cat s48c product review

If you’re looking for a phone for harsh and unpredictable working environments, durability takes priority over other features like storage, camera resolution, and the overall design. CAT phones have a reputation for being some of the most rugged devices on the market. The CAT S48c is no exception, offering exceptional resilience and solid performance.

In this article, we’ll give you a detailed review of the CAT S48c and all its handy features.

Our Verdict

CAT S48c with wet rain behind

Overall score: 7.5/10

CAT phones are manufactured specifically for potentially hazardous conditions and outdoor environments. Their target customers are people who work at construction sites, warehouses, field service, law enforcement, transportation, distribution hubs, as well as lovers of extreme sports. In other words, CAT phones can withstand situations in which regular phones wouldn’t survive.

Although the CAT S48c doesn’t have some of the premium features of the newest CAT models, it’s still perfectly capable of meeting all your standards. What the CAT S48c lacks in storage and attractiveness, it makes up for in toughness, a long-lasting battery life, and satisfactory performance.

In terms of durability, the CAT S48c can withstand almost anything, including drops, water, dust, humidity, and even extreme temperatures. But there’s much more to unpack before you decide whether the CAT S48c is worth the hype.

Pros and Cons of CAT S48c


  • IP68 and MIL-SPEC 810G Certified
  • Excellent battery life
  • Solid performance
  • Great connectivity
  • Non-slip coating


  • No fingerprint sensor
  • No reverse charging
  • Bulky design
  • Only 4 GB of storage


CAT S48c by beach rugged CAT device

The CAT S48c is CAT’s first-ever phone that runs on a U.S. carrier network, and it’s compatible with Verizon and Sprint (which is now T-Mobile). This device runs on the Android 8.1 Oreo operating system, and it has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 Octa-core processor.

One of the most notable features of the CAT S48c is its large 4000mAh battery, which can last for days. Made from Corning Gorilla Glass 5, the 5.9-inch screen won’t shatter when you drop it on the ground. With IP68 and MIL-SPEC 810G certifications, this phone is resistant to drops, dust, and water.

It’s equipped with two cameras – the rear camera has 13MP and the front camera 5MP. The CAT S48c has 4GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage, which can be expanded with a microSD card of up to 128GB. Since the phone has a rugged exterior, it doesn’t require a protective case.


Operating SystemAndroid (8.1 Oreo)
System ChipQualcomm Snapdragon 630 SDM630 (14 nm)
ProcessorOcta-core, 2200 MHz, ARM Cortex-A53, 64-bit
Dimensions5.9 x 3.0 x 0.5 inches/149.8 x 76.2 x 12.7 millimeters
Weight9.1 ounces/257.9 grams
Display5-inch FHD; 1920 x 1080 pixels, IPS, Wet Finger/Glove-On Working Technology
Display CoverCorning® Gorilla® Glass 5
StorageRAM: 4GB; Internal Storage: 32GB
BatteryNon-Removable Lithium-Ion 4000mAh; 30 hours of Talk Time and 22 days of StandBy Time
Connectivity3.5mm Audio Jack, 5.0 Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, USB Type C, USB-OTG, NFC
Network2G, 2G Frequencies, 3G, 3G Frequencies, 4G, 4G Bands (LTE), voLTE
DurabilityIP68 and MIL-SPEC 810G Certified
Camera13MP Autofocus with LED Flash; 5MP Fixed Focus
SensorsAccelerometer, Proximity Sensor, Ambient Light Sensor, Compass

Alternative Devices

CAT S48c on rocks turned on

If the CAT S48c doesn’t meet all your expectations, or if you are simply looking for a phone similar to the CAT S48c, the best alternatives you can find are the CAT S42 H+ and the CAT S62 Pro.

