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Datalogic Falcon X3

Rugged, ergonomic flashlight-style handheld for retail and warehousing
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)

The Datalogic Falcon X3 was introduced late 2010/early 2011 as a top-of-the-line PDT, available in hand-held and pistol grip versions, for real time data capture and communication in supply chains, retail and warehousing.

Datalogic already has an exceptionally comprehensive lineup of handheld terminals ranging from the cellphone-sized Memor and Formula all the way to the full-size Kyman and Falcon 4400. In terms of size and weight, the new Falcon X3 is closest to the existing Falcon 4400 and the Kyman. What sets the new device apart, however, is a substantial increase in scanner/imager debt of field and range performance. It is also available in a pistol grip version for scanning-intensive applications where that configuration works best.

The Falcon X3 is about nine inches long, 3.5 inches wide in the display part of the device, and a maximum of just over two inches thick. It weighs 22 ounces without the pistol grip, and about 25 ounces with the grip. That's quite compact and light for a device in this class. The X3's resistive touch screen display measures 3.5 inches diagonally. It uses transflective technology with a 200 nits backlight to provide daylight readability. Resolution remains at 240 x 320 pixel QVGA. Full VGA would have been nice in a top-of-the-line device.

Keyboard/keypad layouts can make or break the usability of a handheld terminal, and so Datalogic offers the Falcon X3 with two different layouts, a numeric version with 29 keys, and an alphanumeric version with a separate numeric keypad. The former lends itself to rapid numeric data input with its large keys, the latter is more conducive for frequent text entry. Each version also has navigational keys and a large orange scan key. Polycarbonate key caps and metal snap domes guarantee the kind of longevity and reliability demanded by the X3's third party logistics clientele.

On the processor side, Datalogic stayed with XScale PXA family, but moved from the old PXA255 chip in the Falcon 4400 to a parallel combination of the considerably more powerful 624MHz PXA310 and a Cortex-M3 processor. RAM and Flash are 256MB each, with additional storage available via an SDHC-supporting microSD card slot. For operating system software, customers have a choice between Windows CE 6.0 R3 or Windows Mobile 6.5 (it is not clear from the documentation if this is the recently announced Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5). There's pre-licensed Wavelink terminal emulation and Wavelink Avalanche, as well as Datalogic desktop, firmware and configuration utilities.

There seems to be a trend in making industrial handhelds ever more ruggeds, and the new Falcon X3 is no exception. The X3 has a very wide operating temperature range of -4 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit, making it suitable for use in almost any environment, including commercial freezers. The drop spec is an impressive six feet; few handhelds fall from that high. Sealing is at the IP64 level. That means the unit is totally dust-proof, but limited ingress of water spray is permitted. This'll do for warehouse duty. Outdoors, we usually like to see IP65 or better.

Datalogic handhelds are about rapid reliable data capture an communication, and so the Falcon X3 comes with dual-band Cisco CCX v4 certified Summit 802.11a/b/g WiFi with a diversity antenna, Class 2 Bluetooth, and either a laser scanner (high-performance or auto-ranging) or a 1D/2D imager, both using Datalogic's "Green Spot" technology, and also a 3-megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash. Speakeasy or VoCE allows two-way voice dialogue.

Specifications Falcon X3
Added/last update Added 01/2011
Form-factor Rugged flashlight-style handheld
CPU Speed Marvell PXA310/624 MHz with Cortex-M3 co-processor
OS Windows CE 6.0 R3 or Windows Mobile 6.5
Card slots 1 MicroSD (SDHC compatible)
Display type Transflective daylight-readable TFT
Display size/res 3.5"/240 x 320, 200 NIT backlight, anti-reflective
Digitizer/pens touch/1
Keyboard/keys 29-key numeric or 52-key alpha-numeric keypads with polycarbonate hard caps
Navigation directional control, triggers
Housing Industrial polycarbonate/ABS-blend plastic shell with thermoplastic urethane overmold
Operating Temp -4 to 122F
Sealing IP64
Shock 18 drops from 6 feet to concrete
Size (WxHxD) 3.5 x 8.9 x 2.2
Weight 22 ounces (25 ounces with pistol grip)
Power Li-Ion 3.7V, 5,000mAh (18.5 watt-hours)
Interface USB host and client, RS232, audio, dock
Scanning Autoranging high performance laser or wide aspect 1D/2D imager; 3-megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash
Wireless 802.11a/b/g, Bluetooth Class 2 with EDR
List price Inquire
Web Datalogic Falcom X3 page
Contact www.datalogic.com
Contact Falcon X3 brochure (PDF)
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