Finding the right rugged mobile device for the transport & logistics sector

Maybe you’re just looking into launching a delivery service for your business, or you’ve been running a logistics operation for a number of years.

You’ve been looking at various delivery and transport management software options to help you manage those operations more effectively and efficiently.

Having a mobile app for your drivers is essential to your operation enabling the capture of electronic Proof of Delivery (ePOD) and / or walkaround checks to ensure the roadworthiness of your fleet.

Now you have to choose the right mobile device for your drivers, which can in today’s mobile device market present a challenge with many options available.

Before you even get to specific makes and models, you first need to consider your mobile device strategy: consumer smartphone, enterprise device or BYOD (bring your own device)?

 

Why ruggedised enterprise devices are important for the transport and logistics environment

We’ve explored in detail why ruggedised enterprise Android devices are typically the best option for scanning-intensive transportation environments. In short:

Fit-for-purpose software

Devices based on the Android OS are easy to use and familiar to most people, making it easy to onboard staff with minimal training. By adding Zera’s Mobility DNA enterprise software features though, you have more control over devices, with the remote device management, and advanced security features.

Accuracy & traceability

Using barcodes to scan goods gives you ultimate visibility at every point in the supply chain. This ability to reliably track items from manufacture to delivery is especially essential for high-value or restricted goods. Using an enterprise device with built-in scanners improves efficiency, with faster and more accurate scanning capabilities than the camera on a consumer smartphone.

Additionally, Zebra enterprise devices come with all the camera and connectivity features you’d expect on a modern smartphone, with robust data connection so drivers can always be contacted.

Reliability

Ruggedisation features, like reinforced screens, water- and dust- proofing and impressive drop and tumble specs make enterprise-grade devices ready for anything the tough t&l environment throws at them.

As well as being designed from the start as being rugged, enterprise devices tend to have extended battery life as well. Drivers can rely on their device to last even the longest shift, with swappable backup batteries and in-cab charging accessories for even greater peace of mind.

 

Comparing three Zebra rugged device options

TC26

Representing the latest offering in the Zebra mobile computing range the TC26 is a professional, versatile and rugged device which can meet the needs of transport and logistics businesses perfectly – from the warehouse to the truck cab. It is the direct replacement of the hugely popular TC25, which is being discontinued at the end of the year. The TC26 features cutting edge technology, with excellent scanning capabilities and voice performance.

  • Weight & display: At 236g the TC26 is perfectly pocket-sized, with a 5” HD display
  • Ruggedised specs: The device is fitted with Gorilla Glass for a protected display that can still take signatures. With IP67 sealing, the TC21/26 can survive multiple 4ft drops to concrete and 300 1.6 ft tumbles.
  • Battery & power features: Choice of 3100 or 5400 mAh PowerPrecision battery
  • OS & tech specs: Android OS, with a Qualcomm SD660 @ 1.8 GHz octa-core CPU. Choose between 4GB RAM/64GB Flash; 3GB RAM/16GB Flash; or 2GB RAM/16GB Flash
  • Data capture: The device comes with a 13 MP rear and 5 MP front camera as standard, plus you can add SE4710 or SE4100 scan engines.
  • Lifecycle: 3+3

 

TC5Xx

The TC5Xx family of devices includes the TC52/57 and the TC52x/57x. These are high-performance, enterprise-grade devices, boasting advanced voice, connectivity and scanning performance – perfect for scan-intensive environments.

  • Weight & display: the TC5Xx series also has a 5” HD display, and weighs a little more than the TC26 at 249g
  • Ruggedised specs: the device is fitted with Gorilla Glass for a protected display that can still take signatures. With IP68 and IP65 sealing, the TC5Xx can survive multiple 4 ft drops to to tile or concrete (and with the rugged boot accessory, the TC52/57 can survive multiple 6 ft drops to concrete) and 500 1.6ft tumbles
  • Battery & power features: 4150 mAh PowerPrecision+ battery with warm swap and fast charging features
  • OS & tech specs: Android OS with Qualcomm SD660 @ 2.2 (TC52/57) or 2.45 (TC52x/57x) GHz octa-core CPU and 4GB RAM/32GB Flash
  • Data capture: A 13 MP rear and 5 MP front camera, plus a SE4710 scan engine as standard
  • Lifecycle: 4+4

 

TC72/77

Delivering ‘extreme ruggedisation features’ for premium performance and reliability the TC72/77 provides the best scanning and battery capabilities within the Zebra range and is considered the gold-standard in ultra-rugged enterprise devices.