CAT S42 H+

The CAT S42 H+ is the perfect combination of speedy performance and break-resistant hardware. With even greater battery life and a larger screen, the CAT S42 H+ is far superior in comparison to the CAT S48c. Other useful, rugged features include push-to-talk customizable buttons, 1.9HD+ screen brightness, dual SIM card standby, and a sunlight-readable display. Despite its advanced features, the CAT S42 H+ is cheaper than the CAT S48c.

On the other hand, these two devices have a similar design and are both fully rugged. Not to mention that the CAT S42 H+ has 3GB of RAM, 1GB less than the CAT S48c.

CAT S62 Pro

The CAT S62 Pro is another great alternative to the CAT S48c. Also known as the ultimate rugged smartphone, the CAT S62 Pro is waterproof, dustproof, and glove-friendly. Thanks to its military-grade protection, this device can survive being dropped from a height of 6 feet. Its screen is made from Gorilla Glass 6, which is even stronger than the Gorilla Glass 5. To top it all off, this phone comes with FLIR thermal imaging technology.

Even though its FLIR camera puts the CAT S62 Pro at an advantage, its regular rear-facing camera has 12MP, while the CAT S48c’s rear camera packs 13MP.

Functions of CAT S48c

Here are some of the most notable functions of the CAT S48c:

Operating Systems and Memory

man using CAT S48c typing on screen

The CAT S48c runs on the Android 8.1 operating system, as opposed to newer CAT models, which use Android 9 and Android 10. Although it can be updated to Android 9, the CAT S48c won’t be getting the Android 10 update.

This phone is equipped with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage, which is enough for everyday tasks, but not for gaming or any demanding apps. Keep in mind that all the preinstalled software will only leave you with 20GB left for you to use. However, you can expand the storage with a 128GB memory card. It’s also possible to buy the CAT S48c with 64GB at Verizon or Sprint.

Display and Ruggedness

This phone has a 5.9-inch full HD display, made from Corning Gorilla Glass 5, which makes it waterproof and resistant to scratches and impact. What’s more, with its 514 brightness nits, the display is sunlight-readable and optimized for outdoor visibility. You can even use it with gloves and wet hands.

With 1920 x 1080 pixels, you’ll be able to see the screen very clearly. Given that the CAT S48c has a 60.35% screen-to-body ratio, this screen size might not be for everyone. The display is covered with an IPS LCD panel that generates intense brightness and vibrant colors.

Data Capture and Compatible Software

Since connectivity is one of the most important features for extreme and potentially dangerous environments, the CAT S48c won’t disappoint you. You can count on 2G, 3G, 4G, LTE, and VoLTE networks. This device also includes 5.0 Bluetooth, NFC, and 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 & 5GHz) Wi-Fi connectivity. The maximum download data rate is 400Mbps, while the data speed, or the maximum uplink data rate, is 75Mbps.

When it comes to exterior features, the CAT S48c has a 3.5-millimeter audio jack, USB Type C, USB-OTG, and a programmable push-to-talk button on the side. It supports a nano-SIM card type. However, this device doesn’t feature a fingerprint sensor or facial recognition technology.

Review of Design and Aesthetic

CAT S48c by rocks and beach outdoors wet

This phone has a geometrical design and it’s black. Its exterior comes with a non-slip coating, so you can even use it with gloves. While this device isn’t too heavy for a rugged phone (weighing 9.1 ounces or 257 grams), it is somewhat bulky, so it might not be to everyone’s liking. In terms of dimensions, the CAT S48c is 5.9 x 3.0 x 0.5 inches, or 149.8 x 76.2 x 12.7 millimeters.

For those who want a sleek, modern design and aesthetic features, this phone might not be for you. Additionally, since this phone has sharp sides, it can get uncomfortable if you hold it too long. On the other hand, the buttons are pretty tactile. As we mentioned, there is one yellow PTT button on the side, which you can program for a variety of functions.

