handheld computing device with scanner

If you’ve ever set up a smartphone, setting up a handheld computing device should be easy. Most of the functions are set up via the Settings app/menu preinstalled on the device.

Also, the user interface is friendly and familiar because many handheld computers use a version of Android.

This article provides you with a step-by-step guide on how to complete the setup. Plus, you’ll learn more about some of the best handheld computers on the market.

But first, it pays to explore some of the benefits of using such a device.

Why Use a Handheld Computing Device for Business?

handheld computing device with all keypad buttons

Handheld devices are invaluable in logistics and warehouse settings because they boost productivity, accuracy, and transparency.

The critical information you need on the go is instantly accessible via a handheld computer. In warehouses, that translates to orders getting picked up much faster. Plus, it removes the need for workers to keep checking the data at a standalone workstation.

Handheld computers are commonly connected to the operational ERP of a company. That’s what improves the accuracy and it makes picking orders almost effortless. But the biggest takeaway is that these computers make paperwork a thing of the past, thus minimizing the chances for human error.

Transparency-wise, you should know that a handheld computer is actually a device to accurately collect data on the spot. As such, it provides higher-quality data input and transparency.

Accordingly, you can keep tabs on the materials and products throughout the supply chain, predict potential bottlenecks, and be proactive in preventing them. All of which helps you improve your bottom line, ordering, and restocking procedures.

Lastly, if you effectively deploy handheld computers in your organization, you’re refining operations and ensuring a smooth workflow. Consequently, growing your business will be much easier and you won’t jeopardize quality control.

Step-by-Step Process to Setting Up a Handheld Computing Device

handheld computing device tilted angle with all keypad buttons

Setting up a handheld computer isn’t that dissimilar to setting up your smartphone. This step-by-step guide covers the general steps required to set up an Android-based handheld computer.

Step 1 – Getting Started

  1. Use the dedicated screwdriver to unscrew the back cover, remove the battery, and insert your SIM and memory cards.
  2. Screw everything back on before turning on the device.
  3. Once the device is on, select a language.
  4. Connect your Wi-Fi and cellular network (if applicable).
  5. Sign in to a Google Account (this step is optional and can be done later on).

Step 2 – Lock Screen Setup

  1. Launch System Settings.
  2. Under Personal, navigate to Security.
  3. Tap Screen Lock and choose one of the locking options:
  4. None
  5. Swipe
  6. Pattern
  7. PIN
  8. Password

Step 3 – Bluetooth Setup

handheld computing device scanning boxes
  1. Access Settings from the Apps or Notifications menu.
  2. Under Wireless & Networks, tap Bluetooth to enable it.
  3. Available devices should appear under the Devices list.
  4. To refresh the list, tap the Options icon (three vertical dots) and select Refresh.
  5. Choose a device and tap Pair to connect the two.

Step 4 – Battery Setup

  1. Launch Settings, choose Devices, then tap the Battery icon.
  2. Choose one of the options to trigger Battery Saver ON.
  3. Never
  4. 5%
  5. 15% (it’s best to keep it at this setting)
  6. Select Show Battery Percentage and enable it.
  7. Select the Option menu (three vertical dots) at the Battery window.
  8. Choose Battery Optimization, then tap All Apps.

Taking this step allows you to save battery and optimize power usage without compromising the device’s performance.

Step 5 – Users Setup

handheld computing device slim with scanning boxes
  1. Access Settings, select Devices, then tap Users
  2. Select your user profile, input Profile Info, hit OK to confirm.
  3. Choose Guest, then tap Settings, and select Turn on Phone Calls.
  4. Select Add User (the plus icon) and choose one of the options.
  5. You (the device’s owner)
  6. New User
  7. Guest

Note: The permissions to access data, apps, and devices functions will change depending on whether someone is a New User or a Guest.

Step 6 – Memory Setup

  1. Launch Settings, select Device, then tap Memory.
  2. Under Memory, choose a particular time to see which apps are the most memory intensive at a specific time.
  3. Access Memory Used by Apps to see which apps are generally the most memory intensive.

Note: You can skip this step when first setting up your handheld computing device.

Step 7 – Programmable Keys Setup

scanning boxes via handheld computing device
  1. Access Settings, select Personal, then choose Programmable Keys.
  2. Based on the handheld computer model you have, assign keys to specific apps or functions.

Step 8 – Backup Setup

  1. In the Settings menu, select Backup & Reset.
  2. Enable Back up My Data.
  3. Select Backup Account and choose which accounts you’d like to back up.
  4. Enable Automatic Restore to get all the data from a backup after resetting the device.

Notes: This menu also features the options to reset the device. Don’t do that unless necessary. You need to have an SD card installed to run device backups. But this might not apply to all handheld computing devices.

Step 9 – Scanner Setup

If your handheld computing device features a scanner, here’s how to pair it with your system and use the feature.

  1. Install the scanner software onto your main computer. The handheld device and the computer need to run compatible software.
  2. Make sure Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are enabled on both devices and that they’re on the same network.
  3. Pair the two devices and register the scanning device if prompted.
  4. Follow the on-screen wizard to complete the actions.

If you need help with any of these steps, you can contact a representative at Energy Electronics. We will be able to walk you through the process to set up your device, or choose the right device for you.

Handheld Computing Device vs. Computer

handheld device computer scans boxes

Right off the bat, handheld computing devices are a much better option, particularly in the industrial, warehouse, and logistics settings. But this doesn’t mean they’re a subpar option in other industries.

Basically, any business that needs to process and relay data on the go quickly and accurately will benefit from handheld computing devices. Aside from inventory management, they can be a great tool to manage different tasks and keep teams in the field organized.

