S60 CAT Smartphone
S60 CAT Smartphone
– Last year I reviewed the rugged and refined S40 CAT smartphone. It turned out to be one of the most interesting pieces of tech I had got my hands on all year. Fast forward 12 months and Bullitt the team behind the CAT series of smartphones have released the S60. Featuring a rugged, near indestructible chassis, waterproof to a depth of 5 metres as well as being shock and dust proof.
The S60 has one more unique feature however. It’s also the world’s first smartphone ever to have an integrated thermal imaging thanks to its FLIR camera.
What’s in the Box
CAT S60 – SIM free Smartphone
UK 3 Pin Mains Adapter
Quick Start Guide
S60 – Design
CAT phones have long been associated with the building and plumbing trade and have actively marketed the previous S range iterations to those niches. The S40 was the first that branched out further from this niche aiming to a wider audience, especially to those that have an active outdoor lifestyle by being both waterproof to 3 m, dust and drop-proof.
The S60 has now built and improved upon that. It has the same recognizable rugged design, with a sturdy & strong quality build that we have come to expect from CAT. The S40 was a big rugged phone, and the S60 is no different to that but some more design, detail and flair has gone into the creation of the S60.
It’s a good looking phone for one thing, at least in my opinion. Rounded smooth thick die-cast edges, robust textured physical buttons, glossy black screen and patterned back make for an interesting looking and tactile experience.
Slightly longer than the S40 I found this new phone to be a little slimmer and certainly more comfortable to hold.
In fact the foot print of the S60 is not actually that much larger than say the new Samsung Galaxy S7. Where you do notice the bulk however is in its thickness which measures 12.6 mm deep. That and the weight of the strong die-cast metal and hardened polymer chassis combine to make it a hefty bit of kit to carry around, 222g to be exact compared to the Galaxy S7 152g. That said, the additional weight is re-assuring, this phone is meant to be dropped and bashed about. It’s meant to withstand the elements and when holding it, feeling the weight and solid construction you have complete confidence in the device.
S60 – Display & Camera
The 13 megapixel rear camera is fully functional underwater evening having dual-flash allowing some pretty decent underwater shots in the pool on out to sea on your next holiday. The physical buttons on the front of the S60 can be used underwater allowing access to the camera and video camera. If you want selfies then the front-facing 5 megapixel camera should capture your underwater face just fine.
One of the main issues I had with the S40 when I reviewed it last year was the display, which was well below the standards we’ve come to expect in terms of definition. Happily this has been rectified for the S60 and although not industry leading is a massive improvement with 1280×720 4.7″ display. The screen is bright too, perfect for running & cycling in summer. I took it out on the beach one sunny and hot day and whilst my mates were trying to see the screens on their iPhone’s I had no issues whatsoever.
You won’t need to worry about the screen scratching either, the screen is covered with Corning Gorilla Glass 4, making about as tough as it gets,
Key Features – The Thermal Imagining
You probably won’t know this but FLIR are the global leader in thermal imaging technology and it’s this tech that CAT have decided to incorporate into the S60. The camera not only gives you Predator vision, but also acts as a useful tool in a variety of work and even extreme sports environments.
The FLIR camera sits directly above the S60’s standard 13Mp camera on the rear of the phone.
A pretty neat feature is that when taking a picture using the FLIR lens the phone will also taking a simultaneous photo using the standard camera. When viewing the FLIR image back you can then slide swipe back and forth from standard to thermal image which is especially useful when looking a tech kit for example.
Key Features – Waterproof, Dust-proof & Rugged
Just like its predecessor the S60 is drop proof and dust proof. An improvement on the previous version though is that the phone is now waterproof to 5m for one hour thanks to the improved housing and the 5m switches on the phone which cut-off the speaker and microphone thereby stopping water entering the phone.
Fitness & Adventure
This, obviously, is where my main interest lies. The S60 is perfect for those that lead an active outdoor lifestyle. I have cycled, ran and swam in all conditions with this phone and it’s never faltered once. It’s not just wet weather to worry about, the ultra-bright screen is perfect in direct sunlight allowing you to still easily read the screen.