Camera (Front and Back)

The CAT S48c has two cameras. The rear-facing camera has one 13MP lens and autofocus with a LED flash, while the front camera only has 5MP and a fixed focus. Since durability is the main priority, this phone’s camera isn’t all that impressive. The main camera only comes with one sensor, so don’t count on quality wide-angle shots. The CAT S48c doesn’t come with a FLIR camera.

Battery Life and Power Options

As we mentioned, one of the most impressive features of this phone is its non-removable lithium-ion 4000mAh battery, which is one of the biggest batteries on the market. The CAT S48c will give you up to 30 hours of talk time and even 22 days of standby time. Since working in the field the whole day demands a phone that won’t be drained so easily, the CAT S48c is ideal for these types of scenarios.

Keep in mind that the CAT S48c doesn’t feature reverse charging technology.


The CAT S48c is backed by the IP68 rating and the MIL-SPEC 810G certification. In other words, its resistant to water, drops, vibration, dust, sand, and humidity. It can also function in drastic temperature changes, ranging from -13 to 131 degrees Fahrenheit or -25 to 55 degrees Celsius for up to 24 hours.

This device is fully waterproof. In fact, it can be submerged in 4 feet of water for as long as 35 minutes. It features an underwater camera too. Most importantly, the CAT S48c is a non-incendive device, which minimizes the possibility of creating a spark in combustible environments.

Drop Test

As with all CAT phones, the CAT S48c is drop-proof. Having gone through multiple drop tests, it’s guaranteed to withstand drops from up to 6 feet, or 1.82 meters, onto concrete.

Here’s a quick video that proves that the CAT S48c is drop-proof.


Side buttons for CAT S48c

The CAT S48c is currently only compatible with Spring (T-Mobile) and Verizon. It’s also CAT’s first-ever phone that works with these two carriers.

Customer Reviews

Here are some reviews of the CAT S48c:

“I work in the field all the time, so I really needed a rugged device that will last the whole day. I am very pleased with the CAT S48c. It has all the features I’m looking for, and it’s not frail like regular phones. It won’t break if I accidentally drop it.”

“This phone has a long battery life, and it can even go for days without charging if I don’t use it too much. It’s also compact, so I can carry it in my pocket the whole day. I just wish it had a fingerprint sensor and face ID for easier access.”

“The reason why I chose this phone is because it’s super durable. Even if I drop it or spill something on it, it will continue to work just fine. In fact, it’s so tough that I don’t even need to carry it with a protective case.”

“Although it could benefit from more storage and faster performance, I’m generally happy with this phone. It seems it can withstand anything you throw at it, which is nothing less you would expect from a CAT phone.”

“Even though the CAT S48c is smaller than my last phone, I like its geometrical design. It’s handy, and it won’t break so easily. This device is very reliable when I’m jogging or riding my bike.”

Cat S48c Price

Wet back of CAT S48c

The CAT S48c is available at Verizon, where it retails for $600, and Sprint, where it costs $480. You also have the option to purchase this device at the CAT official website, where it currently costs $499. If you don’t mind the phone unlocked, you can find it on Amazon for $355 right now.

If you’re considering an alternative, like the CAT S42 H+ or the CAT S62 Pro, you can find both of these devices at Energy Electronics. We offer discounted bulk rates. Use the contact form below to talk to a tech expert.

Accessories and Protective Cases

The CAT S48c is so rugged that you can use it without a protective case. This device comes with a power adapter, a USB cable, a warranty card, and a quick start guide.

Talk to a Rugged Phone Expert

The CAT S48c may not be the best CAT phone compared to the CAT S42 H+ or the CAT S62 Pro, but it is a great rugged device that can withstand almost everything. It has a long battery life, rugged features, and it’s guaranteed to serve you for years.

If you have any questions about the CAT S48c, or if you’re curious about rugged phones in general, it’s best you consult with an expert. Energy Electronics is here to help, as we specialize in rugged phones. If you’re interested in buying the CAT S42 H+ or the CAT S62 Pro, Energy Electronics offers competitive rates for bulk sales.

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