Learn about the key differentiators between fully-rugged and ultra-rugged devices.
23 Jun 2022

Fully-Rugged vs. Ultra-Rugged: What You Need To Know

Is your organization in the market for rugged devices with the most extreme tolerances and capabilities available? An ultra-rugged model would seem indicated. However, you should not confine your search to mobile devices which vendors designate as “ultra-rugged”. There may be “fully-rugged” models out there that are just as good or even better, and that could even be a better value.

The key reason for this is that the term “rugged” has no formal and/or specific definition authored by an ISO or IEEE type of authority. Therefore neither do terms like “fully-rugged” or “ultra-rugged.” However, there are some agreed-upon conditions amongst professionals.

What Is Fully-Rugged?

A fully-rugged device will be MIL-STD-810H (formerly MIL-STD-810G) rated for a diverse variety of stresses and temperatures. It will have dust and water tolerances rated at IP66 or higher. It will also tolerate a drop from a height in the four-to-six-foot range without operation being affected. Lastly, it can also be considered more rugged than a business-rugged or semi-rugged model.

What Is Ultra-Rugged?

An ultra-rugged device will generally have the same certified tolerances as a fully-rugged device (i.e., everything mentioned in the previous section). However, typically it will have more. Ultra-rugged devices are often MIL-STD-461G rated for electromagnetic interference insulation. They may have ATEX/IECEx (such as ANSI C1D2) or an equivalent rating for intrinsic safety in explosive atmospheres. These devices may also tolerate exposure to salt water/fog.

Does Getac Sell Ultra-Rugged?

Getac has numerous models available, both tablets and notebooks, that offer everything you’ve just read, either standard or optional. However, Getac designates such solutions as fully-rugged, not ultra-rugged. There are two primary reasons why we do things this way. First, ultra-rugged has no formal definition. It’s marketing, in other words, and Getac makes solutions according to customer needs, not marketing categories.

Second, while there are clear benefits to the MIL-STD-461G and intrinsic safety ratings that often come with an “ultra-rugged” model, an ultra-rugged device will not necessarily be more tolerant of the stresses that come from impact, drop, vibration, temperature extremes, etc., than a fully-rugged device. Therefore Getac doesn’t see this term as being entirely useful as a device category.

There’s another reason for buyers to be skeptical when it comes to “ultra-rugged” devices. If you’re a vendor, designating a device “ultra-rugged” instead of fully rugged is a good way to fatten the margins on that particular model. You’re going to get it seen by industries and buyers who are seeking (and presumably can afford) the best.

So, when you’re doing a web search, key in terms like “ATEX laptop” or “salt fog tablet”. Also include the name of the industry you’re in. Those are often the capabilities and compatibilities that are most crucial to finding what you really need.

If you have questions about what type of rugged device you need, or about what rugged devices that Getac has that you need, you can contact us here.

As one of the leading rugged computer providers, Getac offers extensive rugged computing product lines and serves a wide range of vertical markets.

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