CAT S60

Mobile World Congress

CAT is back with a new rugged phone at Mobile World Congress, this time offering a built-in FLIR thermal camera module with the S60. FLIR's sensors have been available as add-on attachments for Android handsets for a while now, but the vendor has managed to shrink its module down to the size of a standard camera sensor with the Lepton, allowing it to be integrated into a phone.

CAT S60

Here's what you're getting with the CAT S60:

Category Features
Display 4.7-inch 720p IPS LCD with Gorilla Glass 4
Max. brightness of 540 nits
CPU 1.7Ghz octa-core Snapdragon 617
GPU Adreno 405 GPU
RAM 3GB
Internal Storage 32GB storage
Storage Expansion microSD slot up to 128GB
Camera 13MP with dual-tone flash
FLIR thermal camera (changeable heat palettes, temperature spot meter)
5MP front shooter
Connectivity LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS, GLONASS, NFC and FM radio
Battery 3800mAh
OS Android 6.0 Marshmallow

The CAT S60 is a chunky phone, with an angular design and beveled edges. The micro-USB and 3.5mm audio ports are all covered, and the navigation buttons are similar to what we've seen on the Galaxy S6 Active. There's front-facing audio as well.

The FLIR thermal camera is where things get interesting. The sensor has a built-in thermometer that lets you measure surface temperatures in real-time, and you can also tap to set different viewpoints to view how cold or hot an object is. The thermal sensor interlaces data from the regular camera to give you a live preview mode, which offers much more detail. You can take photos and videos in the live preview mode, but the resolution is limited to VGA (640 x 480). That may not seem like a lot, but it offers a lot of value for the professional users this phone is targeted toward.

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For exapmple, first responders at an accident can leverage the thermal camera to find the wounded amidst the wreckage. Home energy contractors could point the CAT S60 at a house and determine where air is leaking.

CAT S60

The S60 can be used with wet hands or gloves, functions underwater (up to 5 meters) for an hour, and the strengthened frame offers drop protection to 1.8 meters. The phone is designed to take a beating, and is MIL-STD-810G certified, which means that it is resistant to dust, humidity, rain, thermal shock, salt, and vibration.

The CAT S60 is surprisingly decent as a regular phone. It comes with Marshmallow out of the box, with a stock interface along with a few pre-installed apps to take full advantage of the FLIR sensor.

For now, the CAT S60 is aimed at professionals, but it will be interesting to see if a mainstream vendor can leverage the FLIR sensor in a consumer-facing device. There's no release date for the S60 yet, but it will set you back $599 once it hits store shelves.

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