Rugged but outdated hardware makes it difficult to justify the cost of this WiFi-based communicator. It's up to the robust Android-based software to ensure that the Pivot:S is worthy of enterprise deployment.
Great software with an enterprise mobility management focus, extremely durable design, added safety features
Low-res display, short battery life, more expensive and less powerful than most smartphones
Display: 4.3in TFT, 800x400 resolution at 217ppi
Processor: ARM Cortex-A9 (1GHz dual-core)
Operating system: Android 4.4 Kitkat
Battery: Removable, 2,200mAh
Voice-over-WiFi devices are a fine choice for keeping staff members in contact across large, dynamic workplaces like hospitals and factories. Free from contracts or data charges, and usually rugged in design, these stripped-back handsets are often a viable alternative to consumer smartphones.
That said, the Pivot:S is Spectralink's most smartphone-esque handset yet, eschewing the hulking battery packs or integrated barcode scanners of other models in the Pivot range for a relatively slimline design, while maintaining the use of an Android operating system. It's spectacularly expensive at $995 per unit, but the strictly business-focused software loaded onto the Pivot:S makes it more than just an Android-powered walkie-talkie.
The Pivot:S is by far the most compact Pivot device yet at 145x77x19mm, although if we're being honest anyone expecting dimensions on par with a conventional smartphone will still find it rather chunky. Still, at 240g, it's not quite as heavy as it looks, and doesn't cause much of a strain if used one-handed. We're also quite fond of the rubbery grips running up the sides of the handset's ‘spine', which will be particularly welcomed by those with small hands.
What's really impressive here is the build quality. The plastic case looks slightly cheap, but can survive multiple and entirely intentional drops to the floor without a scratch, and it easily shrugged off extended periods under a running tap, partly thanks to rubber caps that plug the microUSB port and headphone jack. The screen, meanwhile, is made from Dragontail glass, a Gorilla Glass competitor that resisted damage as well as the bodywork did.
The removable battery pack, likewise, never felt like it was about to fall out. When locked in, it actually forms the back panel of the device itself, minimising the fiddliness of changing a battery - there's no loose panel to remove and replace, after all.
Obviously there's nowhere for a SIM card to fit, but it was disappointing to see that the microUSB slot is the only available port. A microSD port, for instance, would have been very appreciated. However, there are some additions that can't be found on most conventional smartphones. There's a push-to-talk button on the left edge, for quick calls without the dialling, and a red ‘panic' button. Once configured, this can make an emergency call to other handsets or sound a silent alarm to external security applications. Hopefully this won't see much use, but would be ideal for, say, hospitals with rowdy patients or warehouses at risk of burglary.
The Pivot:S display falls far short of what we'd expect from a $995 machine in terms of specs. It's a 4.3in TFT screen at 800x480 resolution, resulting in a fairly low 217ppi.
That's fine for simply reading text, but the Pivot:S can't help but look dated when viewing icons and images. On the bright side, colour balance is nicely vivid and, while it's no IPS display, viewing angles are surprisingly wide.
The Dragontail glass is, again, adept at preventing scratches, although sadly it's no better or worse than Gorilla Glass at resisting the glare of bright lights. Fingerprints can quickly smudge up the screen, too.
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