One of the biggest decisions to make when choosing mobile devices for your business use is whether you select rugged hardware or consumer-grade devices.

In this article, our mobility experts at Rugged Development take a look at the advantages of enterprise-grade versus consumer-grade mobile computers and tablets, including when and where it makes sense to use each.

Main Advantages of Rugged Mobile Devices for Business

Rugged devices are designed to withstand tougher working environments such as warehouses, manufacturing plants, and outdoor use by field personnel.

The best devices feature damage-resistant screens, such as Corning Gorilla Glass displays, along with IP-rated sealing that makes them dustproof, waterproof, and able to withstand liquid spills and repeated drops and tumbles on concrete. They’re also put through intensive military-grade testing and are built to withstand extreme temperatures and harsh indoor and outdoor conditions.

In the long run, rugged devices can save you thousands of dollars in expensive servicing, repair, and replacement costs when consumer-grade devices get damaged.

Rugged devices tend to come with higher-end processing power, memory, and battery life. They’re designed to meet all-day business demands and are able to run resource-intensive business apps. Industry-leading rugged devices also provide advanced barcode scanning, data capture, and connectivity that you won’t find on most consumer devices.

When you pair the resulting data capture and workflow efficiency with the robust durability, rugged devices deliver value far beyond the higher up-front investment.

Advantages of Consumer-Grade Devices

Consumer-grade devices are often much less expensive up front because they’re not built for enterprise durability and functionality requirements. They’re designed for everyday consumer use, so they’re much less expensive to produce.

If your mobile computing needs are fairly simple, and you don’t need high durability, consumer-grade devices are often a good choice, especially if you’re on a budget.

Many workers use smartphones and tablets at home, so they prefer the look and feel of a consumer-grade device. Consumer devices have traditionally been sleeker and designed to create a more aesthetic and user-friendly experience than rugged devices.

They also tend to be lighter and smaller as well, since they’re not as ruggedly built and don’t have as many built-in features and rugged protection.

Choosing the Best of Both Worlds

With recent advancements in mobile technology, you no longer have to choose between business durability and consumer style. You can combine the best of both worlds.

For example, Zebra has introduced a number of touch mobile computers and tablets that combine the best of consumer and enterprise-grade devices at a cost-effective price for businesses.

One example is Zebra’s TC77 ultra-rugged handheld Android touch computer. It’s built with the look, style, and simplicity of a smartphone, but the durability, power, battery life, and intelligent scanning of an enterprise-grade device.

The TC77 has an octa-core 2.2 GHz processor and 4GB of RAM for lightning-fast computing and application power. It also offers IP65 and IP67 sealing against water and dust, a shatter-proof and scratch-resistant display, up to 15 hours of battery life, and the ability to scan 1D and 2D barcodes in virtually any condition. There’s also an optional rugged device frame for added durability.

If you prefer a tablet, Zebra offers great options, including the XSLATE 12, a two-in-one 12.5″ rugged tablet replacement for laptops and desktops, and the XPAD 10, an ultra-rugged 10.1″ tablet with a harder-than-steel magnesium frame and an integrated hard-handle for easy carrying.

How to Get More Advice

To learn more and explore the best options for your business, contact our team at Rugged Development for a free recommendation.

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