes gloves, wet fingers, and stylus. The device comes with a single rear camera that helps you capture the most interesting or important work-related moments.
The Honeywell CT60 XP features a 4040 mAh Li-ion battery that’s sufficient for a normal working day. Bluetooth 5.0 and GPS network connectivity allow you to share data and easily navigate the quickest route. And FlexRange technology captures barcodes even at longer distances, providing high-class scanning performance.
If you’re looking for a compact, rugged computer to use primarily for barcode scanning, Honeywell CT60 XP works well. The battery only provides half the power than that of competitors from Sonim. However, it features a newer Bluetooth version and a slightly better Gorilla Glass protection. Bear in mind the native operating system when making a decision, though the device does also support Android.
4. Honeywell CT40 XP
The Honeywell CT40 XP is a slightly simpler brother model of CT60 XP for professionals who require a reliable scanning and file-sharing tool, but don’t need excessive data protection.
The main pro of this rugged handheld computer is the lightweight form-factor. This model looks like a regular smartphone, with a 5’’ display. Of course, it’s still a rugged device that can withstand multiple drops from 6ft height to concrete. It can also operate in temperatures from -4F to -122F with up to 95% humidity.
Just like CT60 XP, this device works on the Mobility Edge platform with Android support starting from the 9.1 version. Two cameras, front-facing 8-megapixel and rear 13-megapixel allow you to receive video calls and take images that you can share via Bluetooth 5.0.
The device features a 4020 mAh Li-ion battery that can last the whole working day. FlexRange scanning technology can recognize and capture barcodes from a few centimeters distance. The Honeywell CT40 XP also supports third-party applications such as MDM, Push to Talk, and VoIP for maximum workflow efficiency. Additionally, BLE beacon functionality allows you to easily allocate a lost device even if the battery is drained.
With the Honeywell CT40 you’re getting similar specs to the CT60 but a slightly less rugged version. The compact size and pistol grip accessories make it an ideal choice for warehouse workers in particular who regularly process large amounts of barcodes.
Each of the above-mentioned options is a great professional rugged handheld computer that’s capable of performing in the roughest conditions. However, we’d like to mark Sonim RS80 as the clear winner of this selection due to a large convenient display, programmable keys, and the longest battery life. If you’re looking for a more compact computer, RS60 provides the same military-grade physical protection and advanced functionality with BLE support that helps to avoid your device getting lost.
Contact a Sales Rep
Need help choosing the best device for your business? Reach out to Energy Electronics for more information and bulk quotes. One of our sales reps would be happy to provide a custom recommendation that best suites your business needs.