Getac PS236 Fully Rugged Handheld


Getac PS236 rugged handheld is fit for field duty

The Getac PS236 might sound like a public school in Brooklyn, but this rugged handheld could educate others about how to make a sturdy product. The little handheld is thick but only weighs 1 pound, 4 ounces without its power cord. There is a strap on the back so that it could easily be held in one hand for long periods of time or looped into a belt or other harness. It fits easily into the big pocket of a lab coat, too.

Everything looks good on the 3.5-inch VGA LCD, which is, of course, a touch-screen device. Pressure-sensing helps some applications act more efficiently. The transflective sunlight display looks good in all lighting conditions. You can bring up a tiny keyboard on the screen and hunt and peck for the keys, too, though we would have preferred a hardware keyboard someone on the frame, given that there is enough room.

Getac PS236 Fully Rugged Handheld

Pros: Survived multiple 4-foot drops; ran fine in extreme heat, cold.
Cons: Windows Mobile operating system slightly restricts program choices; no hardware keyboard.
Rugged Level: A
Performance: B
Ease of use: A-
Features: B+
Value: A
Price: $2,299

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The PS236 runs Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional as its operating system. Not every program, including our benchmarks, will run on Windows Mobile, although most portable applications will. It seemed speedy, probably because of the Marvell PXA310 806 MHz processor, backed by 128M of MDDR RAM. And it has plenty of ports, including an RS232, USB, SDIO/SDHC and DC. There is also a camera and an 802.11b/g radio to round out all the things you can do with it.

In terms of ruggedness, the PS236 is a solid brick. It literally bounced through our drop testing, partially because of the sturdy design and partially because of the thick rubber grips on all sides. The only negative thing that happened was that the stylus pen popped out of its holder on almost every 4-foot drop, so a little more tension there would be nice. The PS236 also survived heat and freezing tests. And it’s able to be submerged in water, though it likes to float, so good luck getting it to sink without really trying. That is actually a good thing, because it be easier to recover if it’s floating on the surface.

When you need to do a rough job in a small space or have to carry your rugged gear all day, the PS236 might become your little yellow best friend.



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