cat s42 h+ product review

With the S42 H+ model, CAT has continued its history of producing rugged, reliable phones. Like all of CAT’s phones, this one is durable and resistant to extreme conditions. What makes this model so unique? It’s the “H+” in its name. CAT introduced an innovative technology with antimicrobial properties, thus preventing germs from growing on your phone.

This article explores the pros and cons of the CAT S42 H+ smartphone to help you decide whether it’s the right choice for you.

Using the S42 H+ phone

Our Verdict

As the first rugged phone with silver-ion additives, the CAT S42 H+ has quickly become a favorite to many. This technology inhibits the development of viruses and bacteria, making it perfect for anyone that cares about phone hygiene.

Like other CAT phones, this one doesn’t lack ruggedness: Its top-quality design makes it resistant to water, dust, and drops.

It’s necessary to point out that some of the specs are mediocre, but since this is an entry-level phone, it is more than enough for performing everyday tasks. Due to its innovative antimicrobial technology and rugged yet elegant design, our score for this phone is 9.8/10.

CAT S42 H+ Pros

  • Antimicrobial protection
  • Rugged
  • Durable
  • Gorilla Glass protection
  • Good price

CAT S42 H+ Cons

Sanitizing the CAT S42H+
  • One rear camera
  • No 5G
  • No wireless charging

S42 H+ Specifications

The S42 H+ features an eye-catching exterior. Although rugged, the phone looks stylish and modern. This model is the first rugged phone that features built-in antimicrobial protection. The manufacturer added silver ion-based components to all external parts of the phone to enable effective germ protection.

This Caterpillar S42 H+ phone features a Mediatek Helio Quadcore processor, 3 GB of RAM, and the possibility to expand storage up to 128 GB.

Size6.35 x 3.04 x 0.5 in (161.3 x 77.2 x 12.7 mm)
Weight7.76 oz (220 g)
Display5.5-inch display, 1440 x 720
Display TypeHD+
Battery 4200 mAh, non-removable
DurabilityIP68 and IP69, Mil-Spec 810H
CPU Quadcore, Mediatek Helio, 1.8 GHz 
ConnectivityWi-Fi, 3G, 4G, Bluetooth, USB 2.0, GSM 
Germ DefenseYes
Warranty24 months 
Memory3 GB 
Storage32 GB 
Operating Temperature-13 to 131 degrees Fahrenheit
Audio One speaker 

Function of CAT S42 H+

washing the S42H+ in an industrial sink

Although recently released, the CAT S42 H+ has already become a favorite to many. Let’s summarize the essential specifications:

Operating Systems and Memory

The CAT S42 H+ comes with the Google Android 10 operating system, with the possibility to upgrade to Android 11. Android is robust and easily integrated into most ecosystems, which means you’ll be able to use all apps and programs from the Play Store. The operating system is secure and dependable, just like the CAT phone.

Many manufacturers make several versions of one phone to cater to the needs of different customers. The versions typically differ in RAM and storage space. CAT is an exception here. The S42 H+ is only available in one version: 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage. If you need more storage space, you can significantly expand it via a microSD card.

Display and Ruggedness

This model features a Super Bright 5.5-inch HD+ display with a 1440 x 720 resolution and an 18:9 aspect ratio. It’s protected by Gorilla Glass 5, a high-quality protective layer that prevents damage from falls and scratches.

The screen size is perfect for many: It’s not too small and gives you enough space to work around while being compact enough to fit in your pocket. Since this is an LCD screen, you may not expect outstanding performance in outdoor areas or direct sunlight. However, this phone beats the expectations; it’s unusually bright, so you won’t have to struggle to view the screen, no matter your surroundings.

Just like other CAT phones, this one features glove-on technology. That enables you to use the touch screen and stay connected without taking off your gloves and interrupting your work. The phone will work even with heavy-duty gloves on, so it’s perfect for construction and industrial workers. This technology ensures you never break safety protocols to answer your phone or look up information.

Another impressive characteristic of CAT phones, including this one, is their wet-touch technology. The touch screen will work when your fingers are wet and even when your phone is completely soaked. If you’re working with or around water, this is the perfect phone for you.

Data Capture and Software of Caterpillar S42 H+

ultra rugged CAT s42 H+ with cleaning supplies

This phone has two cameras, one front and one rear. The front one is 5 MP, while the rear one is 13. You also have the option to use NFC (Android Pay). Another feature relevant for data capture is USB OTG. This option enables your CAT phone to serve as a host for other USB devices, such as USB drives and keyboards.

As mentioned, the S42 H+ features Android 10, with a possibility to upgrade to Android 11. That means it comes with the Play Store, where you can download hundreds of useful apps and tools. The phone also supports Android Enterprise, which allows businesses to set up and manage the employees’ work phones.

