The CAT S60 Offers A Flir’s Thermal Camera and an Indestructible Shell

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This Flir SmartPhone Was Designed to Withstand The Brutality of the Work Force

Mentionables:

            • Pro: Offers Live Thermal Imaging
            • Pro: Equipped with Flir’s MSX Technology for greater details
            • Pro: Water resistant and drop-proof

Too often, we find ourselves in difficult situations.  And those situations might require some very durable and dependable equipment.  And one of the most popular pieces of equipment on the planet is our smart phone.  So Flir and Cat took the initiative to create on of the most durable phones on the market.

cat 260 thermal smart phone

The CAT S60 is perfect for the working man or woman, who’s frequently using their phone to help them succeed on job sites, or industrial work environments.  When there’s a hot panel box, you can simply use the Flir Thermal Camera to see which breaker is drawing too much amperage.

Or, if heat’s escaping, you can easily use the thermal image to detect where the weak spot is in the insulation.

But no matter what your actual purpose is, you can use this piece of equipment without fear of breaking it.  The S60 can is water proof up to 15 feet.  But incase you’re dropping it onto a solid surface, it is also drop proof up to 5 feet.  Which is probably the standard, hand-held height.

cat s60 thermal smart phone

But nevertheless, if you’re looking for a military or industrial grade smart phone, you’re not going to find one strong or more durable than the Cat’s S60 with Flir Thermal Camera.

Review of the Cat S60

Owning a smartphone means you’re also privy to the very particular fear of dropping that smartphone. And many of us go different lengths to mitigate this problem. Some of us slap our phones in big, fat, protective cases. Others are like me — we lie to ourselves and pretend we’ll be fine without one. Some companies offer a third option: they build rugged versions of their smartphones, sacrificing looks and performance in the name assuaging that fear. The new Cat S60 falls into this last category. It’s an extremely rugged phone with an extra niche twist thanks to a very unique feature: it’s the first phone with a built in thermal camera.

The S60 doesn’t look anything like the smartphones you’re used to seeing. The switches on the front, chunky flaps on the side, and a weird bump on the top easily grabbed eyeballs whenever we were using it. The inevitable question always was, “what is it?”. The S60 is fat and chunky on purpose, as the outer body uses a strengthened die-cast frame and the oversized buttons and flaps are intended to make it easy to use with gloves. Surprisingly, it doesn’t feel too heavy even though it weighs around 223 grams.

There are physical navigation buttons on the front for Back, Home and Recent Apps, which have good feedback. There are toggle switches near the earpiece and speaker at the bottom which can be flipped to select the level of waterproofing you need. The S60 is IP68 certified and it can be used underwater up to a depth of 5 meters for an hour, which is quite impressive. Flipping the physical switches to 5 meters shuts off the speaker. If the S60 is immersed in water for longer than a few seconds, a warning message pops up asking you to use the Speaker Dry app, which uses a series of low and high frequency vibrations to expel residual water from the speaker cavities.

Waterproofing aside, the S60 can withstand drops from up to six feet and has passed military grade certification (MIL Spec 810G), making it shockproof and freezeproof. We did toss the S60 around and dunked it in water, and as expected, it survived without a scratch. While we didn’t go to extremes, we’ll take the company’s word for its durability.

The display can be used with wet fingers and with gloves, both of which worked well. The 4.7-inch HD panel offers good touch response. Brightness is exceptionally good, and the display carries a rating of 540nits. Last but not least, you get Gorilla Glass 4 for more durability. Viewing angles are decent, but the colour temperature of the screen is on the cooler side and sadly, cannot be adjusted. The volume buttons are on the left while the power button is on the right.

The Cat S60 has a programmable key below the power button which can be used as a Push-to-talk button. In this mode, it fires up the Zello app so you can use the phone as a walkie-talkie. Alternately, you can use it to launch different apps with a long and short press. There’s also an option to enable an ‘underwater mode’ in the Settings app, which disables touch input and activates the camera, so you can take photos underwater using the volume key. There’s a dedicated SOS button, which can send your coordinates to select contacts.

The phone comes with Qualcomm Snapdragon 617, which is generally seen in mainstream smartphones. The phone is very capable when it comes to multitasking and running through regular apps. You also get 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, which are decent enough. 4G works well and the phone also supports VoLTE. Other specifications include dual-band Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1, USB-OTG, NFC, FM radio, GPS, and the usual suite of sensors. Although the specifications on the website don’t specifically mention features like a barometer and gyroscope, diagnostic apps did seem to detect them.

Pros

  • Accurate thermal imaging camera.

  • It is very rugged and has waterproof build.

  • It comes with useful pre-installed apps.

  • It comes with the latest Android software.

  • The phone has an expandable storage.

  • The phone has superbright screen

Cons

  • Sluggish camera sensors.

  • Mediocre specs for the price.

  • Back flap can pop open upon impact.

  • Lackluster call quality.

Final Thoughts

If you need a super-rugged phone with a built-in thermal imaging camera, look no further than the Cat S60. But at $600, it’s nearly as pricey as top-tier devices like the rugged Samsung Galaxy S7 Active and the shatterproof Moto Z Force Droid, both of which offer far better performance all around. You won’t get a thermal camera in either of those phones, but you can always add an accessory like the Flir One.

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