Thoughts about the rugged computer “drop spec”

Best way of drop testing

So what’s the best way of drop testing a handheld device, a way that’s both doable and repeatable for the manufacturer, and also relevant to the user? Here are some guidelines:

What’s important with mobile computing gear is that it still works after you drop it. So all testing should be done with units operating. That way it’s immediately obvious if a drop killed a unit or not.

The mandated number and types of drops should not be split into five units. It’d be better to use five units, and do all mandated drops with each of the five units. All five must pass all drops, i.e. still work upon completion. That way, one can be reasonably sure that results were not a fluke.

Doing the new 5-foot “tactical transport drop” test should definitely be considered. Handheld computers may well fall from five or even six feet. Five feet drops much better describe the real world drop scenarios of mobile computing gear than the old four feet transit drop.  

I hope this article presents food for thought.  

By: Conrad H. Blickenstorfer