ALGIZ RT7 HEAVYWEIGHT FIELD PERFORMANCE AT 1.44lb!
Rugged 7-inch Android tablet computer for rugged environments, IP65, Built-in 4G LTE
Starting at $1,149
Evaluation Units Available!
Rugged PC Review.com - Rugged Tablet PCs: Handheld Algiz RT7Rugged PC Review.com - Handhelds and PDAs:
Elegant, expandable, ultra-rugged 7-inch Android tablet for work in demanding environments
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)
For a brief intro, the Handheld Group offers two primary product lines, those being the Nautiz branded rugged handhelds and the Algiz branded rugged tablets and notebooks. By now, most of the Nautiz handhelds are available with either Windows or Android, but on the Algiz side, the new Algiz RT7 represents Handheld's first Android-based product. The image below shows the company's Windows-based Algiz 7 on the left, and the new Algiz RT7 on the right.
Let's answer some obvious questions first. For example, if most of the Nautiz rugged handhelds come with either Windows or Android and the Handheld Group already has a perfectly good 7-inch tablet, why not simply offer that one with Android as well? Answer: that's because the processors in the Nautiz handhelds inherently support Android, whereas the CPUs used in the company's Algiz models do not. And why offer and support two operating systems? Answer: because unlike with consumer smartphones where Android and Apple's iOS totally dominate, in rugged tablets Windows is strong and Android is just now picking up steam. So supporting both platforms is important.
How to design an Android tablet for the field
There are other difficult questions. Enterprise customers have pretty much shown that they want their ruggedized tablets to look and feel just like consumer products. But how can you make a tablet that looks sleek and elegant and is tough enough for work out there in the field? Then there's the price. With generic tablets being practically given away and even brand name tablets going for well under US$100, what does that mean for rugged tablets that cost far more? And even that's not all. Fierce competition in the consumer tablet market has made expected specs and features a quickly moving target hard to match for any industrial and enterprise product designed for the longer haul.
So how can a company like the Handheld Group conceivably enter this commodity market with a product that by its very definition is not a commodity product, but enterprise and vertical market customers demand it must look and handle like one?
It's not easy, but the likely answer is to a) skillfully apply popular design concepts and features onto an underlying much more rugged platform, b) have a credible (if not incredible) spec sheet that gets the job done, and c) sell it at a price that convincingly confirms that its total cost of ownership is indeed lower than the consumer market if-it-breaks-just-get-another approach. Of course, having a stellar reputation for quality and service, and an attractive, cohesive product lineup and clear brand identity — both of which the Handheld Group has — doesn't hurt either.
How Handheld went about it
And that gets us to the Algiz RT7. It measures 8.5 x 5 inches. That's a bit more than a consumer 7-inch tablet, and makes it easier to hold and operate the tablet with gloves. Plus there are four programmable physical function buttons to quickly call up frequently used commands or apps, and the protective rubber bumpers. At 0.9 inches, the tough, sturdy Algiz RT7 is considerably thicker than a super-slender consumer tablet. And at 1.45 pounds it weighs more, too (albeit less than the original iPad).
Unlike consumer market tablets where wired connectivity is virtually a non-factor, in the field it can be everything. For that reason, the Algiz RT7 has both tablet-typical micro USB and a full-size USB port. And also a standard RJ45 LAN jack for when WiFi is not available.
The 7-inch display marks the Algiz RT7 as a member of the class that once was offered as a smaller alternative to the "full-size" 10-inch iPad. On the consumer side of the market, that size has now mostly given way to ever-larger smartphones. On the job and in the field it makes perfect sense as an information tool that's small enough to fit almost anywhere, but large enough for real work. The tablet's 1,024 x 600 pixel resolution, while not in the "retina" class, is actually much sharper than the original iPad. The 600-nit screen is very bright — half again as bright as the iPad Air 2 — and it's chemically strengthened glass to ward off damage. Operation is via capacitive multi-touch (plus the four function keys).
The tech under the hood
It is more difficult to assess the technology and performance of an Android device than of a Windows device. When you look at all companies that offer both Android and Windows tablets, Windows tablets almost always have beefier specs. That's because Windows is a much larger and more resource-intensive OS and needs the extra hardware for perceived everyday performance parity. Handheld's Windows and Android 7-inch tablet stablemates follow that same pattern. Asked about this, Thomas Löfblad, Handheld's VP Global Sales, said "we built the Algiz RT7 to hit that perfect spot between value and efficiency. The less CPU-hungry Android OS allows high efficiency computing without consuming as much processing power. We evaluated other rugged Android tablets and chose a CPU that benchmarked higher than others we tested."
