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If you’ve been looking for a well-built, rugged smartphone, you might have come across the Cat S60. This thick gadget can endure tremendous impact and many harsh conditions, such as submersions and extreme temperatures. There are also several innovative features, including a thermal camera and multifunctional button.

The phone seems amazing on paper, but how well does it actually perform? This Cat S60 review will tell you.

Our Verdict

Overall Score: 7.5/10

The Cat S60 is a solid smartphone with several noteworthy features. It runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow and features a Qualcomm MSM8952-3 chipset that works great for everyday use. There’s also 3GB of RAM and 32GB of flash memory, which should be enough for most of your activities. Plus, the gadget comes with a thermal camera, and the battery life is decent (3800mAh).

The well-thought-out design of the S60 puts durability and functionality at the forefront. This gadget was meant to perform under extreme conditions that would break most devices, making it perfect for professionals and people with an outdoor lifestyle. That said, you might not like the smartphone if you fall into neither of those categories.

Pros and Cons of S60

Pros:

  • Exceptional ruggedness
  • Built-in headphone jack
  • FLIR thermal camera
  • Multifunctional button
  • Industrial design
  • Decent system and app performance
  • Waterproof capabilities

Cons:

  • Relatively high price
  • Unreliable chipset
  • Camera quality could be higher

Specifications

Most components of the S60 are satisfactory. It comes with 3GB of RAM and a Qualcomm MSM8952-3 chipset to help you process standard tasks more easily. There’s 32GB of storage to store numerous apps, documents, images, and videos. The 4G connectivity works excellent, and you also get support for VoLTE (voice over LTE).

Other specifications include regular sensors, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC, USB-OTG, FM radio, Wi-Fi b/g/n, and GPS. The device doesn’t have the latest Android version, but it offers a near-stock edition of Android Marshmallow. You can perform most tasks with Google apps, and you also get third-party programs, including File Commander, AVG Antivirus, Zello, and OfficeSuite. Plus, the gadget is equipped with several Cat apps, such as Hike.

Specifications:

Operating systemAndroid Marshmallow
Size147.9 x 73.4 x 12.66 millimeters
Weight7.8 ounces
Display4.7 inches
Display resolution1280×720 HD
DurabilityRugged; IP68-certified
CPUQualcomm MSM8952-3; (4 x 1.2GHz + 4 x 1.5GHz)
ConnectivityWi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, USB-OTG, 4G
StorageRAM: 3GB; Flash Memory: 32GB
Rear Camera13 MP
Front Camera5 MP
BatteryNon-removable 3800mAh Li-Ion with 30 hours of talk time and 1032 hours of standby time
ColorBlack
SIMNano SIM (Dual SIM)
GPUAdreno 405

Alternative Devices

It’s best to consider several options when shopping for a rugged smartphone. Besides the S60, you may also want to check out the Cat S42 H+ and Cat S62 Pro.

The Cat S620 Pro is one of the most versatile rugged devices on the market. Like the S60, it comes with a thermal sensor that helps you accurately detect various objects on your screen. Whether you want to identify a hotspot, leak, blockage, or short circuit, this gadget will help you do so.

In addition, the rear section of this phone features a grip panel that helps you handle the device more easily with gloves. There’s also a convenient glove mode to increase display sensitivity and let you input data while wearing gloves.

Additionally, the orange button works great in PTT mode with several voice communication apps. It can also be programmed to launch specific apps.

On the other hand, one of the most significant downsides is the lack of face detection software. This is unusual since the S620 Pro features a glove mode. As a result, unlocking the device with your fingerprint sensor while wearing gloves is extremely difficult.

The other rugged phone you should consider is the Cat S42 H+. This waterproof device is certified to IP68, meaning you can submerge and wash it without compromising its operation.

It boasts a powerful 5.5-inch HD display protected by Gorilla Glass 5 and a high-capacity 4200-mAh battery. The gadget uses a robust Mediatek Helio 6761 D chipset and a 1.8GHz processor to speed up your tasks. Furthermore, it has the same RAM (3GB) and flash memory (32GB) as Cat S60.

Still, the S62 Pro has a few noteworthy drawbacks. Most notably, it comes with several pre-installed social media apps. Unfortunately, they can slow down your device, and their addition doesn’t make much sense since this is a business-oriented gadget.

Functions of CAT S60

Operating Systems and Memory

Although the Cat S60 doesn’t use a cutting-edge operating system, it should work great for its target audience. It features Android 6.0 Marshmallow that provides several significant improvements over its predecessors, such as fingerprint support and overhauled app permissions.

Another highlight of the Cat S60 system is a custom app store. It shows curated apps in various categories, including farming, sports, and construction. There’s an IBM Watson-powered mobile assistant, too, that lets you ask or type queries about your phone. Moreover, the gadget supports the Waves Maxx Audio upgrade to ramp up the volume of your speakers.

The memory capabilities of the S60 are solid. It’s equipped with 32GB of storage, which should accommodate most professional users. The 3GM of RAM should be enough for everyday use, but you may experience sluggish performance with intense activities. For instance, playing high-resolution videos and running several apps simultaneously may slow down your device.

Display and Ruggedness

The Cat S60 offers a streamlined display that works great with gloves and wet fingers. There’s a 4.7-inch HD screen with excellent touch response and high brightness. The panel is rated at 540 nits and is shielded by robust Gorilla Glass 4. It further enhances the phone’s durability, allowing it to obtain military-grade certification and endure drops from approximately 6 feet.

