Asking the Right Questions When Selecting Your Mobile Device

Anyone can label a device “rugged”, however, only by asking the right questions at the point of purchase will you be able to determine whether you’re being sold the real deal. Armed with the right information customers can ensure they get the rugged mobile device that meets their needs and offers the lowest total cost of ownership.

Understanding the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)’s MIL-STD-810G specifications (Mil-Spec) testing is the first step in selecting the highest quality, most reliable rugged device for your needs. Here are some the questions you should be asking and some of the answers you need to listen out for:

  • Were the right tests passed? If you see a claim that a device is “Mil-Spec certified” you cannot assume that the device is rugged in all the potential testing categories. Mil-Spec includes numerous tests, all done independently, so you need to verify that the device has passed the ones that best reflect the environment you intend to use it in. A manufacturer may claim to have a “Mil-Spec” ruggedized device, but when you read the fine print, you may see it was only tested for altitude and not drops or spills, the most common causes of failure.
  • What is the fine print? Suppliers of rugged computing equipment are expected to assure or guarantee adherence to the Mil-Spec standards, however, they can set their own parameters for the testing. You should always ask for third-party validation of the tests that were passed.
  • What features are included? Buy a device that is fit for its purpose. You know your workers’ use case requirements better than anyone else. Gloved touch capability and a sturdy handle, for minimizing the potential for drops while carrying the device—are a few examples of valuable features to consider.

Looking beyond rugged certifications you should also consider things like after-sales service and security. Find a provider that will provide assistance should problems arise and work with you to resolve any issues.  Equally important is security. While security is a major concern for all organizations, it is especially critical for government workers. Ask about features like a fingerprint reader or a SmartCard reader depending on what suites your workforce’s needs.

Ultimately, reliability is what really counts. Whether a computer continues to operate smoothly after several years of hard use in extreme environments is the best determinant of how rugged it really is. Ask the manufacturer to share verifiable data on how their computers have actually held up under real-world conditions.

Whether you are looking for mobile computers or tablets, it is essential to understand how and where the devices may be used to ensure you get what you expect and select the right technology that can provide a durable and reliable solution for years to come.

For more important considerations and a breakdown of the important Mil-Spec tests to look for, visit our whitepaper. And for more information on Panasonic’s rugged computers and tablets, visit