  • Weight & display: At 4.7”, the TC72/TC77 has a slightly smaller HD display than the TC21/26 or the TC5Xx, and weighs over 100g more than either of them at 376g
  • Ruggedised specs: the device is fitted with Gorilla Glass for a protected display that can still take signatures. With IP68 and IP65sealing, the TC72/77 can survive multiple 6ft drops to concrete across the operating temperature range (and multiple 8 ft. drops to concrete at room temperature), as well as 2,000 3.3ft tumbles
  • Battery & power features: 4620 mAh PowerPrecision+ battery and 4GB RAM/32GB Flash
  • OS & tech specs: Android OS with Qualcomm SD660 @ 2.2 GHz octa-core CPU
  • Data capture: A 13 MP rear and 5 MP front camera, plus choose between SE4770 or SE4750 scan engines
  • Lifecycle: 5+5

 

What about options outside the Zebra ecosystem?

We’ve partnered with Zebra Technologies for a number of years to bring Stream users the best in rugged mobile technology. But we’re very aware that Zebra isn’t the only device provider out there (we also sell Honeywell devices for instance).

So let’s look at some of the other devices available on the market that you may want to consider versus the TC26 (details correct at the time of publication. Please check manufacturer’s latest device details for up-to-date specifications / configuration).

Honeywell ScanPal EDA51

Strengths:

Battery: Large standard battery (4000 mAh – but no extended battery option)

Weaknesses:

  • OS: Honeywell’s ScanPal EDA51 comes with an older version of the Android OS (8), less experience in Android and has a shorter Android security lifecycle
  • Hardware: Despite having a heavier and thicker design, the device has lower ruggedisation specification (IP64 sealing, with drop spec only tested at room temperature) and no front-facing camera
  • Tech specs: The ScanPal has a lower tier chipset and less memory (only 2GB/16GB) than the TC26 for intance
  • Software Ecosystem: This device isn’t compatible with Honeywell’s own Mobility Edge

Honeywell ScanPal EDA51 Vs. Zebra TC26:

Though the Honeywell ScanPal EDA51 has a slightly larger standard battery, the Zebra TC26 makes up for that with an optional extended battery. Overall, the TC 26 offers far more in terms of software and ruggedisation.

Honeywell Dolphin CT40

Strengths:

  • Ruggedisation: The Honeywell Dolphin CT40 offers advanced ruggedisation compared to the TC26, with a tumble spec of 1,000 1.6ft tumbles and a rugged boot option that supports a 6ft drop spec.
  • Tech specs: The devices comes with SD660 @ 2.2 GHz octa-core

Weaknesses:

  • OS: Honeywell’s Dolphin CT40 comes with an older version of the Android OS (7.1 or 8.1), less experience in Android and has a shorter Android security lifecycle
  • Hardware: This device may have advanced ruggedisation features, but it is also heavier and thicker than the TC26, with lower sealing (IP64) and no front-facing camera
  • Tech specs: Despite an advanced processor, this device has fewer memory options, and a max flash option of just 32GB
  • Software ecosystem: Honeywell’s Mobility Edge is 7 years behind Zebra’s Mobility DNA

Honeywell Dolphin CT40 Vs. Zebra TC26:

With impressive ruggedisation features and more processing power than the Zebra TC26, Honeywell’s Dolphin CT40 is a good option for the transport & logistics sector, but it is still behind the TC26 in terms of sealing and memory options, as well as having an outdated OS and software ecosystem.

