Choosing Between Rugged Devices and Rugged Phone Cases for Your Business

Choosing Between Rugged Devices and Rugged Phone Cases for Your Business

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As businesses increasingly turn to mobile technology to improve their efficiency and operations, selecting the appropriate device can be a challenge. This is especially true for companies operating in harsh environments, where extreme conditions can create significant obstacles. In this article, we will compare rugged devices, such as handhelds and tablets, with rugged cases, and discuss their suitability for challenging conditions. 

Rugged devices are designed to withstand extreme temperatures, drop tests, and dust resistance with IP ratings, whereas rugged phone cases offer an affordable and easily replaceable option for protecting your existing mobile devices. Choosing the right device is crucial to maximising your investment in mobile technology. 

By weighing the pros and cons of rugged devices versus rugged phone cases, you can make an informed choice that meets your requirements and delivers dependable performance, even in the toughest conditions.

It is essential to consider any new hardware purchases carefully, as they can take up a significant portion of your IT budget. Some businesses may opt for a consumer device instead of a specifically designed rugged device to keep upfront costs down when deciding on the best device to deploy into the workforce. 

However, rugged mobile devices are not simply consumer products with protective casings, despite the misconception held by many. Although they can withstand the harshest work environments, they offer substantial long-term savings for all businesses. Is a Rugged Phone Case The Answer For Your Business Needs? When it comes to equipping your business with a mobile device, you may think that adding a rugged phone case to a consumer mobile phone for extra protection is a good option. However, a rugged device may be a better choice to withstand the harsh demands of a workplace environment.

Rugged devices that run on a Windows or Android operating system are specifically designed to resist damage from drops, dust, and water exposure. They have features like port covers and water resistance and have undergone durability tests to ensure reliable performance in the field. 

Some rugged tablets even offer wireless charging capabilities. Opting for a rugged device can provide peace of mind and ensure dependable performance in tough work environments. So, if you want a mobile device that can handle the demands of your business, a rugged phone may be a better long-term investment than just adding a phone case to a standard consumer mobile phone.

A Rugged Case Does Not Make For A Rugged Phone

Truly Rugged Specifications

Windows and Android rugged devices are designed to handle tough, demanding work and are more durable than consumer mobile devices. They offer better productivity and reliability, especially in challenging environments like high-traffic areas or places with moisture and dust exposure. This is why rugged devices are used in various industries, from warehousing to retail and hospitality.

  1. To better understand why rugged devices are superior, it is crucial to examine their features. For instance, they have an exceptional ingress protection rating (IP rating), which means that they are safeguarded against liquid and dust ingress. In contrast, a rugged case cannot compete with the high-quality seals that come with a genuine rugged device. Although premium brand consumer devices do offer water protection, they usually come with a higher price tag and may not have complete dust protection. Moreover, seals on consumer mobile devices do not offer inherent drop protection, and the gaskets on these devices tend to rely on the glue. As a result, they do not last for the three to five years that businesses require. In addition, there is little to stop employees from removing a device from its case or using it beyond the point where the case no longer provides adequate protection. Understand more about rugged IP ratings here.
  2. Rugged devices are built to withstand shock and vibration and undergo extensive testing to ensure they will continue to perform under stressful daily use. Our drop test includes withstanding shocks without damage to exterior or interior parts. True rugged devices go far beyond just the strength of the outer casing. 

Interior components must also be able to rough out the constant drops, bumps, and shocks. Primarily a tough case seeks to protect the expensive good looks of a device and prevent screen damage; the most common and frustrating damage to handhelds and tablets. 

Yet despite videos of phones being dropped from helicopters, most people have experienced damage even with a case. The weak link is of course the device itself.

3. Rugged devices can withstand wide temperature ranges. No tough case can assist with this many cases exacerbate heat retention. A typical mobile device runs between 0º and 35ºC. 

Any warmer than this and the device will typically slow down due to thermal throttling. Drop below zero and consumer-grade batteries behave unexpectedly. Anything outside this restrictive range will cause consumer-grade batteries to degrade faster and be more likely to malfunction. 

Rugged devices can typically function without any problems in temperatures ranging from -20° C (or lower) to +50° C (or higher) without damaging the battery or invalidating the warranty
4. Rugged devices are built for long-term serviceability. At Conker this has always been our primary rugged design consideration because we offer an accidental damage warranty as standard. This means we have to be confident about durability and make serviceability easy too. 

