The Group Mobile Best Sellers Guide
Welcome to the BEST OF page. Here we make recommendations based on our opinions and feedback from our customers. Please check back often as these recommendations change with the introduction of new products, new pricing, and as a result of the on-going communication between Group Mobile, our customers and our suppliers.
BEST All-Around Fully Rugged Laptop
It is hard to beat the Toughbook 31 when all things are considered; price, processor, battery life, wireless options, media bay options, display, ability to withstand tough environments, etc.
Most Versatile Fully Rugged Laptop
The Getac X500 has incredible versatility. The Getac X500's multimedia bay can accommodate an optional Super multi-DVD, a second battery or a second hard disk drive or solid state drive to operate as a RAID system. The X500 also boasts a wide range of standard I/O ports, including three USB 2.0 ports, one USB/eSATA combo port, two RS-232 serial ports, two PCMCIA ports, an ExpressCard, SmartCard, dual RJ-45 ports, HDMI, VGA outputs, and a full-sized keyboard with numeric pad.
BEST Outdoor Display in a Fully Rugged Laptop
Panasonic upped the NITs (a measure of brightness) in their Toughbook 31, so it continues to be our number one choice in the Outdoor Display Category. But, to be totally fair, the Getac B300 laptop and the Getac V100 and V200 fully rugged convertible models with the upgrade to Getac's QuadraClear display technology will also do the trick. The minor differences in outdoor viewability often are not the most important factor in the customer's selection criteria. Size, weight, availability of key features, and cost normally outweigh which screen is absolutely the best.
BEST Wireless Fully Rugged Laptop
It’s a tie between the Panasonic Toughbook 31 and the GD Itronix GD8200. Both can have Wireless LAN, Wireless WAN (cell phone network), GPS, and Bluetooth wireless all at once.
BEST Integrated GPS in a Fully Rugged Laptop
The integrated GPS in the GD8200 from Itronix wins this battle hands-down. The GPS is the high-accuracy to 1 meter (3 feet) variety and they have implemented a quadrifilar helix antenna antenna into the edges surrounding the display screen that can actually capture signals from 6-10 satellites at once! You basically never lose your signal or your way with this GPS receiver and excellent antenna.
BEST Bargain in a Semi Rugged Laptop
Both the Toughbook 53 and the Getac S400 are less than $2,000 (OK, we had a two-way tie on this one).
BEST Outdoor Display in a Semi-Rugged Laptop
This category is a little more difficult to pick a winner. The Getac S400 has 14-inch (1366 x 768) TFT display that works well in all lighting conditions. It can be upgraded to a 800 NIT sunlight readable LED touchscreen display with multi-touch technology for even greater outdoor visibility and versatility. The 14-inch (1366 x 768) LED sunlight-viewable display with optional touchscreen on the Toughbook 53 is also very impressive for outdoor use.
Best Semi-Rugged Tablet PC
For many years, there only existed two classifications of tablet PCs. One group was commercial tablet PCs made for primarily for hallway warriors, cube dwellers, and meeting monsters. The second category was fully or even ultra rugged tablet PCs, made for those field folks who work in the worst environmental conditions and require almost a nuclear-weapon-proof computer. Then, companies like Motion Computing started manufacturing semi-rugged tablet PCs. This classification of tablets can sustain drops and rough handling, offer sunlight-viewable displays, but are not totally sealed and waterproofed. So for those who are in between needing a commercial tablet and a fully rugged tablet, the Motion F5t and J3500 represent a terrific solution.
Most Rugged Tablet PC
The rugged tablet PCs from Xplore Technologies are able to hold up in even the most demanding conditions. Our customers have used these tablets in coal mines, on heavy construction sites, on forklifts, at the north pole you name it, and they can take a beating and keep on ticking (with apologies to Timex). The rubber bumpers that surround the units are icing on the cake, when combined with the tough magnesium casing of the unit itself. The iX104C5 and iX104C5 Lite are "ingress protection rated" at IP65. This basically means that nothing from the outside is getting inside the computer to cause problems. The only point of weakness, as is the case with most rugged computers, is the display screen itself. We have had a few come back for screen replacement after the computer was dropped and the display screen came in direct contact with a hard and sharp object. But even this calamity is somewhat mitigated by the hardened glass that Xplore uses in their rugged tablets.
