- Jason Cipriani , PCWorld
A rugged phone designed for someone who puts durability ahead of performance.
- Matt Farrington-Smith , The Inquirer
Without the very clever thermal imaging camera all you're left with is an unspectacular, albeit rugged, phone.
- Waterproof up to 5m
- Rated for 6 foot drops
- Thermal imaging
- Plenty of storage
- Great battery life
- Bulky design
- Lackluster standard cameras
Rugged phones are gaining popularity. After all, when you’re dropping hundreds on a phone, you should be able to use it at work. The Cat S60 promises outstanding durability and a feature no one else currently has--thermal imaging. But does the phone sacrifice too much to provide durability as many models do?
Let’s see what reviewers are saying!
Every review available mentioned how heavy the phone felt. This is due to its rugged stainless steel and carbon fiber chassis and the monster-sized battery. The phone is rated to survive falls from up to 6 feet as well as submersion in up to 5 meters of water. It’s good for temperatures ranging from -13F to 132F.
Android Police put these claims to the test and said, “There isn't the tiniest bit of flex or creaking in the case. I have no doubt that if it became necessary, I could kill a man with the Cat S60. This phone looks and feels like a tool, a piece of equipment that doesn't need to be babied.”
Around front, you’ll find a 4.7-inch 720p display. The glass is treated for use underwater, with wet hands or when wearing gloves. Overall, reviews were decent. Everyone applauded how bright and dim the screen could be. Pixel density isn’t stellar, but it’s not so low to have pixels popping out in images or text. Android Police noted, “The viewing angles aren't ideal. There's noticeable dimming at off-angles.”
With a Snapdragon 617 processor and 3GB of RAM, you could feasibly use the phone to watch HD video or play basic games, but the phone is intended primarily for productivity and work use. Reviews lined up similarly, with CNet saying, “I was never disappointed; games and apps launched within seconds, navigation was swift, web pages loaded quickly and the screen was sharp and bright.”
To ensure you’ll have plenty of room for your apps, documents or videos, the phone includes 32GB of internal storage. A flap on the back of the phone also offers access to a microSD slot for added capacity.
The phone runs Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. Reviews show that apart the thermal imaging apps and an alternate app store, the phone is bloat-free and offers a mostly stock Android experience.
Keeping things running, you’ll find a 3600mAh battery. Thanks to the lower specs of the hardware and the large battery, reviewers had no issues lasting a day on a single charge. QuickCharge 2.0 also makes topping off the battery fast. The Verge took their Cat S60 through NYC and said, “[It] got me well past a day with each full charge.”
The phone features three cameras--a 13MP rear camera, a 5MP selfie lens and a 480p FLIR thermal camera. Reviews on the standard cameras were average, with Android Police summing up opinions well, saying, “The image quality is alright in bright light, but in very bright outdoor settings, the poor dynamic range causes issues. Shutter lag becomes an issue in medium and low light. The autofocus is also easily confused in these settings.”
However, every reviewer found the FLIR thermal camera fascinating. Capable of recording both images and video, the camera can analyze temperatures within a few degrees, even after the image is captured.
Overall, if you’re looking for a camera with built-in thermal imaging or outstanding resistance to bumps and the elements, reviews indicate the Cat S60 is a great option. Gizmodo summed up opinions well, saying, “The Cat S60 is ridiculously capable in water, can take a fall like no other phone, and can get a couple of other cool things done with its FLIR thermal camera. If you’re an average smartphone user, you don’t need the CAT S60, but if you’re someone who’s constantly checking gauges and working on homes, I can’t imagine a better phone for the job.”
Reviews (6.9/10 Avg. rating)
A rugged smartphone with thermal camera
The toughest phone money can buy
Cat S60 Review: Batman called and wants his phone back
Tough build and thermal imaging make for a phone like no other
Thermal image smartphone gives you Predator vision
Not for everyone
This rugged phone beats the S7 Active
FLIR thermal imaging gives this phone super powers
A niche device without all the sacrifice
The only phone that gives you Predator vision
Should you buy the Cat S60? Almost certainly not. This is not a phone for the average consumer, but I could see businesses buying them for employees. Almost every contractor I've dealt with was carrying some sort of smartphone in a giant ruggedized case, but the Cat S60 doesn't really need a case. It also has a huge battery and the built-in thermal camera, which could be of great value in a lot of fields. I've had immense fun playing with the S60's FLIR camera, though I don't personally have a lot of use for it on a regular basis (at least not serious ones). It simply would not make sense f... Full review
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