05 October 2021

Rugged devices have continued to develop over recent years, with not only the technology becoming faster and more complex, but with the number of different device types now available. With more options on the market, it can be hard to know which one is best to fulfil the needs of you and your company.

Two devices you could choose between are rugged handhelds and rugged tablets. Both have their benefits, but which is best for you?  

What is a rugged handheld?  

A rugged handheld is a portable device, designed to be compact and easy to use. These mobile computers are ergonomically designed, and traditionally come in two shapes; with a gun/pistol grip, or similar to a smartphone. Both shapes can come with buttons and a touchscreen, or purely operate via a touchscreen, which is toughened and protected to ensure it can withstand the tough working conditions they’re designed for.

What is a rugged tablet?  

A rugged tablet is a slightly larger portable device, designed with a larger screen than a traditional handheld device. Due to their larger size screen, a rugged tablet often only has a touchscreen that is durable and designed to absorb shock or damage. These tablets can also be designed to be multi-functional, from use in a warehouse straight out into an HGV or van to help with good transportation and delivery.

An alternative to a rugged tablet is a rugged truck mounted device. Similar to a tablet, a truck mounted device is more robust and remains fixed to warehouse and logistic vehicles such as forklifts and counterbalance trucks. These devices can either be touchscreen or with a keypad, depending on your needs.

Which device is best within the manufacturing sector?  

Within the manufacturing sector, a rugged device can help increase productivity within operations, whether that be in a plant or warehouse. They’re there to help provide visibility of materials, flow of finished and part-finished goods, and tracking materials and labour throughout the supply chain.

For this environment, handheld devices can be the perfect solution, such as the TS8200. They’re ideal for maintaining productivity within a busy factory environment, including reducing errors. If a lot of information needs to be displayed, a tablet could be considered which offers a sensitive touchscreen that can be used in the warehouse, even if you’re wearing gloves. Or consider a truck mount if the operations are warehouse based, such as the TS7200, which works in a range of warehouse vehicles including forklifts, and can be undocked for ease.  

Which device is best within the transportation and logistics sector?  

For the transport and logistics sector, rugged mobile devices can help transform a logistics process by integrating the flow of information throughout, from materials handling to transportation.

Both a tablet and handheld device can be a reliable tool within this sector, depending on your needs. For example, a truck mounted device, promotes productivity and can be used within the warehouse during materials handling. For an individual driver out on the road, a handheld device, such as the TS5000 can assist in the delivery process and increase efficiency. To learn more about the differences between wearable and truck mounts, explore more on our blog; Rugged truck mounts or rugged wearables? Which is best?  

Which device is best within a hazardous environment?  

When working in a hazardous environment, the health and safety of workers is paramount, and therefore the equipment they use must meet the legal safety standard. This includes meeting the ATEX certification which outlines the minimum safety requirements for workplaces and equipment used in explosive environments.

In these challenging environments, a tablet is the best rugged device to use, such as the TS3200, which offers high-performance scanning and data capture, in a durable and shock absorbing rubber casing. The TS3200 also can be used in a cradle system which provides a user-friendly mounting system for use in any HGV, van, forklift or warehouse trolley.  

Transform your business operations today  

Here at TouchStar, we offer a range of rugged mobile devices, including handheld and tablets. They can be highly effective in a wide range of industries, such as logistics and manufacturing. To find out more about how they could benefit your business, get in touch today.


Peter joined TouchStar (formally Belgravium) in a sales manager role in 2001.  Prior to joining the company, Peter held Partner and National Sales Manager roles within the parcel and logistics industries. 

In 2011 Peter was promoted to Sales Director and is now actively involved in promoting the value of TouchStar’s Rugged Mobile Computing solutions to the warehouse, logistics, manufacturing and field service industries. When not involved in the business, Peter is a keen and enthusiastic football and cricket fan.


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