4 of the Best Intrinsically Safe Tablets in 2020


Worker holding an explosion proof tablet on a hazardous mine site

When you need to use a tablet on a hazardous site, you can’t be too careful about the one you choose. You don’t want to take any chances with a device that could spark or cause enough heat that it could ignite the explosive atmosphere. If your device isn’t considered intrinsically safe for the site, it won’t be allowed past the gate.

What Is an Intrinsically Safe Tablet?

An intrinsically safe tablet is designed to be used in hazardous area environments including explosive atmospheres where substances and chemicals may be present in the air such as flammable gases, mists, vapours and combustible dust. Devices and equipment are rated and designed to prevent ignition or cause safety related problems in hazardous areas.

There are several industries that require intrinsically safe phones including oil & gas, mining, paint and chemical manufacturing, petrol stations, field services and those that handle fine organic dusts like wood and flour. A range of devices have been manufactured to service the needs of workers in these industries.

Best Intrinsically Safe Tablets

We’ve completed a review of the best tablets that are categorised as intrinsically safe, so you can find one that best suits your requirements. 

#1 Ecom Tab-Ex 02 8” Rugged Tablet - ATEX Zone 2 

The Ecom Tab-Ex 02 is considered the slimmest tablet in the world for use in Zone 2 and Division 2 work environments. It’s a robust, lightweight and portable Android 8.1 tablet based on the Samsung Galaxy Tab Active2. 

The 8-inch display, 1.6 GHz Octa-Core CPU and 3 GB of RAM make it a highly capable tablet, ideal for running complex Augmented Reality programs for maintenance workers needing to complete training.

The Tab-Ex 02 is ideal for hazardous area Zone 2 workers who require a high-functioning mobile that lets them work on-the-go. 

#2 Ecom Tab-Ex 02 Zone 1 (ATEX / IECEx) Hazardous Area Tablet

The Google-certified Ecom Tab-Ex 02 Zone 1 tablet gives workers the power to work more efficiently and productively in hazardous Zone 1 environments. The device has an 8” display (1280 x 800 px) and runs on the Android 8.1 operating system. Being waterproof, the device has wet and touch glove mode that allows field workers to go anywhere.

While the device can perform a wide range of tasks across many different professions, it’s specifically designed for oil & gas workplaces, chemical plants, refineries, pharmaceutical and manufacturing which are often classified as Zone 1 hazardous areas.

The Android operating system gives workers the opportunity to use many widely supported apps on the device.

#3 Getac F110-EX 11.6-inch Intrinsically Safe Fully Rugged Tablet (ATEX IECEx Zone 2)

For those workers who need a larger screen, the Getac F110-EX 11.6-inch Rugged Tablet may be for them. The display utilises LumiBond technology to achieve better contrast and more crisp colours. Getac's multi-touch display technology makes the screen respond effortlessly to touch, press, and drag motions. Despite its large size screen, it only weighs 1.37 kg, making the F110 one of the lightest large-screen, fully rugged tablets ever built.

It is powered by Intel Core i5 (1.9GHz) or i7 (2.1GHz) processors, 4GB RAM, and a 128GB solid state drive. 

#4 Getac T800-EX 8.1-inch Intrinsically Safe Rugged Tablet (ATEX IECEx Zone 2)

The Getac T800-EX 8.1'' T800 is the perfect size for everyday work. T800’s display features LumiBond® technology to increase the screen durability while providing superior sunlight readability, perfect for field work.

The compact T800 combines everything you need in a rugged tablet. Certified to MIL-STD-810G, IP65 and six foot drop, it will provide an excellent rugged tablet experience in any zone 2 environment.

FAQs When Choosing an Intrinsically Safe Tablet

It’s a big decision when you’re choosing an intrinsically safe tablet for your site. Below are some frequently asked questions to help you determine which type of device is required on site. 

What Makes a Device Intrinsically Safe?

Some workplaces are so hazardous that every device, instrument or piece of equipment that is being brought in, must be certified as intrinsically safe to ensure the safety of all workers and assets on site.  

A device is made intrinsically safe with the battery designed for use in explosive atmospheres. The batteries are designed to limit the energy stored and the heat generated in case of an internal fault.

Intrinsically safe tablets aren’t any less powerful and offer the same functions as non-rated rugged devices with video and camera function, ergonomic form factor, rugged housings and scratch-resistant displays that can be operated with wet hands or gloves. The operating systems are high-performance and they use powerful lithium ion batteries.

Is ATEX Intrinsically Safe?

ATEX is an acronym for ATmospheres EXplosible. Manufacturers of devices can’t self-certify that a device or piece of equipment is intrinsically safe. ATEX is the European certification given to equipment and devices that have been tested and approved as intrinsically safe.

ATEX equipment displays an Ex yellow and black logo so sites can quickly identify a device as safe. Ex areas can be referred to as hazardous locations, hazardous areas, and explosive atmospheres.

In many workplaces, devices that don’t display the Ex logo can’t be brought on site.

What is IECEx?

International Electrotechnical Commission System for Certification to Standards Relating to Equipment for Use in Explosive Atmospheres (IECEx System) is designed to facilitate international trade in equipment and services for use in explosive atmospheres.

The objective of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is to reduce manufacturers’ testing, certification and time to market. IECEx also provides international confidence in the product assessment process and maintains an international database listing.

What Does Zone 2, Zone 1 and Zone 0 Environments Mean?

Workplaces are classified into zones depending on the risk of their explosive atmosphere.

Zone 2 environments, as classified by ATEX and IECEx, have an explosive atmosphere where flammable elements such as gas or vapours may be present. An explosion in a Zone 2 environment is deemed as not likely to occur during work activities, because unwanted substances are only present under 10 hours/year or 0–0.1% of the time.

Zone 1 is defined as an area where an explosion is likely to occur during normal work operations. Zone 1 can be defined as having a frequent explosive mixture 10–1000 hours/year or 0.1–10% of the time.

Zone 0 is where an explosive gas atmosphere exists continuously or for long periods or frequently. Zone 0, this can be defined as over 1,000 hours/year or >10% of the time.

The zone classifications help workers determine the type of device they need to safely take on site.

Choosing the Right Intrinsically Safe Tablet 

If you need an intrinsically safe tablet, let us know the zone classification of the site and your requirements for a rugged tablet and we’ll let you know your options. You can talk to one of our rugged hardware experts on 1300 131 933 or contact us online.
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