Recommended systems: GE Voluson i, Samsung UGEO HM70A
Portable 4D ultrasound machines range in price and features from the high-end category to the economy segment and are meant for point-of-care, and multi-location usage. However as the power of portables now is very close to console units of the same segment, many medical professionals are choosing them over consoles because they are easy to move around, keep secure, and send out for service. The biggest downside of a portable is that it typically has only one active probe port unless a multi-probe connector cart is available. Portable 3D ultrasound machines have become especially popular in the 4D segment as the price is typically lower than a competing economy or midrange console with similar features and they fit well in smaller examination rooms.
GE has been the leader in the 3D ultrasound machine market ever since it purchased the Voluson product from Medison over a decade ago. GE has developed and marketed this name till many patients even ask for it. There is no doubt that GE has had the best portable 4D ultrasound machines for many years however Samsung which purchased Medison a few years ago acquired similar technology and is slowly closing the gap with GE. Samsung offers excellent monitors, updated designs and a tremendous R&D department that will continue to innovate as well as follow GE’s lead. This competition means great values for buyers in this segment.
The GE Voluson-i is the first portable Voluson and it has many variations like the Voluson-e (a feature stripped version of the Voluson-I meant for a lower price point) and the Voluson-q, a more advanced quantitative version. However the Voluson-I offers imaging similar to the extremely popular Voluson 730 but with updated software and a bigger, clearer monitor. Those who are familiar with the Voluson 730 and want to replace it will find the Voluson-I a worthy successor and a great value. The Voluson-I has excellent image quality and the widest array of 4D probe choices in the portable segment. The Samsung UGEO HM70A is the successor to the Medison U5 and U6 and is improved in every way. It offers a lower cost option to the Voluson-I and a broader set of potential applications as it can also provide full cardiac features.