Urovo i6310

Strengths:

  • Hardware: A thin and lightweight device
  • This device also has a nifty dimension measurement feature, which may come in handy in shipping/packing

Weaknesses:

  • OS: The Urovo i6310 comes with an older version of the Android OS (7.1 or 8.1), less experience in Android and has a shorter Android security lifecycle
  • Ruggedisation: This device has lower sealing (IP65) and no tumble spec at all
  • Accessories: The device also has no wearable options
  • Battery: The battery is not removable on this device, and it also lacks scalable charging accessories
  • Tech specs: Urovo’s device comes with a slower processor
  • Connectivity: PTT (push-to-talk) only available via a third-party app
  • Software ecosystem: None – Urovo’s SafeDroid does not compare to Zebra’s Mobility DNA

Urovo i6310 Vs. Zebra TC26:

The Urovo’s small size and unique dimension measurement feature aren’t enough to make up for its lack of ruggedisation features and software ecosystem compared to Zebra’s TC26

SEUIC Cruise 1

Strengths:

  • Hardware: The SEUIC Cruise 1 has a slightly larger body, and a larger screen size and resolution than the Zebra TC26
  • Ruggedisation: This device also has better drop and tumble specs
  • Battery: At 4500 mAh, the standard  battery is larger – but with no extended battery option

Weaknesses:

  • OS: The SEUIC Cruise 1 comes with a much older version of the Android OS (5.1), less experience in Android and has a shorter Android security lifecycle
  • Tech specs: The device has an older, lower tier processor and less memory (only 2GB/16GB)
  • Connectivity: Older Bluetooth, inferior Wi-Fi, and PTT (push-to-talk) only available via a third-party app
  • Software ecosystem: None

SEUIC Cruise 1 Vs. Zebra TC26:

While the SEUIC Cruise 1 has impressive hardware – including screen, ruggedisation and battery features – Zebra beats it on software, with an advanced software ecosystem, better Android OS capabilities, superior connectivity options and a variety of battery & scanner options.

Datalogic Memor 1

Strengths:

  • None found

Weaknesses:

  • OS: The Datalogic Memor 1 comes with an older version of the Android OS (8.1), less experience in Android and has a shorter Android security lifecycle
  • Software ecosystem: None
  • Hardware: The device is heavier than the TC26, and over twice as thick, with a smaller (4.2 inch), lower-resolution screen, and no camera at all
  • Tech specs: Datalogic’s Memor 1 has a slower quad-core processor and less memory (only 2GB/16GB)
  • Ruggedisation: This device has no sealing or tumble spec
  • Connectivity: The device has inferior wireless connectivity, with no WWAN option, inferior Wi-Fi and older Bluetooth

Datalogic Memor 1 Vs. Zebra TC26:

The Zebra TC26 is a better option all-around than the Datalogic Memor 1, with superior hardware and software for the t&l sector

Unitech EA602

Strengths:

  • Ruggedisation: The Unitech EA602 has a 5 ft drop spec

Weaknesses:

  • OS: The Unitech EA602 comes with an older version of the Android OS (7.1), less experience in Android and has a shorter Android security lifecycle
  • Software ecosystem: None
  • Tech specs: The device has a lower tier processor and less memory (only 2GB/16GB) than Zebra’s TC26
  • Hardware: The device is also heavier than the TC26, with lower resolution cameras (8 MP back/2 MP front)
  • Ruggedisation: This device has lower sealing (IP65) and no tumble spec
  • Connectivity: The device comes with older Bluetooth and no GPS

Unitech EA602 Vs. Zebra TC26:

Despite an impressive 5ft drop spec, Unitech’s EA602 can’t beat Zebra’s TC26 on software features or connectivity.

CAT S52

Strengths:

  • Hardware: Like many consumer smartphones, the CAT S52 is lighter and thinner than typical enterprise devices, with a larger (5.65 in) display and a higher resolution (8 MP)  front facing camera
  • Ruggedisation: This device also has IP68 sealing and a higher drop spec

Weaknesses:

  • OS: The CAT S52 comes with an older version of the Android OS (9), less experience in Android for enterprise, and has a shorter Android security lifecycle
  • Software ecosystem: None
  • Battery: Not removable
  • Ruggedisation: No tumble spec at all
  • Hardware: Enterprise scan engine only available with third-party accessories
  • Connectivity: PTT (push-to-talk) only available via a third-party app

CAT S52 Vs. Zebra TC26:

Though the CAT S52 may look more sleek and business like than the TC26, Zebra’s enterprise device offers the advanced software and ruggedisation features needed in the transport & logistics sector environment. The CATS52’s superior front-facing camera can’t compete with dedicated scan engines in a barcode-heavy workflow.