The S42 H+ comes with several preloaded apps and program suites. One of the most important is Google Workspace (formerly G Suite), which gives you access to Gmail, Maps, Drive, Docs, etc. Since the manufacturer assumes you’ll be using this phone for work, it also comes with MobiSystems OfficeSuite.

Another interesting built-in app is OnGuard Solo. This excellent safety solution will alarm your coworkers if you’re in danger or don’t respond to a prompt. It includes the “man-down” fall detection and supervisory dashboards that make safety management simple.

You can also enjoy the Toolbox app that includes a selection of productivity tools and apps.

CAT guarantees regular software and maintenance updates to improve the phone’s performance, fix bugs, and introduce new features.

Review of Design and Aesthetic

wiping clean CAT s42 H+ with towel

Before we dive into the details, it’s essential to remember that this is a rugged phone. Therefore, no matter how well it’s designed, it will always look and feel a bit chunkier than standard flagship phones for companies such as Samsung or iPhone.

With that in mind, it should be pointed out that CAT did an excellent job in “normalizing” the S42 H+. With a 7.76-ounce weight, it’s not the lightest phone on the market, but it isn’t too heavy either. If you’ve never used a rugged phone, you may find it unusual at first, but you’ll get used to it in a few days.

The phone is made from high-quality rubberized plastic that ensures a tight grip even when your hands are wet or you’re wearing gloves. For extra protection against drops and damage, the phone features corner bumpers. You’ll also find water and dirt covers that guarantee the ports aren’t exposed to extreme conditions. The rubber around the display is slightly raised, so it will protect your phone if you drop it.

The orange CAT button on the side is programmable. You can use it as a PTT button (push-to-talk) or press it to access a specific app. The phone features physical volume and power buttons and a waterproof headphone jack.

The model is available in only one color: Black.

S42H+ Hygiene

washing S42 H+ in hot water with steam and soap

We’ve finally come to what makes the S42 H+ unique compared to the standard S42 or other phones. All external components, including the Gorilla Glass screen, contain a blend of silver-ion additives with antimicrobial properties.

In this day and age, we’ve become extra aware of the importance of keeping our surroundings clean. Unfortunately, many forget their mobile phone can become covered in bacteria, even though it may look clean. Some research even shows mobile phones can be dirtier than toilet seats. The germs and bacteria can easily transfer from your phone to your face, hands, and other surfaces, jeopardizing your health.

CAT recognized the importance of keeping your phone clean years ago. All of CAT phones can be washed with soap, cleaning solutions, and sanitizers. However, with the S42 H+, the manufacturer went a step further. The company collaborated with Addmaster to come up with a way to make the phones more hygienic. The Biomaster antimicrobial technology used in the S42 H+ inhibits the development of bacteria and prevents cross-contamination. The long-lasting technology doesn’t fade away with time, and there’s no way to destroy it, so you can be confident the phone is protected for as long as you use it.

To back these claims, CAT tested this phone according to the ISO22196 standard, which guarantees the antibacterial activity of treated plastics.

Camera (Front and Back)

S42 H+ washing in sink

As mentioned, the S42 H+ has one front and one rear camera. The rear camera is 13 MP, with an f/2.0 sensor. It features a phase detection autofocus (PDAF), thanks to which you can take accurate and sharp photos. The front camera is 5 MP with a wide-angle lens.

Since most modern phones have more than one rear camera, some could say this phone is a bit outdated when it comes to taking high-quality photographs. However, the lone camera does a great job capturing colors and details, especially in good lighting. Of course, you won’t get professional-looking pictures with it, but the image quality is more than enough for the average user.

Thermal Camera

Unlike some other CAT phones, the S42 H+ doesn’t feature a thermal camera. If you want thermal imagining, take a look at the CAT S62 Pro.

Battery Life and Power Options

This phone features a non-removable lithium-ion 4200 mAh battery. The manufacturer claims the battery can last up to two days, depending on the usage. Since the screen is LCD, it drains the battery a bit faster than its OLED counterparts. The LCD screens have a single white light source that powers the entire panel, impacting battery life. Even if you’re not running highly demanding apps, you’ll still go through the battery faster than you may be used to.

The S42 H+ supports fast charging, which means your battery will be back to 100% in no time. There’s a USB 2.0 port at the bottom used for charging. That may be surprising because most phones these days feature a USB Type-C port, including some of CAT’s previous models. The port has a waterproof cover that protects it from damage.

As mentioned, thanks to the USB OTG feature, you can connect other USB devices to this phone. Unfortunately, this phone doesn’t have wireless charging.

Ruggedness of S42 H+

placing S42H+ in water bath in sink

CAT is known for manufacturing rugged, durable phones, and S42 H+ is no exception. A high-quality exterior protects the phone from drops, falls, water, dust, sand, salt, mist, vibration, etc.

