Comparing Android rugged tablets: Mesa 3 Rugged Tablet vs. the Cedar CT8X2 Rugged Tablet

In this article, we take a look at two distinct Android tablets available from Juniper Systems – the Mesa® 3 Rugged Tablet and Cedar™ CT8X2 Rugged Tablet.

The Android™ operating system is the most popular in the world. Android devices powered by Google Mobile Services (GMS) offer flexibility and access to a huge library of apps, services, and security features. Though the version of Android may vary device to device, ones that are GMS certified offer a very capable field device in terms of software.

A consumer-oriented tablet may possess the right software tools, but may fall short in terms of robust rugged hardware design. Let’s look at what defines a rugged tablet and some of the key differences between Juniper Systems’ Android rugged tablet offerings.

Semi-rugged and ultra-rugged tablets

Rugged computing devices are designed to offer the same functionality as a consumer product running on the same operating system, but with the added benefit of being designed to be used in less-than-ideal locations and environments. These devices, like the Mesa 3, also offer optional advanced features such as, a barcode reader, UHF-RFID, and RS-232 9-pin port, for example, that don’t make sense on consumer devices.

Both the Mesa 3 and the CT8X2 offer rugged designs built for conditions not suited for consumer products. The two devices themselves do differ on ruggedness, hardware specifications, and design. These differences separate the CT8X2 and the Mesa 3 in terms of durability ratings, computing performance, and price.

The Mesa 3 Rugged Tablet

The Mesa 3 is Juniper Systems’ ultra-rugged tablet, offering a robust feature set and durability testing that meets and exceeds military standards. Mesa 3 was designed by Juniper Systems to include rugged and ergonomic features built into the device from the start.

Running on Android 11 with GMS certification, the Mesa 3 has a robust catalog of software available to it. The ultra-rugged tablet features powerful internal specifications, sunlight-readable display, and customization options that allow for additional modules to be added into the device. Battery life on the Mesa 3 is also considerable and offers the ability to hot-swap batteries in the field. A Mesa 3 running Android with both an internal and removable battery equipped can operate between 15-18 hours in the field.

The Mesa 3 features unique touch profiles pre-loaded on the device. These are useful when interfacing with the touchscreen in adverse conditions. These touch profiles include settings for finger and stylus, finger only, fine-tip stylus, wet conditions, and when wearing gloves. The CT8X2 offers one touch profile.

Unlike the CT8X2, the Mesa 3 is available with certifications that allow the Mesa to be used in hazardous locations that require devices to be non-incendive. The Mesa 3, is a hazardous location (Hazloc) certified tablet. This certification allows for Mesa 3 Hazloc devices to be used safely in Class I, II, and III, Division 2 environments where explosive gases, liquids, vapors, dust, or fibers may be present.

The Mesa 3 offers a long product lifecycle supported by Juniper’s Complete Care product warranty plans. Having the Mesa 3 designed and assembled at Juniper Systems’ headquarters in the United States allows for easy service and repair if the device ever needs it. Our office in the UK also allows for easy service and repairs for European customers.

The Mesa 3 Rugged Tablet running Android 9.0
The Mesa 3 Rugged Tablet running Android 11

Cedar CT8X2

The CT8X2 is a device designed to offer the benefits of a rugged tablet at a lower cost. The CT8X2 features slightly lower performance and ruggedness ratings as compared to the Mesa 3, but it still offers a considerable upgrade to a consumer tablet in terms of usability in the field.

Running on Android 11 with GMS, the CT8X2 offers a full Android experience. It offers a fast and solid-performing tablet for environments where a rugged device is preferred.

With an IP67 rating, the CT8X2 offers strong ingress protection though it is not as robust as the IP68 rating of the Mesa 3. The CT8X2 features a large 8-inch screen that allows for easy data collection and usability in the field while still being small enough to carry and operate for several hours.

The CT8X2 offers modules that can be attached to the device to add barcode or RFID capabilities to the device. These modules are not built into the CT8X2 like they are on the Mesa 3.   

The Cedar CT8X2 Rugged Tablet.

A closer look

Using the table below allows for a quick comparison between the Mesa 3 running Android and the CT8X2. For a closer look at the individual specifications, feel free to download our product data sheets for the Mesa 3 and the CT8X2.

Mesa 3 Rugged
Cedar CT8X2 Rugged Tablet
ProcessorQualcomm® Snapdragon™
Octa-core Kryo™ 260 (660 platform)
Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ SDM632 8-core 1.8Ghz Kyro 250
Internal Storage64 GB (expandable storage available
with MicroSD card)
64 GB (expandable storage available
with MicroSD card)
Battery43.2 Whr, removable battery
Optional 21.6 Whr internal battery
(allows for hot-swapping of larger
removable battery)
30.4 Whr, removable
Juniper Rugged• IP68 waterproof and dustproof
• Operating temperature: -4 F to 122 F (-20 C to 50 C)
• Storage temperature: -22 F to 158 F (-30 C to 70 C)
• Shockproof: multiple drops from 4′ (1.2 –1.5 m) onto concrete
• Designed to meet MIL-STD-810G test procedures: Low Pressure (Altitude); High Temperature; Low Temperature; Temperature Shock; Rain; Humidity; Sand and Dust; Immersion; Vibration; Shock
• IP67 waterproof & dustproof
• Operating temperature: -4 F to 140 F (-20 C to 60 C)
•Shock/Drop: Up to 3.3′ (1.0 m) to concrete

Allowing users to choose

Choosing a rugged tablet for fieldwork requires considering many features. The rugged tablet line from Juniper Systems was designed to offer options to users that work in a variety of locations and conditions. The Mesa 3 offers the most robust Android rugged tablet on the market and is backed by decades of Juniper Systems’ first-in-class customer support and device protection options. The CT8X2 was added to Juniper’s offerings to provide a step-up to users that needed more than what a consumer product can offer them.

Both the Mesa 3 and CT8X2 offer excellent rugged tablet experiences and allow users to be confident in the devices that they take into the field. If you would like to experience either the Mesa 3 or the CT8X2 please reach out to us for a demo opportunity here

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