Device Review: Zebra TC52 and TC57 Rugged Android

Since BlueFletch is continuously evaluating and recommending hardware for our clients, we decided to conduct an in-depth device review of Zebra’s TC52/TC57 touch computers.

Patrick McGlynn  
Hi, I’m Patrick McGlynn, a product manager at BlueFletch, and today we’re going to be taking a look at the zebra TC57. This device was released in late 2018 as a follow-up to the wildly popular Zebra TC51 and zebra TC56. The T zebra TC50 series, in general, has sold over a million units worldwide in the last five years and continues to be a popular choice for customers of Zebra. Zebra targets this device specifically for the retail warehouse and logistics industries due to its smaller profile than the zebra TC70 series. Yet it is still full-featured and extremely powerful enough to support any of the day-to-day operations you might require from a rugged enterprise device. The zebra TC52 and 57 come pre-installed with Android Oreo in the GMs variant, which includes the Google mobile services required to support Android enterprise. The devices stated to support up to Android 8 in future releases to continue to follow along with Android continued growth and development in the enterprise. As mentioned, the zebra TC52 and 57 come as upgrades over the prior 51 and 56 devices. The newer iterations come with a front-facing camera, improved performance, and battery life. Zebra claims up to 14 hours of usage from a single charge. While we’ve seen those results vary in the field, they do include a removable battery in case you need to make those swaps throughout the day. 

As with all other Zebra Android handhelds, the TC57 includes the data-wide scanning engine for customizing scanner performance and utility. We’ve seen pretty good performance from the scanner, though it’s not quite as long-range as some other devices used for receiving or in the warehouse. When testing our sample barcode, we saw a max comfortable scan distance of around 18 inches. So you can quickly look up items and receive products or whatever you may be doing in your day-to-day scanning operations. The zebra TC57 includes multiple accessories to pair with the device, from a more ruggedized boot to handle higher drops to a trigger scanner for more rapid scanning. And ultimately, RFID attachment is a desire to increase the functionality to include RFID scanning in the field. We’ve had great feedback from our developers when working with the zebra TC50 series. Their EMDK is best in class and provides all the features we need to securely lock down a device with the blue flash enterprise launcher. The zebra TC50 series is also Android enterprise recommended. So you know it’s going to have all the features necessary to customize and secure devices when deploying them into the field. We found it super easy to stage the zebra TC50 series using the stage now tooling available from Zebra. In addition, they released the OEM config application available in the Google Play Store to pair with your e&m of choice to enable the same configuration options available in stage now, in your same e&m such as workspace one, Sony Movie control, or blue Fletcher’s playbook, we have a ton of experience managing and configuring these devices over the last few years with multiple EMS providers. And I’ve seen very few issues at all. As mentioned, Zebra has the best developer support we’ve seen in the industry, and they provide all the options and features necessary to customize a perfect solution for you. 

To better judge the Zebra TC57, We’ve installed our EMS software suite, including the support agent and enterprise launcher, to see how this device performs, supports, and scales in the enterprise. Our first category is hardware technology. The Zebra TC57 has all the features we need and would like to see in a rugged enterprise device, including LTE capabilities, a front-facing camera, and NFC support. So for hardware technology, we give this device a five out of five. For performance, we give the Zebra TC57 five out of five as well. When running JavaScript benchmark test, we saw that this device performed better than any other zebra device we had at our disposal. We’ve seen that it runs our software very smoothly, and we have no issues with rendering or lag of any type when using the blue Fletch enterprise launcher and support agent. When looking at developing the zebra TC57, We give this device a five out of five. Our developers prefer to work with this device over any other, and as mentioned, Zebra has the best developer kit available in the industry. 

First affordability. We also give this device a five out of five. This device is tried and true and, as mentioned, is deployed in over a million units worldwide. Zebra also has separate repair facilities if you come across any hardware issues, though their rugged nature makes that a few and far between. For look and feel, we get the Zebra TC57 four out of five. That device did not get to upgrade to the overall chassis design from the 51/56 series to the now current 52/57 series. And we feel that they’re reminiscent of some of the older consumer-grade Android devices that were popular a few years back. There are some nice features though it is a slimmer profile than some of the other Zebra devices on the market. We like how they call out where the scanner buttons are when looking at the device from the front, so you know exactly where they are and where to find them on the device that we like the largest display. Overall we give the Zebra TC57 4.8 out of 5. Zebra sales numbers speak for themselves, and we have a ton of experience working with the device and enjoy working with it every time we do get a chance. I hope you enjoyed our review of the Zebra TC57. Make sure to subscribe for additional videos and further device reviews. Thanks for watching. Have a great day.

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Rachel Mikesell

Rachel Mikesell

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