Juniper Systems Archer 2 handheld computer: Rugged construction, bright screen, long battery life

By on February 26, 2014

Juniper Systems Archer 2

The Juniper Systems Archer 2 is an impressively rugged handheld computer that offers users flexibility, ultra-long battery life and features that make it easy to use.

“An underlying theme with all our products — they’re all meant to be ultra-rugged,” said Trevor Brown, natural resources market manager with Juniper Systems. “So we’ve had them thrown off buildings, put in concrete or launched. Every single unit is leak-checked, and we do substantial drop testing of all our products” to mimic real-world conditions.

He pointed to a video of another Juniper Systems product, the Mesa, being put through extreme testing. Brown says the company does a lot of things that don’t make it into marketing videos, like using plastics that are ruggedized to high standards. DEET in bug spray can cause cracking in some plastics, but the Archer 2 uses plastics that are chemically resistant to cracking. The Archer 2 also meets IP68 intrusion standards, as well as a military standard (MIL-STD-810G), besting other products that Juniper Systems sells. “We tested prior products to IP67 in the past because that was the industry standard even though internal tests far exceeded IP67 standards,” said Brown.

This approach to high durability is one of the reasons the device’s battery is one of the best in the industry, says Brown. Testing tops it out at 20 hours of battery life. “And that’s with the screen on full brightness, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on,” said Brown. Normal use conditions may permit more battery life. The battery also stands up better to cold temperatures and can be recharged to 70 percent capacity in 45 minutes.

Beyond durability and battery life, the device offers helpful features that users will appreciate. An ultra-bright touchscreen is one of Brown’s favorites. “It’s a bit of marketing spin, but we call it IllumiView,” said Brown. The screen is protected with a chemical treatment that lends it some give if the device is dropped and lets it sustain a passing car key without a scratch.

Brown also likes the device’s GPS. “It (Archer 2) supports both GPS as well as Russian GLONASS. That’s important because we design our products to work in a dense tree canopy within a two-meter accuracy,” said Brown. The system is more accurate because it has more satellites to draw from. While it may not be as accurate as other GIS devices, data can be post-processed to increase precision.

Keys can be programmed to perform shortcut actions, making it possible to use the device’s keypad, its touchscreen, or both at the same time. “You can tell it to scan a barcode, take a reading, record a GIS point,” said Brown. “We see it as a mixed user experience.”

A stylus works with capacitive technology similar to that used in smartphones so that no hefty push is needed on the touchscreen, but it can also be used with fingers. Brown says using the Archer 2 requires a very light touch.

To round out noteworthy features on the Archer 2, a memory card expansion slot permits 32 gigabytes of additional storage. The tablet runs Windows Embedded Handheld OS 6.5 – it was chosen because it’s suited for mobile data collection. The device can communicate with all GSM-based cellular networks. And Juniper Systems offers a 2-year warranty on the device as well as lifetime tech support.

“We help our customers with real-time solutions and you can always talk to a real person,” said Brown. “These products are meant to last and we keep customers for a really long time.”

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