CAT S62 Pro

CAT S62 Pro rugged smartphone with next gen thermal camera (review)

9

The CAT S62 Pro is a rugged IP68/69, MIL-SPEC 810H smartphone with a next-gen FLIR thermal camera. CAT calls it the ultimate work phone – we agree. It walks the walk and talks the ‘push to talk’. We need to take a slightly different tack on this review because there are specific reasons to buy.

The Cat S62 Pro has

  • Next-gen FLIR lepton 3.5 pro-grade thermal imaging to help locate and diagnose damp, draught, leak, hotspot, electrical short, blockage or elevated temperature.
  • So tough – soap and water are afraid of it (yes, you can wash it). IP68 (1.5m/35min), IP69 (pressure hose), meets the new MIL-SPEC 810H, 1.8m drop-proof and loves sand, salt, chemicals, bleach, and mist yet only weight 248g
  • Qualcomm SD660, 6/128GB
  • Wi-Fi 5 AC, BT, NFC,
  • 5.7″ 2160 x 1080, 424ppi, 18:9 screen and Gorilla Glass 6 and wet finger/glove-on tech
  • Dual 4G SIMM or 1 x SIMM and microSD to 256GB
  • Push to Talk programmable key
  • 12MP Sony dual pixel PDAF f/1.8, 1.4µm an 8MP selfie
  • Non-slip rubberised TPU case
  • 4000mAh battery USB-C QC 4.0 quick charge for two days use
  • And it is Android Enterprise certified for business use. Android 11 coming

Our tests relate to what the tradie or techy needs – an indestructible device that has respectable smartphone features as a benefit.

The reasons to buy this is for its durability and thermal imaging – it is unique in this field

CAT S62 Pro

Right up front, know that it aces all the torture tests and exceeds what we expect of a Qualcomm SD660 based device. As such, we will focus on the tests that matter.

Review: CAT S62 Pro

Website here
Price: $1099
From: Harvey Norman, Good Guys, Retravision, and Catch have the certified Australian and NZ model
Warranty: 24 months

What is Cat?

The Caterpillar Orange and Black, the rugged design and the CAT name, associate it with Caterpillar earth moving equipment.

It (and several models) are made by Bullitt Mobile Limited (part of the Bullitt Group Est. 2009). It aims to bring brands together with technology. So, it licenses the Caterpillar name to make a range of rugged mobile phones. It has a deal with Land Rover for an Outdoor Phone. It also has arrangements with Ted Baker, Kodak, JCB, Ministry of Sound and more.

What are CAT phones? Resilient, rugged and reliable

CAT makes a range of smartphones that have different environmental tolerances and features

  • S42 (review 8.8/10)
  • S52 (World’s thinnest truly rugged phone)
  • S61 (Thermal imaging camera, indoor air quality sensor, laser measurement)
  • S62 Pro (Next gen Thermal imaging camera) – this review

You can read other GadgetGuy CAT news and review here  

First impression – Any tougher it would rust (with apologies to King Gee overalls)

It has a metal exoskeleton frame with countersunk Torx screws, rubber-sealed Gorilla Glass front, non-slip rubberised textured back, and is very solid. It has a rear fingerprint sensor and solid metal buttons, including a programmable button, usually used for Push to Talk. The only foible is the power button above the volume keys. It takes a little time to develop muscle memory.

Cat S62 Pro
Rugged

Screen – fit for purpose

It amuses me when a phone comes with a dark, albeit good looking wallpaper that sucks up any brightness. It has about 500nits and a matte screen, so it is OK, not great, in direct sunlight. CAT needs to address sunlight legibility on all its devices and opt for OLED. Netflix video streaming is HD/SDR L3 Widevine.

Processor – SD660 – plenty of power, ram and storage

It has 128,586GIPs and averaged 124,728GIPs with a 7% throttle over 15 minutes. This is amazing given the sealed nature of a ruggedised phone. Geekbench 5 single/multi-core scores are 295/1462, and OpenCL is 569. Plenty of power but not a gamer’s device. 6GB LPDDR4X RAM and 128GB (100GB free) eMMC sequential read/write is 298/188MBps (average – not UFS speeds). USB-C 2.0 external data transfer speeds max out at 30/30MBps.

