Why Smartphones Aren’t a Good Choice for Medical Courier Workflows

Medical Courier Elite, MCE Software and Mobile App with Zebra TC26 Mobile PhoneMany medical laboratories look for every opportunity to save on costs, and that makes sense. Who wants to spend more if you can avoid it and do better on your bottom line? However, when it comes to running mobile applications for specimen tracking, courier management and lab outreach, going cheap on your mobile hardware costs can be an unbelievably expensive mistake.

Medical Courier Elite works with many laboratories that use our mobile software for medical courier management and routing as well as specimen tracking and lab outreach functions. For many labs, their first instinct is to think of using a regular smartphone to run our app, scan barcodes, and manage their courier operations. But smartphones are consumer-grade devices that are far too fragile for most enterprise-grade use cases, and too slow for processing large quantities of barcode data especially in the healthcare field. This makes them extremely inefficient.

Too often we have seen labs choose smartphones because they’re cheaper up-front than some rugged, enterprise-grade devices. However, enterprise-grade devices like the Zebra TC26 are no more expensive than consumer smartphones and can do everything a smartphone does plus more. These devices are purpose built for operational jobs like medical couriers and are designed to last for years. The Zebra TC26 is more durable to avoid failure due to dropping, can be locked down, more easily managed, come with a better warranty, and has a built-in scanner to make specimen tracking much more efficient than is capable with a smartphone camera.

In the long run consumer smartphones end up having to be repaired or replaced years before an enterprise grade device would be, which in-itself makes them more expensive. Labs and hospitals end-up spending thousands of dollars on replacements and repairs when they could have saved that cost by simply choosing a more durable device designed for all-day, heavy scanning use in more demanding environments and operations like courier services.

Furthermore, many customers are often surprised to discover the battery drain on their smartphones means they only get a few hours out of each device before they must recharge. This is because smartphones are not designed for all-day barcode scanning and business app use, and they do not have the battery power to handle all that work. Enterprise-grade devices like the Zebra TC26 are built for all day use and are made to last for an entire work shift before it needs recharging.  

These are all common and costly problems with iOS and Android smartphones. And this is why we strongly recommend outreach laboratories use Zebra mobile computers for use with MCE.  If you are investigating enterprise-grade devices like the Zebra TC26 take a look at the information provided below.

Why We Recommend Zebra’s TC26 Touch Computer Over Smartphones:

Zebra’s TC26 touch mobile computer delivers the same touchscreen ease of use and functions as a smartphone, but in an enterprise-grade device that’s engineered with much greater durability, more processing power and memory, and far longer battery life. Here is some comparisons:

Size and Weight:

Zebra’s TC26 looks very similar to an Apple iOS or Android smartphone, and it’s lightweight at just 8.32 ounces. It’s also a compact device that fits in the palm of your hand or in your pocket.


The TC26 is built with a Corning® Gorilla® Glass touch panel for scratch and shatter resistance, and the device can easily survive undamaged through multiple 4-foot drops to concrete as well as 300 consecutive tumbles. For extra protection, you can add an optional protective boot accessory.

The TC26 can also be operated at extreme temperatures of -4°F to 122°F (-20°C to 50°C), and it provides IP67 and IP65 sealing against dust, dirt, and water.

Data Processing & Scanning:

The TC26 comes equipped with a 64-bit hexa-core 1.8GHz processor, power optimization, up to 4GB of RAM and 32GB of Flash memory, an exceptionally bright and outdoor viewable 5.0-inch HD display, and advanced 1D/2D barcode scanning. It is ergonomically designed for easy barcode scanning, and it has the capacity to scan multiple barcodes within seconds.  


In addition to these fantastic performance specs, the TC26 can run the most resource-intensive apps, scan barcodes all day, and provide unmatched battery life that lasts for a full shift and beyond with an extended Lithium-ion battery. There’s also an option to add an additional PowerPack battery to provide 8 to 10 more hours of power on top of what you already get with the standard or extended TC26 battery.


The TC26 provides all the connectivity you need, including cellular networking, GPS, both 5G and 2G Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, 1x1 MU-MIMO, and more.

Life Expectancy and System Upgrades:

Unlike consumer-grade smartphones, the TC26 comes with up to 10 years of guaranteed operating system support and updates with Zebra’s LifeGuard™ for Android. With its high performance, powerful durability, and this extended support, you can keep your device secure and use it for many years without having to worry about your OS becoming obsolete or not being able to download and install security patches for the latest cyber threats. 

 Service Contracts:

To extend the life and value of the TC26, Zebra also offers OneCare™ service and support plans to provide troubleshooting or repairs in the event something unexpected happens to your device. Plans range from the OneCare Essential service, which covers standard phone support, three-day repairs and software and security updates, to OneCare Select with 24/7 live support and next-day repairs or replacements with all your apps, settings and software pre-loaded on your device.  

The Zebra TC26 adds up to a smartphone on steroids, with durability that will deliver years of reliable performance while saving you thousands of dollars in expensive repairs and replacements.

This is the best device we recommend for virtually all Medical Courier Elite Users, especially for those who want outstanding performance at the lowest long-term cost.

To learn more about Zebra’s TC56 touch computer for Medical Courier Elite, contact us now to request product details, pricing and arrange a demo at your convenience.

Schedule a Web Demo of MCE

But the best way to evaluate our software is by arranging a web demo and seeing it in action. To learn more and schedule a demo at your convenience, contact us now at 877-331-7427 or through the contact page on our website at


Let Us Know How We Can Help

Thanks for your interest in Medical Courier Elite! If you're interested in learning more about our solution and how it can help your business, we'd be happy to schedule a demo, provide a quote or answer any questions you may have.

181 East Evans St. | Florence, SC, 29506
Phone: 843-656-2084 or 877-331-7427