Getac PS535F GPS device review

We take a look at what the ruggedised Getac PS535F GPS device has to offer.

The PS535F has a few other tricks up its go-go gadget sleeve, too. In addition to the positional abilities, it's equipped with both an altimeter and digital compass. Again, there's an E-compass tool preinstalled to take advantage of these features and, after a quick calibration, this will provide atmospheric pressure readings, altitude, direction, plus pitch and roll (potentially useful for checking surfaces are level).

Less useful for its intended market, it also sports the latest version of Microsoft's mobile web browser Internet Explorer Mobile 6 which we haven't come across before. This is Microsoft's much-delayed response to the full page rendering already offered by Apple, Opera and BlackBerry and in use it seems competent, rendering pages both quickly and accurately, with overview modes and multiple levels of zoom available. It still feels a little basic in some respects we'd like to see Microsoft make links easier to click with a finger, for example, while zooming in and out is clunky but its website rendering is good. It can display YouTube and BBC video natively, and has support for touch panning and scrolling, just like Mobile Safari and Opera Mobile.

Elsewhere, the rest of the specification list represents a solid-enough foundation for a rugged PDA. The 3.5in screen is a high-resolution, 480 x 640 transflective LED backlit unit, which means it's both bright and viewable in direct sunlight. There's 802.11bg, Bluetooth 2, an optional EDGE modem for wireless connectivity. A Samsung 2450 533MHz processor and 128MB of RAM gives the PS535F enough oomph to run Windows Mobile with vim and vigour.

Meanwhile, 2GB of integrated flash memory should provide all the storage you'll ever need for custom applications and data acquisition.

Finally, there's a three-megapixel camera for snapping basic images out in the field. One surprising point of disappointment is that the camera application lacks any kind of geotagging facility.

Overall, though, we think the Getac PS535F is an impressive piece of kit and one that's well-suited to its target market. It's both tough and surprisingly portable for a rugged device, and its navigational hardware is accurate and reliable.

Inevitably, as with all ruggedised devices the price is high, but if your business needs a reliable GPS-equipped PDA, it's a price that's worth paying.

Verdict

When the going gets tough, people need a ruggedised navigation device that they can rely on. And one that doesn’t require its own Winnebago either. Thankfully the Getac PS535F both impressive and portable. It does come with quite a high price tag, but we think it’s well worth the outlay.

Specifications: Processor: 533MHz Samsung 2450 Memory: 128MB RAM, 2GB flash, SDHC card reader Display: 640 x 480 3in, transflective touchscreen, LED backlight Operating system: Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.1 Naviation: SirfSTAR III with SBAS support, altimeter and digital compass Camera: 3MP Wireless: Bluetooth 2, 802.11b/g Claimed battery life: 8 hours Dimensions: 144 x 82 x 29mm Weight: 300g Other: MIL-STD 810F and IP54 certified

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