Comms – good Wi-Fi signal strength

Wi-Fi 5 AC dual band – tests Netgear RAX200 AX11000 router 5Ghz band

  • <2M – -31dBm/433Mbps
  • 5M – -55/433
  • 10M – -62/325
  • 15M – -65/195
  • 20M – -69/130 (usable)

Add to that BT, NFC and GPS – it has everything you need.

LTE – exceptionally strong signal strength

  • -99dBm/125.9fW for first tower
  • -104dBm/63.1fW for second tower
  • -112dBm/31.6fW

This should be good for city to regional use. It has VoLTE and VoWi-Fi subject to the carrier.

Battery – 4000mAh and USB-C QC 4.0 fast charge for two-day use

  • PC Mark 100% screen on, Wi-Fi and BT: 15 hours 9 minutes
  • GFX Benchmark T-Rex”: 358.3 minutes and 2366 frames
  • GFX Benchmark Manhattan: 388.4 and 782.3 frames
  • Charge with 9V/2A/18W charger supplied: 1.5 hours

Sound – good hands-free

Mono speaker with dual noise-cancelling mics – perfect for hands-free and cuts out a lot of background noise. Ringtone is up to 90-dB (excellent) and music to 80dB. It has a mid-centric sound signature for clear voice.

Android – 11 coming

Pure Android and security patch 1 April 2021. It has all Google apps and a range of removable productivity apps. 90-day security patches for two years from launch and 1-year ESMR (Enhanced Specialized Mobile Radio used push-to-talk over cellular networks)

But where it exceeds is Android Enterprise Support and Zero-touch support (remote management). It supports EMM Services VMware Workspace ONE, IBM MaaS 360, SOTI, Mobile Iron and more.

Thermal camera – cool, err, I mean hot

I am not going to pretend I know how to use a thermal camera. But as the name suggests, it records still and video images and can identify temperature variations and, by inference, different temperature airflow coming into a home (draughts).

It has FLIR Lepton 3.5 thermal sensor. It can measure from -20 °C to 400 °C. These can blend with 12MP images or with Flir’s MSX technology (Multi-Spectral Dynamic Imaging). There is a fact sheet here.

The MyFLIR PRO app has its image gallery. It can generate PDF reports as well. If you know what it does, you will know if you need it. Cat says the take-up by ‘fireies’ has been fantastic as the quality is the same as a dedicated FLIR camera, and you get a smartphone for free.

Camera

CAT S62 Pro

Less is more – the single 12MP sensor is the same as the Google Pixel 2, 3, 4, 5. Add to that the AI post-processing power of the SD660, and you have a decent daylight camera with surprisingly good low light and macro capabilities.

CAT S62 Pro
1X – it was an overcast day – the image is average
CAT S62 Pro
8x digital – forget it but 4x (not shown) is perfect
CAT S62 Pro
It does not have a macro lens but the main lens will do very detailed shots – great for part numbers etc
CAT S62 Pro
There is no night mode but this is pretty good.

GadgetGuy’s take

CAT S62 Pro is a unique device, perfect for those that need it. If you don’t need all these features, there are other CAT models with indoor air quality sensors, laser distance measurement, or CAT 52 sans thermal imaging. It is unique, so we can’t compare it to other devices, but we can say that it (and the rest of the CAT family) is better than the Telstra Tough Max 8.8/10 (and it is not too shoddy either).

Rating

As it is unique, it would typically score well as there are no reference devices. As a smartphone, it has an average camera, battery, processor etc. Our review of the CAT S42 scored 8.8/10, and this is similar. But the USP is the FLIR camera, and we add points for that.

CAT S62 Pro smartphone
CAT S62 Pro is a unique device, perfect for those that need it.
Features
9
Value for money
8.5
Performance
8.5
Ease of use
10
Design
9
Positives
Rugged IP68/69 and MIL-SPEC 810H
Thermal imaging as good as a stand alone camera - smartphone for free!
Good hands-free phone
Glove and wet finger use
2-year warranty
Negatives
Battery life is good but could be so much better
Display is good but does not have great sunlight readability
9