When you are equipped with consumer devices and tough cases you will eventually find that one or both of these is unavailable, likely within 3 years and certainly within 5. 

This dilemma of rapid product cycles eventually leaves businesses with equipment that cannot be serviced. In the scenario that cases become unavailable first, devices that you intended to use with that case can no longer be safely used.

5. Rugged devices can be properly and repeatedly cleaned. This was always relevant but of course, became pertinent with heightened awareness due to COVID-19. Not only do consumer devices not hold up well to alcohol and other chemicals (think screws & gaskets vs. shiny finishes and glue) a tough case gives you extra work as the case has to be removed to clean the device.

To understand the specifications of a rugged device, look for these four features: drop rating, temperature range, MIL-STD-810G, and IP rating.

When it comes to evaluating the ruggedness of a mobile device in order for it to stay productive, there are several factors to consider. One essential element is the device’s ability to withstand knocks and drops, which is measured by its drop rating.

Another important factor is the device’s ability to function in extreme temperature ranges. Some working environments expose devices to either hot or cold temperatures, making it crucial for a rugged device to function optimally under these conditions.

MIL-STD-810G is a certification that ensures the durability and resilience of a rugged device and its ability to operate in the harshest environments. The military grade certification requires the device to undergo a series of military-level tests that cover shock and vibration, among other factors.

Ingress protection, commonly known as the IP rating, is another critical factor in evaluating rugged devices. The IP rating specifies the extent to which a device is protected from solids and liquids entering it, with dust being a particularly long-term issue.

Battery Specifications For Rugged Devices

For businesses that rely on mobile devices, battery life is a crucial factor. Conker’s Windows and Android rugged devices are designed to have higher battery capacities compared to battery life device limitations on regular consumer phones. Additionally, the batteries of rugged devices can be replaced once they reach the end of their life, unlike typical consumer devices that may become impractical due to significant battery function decline after just two to three years of use.

Another advantage of rugged devices is their added versatility. Many rugged devices offer hot-swappable battery functions, which allow batteries to be replaced without powering off the device. With both internal and external batteries available, operational efficiency can be significantly improved.

However, simply adding a rugged case to a regular phone might cause the device to overheat. Batteries in any device typically generate heat, and a rugged case might inhibit the necessary heat dissipation for safe operation.

Charging Made Easy

Consumer devices often require users to repeatedly plug and unplug wired chargers, which can be time-consuming and awkward when dealing with multiple devices. This constant action can also cause rapid wear to the charging pins, and the charging ports are areas where dust and water can easily enter when damaged. 

Rugged devices commonly use a drop-and-dock solution for charging, providing a long-term, simple, and durable solution.

Using fit-for-purpose devices for business mobility is essential for efficiency in warehousing, logistics, or supply chain operations. Regardless of the industry, investing in devices that do not provide the best value, in the long run, is not ideal. Rugged devices are the perfect solution for any business operation because they are built to do the job with minimal downtime.

In the long term, downtime is more expensive than the device itself. The low total cost of ownership requires both rugged hardware and responsive service for your devices when needed.
Conker IT with Rugged Mobile Devices, If you’re looking for a way to change the way you do business, Conker’s rugged range of devices might be just what you need. With either Android or Windows operating systems available, it’s easy for your team to choose a device that will match your current software and processes. This can save time and resources as you won’t have to undergo a complete overhaul of your existing systems just to accommodate a new device.

But it’s not just about the operating system – Conker’s rugged devices are designed specifically for businesses that need mobility and durability. From drop ratings to temperature range to MIL-STD-810G certification to IP ratings, these devices undergo testing methods and are built to withstand the harsh conditions of real-world use. 

They can handle shock and vibration, extreme temperatures, dust are water resistant and you can drop them repeatedly without losing functionality or the device suffering significant damage. This means you can count on your devices to keep working no matter what conditions your team encounters. Of course, reliability is only part of the equation. Conker also makes the business rugged and hassle-free with dedicated customer and technical support in the UK. If you have any issues or questions, you can get in touch with Conker’s team of experts who can help you troubleshoot and find solutions quickly. This can help minimise downtime and keep your team working efficiently.

All of these benefits add up to a low total cost of ownership for your rugged devices. While the initial investment may be higher than a standard consumer device, the longer lifespan and reduced downtime can save you money in the long run. And with Conker’s dedicated support, you can be sure that you’re getting the most out of your investment.

To start your rugged journey, get in touch today.

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James Summers

James Summers

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