The viewing angles are another strong suit of the display. You can look at your images, videos, and text from various angles without any major issues. The color temperature is a bit lower than usual, but it shouldn’t detract from the overall visual effect of the display.

Data Capture and Compatible Software

The manufacturer delivers standard data connectivity solutions. There’s 802.11 Wi-Fi, 4G, an FM radio receiver, and Bluetooth 4.1. What is more, you can expand the storage with the microSD card slot.

The rugged smartphone is compatible with a limited number of updates. Except for the BlueBorne vulnerability solution, the device hasn’t received any significant updates since its release.

Review of Design and Aesthetics

The Cat S60 has an array of eye-catching design features. There’s a programmable key that can work as a nifty PTT button. This mode can fire up your Zello app, enabling you to use the device as a standard walkie-talkie. Alternatively, the key can launch a couple of different applications with a short and long press.

The phone also features the underwater mode. Once activated, it disables your touch input and launches the camera, allowing you to take underwater photos with your volume key.

The SOS button is just as valuable. It lets you send coordinates to certain contacts to help you resolve emergencies more efficiently.

Another great thing about the exterior is the flaps. They cover the headphones socket and micro-USB port to prevent dust and other particles from interfering with the components.

The front of the phone features protective edges that help shield your screen from damage. The rims are made of aluminum and feature generously-sized power and volume buttons for even more durability.

The rear side of the S60 is made of sturdy carbon fiber. It contains a flat cover that protects your SIM and microSD card slots. This section is also home to the rear and thermal camera, as well as the LED flash.

All these components are conveniently placed to produce a pleasing visual effect. The dominant color is black, offering a sleek look.

Camera (Front and Back)

The S60 boasts decent front and back cameras. The main unit has a 13MP sensor with automatic and manual scene selection. You can make all sorts of tweaks to your front camera, such as changing the size, quality, ISO, exposure, and continuous shooting.

Achieving the proper focus may take time because the primary camera doesn’t have PDAF (phase detection autofocus). Nevertheless, the result is clear shots with realistic colors and contrasts. Additionally, the video quality is high, and the maximum resolution stands at 1080p.

S60 delivers a solid rear camera, too. This 5MP model works great for taking images and videos during the day. The colors are satisfying, and the clarity is standard.

Thermal Camera

The thermal camera is the standout feature of this rugged smartphone. You can launch it with a dedicated FLIR app that has several options like adjustable palettes, the ability to record spot temperatures and find the average temperature of your environment.

Moreover, this app allows you to record still videos, panoramas, pictures, and time-lapses. The live view refreshes relatively fast, but you may need to recalibrate your FLIR app occasionally for best results. However, professionals won’t mind adjusting their thermal camera since their occupation requires absolute precision. The people who can gain the most from this feature are firefighters and field engineers who need to check building insulation.

Battery Life and Power Options

The S60 offers a hefty, high-capacity battery. It features 3800 mAh, allowing you to easily use the phone for 24 hours without a recharge. You can perform crucial job assignments, such as recording temperatures or taking videos, and the phone won’t let you down when it matters most. Additionally, you can check your mail and listen to music on the way to work without consuming a large chunk of your battery.

That said, using the FLIR camera continuously can significantly reduce the battery life. The same goes for playing and recording HD videos.

When it comes to charging technology, the S60 uses a standard solution. You get a 10W charger compatible with Quick Charge 2.0. It lets you recover about 40% of battery capacity in just 15 minutes.

Drop Test Summary

Since S60 is a rugged smartphone, impact resistance is one of its biggest selling points. It can withstand 6-foot falls directly onto concrete, meaning you don’t need to worry about accidental drops. The device is also MIL-SPEC 810G-certified to ensure top-notch resistance to climatic and environmental conditions.

Check out this video to witness the ruggedness of the Cat S60 in action.

Compatibility With AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon

Cat S60 is fully compatible with T-Mobile networks.

You can use it with AT&T, too, if it isn’t carrier-locked. However, keep in mind that these devices are only compatible with two bands on the AT&T network (850 and 1900 PCS). Furthermore, you might not be able to access all the services and features.

When it comes to Verizon, using the S60 with their network isn’t an option.

Customer Reviews

Let’s see what some customers think about the Cat S60:

“I bought the phone due to its durability, but the thermal camera might be the best thing about it. I’ve used it to diagnose hot points on my car, find animals at night, brew, and cook. Not many people need this feature, but it’s nice to have.”

“Cat S60 looks amazing for a rugged smartphone. The outer rims look fantastic and go great with my belt loop.”

“This phone uses a plain version of Android, but it doesn’t bother me at all. There’s no bloatware to take up my memory, but the performance can get sluggish at times.”

“The resolution of Cat S60 impressed me the most. Although it’s a rugged smartphone, it has a better screen than many conventional devices.”

“I’ve used this phone for more than a month, dropping it three or four times per day. There’s just a small dent on the frame, and the rest of the device is intact.”

Cat S60 Price

You can buy the Cat S60 for $679. Feel free to reach out to our technology experts for our most competitive bulk rates.

Accessories and Protective Cases

The Cat S60 boasts an array of handy accessories. The list includes an accelerometer, proximity sensor, and compass.

The protective case is sold separately.

Talk to an Expert

The Cat S60 is the perfect smartphone for you if ruggedness is your primary concern. The device can withstand drops from considerable heights, water exposure, and extreme temperature changes. You’ll appreciate the thermal camera, too, as it offers a ton of versatility.

If you want to learn more about this gadget, contact Energy Electronics. We offer expert insight into rugged Cat devices and competitive rates for bulk purchases. Reach out to us and receive your quote today.