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Handheld Algiz RT10
Ultra-rugged Android tablet provides high performance and ample display space for productivity in demanding environments (by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)
On September 8, 2022, Swedish Handheld Group announced the Android 11-based 10-inch Algiz RT10 tablet computer, the latest in the company’s lineup of rugged mobile computers for field workers in all sorts of demanding environments.
The Handheld Group offers two primary product lines, those being the “Nautiz” branded rugged handhelds and the “Algiz” branded rugged tablets. By now, with the exception of a legacy model (the Nautiz X8), all of the Nautiz handhelds are Android-based.
On the Algiz tablet side, the Handheld Group supports both Android and Microsoft Windows. With the new Algiz RT10, there are now two tablets based on Windows and two based on Android. The image below shows the company’s whole current tablet lineup:
Handheld Group customers and followers will note that the 7-inch Algiz 7 tablet has been retired — likely because there are now handhelds with displays as big or nearly as big. The question then becomes: why a rugged 10-inch Android tablet when Android is primarily viewed as a phone operating system even by Google, and when Handheld already has rugged 8-inch Android and 10-inch Windows tablets?
Answer: Android is becoming more and more important in rugged tablets as well. All Tier 1 vendors of rugged mobile computers now offer 10-inch tablets. And with inclement weather outdoors and often the need to wear gloves, many users find a bigger display easier and more pleasant to use. With the new Algiz RT10, Handheld now has as a larger and more powerful complement to the still available 8-inch Algiz RT8.
Android on rugged tablets
While the smartphone market is dominated by Android (the vast majority of the market) and Apple (the high end), the situation is less clear in tablets. Google’s Android focus has almost completely been on phones, and almost all apps are designed and optimized for phones. Windows has always been available on rugged tablets, but now Android increasingly has a tablet presence as well. Windows works best on larger tablets whereas Android was designed for smaller screens. As a result, up to recently, Windows tablets tended to be larger and Android tablets smaller.
With Android becoming ever more relevant, the question then becomes what kind of rugged Android tablet might work best. It shouldn’t be just a bigger phone; it must be something that brings the simplicity and native touch-screen orientation of Android to a larger screen. One that’s more comfortable to work on, and one that can accommodate more complex applications. It must also be attractive, responsive and reasonably up-to-date because all those state-of-the-art smartphones have spoiled Android users. They now expect the same from their professional tools.
How did Handheld go about its new 10-inch tablet?
They did it their way. Throughout Handheld’s history, the company, more than almost anyone else, has had a consistent design language and consistent color schemes. Handheld Group devices have a visual brand recognition rivaled only by Panasonic Toughbook products. You know a Handheld device when you see one, and the Algiz RT10 continues that tradition.
Handheld has also a knack of hitting that sweet spot between consumer tablet good looks and on-the-job ruggedness and functionality. The RT10 is a handsome looking piece of equipment, and one that, unlike modern consumer tablets, has enough of a bezel to protect the display and to be held and handled without the screen registering unintended touch. Like the smaller RT8, the RT10 has actual physical, programmable buttons. On the job and under adverse conditions, buttons can be faster and more reliable than just touch.
While an 8-inch screen provides more room for Android apps than even the biggest phone, the RT10’s 10-inch screen is bigger and better yet. By a lot; the 10-inch screen of the RT10 has 89% more display area than the 8-inch display or the RT8! And 1920 x 1200 pixel resolution makes for 226 ppi (pixels per inch) — that’s nice and sharp even on a 10-inch tablet. The screen, of course, is sunlight-readable and has a display luminance of 600 nits. That’s bright but not at the head of the class. Make it brighter and there’s shorter battery life to consider, so 600 nits is a good compromise.
Whereas rugged Windows tablets usually have plenty of interface ports, Android tablets — and especially slender ones like the RT10 — generally make do with less. In this case a couple of USB 3.0 Type A ports, a reversible USB Type C port that’s also used for charging, and a 3-1/2mm headphone jack. If more is needed, Handheld offers a vehicle dock with HDMI, RJ45 Ethernet, USB, antenna pass-through and more (see below).
