Optus Services


Choosing the Most Suitable Handheld Scanning Device

The broad spectrum of handheld devices has significantly increased the choices available to clients. However, this makes selecting the most suitable device a challenge, with a number of key considerations to take into account. We believe that the primary considerations are:

  • Rugged vs Consumer
  • Total Cost of Ownership
  • How Long Are the Units to Be Deployed and Supported?
  • What Maintenance Support Options Might Be Required?

The question of rugged vs consumer isn't solely based upon the rugged device being more durable. Rugged devices also have a far greater production commitment from the manufacturers, typically spanning several years, with a further three years’ support after the end of life. The top-tier brands also have manufacturer-based contracts with strong offerings for turnaround and inclusive repair options.

Selecting a Handheld Data Terminal Device

First of all, we would loosely categorise handheld terminals into two groups:

1. In-Premise – For Use in Warehouses, Factories, or Hospitals - Typically Working in a Wi-Fi™-Enabled Environment

2. Mobile Worker – For Users out in the Field, Such as Delivery Drivers, Engineers, Utility Workers, Meter Readers, or Healthcare Providers - Devices Typically Require GPRS/3G Communications

1. In-Premise Handheld Devices - Usually Key-Dominant Style i.e. Larger Keypad Area
Selection Criteria:

• Scan Engine - Short Range or near and Far (Will Read Close up and Long Range) - 1D and/or 2D Barcodes
• Keyboard - Numeric or Alphanumeric (Also, Are Large Keys Required for Gloved-Hand Use?)
• Pistol Grip or 'Brick' Style
• Environment/Conditions – Temperature, Dust, indoor or outdoor (LXE™, for Instance, Have Freezer-Rated Devices While Others Are IP67 Rated)
• Is a Camera Required? E.g. to Capture Damaged Goods or Oversized Deliveries
• Handheld or Fork Truck Use
• Software - Most Wi-Fi™ Devices Use a Terminal Emulation Client
• Wireless Coverage - RF Site Survey Recommended to Ensure Performance

2. Mobile Devices - Usually a PDA Form Factor Selection Criteria:

• Scan Engine - Usual Choice in a PDA Unit Is 1D and/or 2D
• Keyboard - Numeric or Alphanumeric
• Vehicle Use or Is the Unit to Be Carried for Long Periods? Considerations Include Battery Life Required and Weight/Size (Some Units Are Lighter and Smaller Than Others)
• Is GPS Required for Satellite Navigation? (Although This Is Becoming More Standard on PDA Devices)
• Software - Consider Applications Required - Introduce an ISV (We Are Able to Recommend Several)
• What Installation Considerations Are There? In-Vehicle Cradle Installation or Power from Cigarette Lighter or Vehicle Battery?

Additional Considerations:
• Is There a Portable Printing Requirement? Either Receipts or Labels?

• What Are the Maintenance Contract Options?