Jan 10 2020

Review: The Spectralink Versity 9553 Is Built to Protect

Engineered for data security and physical durability, the smartphone is well suited for hospital settings.

Hospitals and healthcare organizations have long struggled with mobility initiatives. Unlike most businesses, hospitals can’t implement a BYOD policy for staff without addressing a number of unique hurdles.

For one thing, most personal mobile devices aren’t designed to resist substances such as chemicals and bodily fluids that clinicians might be exposed to on the job, nor are they immune from being bounced around on a busy treatment floor. Perhaps more pressing, patient data must be kept safe at all times due to HIPAA requirements.

The Spectralink Versity 9553 smartphone is designed to address these concerns. Created specifically for healthcare environments, the device offers clinicians a powerful Android-based platform for running applications and keeping in touch with colleagues while withstanding the rigors of hospital life and protecting personal information.

At its core, the Versity 9553 is a modern smartphone with a large ­5.2-inch touch screen. Its native 1080x1920 resolution provides clarity for viewing detailed reports and high-resolution images.

The device, which runs the Android 8.1 Oreo OS, can use Wi-Fi inside a covered facility and connect to any LTE cellular network when Wi-Fi is unavailable.

READ MORE: Find out how mobile devices can improve the pediatric care experience.

Made to Be Both Strong and Safe

A close look reveals that the 9553 has been ruggedized: The screen is slightly recessed into the frame to ­protect it from drops, and the front panel has been swapped out for scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass. There are no openings to the Versity’s internal components, which means fluids and germs won’t contaminate the smartphone’s interior, and liquids can be used to sterilize the exterior without harming the hardware.

Care has also been taken to protect patient data. The Versity has a fingerprint scanner to support two-factor authentication, and sections of the smartphone’s memory (or all of it) can be encrypted. Further, the Versity offers fully HIPAA-compliant secure text messaging capabilities, allowing clinicians to communicate without creating a ­security risk.

Because many hospital staff work long shifts, the Versity has been equipped with large, 3000 mAh batteries that can last longer than eight hours under continuous use. They’re also hot-swappable, meaning that dead batteries can be changed out for fresh ones if necessary, even while the phone is in use.

Mobility is crucial for most ­organizations, and healthcare is no exception. The Spectralink Versity 9553 can give workers the functionality and special protections to do their jobs with added speed, insight and safety.

Spectralink Versity 9553

How the Spectralink Versity 9553 Smartphone Stands Up to the Elements

One of the biggest advantages of mobile devices is that they help users save time, allowing them to look up facts and records or confer with colleagues without having to run back to an office or find an available computer. In a busy healthcare system, that power can expedite patient care and even save lives. 

But to be effective, mobile devices must be able to survive the often unforgiving elements of healthcare facilities — hazards that can push typical smartphones beyond their limits.

Devices designed to withstand things such as drops, vibration, water ingress and other environmental factors generally use the military’s MIL-STD-810G testing suite to measure their fitness. Although it’s unusual for nonmilitary devices to face such testing, the tough demands of healthcare make mobile communication tools fitting candidates for ruggedization. 

The Spectralink Versity 9553 has been ruggedized against shock and also protected against water and dust.

To test its durability, I dropped the Versity onto each of its sides and surfaces from as high as 4 feet. Per military standard, these drops were made on plywood sitting over concrete, so there were no soft landings. Drops were made while the device was powered both on and off. In all cases, the Versity either booted right up (if it had been turned off for the drop), or it didn’t stopped running apps when it fell.

To test for dust and water ingress, I used the industrial protection marking scale. The Versity is rated as IP68, meaning it is totally dust- and waterproof — especially important for healthcare workers because it means that harmful chemicals or biological fluids can’t get into the device. It also means that water or alcohol-based cleaners can be used to sterilize the Versity without damaging the unit.

For this test, I fully submerged the Versity 9553 in a large flask of tap water for 30 minutes. The device was powered on at the time, and it didn’t stop or even seem to mind its impromptu dip. Once removed from the test flask, it was dried with a towel and checked for functional problems or damage, but it was unharmed by the water. 

Not only is the Spectralink Versity 9553 designed to work in healthcare environments and protect patient data, but it can also stand up to unexpected events that occur during use.


DISPLAY: 5.2-inch touch screen
PROCESSOR: 2.1GHz octa core 64-bit processor
RAM: 4GB OS: Android 8.1 Oreo
HARD DRIVE: 64GB flash memory
DIMENSIONS: 6x3x0.5 inches
WEIGHT: 7.55 ounces

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