Samsung Galaxy XCover 4s

Strengths:

  • Hardware: Like many consumer smartphones, the Samsung Galaxy XCover 4s is lighter and thinner than typical enterprise devices, with a higher resolution (16 MP)  rear camera
  • Ruggedisation: This device also has IP68 sealing

Weaknesses:

  • OS: The Samsung Galaxy XCover 4s comes with an older version of the Android OS (9), less experience in Android for enterprise, and has a shorter Android security lifecycle – with no remote visibility into update availability/status, or ability to remotely update devices
  • Tech specs: The device has less memory (only 3GB/32GB) than Zebra’s TC26
  • Battery: No extended option available
  • Ruggedisation: No tumble spec or published temperature range
  • Hardware: Enterprise scan engine only available with third-party accessories
  • Connectivity: PTT (push-to-talk) only available via a third-party app

Samsung Galaxy XCover 4s Vs. Zebra TC26:

Though the Samsung Galaxy XCover 4s may look more sleek and business like than the TC26, Zebra’s enterprise device offers the advanced software and ruggedisation features needed in a transport & logistics environment. The Samsung Galaxy XCover 4s’s superior rear camera can’t compete with dedicated scan engines in a barcode-heavy workflow.

Samsung Galaxy XCover FieldPro

Strengths:

  • Hardware: Like many consumer smartphones, the Galaxy XCover FieldPro has a higher resolution QHD display than typical enterprise devices, with a higher resolution (8 MP)  front facing camera
  • Tech specs: The Galaxy XCover FieldPro comes with a 2.7 GHz octa-core processor and supports public safety bands
  • Battery: The devices has a 4500 mAH battery as standard battery – but no extended battery option

Weaknesses:

  • OS: The Galaxy XCover FieldPro comes with an older version of the Android OS (9), less experience in Android for enterprise, and has a shorter Android security lifecycle – with no remote visibility into update availability/status, or ability to remotely update devices
  • Ruggedisation: No tumble spec or published temperature range
  • Hardware: Enterprise scan engine only available with third-party accessories
  • Connectivity: PTT (push-to-talk) only available via a third-party app

Samsung Galaxy XCover FieldPro Vs. Zebra TC26:

Though the Samsung Galaxy XCover FieldPro may look more sleek and businesslike than the TC26, Zebra’s enterprise device offers the advanced software and ruggedisation features needed in transport & logistics environment. The Samsung Galaxy XCover FieldPro’s superior front-facing camera can’t compete with dedicated scan engines in a barcode-heavy workflow

Samsung Galaxy A51

Strengths:

  • Hardware: Like many consumer smartphones, the Samsung Galaxy A51 is lighter and thinner than typical enterprise devices, with a larger (6.5 in), higher-resolution (FHD+) display and higher resolution front and rear cameras

Weaknesses:

  • OS: The Samsung Galaxy A51 comes with less experience in Android for enterprise, and has a shorter Android security lifecycle – with no remote visibility into update availability/status, or ability to remotely update devices
  • Battery: Not removable
  • Ruggedisation: No sealing, tumble or drop spec, or published temperature range at all
  • Hardware: Enterprise scan engine only available with third-party accessories
  • Connectivity: PTT (push-to-talk) only available via a third-party app

Samsung Galaxy A51 Vs. Zebra TC26:

Though the Samsung Galaxy A51 may look more sleek and business like than the TC26, Zebra’s enterprise device offers the advanced software and ruggedisation features needed in a transport & logistics environment. The Samsung Galaxy A51’s superior cameras can’t compete with dedicated scan engines in a barcode-heavy workflow.