Jayden
Traoré

Hexnode vs Fleetsmith: The choice is obvious, or is it?

Jayden Traoré

Aug 3, 2021

9 min read

Are you debating Hexnode vs Fleetsmith? If yes, you are either highly unsatisfied with your current UEM provider and looking for new pastures or looking at introducing an endpoint management solution at your business.
If you are here coz’ of the former, we feel sorry for the issues you had and promise you that all UEM’s aren’t as bad as the last one. If it’s the latter, you should quickly go through this before you read on.

Hexnode vs Fleetsmith: If you didn’t know now, you know

“Device management on autopilot” – As users looking for new vendors, you must have been bombarded with targeted ads (including ours) that make claims like these. Most vendors indeed offer automation of certain areas of endpoint management. Still, it often becomes a marketing gimmick rather than a value addition for the user. Hexnode and Fleetsmith are two of the more honest and direct vendors that pride themselves on the automation features they provide.
After months of rigorously putting multiple UEM solutions to the test, I can confidently state that Hexnode and Fleetsmith are two of the best when it comes to automating your endpoint management. Fleetsmith focuses on being the go-to management solution for Apple devices. In contrast, Hexnode UEM focuses on leading the UEM charts with a more comprehensive solution.

The takeover

Everything was going well with Fleetsmith, but on the day of their acquisition by Apple, they sent out a mail to their customers announcing that they were discontinuing the 3rd party app support via the Fleetsmith catalog. Instead, users were forced to use Custom Apps. This led to a considerable backlash in the Fleetsmith community, with admins claiming that Apple had turned a highly automated experience into a highly manual one, eliminating the ease and convenience users loved about Fleetsmith.
Users were not happy with the sudden shift. Most of them raised concerns regarding their security as most of the devices went out of compliance with numerous security programs when certain features were removed. An abundance of edited reviews in SaaS review platforms like G2 and getApp show how Fleetsmith’s acquisition damaged their reputation more than they raised it.

“While we’re fans of apple hardware and software, they haven’t been very strong in the enterprise management space and this acquisition shows how much they still don’t understand.”

Hexnode vs. Fleetsmith: Let the showdown begin

Take a competitor, point out their cons, highlight your pros, and belittle them as much as possible. This is the success formulas most product comparisons employ these days. Unfortunately, the focus has turned to improving search rankings rather than providing quality content that helps the readers eliminate their doubts.
We aren’t like those guys. We want to start by using this space to congratulate Fleetsmith on their exponential growth in the past couple of years, culminating in an acquisition by Apple. It’s hard in itself to break into a saturated market. Still, Fleetsmith has done one better by becoming one of the industry leaders in Apple Device management in such a short period.

The deployment

Right off the bat, we are greeted with some of the most crazy optimized, elegant, and most importantly ‘helpful’ setup wizards/checklists from both vendors. The style of implementation is noticeably different, but the ease of deployment is equally impressive from the two vendors.
New users can get started without any significant help as the products are designed to make endpoint management a breeze for IT admins. In addition, the use of UEM nomenclatures across both products makes it easier for migrating users to get set up.
Besides the missing support for Android and Windows on Fleetsmith, it’s hard to find a differentiating factor between these two as far as the initial deployment and setup are concerned.

The management

The endpoint management side of things is where it gets tricky. It’s not that Fleetsmith is too basic, but compared to the concoction of advanced management functionalities provided by other Apple only vendors like Jamf, Fleetsmith feels like a watered-down variant that often finds it hard to give you a clear taste of the juice you are looking for in an endpoint management solution.
If you split the UEM market into two, you can find the first half populated by basic vendors like SimpleMDM that allows basic configuration settings but rely on third-party tools for application deployment. On the other half, you get vendors like Hexnode UEM that can do everything independently. Then there is Fleetsmith that kind of fits in the middle.
The apparent lack of platform support on the Fleetsmith product may not feel like a biggie at first, but it has its issues in the long run. Even if you are a business that primarily uses Apple devices for work, there will undoubtedly be a small number of devices other than the traditional iPhones, Macs, and iPads that will go unmanaged. In addition, the enterprises’ BYOD culture also takes a hit when the options are limited to just Apple devices.

