Its not! See below what makes rugged equipment stand out from the rest.
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Product life cycle increases
Rugged computing devices are designed to achieve a five-to-seven-year lifespan. Non-rugged devices average a One-to-three-year lifecycle.
Failure rates decrease
Rugged devices are designed to perform in harsh environments and do so while maintaining a 2 percent average failure rate. Non-rugged laptops are built to less vigorous specifications and average 12-16 percent failure in ideal environments.
Operational parameters expand
Rugged devices are typically rated operational from zero to 122 degrees Fahrenheit and regularly exceed these specifications in production. In cold climates, non-rugged mobile computing devices would need to be left indoors or in a running vehicle with the heat on until the ambient temperature exceeds 32 degrees. In warm climates, non-rugged units may fail entirely and be unable to power back on until their temperature cools to an operational level.
Visibility will be increased
Rugged device screens employ sunlight filtration, glare reduction, anti-reflective coatings and brightness ratings of up to 6000 nits to allow for wide-angle viewing in direct sunlight. Non-rugged devices might have lower quality versions of some of these features and will typically peak around 340 nits. Consumer screens are easily washed out in even indirect daylight (e.g., in a vehicle during the day.).
Rugged units offer low-light viewable screens and multi-setting backlit keyboards. Many users work long hours, and their equipment must work seamlessly into the night without sacrificing performance, functionality or ergonomics.
Rugged equipment allow for unique embedded options to enhance functionality. This enables numerous executables to be integrated into a single platform. Common options include radio frequency ID (RFID) card readers, insertable card readers, barcode scanners and magnetic stripe readers, 4GLTE, Push-to-Talk.
Rugged devices are covered by standard warranties ranging from three-to-five years and sometimes include accidental damage protection at no extra charge.
The industry benchmark for device rugged-ability is the U.S. Military Standard 810G (MIL-STD-810G). This grueling set of standards covers parameters such as: dropping the equipment from a certain height, vibration, shock impact, high and low temperatures, particulate, liquid and humidity resistance. The ingress protection rating — resistance to particulates and liquid — of a device will often also be listed (e.g., IP65, IP67).