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Advances in technology can make the decision to upgrade your mobile computers an easy one. But when you decide your business can benefit from new features and functions, how do you then select the best model from all available choices? To find the right mobile computer that will boost productivity and efficiency, minimize downtime and waste, and give you a competitive advantage, here are five factors to consider.

IP Rating

Depending on the demands of your operating environment, you may need a rugged device. Mobile computers designed for warehouse or field work will have a two-digit ingress protection (IP) rating, which indicates how well they are sealed or resist damage from dust particles and moisture from spills or condensation. The first digit is dust protection (on a scale of 0 to 6), and the second is moisture resistance (on a scale of 0 to 8). A device rated IP-67, for example, is totally sealed from dust and can be immersed in water for 30 minutes without damage.

Other factors to consider are test performed to show the numbers of tumbles (about 3 feet) or drops (6 to 8 feet) to concrete that the mobile computer can withstand. You should also factor in the amount of temperature fluctuation in the environment in which the device will be used.

Ergonomics

Look for a mobile computer that is designed for maximum comfort and ease of use. For example, today’s models are significantly lighter than their predecessors, reducing muscle fatigue and improving productivity. One ergonomic innovation of the Zebra TC8000 is to position the screen so that it faces the user during a scan, unlike traditional models that force the worker to tilt the device in order to read the screen. This new design reduces muscle effort by 15% and wrist motion by 55%, minimizing repetitive-motion strain and increasing scan speed.

Effective Battery Management

If a mobile computer’s battery can’t last an entire shift, valuable time may be lost while the user powers down to switch batteries or exchanges the device completely. Look for long battery life — the TC8000, for example, stores enough power for three shifts. It also offers the ability to hot swap the battery quickly without powering down. Furthermore, the diagnostics of the TC8000’s PowerPrecision+ battery let you know when an aging battery should be retired.

Advanced Scanning Options

There are many different types of barcodes in use today, and you’ll want a mobile computer that can scan whatever types you might encounter. 2D barcode imagers can read both 1D and 2D barcodes, even ones that have been damaged. It may also benefit your operation — and worker productivity — to choose a device with a scan engine that handles various ranges and that allows workers to scan multiple barcodes at once.

Hands-Free Proximity

Another desirable mobile computer characteristic is flexibility of use. Today’s devices can be worn, mounted in a vehicle or cart, or voice-enabled, leaving workers’ hands free to perform task more quickly and with a reduced risk of injury.

The right mobile computer can improve worker productivity to the point where it can make a significant impact on labor costs, providing an excellent return on investment. Contact Imprint Enterprises to explore all of your mobile computing options and how they can benefit your business.

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