Construction workers are constantly concerned about their safety. They are regularly exposed to harsh elements, shocks, and falls. While a construction manager’s top priority should be keeping his team safe, he also needs to properly safeguard his construction management software in order to do his job effectively.
That’s where ruggedized hardware comes in.
Ruggedized hardware systems are designed to be used in harsh conditions. And it’s not just their exterior that makes them more resilient to difficult climates: even their wiring is designed to handle strong vibrations, hot climates, and large falls.
Without further ado, here’s a comparison of the four best options available.
Samsung Galaxy S5 Active
I’ll admit my bias: I love the S5 and it’s what I use personally. The phone is massive—like a cross between a cellphone and a tablet—and well-protected. Its casing is designed to rebuff dust, resist water, and handle shock. It received the military IP67 certification—meaning it can take a whole lot of punishment while on site.
As for its processing ability, the ruggedized version of the S5 is about as good as it gets. The phone has a long-lasting removable 2800 mAh battery, takes crisp 16 megapixel photos, and contains a quad-core 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801 CPU and an Adreno 330 GPU. One reviewer aptly notes, “Rugged phones usually carry a lot of compromises, but that’s not the case with the Galaxy S5 Active.”
And because it’s an Android phone, it will sync with many high-quality construction apps.
While the S5 is durable, it isn’t as rugged as other products—yes, it can take a quick splash or a short fall, but it might not survive a load of bricks falling on it.
This is a beautiful phone—hard to accomplish for any ruggedized smartphone manufacturer. The tiny phone only weighs 6.3 ounces, but still complies with the MIL-STD-810G military standards for tolerance to humidity, vibration, drops, and extreme temperatures. And with an IP67 rating, the Nautiz X1 is fully water, dust, and sand-proof. As one reviewer puts it, the smartphone is small and light enough to look like an actual phone—not a brick that can make phone calls.
The Nautiz X1 runs on Android 4.0, meaning that you can run all of your favorite construction apps on it. It has a 1 GHz processor and 1 GB of RAM. It unfortunately only has a 5MP camera and 2GB of internal memory.
Panasonic Toughpad FZ-A1
There isn’t a rugged tablet that competes with the Toughpad. It has all of the ruggedized specs; MIL-STD-810G, 4-foot drop, and all-weather IP65 dust and water resistant design are standard with this tablet. It also offers state-of-the-art security with a dedicated core for data encryption and preinstalled drivers for approved smart card readers. The Toughpad runs on Android 4.0.
The tablet’s screen boasts an 8” LED and TFT screen and supports a second display via a mini HDMI port. While the bottom can sometimes get hot, most reviewers view the tablet favorably.
This 1.77 pound tablet is designed to survive—it’s resistant to scratches, extreme temperatures, and dust and water. It’s also the first rugged Android tablet to be able to attain a MIL-STD 810G six-foot drop rating. The ruggedized tablet is also great for construction workers because it was developed specifically to have a glove-friendly touchscreen display.
Inc Magazine noted that this was the best ruggedized tablet for “extreme conditions,” though added that, “The screen was less responsive after we dunked the tablet underwater but returned to normal when it dried.”
Do you use a rugged tablet or phone on construction sites? What has worked best for you? Leave your answer in the comments below!