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Mobile Computer Selection Guide | RF Barcode Scanners & Readers

Motorola Data Capture Terminals - How to select the right Mobile Computer (PDA)

The mobile computer (PDA) market is huge and there is alot of choice available from a wide range of manufacturers.

From the outset we have to make a clear distinction between consumer devices and mobile computers for business applications. Barcode Datalink specialises in mobile computers for data collection (barcode and RFID) for business customers. We do not focus on the consumer market.

The mobile computers we supply and support fall into two categories:

The first question to answer, is it going to be used in the warehouse or somewhere else?


Warehouse Barcode Scanners & Data Capture Terminals

Mobile computers for the warehouse need to integrate with an existing ERP or computer system and have to provide a level of robustness to survive the warehouse environment.

The Motorola range of mobile computers that are suitable for warehouse use are:

  • MC-3000 Series
  • MC-3100 Series
  • MC-9000 Series
  • MC-9500 Series

Motorola MC3000 Series Mobile Computer Motorola MC3100 Series Mobile Computer Motorola MC9090 Series Mobile Computer Motorola MC9500K Series Mobile Computer 

Questions to answer are:

  1. who are your workforce?
  2. what is their computer skill level?
  3. what computer system are you connecting to?
  4. batch mode data collection or RF (wireless)?
  5. what functions are they going to use the mobile computer for?
  6. what type of barcodes do they have to read?
  7. do you require Bluetooth? ie for mobile label printing?
  8. what keypad is most suited to your requirements?
  9. how industrial is your environment?
  10. will staff carry the scanner all day or use it on a forklift or do they push around a trolley?
  11. any other things to consider? current work process, environmental conditions, other?  

Quick general advice:

I want a mobile computer that is light and reasonably tough.

We would recommend the MC-3000 or MC-3100 series for light industrial applications such as picking and scan packing. 

I want a tough and durable mobile computer since I know my guys aren't very careful with things.

In tough environments we know that the MC-9000 and MC-9500 series can survive the daily bumps and knocks. 

I am the manager and I would like something pocket sized that I can use now and then in the warehouse, but also use day to day for other things.

In the past we have supplied managers with the MC-50. It could fit in your pocket or be worn on a belt holster. Running Wavelink you could access Pronto, SAP or your IBM AS-400 mainframe applications. Outside the warehouse you could send/receive emails and browse the internet.

The replacement to the MC-50 is the MC-55. Now available in two versions, a wi-fi only or as a mobile phone. 

Related Information: 

 to see what mobile computers men prefer to use in the warehouse

 to see what women prefer  

More information is at the bottom of this page.


Executive Mobile Computers

These mobile computers are for office or sales staff and are used daily in non-warehouse environments. Usually the skill level of these operators is more computer savvy than their warehouse counterparts. Hence these devices offer alot more options such as:

  • 1D barcode scanning
  • 2D barcode scanning
  • image/document/signature capture
  • mobile phone
  • voice over IP
  • GPS
  • camera (with flash)
  • video
  • Bluetooth
  • mag stripe reading

The Motorola range of mobile computers offered are:

  • MC-55
  • MC-70
  • MC-75
  • FR-68

Motorola MC55 Series Mobile Computer Motorola MC70 Series Mobile Computer Motorola MC75 Series Mobile Computer Motorola FR68 Series Mobile Computer  

From Warp Systems we support the:

  • Janam Series
  • M3 Series from Mobile Compia

Janam mobile computer - small, lightweight, easy to carry and a long battery life M3 from Mobile Compia - tough and packed with features

The questions you need to ask here to determine the most suitable mobile computer for your staff are:

  • what is the task they need to complete?
  • how much memory do we need on the device?
  • what type of keyboard do we need?
  • will they be out of the office?
  • do they need to be able to access the internet? (from outside the office)
  • will they use the device as a mobile phone?
  • how 'rough' is the environment?
  • will the device be used indoors, outdoors?
  • operating temperature range?
  • what barcodes will they have to read?
  • are they going to read RFID tags?
  • will they need the ability to capture photos or video?
  • is document, image or signature capture required?
  • do they need to print to Bluetooth printers?
  • do they need GPS?
  • will they need to capture credit card payments?
  • what accessories will they need?
    • in car charger
    • carry cases or belt holsters


Related Information: 

 to read about the different type of barcode scan engines available

 to see the various keyboard options for each mobile computer 

 of all the mobile computers 

 Telnet keyboard mapping for all mobile computers

 How to take control of your mobile computer remotely

 Add barcode, RFID & RS-232 capabilities to your Motorola mobile

 How to lock down a Motorola mobile computer with Appcenter

 For more information or pricing, call us on (02) 9636-5299