The 1.2 GHz Qualcomm MSM8916 "Snapdragon" chip in the Algiz RT7 is indeed a competent quad-core processor with an Andreno 306 GPU that supports all the features that matter in this class of tablet. It's used in numerous Samsung Galaxy, HTC Desire, Asus, Acer, Lenovo, Huawei and Motorola tablets and handhelds. Onboard memory is just 16GB, but that can be expanded via an SDHC card slot. There's both 2.5G (because it's still used in many parts of the world) as well as 4G LTE (which is state-of-the-art). And there are two SIM slots so both can be supported at the same time. There are two cameras, both entirely contemporary (2mp and 8mp AF). There are the requisite sensors, and both 1D/2D bar code readers and RFID/NFC are available as options.
For navigation, there's a stand-alone integrated u-blox EVA-7M module that can handle GPS, GLONASS, QZSS and SBAS signals and reach 2-meter CEP accuracy. CEP stands for "circular error probable" and means that half of the time accuracy is within a radius of two meters from actual.
Also note that the Algiz RT7 comes with Android 5.1. Codenamed "Lollipop," Android 5.x introduced much improved device protection, improved Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity and also significantly improved security. All of this makes Android more attractive for enterprise and government customers, and will doubtlessly aid in the adoption of the Android platform in those markets.
Rugged good looks
In terms of ruggedness, the Algiz RT7 is able to absorb a good deal of punishment out there in the field. It can handle a wide operating temperature range from -4 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit, making it suitable for deployment in freezers as well as deserts. It carries IP65 sealing where the "6" means the computer is totally protected from dust, and the "5" that it is protected against low pressure jet of water from all directions. The Algiz RT7 also passed the MIL-STD-810G test of 26 4-foot drops to concrete, as well as several other MIL-STD-810G and complementary tests.
Last but definitely not least, the Algiz RT7 benefits from Handheld's distinct light-gray/black color scheme which the company uses across the board for one of the most cohesive brand identities anywhere. The Algiz RT7 is not only a good-looking device, but also one where form fortuitously follows ergonomics and function.
With the new Algiz RT7, Handheld Group offers a sensible, practical Android tablet that's tough enough to go anywhere. The Algiz RT7 skillfully merges the consumer tablet look and feel with the serious features and qualities that matter out there in the field. And it all comes at a price that's right.
Specifications Handheld Algiz RT7
Type Rugged Android tablet
OS Android 5.1.1 (Lollipop)
Processor Quad-core Qualcomm MSM8916
CPU Speed 1.20GHz
Standard/Max RAM 1GB LPDDR2 533MHz
Disk/drive 16GB eMMC
Card slots 1 x SDHC (up to 32GB), 2 x SIM; optional 2 x SAM
Display type Sunlight-readable TFT LCD with chemically strengthened glass, 600 nits
Display size/res 7.0" WSVGA (1,024 x 600 pixel)
Digitizer/pens Capacitive 5-point multi-touch
Keyboard/scale 4 programmable function keys
Housing Plastic with protective rubber bumpers
Operating Temp -4° to 122° degrees Fahrenheit (-20° to 50° Celsius)
Sealing IP65, MIL-STD-810G, IEC 60529
Shock 26 4-feet drops to concrete per MIL-STD-810G Method 516.6, Procedure IV
Vibration MIL-STD-810G, Method 514.6 Procedures I
Altitude 15.000 ft at 73°F (4572 meters at 23°C) per MIL-STD-810G, Method 500.5, Procedure I
Size (WxHxD) 8.5 x 5.0 x 0.9 inches (216 x 128 x 24 mm)
Weight 1.44 pounds (650 grams)
Power 3.7V 6,000mAh 22.2 watt-hour Li-Ion battery
Cameras Front: 2-megapixel; rear: 8-megapixel AF + LED flash
Sensors 3-axis accelerometer, 3-axis gyro, eCompass
Scanning Optional 2D barcode reader
Interface 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x micro USB, 1 x RJ45 LAN, 1 x VGA, 1 x 3.5mm audio in/out, power
Wireless 802.11b/g/n, Class 1 + 2 Bluetooth v4.1, integrated u-blox EVA-7M GPS, 2.5G (GSM, GPRS, EDGE) and 4G LTE; optional 13.56 MHz RFID/NFC
List price Starting at US$1,149