Best Bargain in a Rugged Tablet PC
In 2011, Group Mobile extended its product offerings to include the WebDT line of economical, rugged tablet computers from DT Research, Inc. These tablets rugged tablets provide a strong and flexible mobile computing platform at a very affordable price. They offer vibrant touch displays and high performance, yet energy-efficient Intel® Atom processors within slim, light, and durable housings. These tablets perform in a variety of working conditions on the sales floor, in the warehouse, in the classroom, and in the field. With DT Research’s rugged tablets, users can choose between Microsoft® Windows® Embedded Standard 7, Windows 7 Professional, Windows XP Embedded, Windows XP Pro for Embedded Systems, or Linux operating systems. DT Research tablets feature options for RFID, smart card, and magnetic stripe readers, barcode scanners, and integrated cameras. These versatile tablets also offer Wi-Fi 802.11 wireless connectivity to enhance work efficiency.
Lightest Fully Rugged Tablet PC
The DRS Armor X7et is lightweight and only weighs 1.5lbs. It is rugged enough to stand up to the real world. The ARMOR X7et combines a user-friendly interface with field-tested durability. This rugged tablet is loaded with communications features and options to improve field workforce efficiency including Wi-Fi, multi-carrier broadband, Bluetooth® wireless, and integrated GPS. The price for this unit is not bad either for a fully rugged tablet PC with all the features one needs.
Most Versatile Fully Rugged Tablet PC
We like the Toughbook H2 from Panasonic in this category. There are several reasons why it wins the most versatile award. It is a great productivity tool for mobile workers. With a sealed all-weather design, the H2 lets you work virtually anywhere. Designed with magnesium alloy chassis, the IP65 and MIL-STD-810G certified Toughbook H2 delivers a complete range of embedded wireless features. With ports such as USB, serial, and Ethernet, and optional integrated barcode and SmartCard readers, the Toughbook H2 tablet can handle a variety of field service, mission critical, and healthcare applications.
It is small and lightweight. This makes it easy to carry with one hand and also up ladders, down into manholes, into attics, etc. The 10.1-inch LED screen is sunlight-readable, so the computer can be used in all lighting conditions, even in direct sunlight. No more needing to hunt down a source of shade when you need to use your computer. The Toughbook H2 has hot-swappable twin batteries to allow for maximum uptime. You can work all day long without stopping to find an outlet to charge the unit.
BEST Fully Rugged Convertible Tablet-to-Laptop
The Toughbook 19 from Panasonic is the winner here. If you are looking for a rugged Tablet but also need a keyboard for those times when pecking on the screen just won't suffice, then look at the Toughbook 19. The Toughbook 19 comes in two versions. One version has a traditional 'finger-touch-activated' passive touch screen while the tablet PC version has a 'stylus-pen-only' active digitizer touch screen with the ability to hand-write on the screen.
The Toughbook 19 is one of Group Mobile's best selling products. Our Toughbook 19 unit sales have even approached those of the Toughbook 31, the best selling rugged computer on the planet.
Getac also offers the V100 and V200 convertible tablet PCs. They both come standard with the Intel Core i7 processor and a 1200 NIT sunlight-viewable touchscreen display, not to mention Getac's five-year bumper-to-bumper warranty! Customer reviews have been quite positive over the past year on these two convertibles.
All seem to fine machines with the powerful advantage of the functionality of both a laptop and a tablet computer.
Best Handheld Computers and Rugged Smartphones
Group Mobile offers several leading brands of handhelds, including Trimble, Unitech, and Getac. Trimble seems to be the leader in this category with the Juno T41, Nomad 900 Series, and the Recon, however all of the computers Group Mobile carries in this category have specific benefits depending on your application and work environment.