I’ve done a couple of trail runs and dropped this phone a couple of times, not an issue. Without stating the obvious it’s not the lightest phone to run with and for longer runs I would probably just use a GPS device such as that from TomTom but for everything else the S60 comes into it’s own.
Using it with Strava for example on long cycle training and for navigation it has become essential for me, just attach it to the cradle on the handle-bars and away you go.
As far as the thermal imaging goes, I must admit I have struggled to use this to it’s full potential. In fact in my day job I have actually used it more. Working in I.T. its become invaluable for looking at hot-spots in server racks and fuse boards.
That’s not to say though that in the an outdoor hiking or trail situation the thermal imagining wouldn’t be useful. Although CAT don’t recommend the S60 for medical use (the temperature variance and sensitivity isn’t precise enough) you can use it as a rough guide to see that muscles are warmed up and by how much.
S60 – Other Key Features
The S60 operating system is Android 6.0 Marshmallow which is currently the flagship OS from Google and is featured on other flag ship handsets such as the Samsung Galaxy S7 and the latest Nexus.
Very little bloatware is including on the S60 from CAT. They have included the FLIR camera app pre-installed which is fundamental for the use of the FLIR lens. The S60 also comes with CATS own app store, which as with the S40, includes recommended and dedicated apps for the CAT range of phones specific to each niche market.
It’s not an incredibly exciting feature but I find it one of the most useful. I travel a fair bit, especially to German (where the better half is from) and being able to use my own sim at home and a local German sim when visiting is not just very useful but also cheaper.
The Speaker Dry app plays a combination of high and low frequency notes, blasting them out of the speakers removing water in a fraction of the time it would take for them to normally dry out. The app kicks into life as soon as the phone is out of the water giving you the option to run a 2, 6 or 10 minute dry cycle.
The Hike App
Another neat app included with the S60 is the Hike app. This app puts essential details such as weather, co-ordinates, trip distance and compass all on one screen for easy navigation. There’s even an SOS button in the app which will use the camera’s flash to display S-O-S in Morse code.
Processor & Storage
The S60 is a capable smartphone, featuring an Octa-core Snapdragon 617 processor and 3 GB RAM performance is crisp and quick with no lag switching from various apps, to the camera or to the FLIR camera & app.
32 GB of internal storage is included and this can be increased further via the Micro-SD card slot up to a maximum of 128 GB.
S60 – Specs
Non-removable Lithium Ion with Quick Charge 2.0
Super bright 4.7″ a-Si AHVA, HD, 1280×720
Corning® Gorilla® Glass 4
13MP Autofocus + FLIR Thermal Camera
Yes, 1080p, 30fps
Maximum Downlink Data Rate
Maximum Uplink Data Rate
microSD™ up to 128GB
AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, MP3, MIDI, OGG, WAV, FLAC, MKV
AMR-NB, AMR-WB, AAC, AAC+, eAAC, WAV
H.263, H.264, H.265, MPEG4, VP8, VP9
AMR-NB, AMR-WB, AAC, AAC+, eAAC, WAV
850/900/2100 (ROW variant) | 850/AWS/1900 (North America variant)
Yes, Cat 4
1, 3, 7, 8, 20 (ROW variant) | 2, 4, 5, 7, 12, 17 (North America variant)
Qualcomm MSM8952-3 (4 x 1.5GHz + 4 x 1.2GHz)
Android™ 6.0 Marshmallow
Up to 5m for 60 mins
Impervious to dust
Up to 1.8M (6 ft)
MIL-SPEC 810G, Shock and Drop, Operating Temp: -25°C (-13°F) to 55°C (131°F), Category 4 vibration
Ambient Light Sensor
147.9 x 73.4 x 12.66 mm
The CAT S60 is the best rugged phone available at the moment, it’s military grade toughness along with sport friendly extensive waterproofing means that nothing really comes close in the niche market the S60 is aimed for.
The FLIR camera adds thermal imaging capabilities to a smartphone for the first time ever, which is a genuinely useful tool to have on your phone if you’re in an industry that needs one.
Available direct from CAT priced at £529.