The Features

Fleetsmith boasts of being an Apple-only management solution owned by Apple, but the funny thing is, they don’t have some of the advanced Apple management features enterprises look for in a UEM.
In comparison to Hexnode, Fleetsmith lacks:

  • Volume app purchasing
  • Provision to enforce updates after a fixed period
  • Device location tracking
  • Inability to assign multiple profiles
  • Lack of custom package deployment
  • Well-rounded app catalog

The Support

Fleetsmith’s help and support are being powered directly by Apple from the time of its takeover. As a result, the help and related documentation are minimal, but it is good enough to get you through most of the product if no bugs or errors show up.
Fleetsmith’s Customer support is directly managed by Apple, one of the best support teams in the world when it comes to their devices and services, but it leaves a lot to be wanted when it comes to Fleetsmith. It isn’t bad, but it could have been a lot better by industry standards.
Hexnode is known as one of the most customer-friendly SaaS companies in the industry. They provide excellent chat support and are always available to assist their customers. For a significant part of their tenure in the market, impeccable customer support had been their selling point.

OEMConfig

Fleetsmith doesn’t support android and OEMConfig. For Industries like shipping, manufacturing, warehousing, or anywhere that works with rugged devices, the lack of support will be a major obstacle.
OEMConfig has unlocked a new landscape of management possibilities for rugged devices. It’s almost reached a point where it’s futile to deploy rugged devices without a proper management solution. With the added management features that OEMConfig brings to the table, android devices will likely gain more popularity in enterprises.
Hexnode UEM has got all these bases covered with their extensive platform support and partnerships with the best OEMs in the market to bring you a seamless OEMConfig experience.

Plan Pricing and Trial

Hexnode has five plans with the pricing starting at $1 per device per month and going all the way up to $6 per device per month depending on the features you need. Customers can also request a custom discounted quote if they plan on deploying a large number of devices with Hexode.
Hexnode also provides a free 30-day full-feature trial for up to 15 devices. Potential users can leverage the trial to test and understand the product before investing.
On the other hand, Fleetsmith has two plans, with the base plan called Fleetsmith Intelligence being free and the Fleetsmith manager plan being charged at $8.25 per device per month. In addition, there is a lifelong free trial for the first 10 devices you enroll under the Fleetsmith manager plan.
The free version is sort of a marketing tactic with just the enrollment and monitoring of devices. The panel will constantly prompt users to upgrade their solution for access to the necessary features. That being said, they do offer 10 devices free for life with the Fleetsmith Manager plan. The addition of an 11th device to the fleet will incur charges for the entire fleet and work similarly to other vendors from there.
Fleetsmith’s pricing is unjustifiably high, with other providers offering similar features for less than a third of what Fleetsmith charges. So the idea of a simple, elegant, and easy-to-use solution that doesn’t support advanced endpoint management features at such a high price point is a major deal-breaker.

User Ratings Hexnode Fleetsmith
Meets Requirement 9.0 8.3
Ease of Use 8.8 9.4
Ease of Setup 8.5 9.4
Quality of Support 9.7 9.1
Product Direction 9.2 8.6

What our customers had to say about Hexnode

“Great Customer Service/Knowledge Articles/User Experience – All in one!”

The layout of the portal and the knowledge articles provided for enrolling and managing devices are clear, easy to navigate, and even easier to ask for support with their built-in live chat function. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

Jackson P

“A great cross-platform MDM with excellent customer support!”

Their support is top-notch. Always just a chat away, responding within a few minutes or less, with email follow-up. The system works great for all types of mobile devices.

Eric B

“Time saver.”

Comprehensive MDM that streamlines our ability to deploy specific apps to our end-users securely to multiple devices without the need to configure and maintain individual devices.

Hexnode User

Our Verdict: Hexnode vs Fleetsmith

The main selling point of Fleetsmith is their exemplary ease of use which comes at the cost of advanced management features. In comparison, Hexnode provides a more extensive feature set and platform support at a similar level of simplicity, making it our obvious winner.

Disclaimer
All product and company names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.

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Jayden Traoré

Product Evangelist @ Hexnode. Sometimes, I have the feeling I live in a story: a magnificent story written by a mediocre writer living off coffee and technology.

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