- Analysis by KJ David
Designed specifically for users who work under precarious conditions, such as construction sites or industrial plants, the Cat S61 was one of the most rugged smartphones available when it debuted during the 2018 Mobile World Congress.
Behind all its grittiness, however, the S61's list of specs still has a couple of hiccups, one of which is its middle-of-the-road 8-megapixel front-facing camera , which we did not expect from a phone that was initially pegged at a little over $1000. Its physique also looks cumbersome , at least compared to non-rugged phones with comparable pros and cons, and it has an awkward camera bump up top that could put off some users.
Those cons aside, The Cat S61 is home to pros like a FLIR thermal camera , which means that it can be used to monitor high-temperature equipment, diagnose vehicles, and detect missing insulation. The forenamed camera is a huge upgrade over the S60's, enhancing the older model's VGA (640 x 480) capture resolution to High Definition (1280 x 720), as well as having an extended measurable temperature range of -20 to 400 degrees Celsius. The MyFLIR app, which lets users live stream results back to base is also on board. Sitting right below its thermal cam is a 16-megapixel primary camera that resembles the cameras rocked by some of the best imaging smartphones by capturing 4K (3840 x 2160) videos .
Its rare (as of this white-paper review) thermal imaging capability is accompanied by an indoor air quality sensor that alerts users of excessive amounts Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which are found in things like paint and cleaning products. It also comes with laser-aided distance/area measurement , obviously for mapping out certain work sites or estimating how much material is needed for certain jobs.
Encasing its pros and cons is a reinforced shell that blends a die-cast aluminum frame with a damage-resistant Gorilla Glass 5 display cover . It passes both IP68 and MIL-SPEC-810G rugged certifications , making it dust- and waterproof as well as resistant to accidental drops from heights of up to 1.8 meters. Feel free to explore other rugged and waterproof smartphones here.
Working hand-in-hand from inside its tough housing is a hefty 4500mAh battery (with Quick Charge 4.0) that brings to mind our list of big-battery phones, a 2.2GHz Snapdragon 630 eight-core processor , and 4GB of RAM.
The Cat S61 offers 64GB of native memory , which is nothing special, given its camera features, but it is at least accompanied by a microSD card slot. Tying everything together is a 5.2-inch Full HD (1080p) screen that supports with-glove and wet-finger touch input.
Long story short, the Cat S61 is a 5.2-incher that skirts high-end smartphone territory, but is obviously meant for those who work in hazardous environments.
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