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The mobile devices you choose whether they may be consumer or rugged, will determine the return on investment (ROI) in your mobility strategy. Opting for the wrong device type could result not only in frustrated users and decreased productivity, but increased costs whilst potentially introducing safety risks. However, the right device will not only maximise your productivity, but increase efficiency and accuracy in combination with your WMS.

Below we have highlighted the differences, pros and cons of consumer and ruggedised devices… and why more and more are moving to ruggedised.

What is a consumer device?

Consumer devices on the whole are cheaper than that of their ruggedised counterparts which is why a lot of companies stick with them. However, what a lot of companies fail to consider is the significantly higher failure rates, additional repairs and replacement costs, which are occurred. in additional to ongoing outlays in the form of lost productivity due to device downtime. They tend to have a built-in battery, much shorter lifespan of only 2-3 years whilst requiring additional accessories to increase their ruggedness and functionality which increases their overall cost.

What are ruggedised devices?

Ruggedised devices are designed to withstand repeated shocks, vibration, drops to concrete and contact with dirt, dust and moisture. These are much less likely to fail than a consumer device that relies heavily on third party protection such as cases. Ruggedised devices are purpose built for the job in hand so are complete with increased battery capacity to last full shifts. Enabling you to hot swap batteries and have a dedicated high-performance scan engine. Whereas consumer grade hardware will struggle to last a shift, with a built-in battery that can’t be swapped – increasing the downtime of the device and requiring a consumer device. Rugged devices have a much longer life span of 5-10 years compared to consumer devices.

What about software?

It is not just the hardware that lasts longer when you purchase a ruggedised device from Zebra, Honeywell, Unitech or Datalogic, you also get extended software support for 5+ years, whereas you would only see 2-3 years for consumer hardware. This includes security patches well past the standard two years from Google which means you can rest easy knowing that you will have a secure device for the entirety of its working life. Rugged devices are typically designed with enterprise level security in mind. Multiple users and logins are easy to implement. They’ll also be less susceptible to hijacking, viruses, and other forms of data theft.

So why go ruggedised?

  • Lower failure/repair rates
  • Drop/shock protection
  • Significantly longer lifespan
  • Higher levels of productivity
  • 5+ years support on software and security updates
  • Purpose built for tough environments
  • Increased ROI


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