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December 10, 2020
In 2016, Bullitt, the company behind the CAT brand phones, announced their first flagship smartphone, the S60 which was well received amongst the specific category it was focusing on.
Fast-forward to 2018 and they announced the second generation of their flagship called the S61, with that they set a higher standard of norm for this tough and rugged piece of kit.
CAT S60 became the first ever phone with Thermal camera by FLIR when it was launched, and now the CAT S61 adds significant improvements to the device. This includes an improved Thermal camera (FLIR), a laser-based measuring tool, an air quality sensor, plus an overall improvements on the spec of the phone to further enhance its performance.
At first glance, the S61 stands out as an outlandish phone. It is unapologetically big and chunky, has quite a few physical buttons to enable it to use under water. The rubber back gives the phone a solid grip to avoid accidental drops. Another part of the S61 that stands out is the pump on top corner (to house the FLIR camera), it further gives this phone a distinctive look.
The S61 becomes really interesting when you consider the special features that are not available on a typical smartphone. This device has Thermal camera from FLIR. This feature can be used to identify overheating appliances (up to 750° F to be exact), moisture and heat loss around windows and doors, to name a few. Part of the camera modes that are available is the ability to choose the ‘Coldest’ mode which enables you to see the level of fluid inside a tank. Another feature that makes the S61 a fun device.
This device also has a Measuring tool using laser for higher accuracy which is another first on a smartphone, Bullitt included this feature on S61 based on feedback from S60 users.
And then there is the Air Quality Monitor sensor. The Volatile Organic Compound sensor (VOC) enables the device to measure the air quality indoors, which is a neat bit of kit to have if you would like to manage the air quality of your environment. It can send notification to alert the user when there is a need for windows to be opened especially if they are using cleaning products, painting, plastering etc.
Every other smartphone nowadays needs a case to protect it from sudden and accidental drops, can that kind of protection be compared to this phone? Absolutely not.
The CAT S61 can sustain a drop of almost 6 feet high on a concrete surface and it can handle extreme temperatures too, -13° to 131° Fahrenheit. It also meets the U.S. Military’s MIL SPEC 810G specifications. The CAT S61 can survive under water for up to 60 minutes at the depth of almost 10 feet (IP68 Rated). It is also resistant to sand, dust, dirt, humidity, salt mist, and strong vibration to name a few (IP69 Rated).
The S61 has a special LCD screen (1920 X 1080) that allows the user to use it when the surface of the screen is wet, either with bare hand or with gloves, which gives the S61 another unique spec, especially amongst the users who would have to use their device in extremely cold temperatures.
Under the hood, the CAT S61 has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor, 4GB of RAM and 64GB on-board storage, which places it just below flagship devices.
The display, a 5.2-inch Full HD model, is protected by the latest Corning Gorilla Glass 5 technology. The rest of the specification is fairly standard: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, a 16-megapixel rear camera, 8-megapixel front-facer, fast charging capabilities (via Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 technology) and a tiny 18W power supply.
The battery is excellent too, thanks to its massive 4500mAh, which can last up to 2 full day’s heavy usage.
The CAT S61 is different, but in a good way. It's a phone that will appeal to many, especially in the category it has been designed for, because it simply feels more durable than most phones out there. Its special features are extremely useful. The thermal camera works well, so does the rest of the phone’s other new features that makes this phone unique in more than one way.
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