On top of that, handheld computing devices are small and lightweight, with most models being easily pocketable. Even if they’re not, different holsters make carrying these devices a breeze.

However, some people complain that the screen on handheld devices is just too small. And granted, it is small – roughly the same size as your smartphone. But the screen quality is usually outstanding, and it’s not like you’ll struggle to use the device even under harsh sunlight.

Some third-party products magnify the handheld’s screen. But these are tricky to use and may strain your eyes, so it’s best to stick with what you have on the device.

Also, handheld devices are easier to use because most interactions with the device are done via a touch-based interface. You either use a stylus that comes with the device, and some handhelds are compatible with external keyboards.

The great thing is that manufacturers are making breakthroughs to allows speech output and input. That means you’ll be able to utilize AI and voice commands to use the device and get verbal feedback. And some may even support dictation in the future.

Which Handheld Computing Devices Are Best?

With so many different handheld computing devices available on the market, it might be tricky to choose the best one for your needs. However, the RS60 from Sonim stands out from the rest due to its computing power, functionality, and durability.

Honeywell CT60

Honeywell Dolphin CT60 Information

The Honeywell CT60 is extremely sleek. It logs in at just 0.75inches and is mall enough to fi into a pocket- but don’t worry, it still comes with a wide range of holster options.

The CT60 has up to 4GB of ROM, and 32GB of Flash Memory, and runs on 4G LTE, so it extremely fast and has great connectivity. It also has a built in 1D/2D scanner, with scanning applications up to 6ft away, making it ideal for warehouse and large businesses.

This mobile scanning device is rugged, with IP65 and IP67 ratings. It runs on an Android operating system, which is notoriously easy to navigate. Built to last, the CT60 has updating capabilities up to Android 12 (or 13), and between that and the ruggedness, the CT60 gives business owners a return-on-investment like no other.

In case you still need convincing, the CT60 has 118mm display that is sunlight-readable, and can be used with gloves-on, a stylus, wet fingers and in all working environments.

Sonim RS60

Sonim RS60 Mobile Computer Scanner Energy Electronics Rugged Tablet

The RS60 is a rugged handheld computing device. It’s very compact and looks like a larger smartphone. But don’t let the relatively small form factor trick you. The RS60 is an excellent replacement for your workstation.

The device runs on Android 10 and sports a Snapdragon CPU which allows for seamless multitasking. Additionally, this CPU is compatible with different types of enterprise software.

More importantly, the RS60 features military-grade protection (MIL-STD-810). The device can withstand extreme temperature, shocks, and drops onto hard surfaces. Plus, it can be submerged without any damage, and it’s impervious to chemicals.

The RS60 also provides great connectivity, and it’s Wi-Fi, LTE, NFC, and Bluetooth compatible. It features a 13-megapixel back camera and a 5-megapixel camera on the front. These work great if you need to take quick photos and videos on the go or video chat with other team members.

This Sonim has an 8000mAh battery that will likely to last an entire shift without a recharge. Plus, the RS60 has a replaceable battery, so you can quickly switch the batteries if need be.

Lastly, the RS60 has a barcode scanner that uses Sonim Ware native software. It supports 2D and 1D barcodes for quick scanning. And you can program one of the buttons on the front as a designated scanner button.

Different Types of Handheld Computing Devices

using a handheld computing device to scan items

There are four different types of handheld computing devices. Here’s what you should know about them.

Rugged Tablets

If your teams require quick access to information and data in harsh environments, rugged tablets are a great choice. Generally, they’re designed to withstand extreme temperatures, physical damage and may be impervious to different contaminants.

Additionally, you have different mounting options. With the right holster, you can mount a rugged tablet to forklifts, vehicle cabins, and even columns in your warehouse.

Industrial Handheld Computing Devices

Industrial computing devices are lightweight, but they’re mighty, allowing you to perform even the most demanding operations in the field. For example, they excel at data collection and analysis as per your business demands.

More importantly, they allow for real-time communication and data access to improve your productivity and efficiency. And some models even offer a decent level of protection against typical wear and tear.

Enterprise Handheld Computing Devices

handheld computing device scanner at camera

These devices are also known as EDAs (Enterprise Digital Assistants). Similar to other types, they’re durable and powerful enough to relay real-time information, collect data, and run enterprise applications.

They combine the functionalities of a few devices into one. You get the power of a typical desktop or laptop computer and the compactness and the convenience of a PDA. Plus, some models can work as a barcode scanner and a mobile phone.

Also, these devices usually support different wireless connections and data transfer protocols, including Bluetooth.

Common Questions

1.       What’s the Functionality of Handheld Computing Devices?

They’re used to run software apps on the go, connect to wireless networks, and business-related peripherals via Bluetooth. You can also use them to scan barcodes, communicate, and take videos and photos.

2.    Which Industries Benefit the Most From Handheld Computing Devices?

The industries include logistics, warehousing, transportation, retail, and construction. However, handheld computing devices are also widely used in the healthcare, pharmaceutical, and education industries. Any industry that can be more efficient and productive from instant data access and communication on the go benefits from handheld devices.

3.       Barcode Scanners vs. Handheld Computing Devices – Which Are Better?

It’s hard to say that one device is better than the other. Both have a specific role and function in industrial settings. But if you need more than just capturing and sending data, then a handheld computing device is a better choice.

handheld computing device with all button keypad

Get Computing Right Away

The recent technological advancements significantly improved the functionality of handheld computing devices. Now, they’re on par with your workstation, offering the same speed and efficiency with the added benefit of being mobile.

Also, setting up handheld computers is a breeze, and you won’t struggle to find any function or tweak the settings to fit your company’s preferences. And the best thing is that these computers easily pair with other compatible devices.