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Symbol MC70 Review


A pricey rugged handheld, but the Symbol MC70 is ideal for mobile workers who need a digital assistant packed with features

The Symbol MC70 it isn't particularly pretty and it's built like a tank. Naturally, it's quite heavy but you have to make the assumption that all that toughening leads to a heavier device. Toughness is defined in this device as able to withstand a 5ft drop onto solid concrete. Our banging it around confirmed the Symbol MC70 specifications - it can take just about anything you care to dish out.

The Symbol MC70 brings together a wealth of features. It operates like a normal Windows Mobile 5 cellphone, but you can read barcodes too by configuring it with a laser line scanner or imager. For wireless connectivity, the Symbol MC70 can be connected to any GPRS cellphone network, 802.11 network, or Bluetooth wireless sevice. A speedy 624MHz Intel XScale processor drives the device. You get 64MB of flash memory in the MC70, so you won't lose anything when it's switched off, and storage can be augmented using the slot at the side that accepts SD/MMC cards.

Different versions of the MC70 are available, with the review model sporting a small numeric keypad but also an integral barcode scanner next to the stubby wireless aerial. We found the scanner easy to use, as it can be activated using the yellow buttons on the side or in the middle of the keypad. You can order the Symbol MC70 with 3 versions of keypads - QWERTY, numeric, and shifted QWERTY.

The Symbol MC70 is one tough customer that's built to withstand much punishment. You do pay a premium for this, but the features and options make it an ideal choice for environments where ordinary PDAs just can't cut the mustard.