A new, handy and quite rugged 5-inch capacitive multi-touch Android device from the Italy-based data capture specialists
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)
Datalogic introduced the DL-Axist PDA on May 24, 2016 as a robust, industrial-strength Android-based handheld computer with a fashionably large 5-inch high-res display and and an industrial-grade 2D imager. The primary target market is retail applications such as assisted sales, merchandising, stock management, field force deployment outside the four walls use, or as a Manager's device.
We're not quite sure how Datalogic came up with the "Axist" name, but it's certainly a modern, nicely designed device that covers many bases. The 5-inch display is large enough to do work on, but not so large as to look like it wants to be a small tablet. 1280 x 720 resolution means 294 pixels per inch, which is in the "retina" territory and very sharp. Interface is via capacitive multi-touch, and it's a variety that can also be used with gloves. The display is protected with Corning Gorilla Glass 3.
In terms of size and weight, the Axist has a footprint of 6.2 x 3.1 inches — almost exactly the same as an iPhone 6 Plus — and is just 0.7 inches thick. Weight is 12.3 ounces. For an industrial-grade handheld, that's remarkably light, compact and slender.
Rock-solid and versatile connectivity is everything these days, and the Axist PDA includes five embedded wireless technologies. There's Cisco CCXv4 certified 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi MIMO (Multiple-Input Multiple-Output) technology for high throughput and optimal coverage, 3G/4G mobile broadband for real-time wide area voice and data coverage, enterprise-class A-GPS for location-based applications, Bluetooth v4 for quick local data connections that use minimal power, and NFC for easy configuration and pairing.
One major thing that sets professional tools such as the Datalogic Axist apart from consumer technology is their scanning capability. The Axist has an advanced integrated industrial-grade 1D/2D imager for quick and easy data capture from high density codes at standard range distances, with Datalogic's patented "Green Spot" technology offering good-read feedback. A 5MP autofocus camera with built-in LED flash provides easy task or damage documentation. And there's also Datalogic's SoftSpot technology with a user-definable screen-based 'floating soft trigger.'
Under the hood, Datalogic went with tried-and-true in the form of a 1.0GHz OMAP 4430 dual-core processor from Texas Instruments. This chip is complemented with a PowerVR graphics engine and has been seeing duty in a good number of industrial handhelds and tablets for a few years. There's a gig of RAM and 8GB of eMMC mass storage, which can be complemented via the unit's Micro-SD card slot. The Axist has a full complement of onboard sensors, as we'd expect from a modern handheld. Power is provided either by a 11.8 watt-hour Li-Ion battery for WiFi models, or an extended battery with twice the capacity for WWAN versions.
On the ruggedness side, the Axist claims IP67 sealing, which means it's totally dustproof, and can also handle full immersion in water, which always makes for peace of mind. It has a wide operating temperature range of -4 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit, can be dropped from six feet to concrete if in its rubber boot, and still four feet without. The spec sheet doesn't list any other ruggedness data, something many prospective customers would probably be interested in.
From what we can tell, Datalogic has been concentrating more on their fixed retail scanners and their dedicated handheld readers than their lineup of mobile computers for the last two or three years, and so it's good to see a new true mobile computer again. The choice of Android is sensible as hanging on yet again to Windows Embedded Handheld really would not have made sense, and the jury's still out on Windows 10 IoT Mobile Enterprise (which is supposed to replace Windows Mobile and Embedded handheld).
Datalogic, founded in 1972, is a strong producer of bar code readers, data collection mobile computers, RFID systems and photoelectric devices for detection with corporate headquarters in Bologna, Italy. The company has about 2,500 employees in 30 countries, over 1,000 partners worldwide, eight research and development labs with 300 engineers, and offers outstanding solutions for many industrial sectors, from manufacturing to transportation & logistics and retail.