Unitech PA550

July 11, 2011

Unitech PA550 Mobile ComputerUnitech, purveyors of fine barcode scanners & mobile computers, have upgraded their PA500 mobile computer series with the newer, sleeker, fancier PA550. The newer model skirts that same smartphone/data collector line as the Moto ES400 or Honeywell Dolphin 6000, and it should be a good fit for people needing beefy computing and a phone in one pocket-sized device.

Personally, I’m glad Unitech moved the PA500-series away from what it originally was. When the PA500 and PA600 were both released, they offered similar specs but the PA600 was more durable. We tend to lead with what customers aren’t going to break, and so the PA600 would get the nod over the PA500. I also preferred the PA600’s keypad to the PA500’s 5-key, PDA style keypad. The new PA550 gives the line a very distinct aesthetic and puts it in a portion of the market the PA600 doesn’t necessarily target, so I could see the two devices complementing each other well.

The PA550 runs Windows Mobile 6.5, so you get backwards compatibility with legacy Windows Mobile/Windows CE software, such as RedBeam Inventory Management or Proxis Stock Manager. It has a pretty beefy processor & enough RAM to keep those apps running smoothly. For extended storage, a microSD slot supports high capacity cards, for any crazy ringtones or order fulfillment forms you might need.

You get a 3.5G WAN radio in the PA550, compatible with GSM/GPRS/Edge networks. Unitech also offers a model with a 6 month data plan at no extra charge, to really show off what you can do with the PA550. Like download route maps while on the road, or settle bets on whether it’s “for all intents and purposes” or “all intensive purposes.” That’s a good bet to settle, especially if you plan on using one of the phrases while on a sales call.

802.11b/g comes standard and offers connectivity within the four walls, or at Starbucks, which is great if your cell data plan has limits. The PA550 also ships with Bluetooth built-in, in case you want to be that guy wearing the Bluetooth headset all over everywhere. You could also use it with a fancy cordless scanner, too, or maybe a Bluetooth portable printer. Unitech also added a Ublox NEO-5Q GPS radio with KickStart technology. I guess the combo gives you greater location precision even in weak signaling environments, so like indoors or under heavy cloud cover or something.

Though it’s shaped like a Blackberry, when it comes to durability the PA550 is anything but. Sporting a “sneeze-proof” IP54 environmental seal, the PA550 should hold up to splashes of water or dusty environments no sweat. The reinforced body should withstand drops of 4 feet, so falling off a trunk or out of a pocket should be okay. Maybe not off the top of a van. But still, most consumer phones would cease to be after a 4-foot fall. You also get, in the PA550, a smartphone that can operate in temperatures as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit. My phone acts weird if it gets below freezing, probably as a reminder to go outside and play in the snow,  so being able to operate properly at that temperature is going to be fantastic for field crews in colder climates.

The Unitech PA550 is a great fit for mobile sales crews, or even line busting at your business. I could see it working well for mobile concessions at a stadium. Paired with a Bluetooth printer/msr and some payment processing software, you could sell beer at Lambeau and take cards as well as cash. Just make sure not to serve those metal bottles, you’ll get a tongue on a flagpole situation, never pretty.


One Response to “Unitech PA550”

  1. Susan Zheng Says:

    Thanks for sharing. Great info. PA550 is indeed a very good product.

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