The S42 H+ complies with the highest IP standards that guarantee its ruggedness. “IP” means “Ingress Protection,” and it’s a set of international standards that determine the level of protection devices provide against numerous factors.

The IP number consists of two digits. The first one is represented on a scale from zero to six and expresses protection against solid particles. The second digit is a number on a scale from zero to nine and marks the level of protection against liquids.

This phone has IP68 and 69 certifiCATions, which makes it extremely resistant to any type of particles.

Moreover, the phone is also Mil-Spec 810H certified. The evaluation was developed by the U.S. military, and it shows whether a device can perform under extreme conditions.

The S42 H+ has shown exceptional success in handling thermal shock. It can withstand temperatures from -22 to 167 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. The phone is also waterproof for up to 4.9 feet and up to 35 minutes. Like all CAT phones, this one is also drop-proof: The tests have shown it can withstand a drop from six feet onto steel.

Its ruggedness combined with the silver-ion additives makes a powerful phone that can beat the most extreme conditions. Due to the hygienic technology, there’s no need to constantly wipe the device with alcohol to ensure it’s clean. If you’re working around dust and dirt, simply run the phone under hot water and scrub it with soap or your preferred cleaning product. The antimicrobial properties won’t be lost regardless of how you clean it because they’re built into the material.

Customer Reviews

S42 H+ in industrial kitchen with clipboard

Since the S42 H+ was released in April 2021, it’s still relatively new. However, many users have already expressed their appreciation of its features. Let’s look at what some of them had to say about this model:

One user talked about how bright the screen is, even in direct sunlight. He said that being able to hold the phone under the faucet and scrub it with a brush is amazing. He only wishes the phone had stereo speakers.

Several customers that work in healthcare say they love this phone. They write that they feel relieved knowing their phone is clean due to the silver-ion technology. Thanks to this feature, they don’t have to be as careful about placing their phones in hidden places to prevent contamination.

One construction worker mentioned he was tired of getting new phones every time he dropped them, and that’s why he purchased this one. In the few months he’s had the S42 H+, he dropped it three times from a ladder and once in a puddle. Plus, he’s always carrying it around in his toolbox. He reports that he’s more than satisfied with his purchase.

A few users reported the phone feeling too big and heavy at first, but they got used to it in a few days. They love that there’s no need for additional cases and bulky protection because the phone is strong enough to withstand anything.

One user switched to this CAT phone from iPhone and stated he couldn’t be happier. He enjoys the phone’s ruggedness, and even though its specifiCATions aren’t as impressive, they are more than enough for him.

CAT S42 vs. CAT S42 H+

S42 H+ emergency button

The CAT S42 was released in 2020, while its H+ version hit the scene in 2021. The “H+” stands for “hygiene plus,” so you can probably assume what the difference is.

Unlike its older counterpart, the CAT S42 H+ features silver-ion technology that gives the phone antimicrobial properties. Other than that, these two phones are exactly the same.

The CAT S42 H+ costs between $260 and $300. Some will find this affordable while others may find it expensive, but keep a few factors in mind if you’re thinking about buying this phone:

First of all, this is an entry-level smartphone, and it’s not suitable for running highly demanding games and programs. If you often use such software, you’ll most likely have to spend more and purchase a more powerful device.

Second, the phone’s main advantages are its ruggedness and antimicrobial property. Hence, it has a specific target audience: People that work in or are exposed to extreme conditions. Other than construction workers, this phone is perfect for surfers, swimmers, healthcare workers, or anyone who likes their phone clean and tough.

With all this in mind, the price of this phone seems more than fair.

Accessories and Options

CAT S42 on steel tray

These days, you can choose from a wide range of accessories for your phone, regardless of the brand. The S42 H+ comes with a USB cable and a user manual. Additional equipment isn’t necessary, but it may enhance your user experience.

If you’re using your phone a lot, your battery may die on you when you need it the most. To prevent this, you can purchase the official CAT rugged power bank. With its 10,000 mAh capacity, you’ll be able to charge your phone multiple times in one outing. Plus, the power bank is dust- and water-resistant and is compatible with other USB-charged devices.

The CAT leather holster might be a convenient addition for those who like to always have their phone near them. It’s easily attached to your belt and features several pockets for your documents, pens, or tools.

As we’ve previously stated, this phone doesn’t require a case. Its rugged design ensures it won’t be damaged. Plus, the external components contain antimicrobial additives. Thus, putting a case on this phone would be unnecessary and even counterproductive.

Here are some accessories available for the CAT S42 H+:

  • Chargers
  • Shoulder straps
  • Memory cards
  • Smartwatches
  • Headphones
  • Speakers
  • Selfie sticks
  • Phone holders
  • Tripods

Talk to an Expert

Do you have any questions about the S42 H+ or other products from our selection? Our experts on rugged devices will be able to answer all of them. If you’re interested in making a purchase, you’ll be happy to know we offer competitive rates for buying in bulk.

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