Understanding our Rating System

When trying to choose a device to run communication software (like The Grid 2) one can, very quickly, get lost in numbers and techie code names (like Intel Atom Z670). So after a little research, we have devised a rating system designed to simplify the process and enable at a glance comparisons, in your quest to find a device that suits you. It should be remembered that these are guidelines of what the devices should be able to withstand, however none of the manufacturers guarantee against them.

Processor Speed
Processor Passmark > 2000Comparing processors is very complicated. So, to avoid lots of boring techie stuff, we have decided to use the Passmark CPU Benchmarks, which tests processors and then gives them a Processor Passmark, to enable comparisons. Our star system gives one star for each 250 Passmarks. Thus an 8 star Passmark will be over 2000.

A one star Processor should be good enough to run The Grid 2 or another communication package, surf the web, email and do other basic computing tasks. They will also play music and video, although they will start to struggle if you ask them to do it at the same time. Most users will actually get along fine with a one star processor
A three to five star Processor should handle all your computing needs unless you are into video editing and internet gaming where you are up against other players. Most multi-tasking will be fine.
An eight to ten star Processor is a high end consumer processor and will suit the most demanding of users. Most likely if you need this kind of processing power (or more) then you probably know enough about computers to not need to read this article.

Although Processor speed is a measure of a computer system, RAM, Hard drive type, the Graphics Card, and Chipset combination also play a large part in how your system performs.

Drop Height
Drop Height upto 1.8m onto concreteMost drop height tests are from a specified height onto concrete, although some of them feel sorry for the device and put a piece of plywood down to cushion the blow. Most of the tests are conducted while the device is not operating, but should give an indication of how robust the machine is. Drop Height resilience is obtained by device material choice, package design and internal and external cushioning of the device.

Remember that if you have a traditional hard drive that is operational during the drop, or it falls on the screen, these ratings lose value. However a 4 hammer rating should be able to withstand a number of swipes off the table, or a drop when walking, the most common types of accidents.

Water Resistance
The water and dust resistance rating are combined in the IP (Ingress Protection) rating. the first number being that of solid objects, the second of water.

0 drops – No protection.
1 drops – 10 minutes of dripping water vertically, equivalent of 1mm of rain, has no effect.
2 drops – 10 minutes of dripping water 15 degress from the normal, equivalent of 3mm of rain has no harmful effect.
3 drops – 5 minutes of water sprayed at any angle up to 60° from the vertical shall have no harmful effect. 0.7 liters per minute.
4 drops – 5 minutes of water sprayed from any direction shall have no harmful effect. 10 liters per minute.
5 drops – 3 minutes of a water jet from any direction shall have no harmful effect. 12.5 liters per minute.
6 drops – 3 minutes of a powerful water jet from any direction shall have no harmful effect. 100 liters per minute.
7 and 8 do not feature on our rating as they are total immersion numbers and have no real bearing on our needs.

An IPx2 rating should be able to deal with any drooling that may occur on a machine, presuming it is on the screen and not in one of the ports or holes. IPx4 ratings are probably better should you expect to get caught in the rain or spill the odd drink or two over the machine through involuntary actions.

Dust resistance
The water and dust resistance rating are combined in the IP (Ingress Protection) rating. the first number being that of solid objects, the second of water.

0 – No protection against solid objects.
1 – Protection against objects >50mm, such as a hand or other body part.
2 – Protection against objects >12.5mm such as fingers.
3 – Protection against objects >2.5mm such as tools and thick wires.
4 – Protection against objects >1mm such as wires.
5 – Protection against dust harming the machine, although not dust tight.
6 – Dust tight, often quoted as “medical grade”.

We have included this, as it is part of the IP rating, however for most devices it is not important as most consumer products will be an acceptable 4 or 5 anyway and don’t really need to be a 6 for normal daily use.

Battery Life
Usually quoted by manufacturers as “up to” the number of hours advertised. This is because power usage is variable, depending on what you are doing with the machine. Playing videos, will use far more power than reading an email. Battery life also decreases with time and age of battery and will need to be replaced after some time.

Each bar on the battery rating equates to 2 hrs of battery life. Most suppliers give 4 –  10 hours battery life, viewing that this is a full day’s work. You will need to decide what will suit your needs, and how often you are wanting to charge the device. A spare battery is always useful, with some devices allowing battery replacement without switching the device off, called ‘hot swapping’.

Traditional battery suppliers like Energizer are also supplying portable power supplies these days. Essentially they are rechargeable batteries using the same technology as the laptop batteries, but can fit onto any device using variable tips. They can be used to charge the device, cellphone, or any other portable electronic item. Please see our battery section for more information.

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