When smart is not smart enough: Why Handheld devices are superior to Smartphones


DENSO, part of the Toyota group and inventor of the QR Code, launched the first CCD scanner more than 30 years ago and since then has continuously evolved technologically. “Consumer smartphones are increasingly used in industries such as retail and logistics. 

However, they cannot serve as replacements for handheld terminals because they cannot compete in functionality,” says Nicole Edler, Manager Sales Support at the DENSO Auto-ID Business Unit. Even though there have been enormous developments in the area of consumer smartphones, one thing still applies: handheld terminals for mobile data collection are far superior to them. Why?

Although handheld terminals are more expensive to purchase than smartphones, they are also more sustainable – both economically and ecologically – and they can last for years. Furthermore, DENSO scores with the fact that many clients have been working with these innovative devices for more than 20 years. “As a reason, they repeatedly emphasized our service and warranty,” says Edler. The experts for mobile data collection have more than 190 offices worldwide, including 35 in Europe. Thus, they provide one of the best customer service networks in the world. “We have also experienced that clients have opted for smartphones. However, they regretted this after a short time and returned to our proven handheld terminals,” says Edler.

In addition to the lack of robustness, the battery power of smartphones is much lower and their battery life is also much shorter. The handling itself is also not problem-free: If employees wear gloves, for instance, they cannot operate the smartphone easily. Moreover, in direct sunlight, what is on the display can often not be read easily, which makes it impossible to work comfortably. 

This contrasts with the handhelds by DENSO. Especially the popular BHT series that includes handhelds which are particularly easy to op-erate – even with gloves or wet fingers. They are also very robust and offer numerous benefits for users. Furthermore, DENSO provides unique quality. The company has the best DOA quota in the industry, and the high-quality handheld terminals manage up to one million scans per product lifecycle. “We can guarantee up to five years of hardware warranty. In addition, if needed we give a further five years delivery and repair warranty even after the products discontinuation. This is already a special feature in the industry – and does not exist for smartphones in this form”, says Edler. Hence, for long-term planning, companies should always reach for the handheld terminal – it pays off.

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