There is also an expansion connector in the back of the Algiz RT10, so customers will likely have access to all sorts of bolt-on functionality.
And what are the specs?
In terms of tech and specs, what do customers get with the new Algiz RT10? It measures 9.8 x 5.7 inches — pretty much the same as the primary 10-inch rugged Android tablet competition from Getac, Panasonic, RuggON and others. For a fully rugged device the Algiz RT10 is remarkably slender at 0.67 inches, and its 2.2 pounds is light enough to easily carry it around. Its user-accessible and replaceable 44.5 watt-hour battery should last a full work day and then some.
What about performance? Here, while each new leading consumer smartphone has the very latest and fastest chip, rugged Android devices have generally been more conservative. That’s because, as Handheld’s CEO Thomas Löfblad once said, with rugged tablets the goal is to hit that perfect spot between value and efficiency. That makes sense.
For the new Algiz RT10, Handheld picked the Qualcomm Snapdragon 480, an octa-core processor that was introduced in 2021. This chip should offer about twice the performance of the Snapdragon 625 used in Handheld’s smaller Algiz RT8, and generally be as quick or quicker than the Snapdragon 660 that’s currently found in most high-end rugged Android devices. Qualcomm describes the SD 480 as a 5G Mobile Platform that supports multiple 5G spectrums, dual-antenna Wi-Fi, and also includes the powerful Adreno 619 GPU. Here are some of our preliminary benchmarks for the RT10:
PCMark for Android
Geekbench 5 Single
Geekbench 5 Multi
Geekbench Open CL
As for other specs, there are 6GB of RAM, 128GB of internal storage (augmentable via a microSDXC card slot), two cameras (5mp and 13mp AF), 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 5.1, 4G LTE and 5G, dual nano-SIMs. For navigation, there’s a stand-alone integrated NEO M8U u-blox module that supports all four available GNSS systems, those being GPS (the US system), GLONASS (the Russian version of GPS), the European Galileo, and the Chinese BeiDou. And also the Japanese QZSS and SBAS — a Satellite-Based Augmentation System. The ability to use them concurrently means access to more satellites, making for quicker starts, very good accuracy, and superior coverage.
While the Algiz RT10 is a general-purpose rugged tablet suitable a very wide range of applications, many of those deployments will include data capture. To that extent, the RT10 can read NFC and UHF RFID tags, and Handheld offers an optional integrated Honeywell N6703 2D imager.
All of the Handheld Group’s rugged systems can handle a lot of punishment and rough handling on the job, and the Algiz RT10 is no exception. Working anywhere within -4 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit is no problem. There’s IP67 sealing where the “6” means the computer is totally protected from dust, and the “7” that it is protected against full immersion down to a meter for 30 minutes. The Algiz RT10 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.
Handheld Group’s new Algiz RT10
The Algiz RT10 is the perfect next logical step in the Handheld Group’s lineup. The company’s tablet customers now have their choice not only of two compact rugged Windows tablets, but also two industrial strength Android tablets. And with the Algiz RT10, the Handheld Group now has a strong contender in the increasingly important segment of fully rugged 10-inch Android tablets. — Conrad H. Blickenstorfer, September 2022
Specifications Handheld Algiz RT10
Rugged Android tablet
Android 11 (GMS)
Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 SM4350
1 x Micro SDXC, 2 x Nano SIM
Sunlight-readable TFT LCD with hardened glass
10.0″ (1920 x 1200 pixel, 16:10 aspect ratio) 600 nits
10-point capacitive multi-touch (incl. rain and glove modes)
Power, F1, F2, F3, volume up/down
Plastic with integrated protective rubber bumpers
-4° to 140° degrees Fahrenheit (-20° to 60° Celsius)
IP67, MIL-STD-810G, IEC 60529
26 4-feet drops to concrete per MIL-STD-810G Method 516.6, Procedure IV
MIL-STD-810G, Method 514.6 Procedures I
15.000 ft at 73°F (4572 meters at 23°C) per MIL-STD-810G, Method 500.5, Procedure I and II