Cat Phones are considered to be some of the most ruggedized smartphones on the market, and some buyers often assume that ruggedization brings inferior specs when the priority is making durable smartphones that can handle the elements. Caterpillar is back with two new smartphones that not only pack large batteries and boost IP water and dust certification (standard expectations for rugged smartphones) but also enable mobile payments.
The Cat S41 features a 5-inch, Full HD IPS LCD Super Bright Display with a Full HD screen resolution of 1,920 x 1,080p that features Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5 panel technology for screen protection, the 2.3GHz, octa-core MediaTek MT6757 SoC (Helio P20), 3GB of RAM, and 32GB of internal storage with a 2TB-capable microSD card slot. An 8MP front (with fixed focus) and 13MP back camera with phase detection autofocus (PDAF) and LED flash ensure that you’ll get great outdoor photos (even underwater; the cameras work underwater). Unfortunately, you can’t play games and see your way in the dark as you can with the Cat S60.
The Cat S41 is a ruggedized device, so the 218-gram weight and 12.85mm thickness of this device (compare its thickness to the slim, 157-gram, 7.3mm-thin profile of the newly-announced LG V30) shouldn’t surprise anyone, but the battery is one of the Cat S41’s greatest features: the device packs a whopping 5,000mAh battery, which Caterpillar says can grant up to 44 hours of standby time and 38 hours of 3G talk time. Apart from the MIL-STD 810G rating for shock and drop protection, the Cat S41 is also “salt fog, sand, dust, dirt, vibration, and pressure resistant,” Caterpillar says.
Other features are worth noting about this rugged handset. First is Bluetooth 4.1, so, while you’re not looking at Bluetooth 5.0, it should suffice. Next, Caterpillar has added Android Pay integration for mobile payments, so you’ll be able to make purchases with the Cat S41 at NFC terminals (only). There’s also the micro-USB 2.0 and USB OTG charging technologies that allow you to use the Cat S41 to charge other devices. Yes, this phone can charge other phones. GPS, aGPS, and GLONASS allow you to location-track no matter where you are.
Now, to the rugged nature of the device. The Cat S41 has 2-meter waterproofing for 60 minutes, which takes the device beyond the current IP68 water and dust certification trend. IP68 certifies the device free from water damage in up to 1.5 meters for 30 minutes; the Cat S41 can stay in 2 meters of water for up to an hour.
The thinner Cat S31 (12.6mm versus the Cat S41’s 12.85mm) doesn’t share the 2-meter, beyond IP68 certification of the Cat S41 with its IP68 rating (1.2 meters for 35 minutes) and isn’t as spec-packed as its sibling. Instead of a 5-inch Full HD display, the Cat S31 features a 4.7-inch HD IPS LCD panel with a 1280 x 720p screen resolution, with Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3 protection instead of the Gorilla Glass 5 of the Cat S41.
The device packs a 2MP front (fixed focus – no autofocus or OIS here)/8MP back (autofocus) camera combo with an LED. Other specs include Qualcomm’s quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, and a 128GB-capable microSD card slot. The Cat S31 packs a whopping 4,000mAh battery that can hold its own against the S41, but there is no NFC for Android Pay mobile payments.
Both the Cat S41 and Cat S31 also provide the cherished 3.5mm headphone jack come in nano-SIM, dual-SIM, and single-SIM variants, all while running Android Nougat. The Cat S41 will be priced at around $475 and is available from August 31st while the Cat S31 will retail for $355 and will be released for purchase later this year.