Five reasons why you need the ET80/ET85 (ET8X) Rugged Tablet

Zebra Technologies
Friday, 01 October, 2021

First responders deal with extreme situations, and they do it while racing against the clock. The unpredictability of the job means they have no margin for error. For them, more than anyone else, every second counts. So why give them a second-rate device?

The value of rugged tablets vs consumer devices

Although the needs of every worker out in the field will be different, there are undeniable factors that make purpose-built rugged tablets the superior choice over their consumer counterparts. These include rugged reliability, unparalleled customisation and management control, ability to maintain peak performance levels all day long and longer lifecycles for a better return on investment.

With most public safety professionals racing against time, it is key for organisations to understand the obstacles first responders face, in order to select superior tools that keep them safe, help them work faster and perform their critical roles effectively.

Zebra’s range of ruggedised tablets bring together the mobility of a smartphone with the larger screen and the advanced processing power of a desktop or laptop computer, enabling highly mobile workers to access the data, native apps and other enterprise systems they need just as easily as if they were sitting at a desk. They can also connect with their colleagues to collaborate in real time securely via push-to-talk voice apps and augmented reality tools that allow for remote assistance by specialists.

Find out why forward-thinking companies are increasingly opting to equip field-based workers with Zebra’s enterprise-grade tablets.

1. Ruggedness and reliability in the most unforgiving environments

Busy public safety professionals are often on the go, working in remote, rural, or otherwise unpredictable environments. As a result, they need a device which is capable of delivering reliable performance even in the harshest conditions. Consumer tablets frequently shut down when confronted with extreme temperatures. Whereas Zebra’s ruggedised enterprise devices are inherently built from the inside out to withstand challenging environments, including extreme heat and frigid cold (in the range of -20°C to 60°C). The Zebra advantage lies in being able to keep workers efficient no matter the climate or task at hand.

Zebra’s specially built ET8X range of rugged tablets can also withstand the heavy use and potential damage that comes with using devices while in extremely dirty, wet, or other outdoor conditions, such as during a rescue, or whilst inspecting broken powerlines. This includes accidental drops tested to military standard (MIL-STD-810H) and repeated exposure to dust, dirt, vibration, and liquids. They are completely rugged, yet just as easy to use as a consumer device.

Unlike consumer tablets, Zebra’s ET8X ruggedised tablets also feature outdoor viewable, dimmable displays, which are optimised for use with gloves, making them easy to use day or night, even when it’s raining, snowing, cloudy or sunny. And should they get dusty, dirty, or otherwise contaminated throughout the day, they can easily be wiped down or even rinsed under running water without the screen getting ruined or interior components getting wet. The device is rated IP65 even when the ports are opened.

In a nutshell, their durable and thoughtful ergonomic design provides unmatched reliability compared to the fragile components of the average consumer tablet.

2. Unmatched customisation and versatility

Most consumer-grade and even rugged tablets lack all the features that businesses require to get the job done properly. But Zebra’s ET8X range has it all — optional built-in barcode scanner, two high-quality cameras, friction-hinged with color backlight keyboard, universal docking solution and a host of powerful workforce management software including push-to-talk and enhanced security capabilities.

However, finding the right device extends well beyond the form factor alone. Zebra’s ET8X tablets also feature an extensive number of accessories that are rarely offered with consumer devices, such as optional barcode scanners, specialised mounting and docking systems, and different carrying options.

In addition to control over configuration, Zebra’s ET8X enterprise devices are built with business operations in mind: software upgrades and other updates can be done when it is most convenient to the business, so they do not interfere with other applications or ongoing workflows. In addition, enhanced security and IT management tools such as multi-factor authentication, SmartCard/Common Access Card readers, application whitelisting, multi-user login, lock, wipe, and device monitoring help protect valuable and sensitive data and ensure fast and reliable connectivity.

3. Peak performance and connectivity that lasts an entire shift

Tools for portability, including optional hot swappable batteries, allow Zebra’s ET8X tablets to last an entire shift (Standard: Up to 11 hours; Optional Hot Swap: Up to 17 hours) without stopping or switching devices. At the same time, the memory, storage, and desktop-comparable processing power of these rugged tablets make it easy to run high-performance, workflow-specific applications that introduce greater efficiency into workers’ days.

Wireless connectivity isn’t a problem with the ET8X either, which ensures a constant signal is maintained so your workers can perform at the highest levels wherever that may be. The ET8X supports 5G, 4G and Wi-Fi 6E networks for the fastest WLAN access, as well as other public safety networks. It also contains Intel’s 11th generation CPU for fast processing and three antenna passthroughs for strong GPS and wireless signals, enabling consistent signals in areas that other devices fail.

4. Extremely long lifecycles

When it comes to consumer-grade tablets, the inefficiencies really add up and start to impact productivity. In fact, consumer mobile devices cost up to 50% more than rugged devices over five years. Zebra’s ET8X range features long-lasting and easily replaceable components which extend the life cycle of enterprise tablets compared to consumer-grade devices. For example, the ET8X battery is easily replaceable, whereas consumer devices must be sent to service centres for battery replacement. In addition, other components like chargers and adapters are upgraded only when needed, rather than with every new device iteration.

With a more reliable fleet of devices, public safety organisations don’t need to keep a large population of spares on hand or waste the effort and time required to send damaged devices to and from a service centre.

5. Better Return on Investment (ROI)

Many companies are giving more weight to rugged enterprise tablets, which can easily last up to 10 years with the right maintenance. The extended lifespan reduces the overall carbon footprint of organisations, especially when compared to consumer devices that may reach end of life in one or two years — or sooner with heavy use. By opting for rugged devices such as Zebra’s ET8X that boast lower churn rates, organisations eliminate unexpected disruptions, unbudgeted repair expenses and much more.

Give your workers a trusted lifeline, so they can perform their best, anywhere.

Organisations need to invest in mobile devices that support the unique needs of their front-line and field-based workers. Zebra’s ET8X range run on the same professional grade Windows 10 OS used on desktops and laptops, offering a similar user experience that can be just as simple — and compatible with most systems that organisations are currently running. The tablets enable a superior user experience; workers gain the added benefit of customised feature sets, enterprise-grade security and communication tools, extreme versatility, and proven device reliability.

Zebra’s ET8X rugged tablets are the thinnest, lightest, and most rugged laptops on the market. They are the only type of tablet appropriate for nearly every work environment, from the indoor to the outdoor, and everything in between.

For more information on Zebra Technologies ET8X tablets, please visit

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