CAT Phone S61 Review

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CAT Phone S61 Review
REVIEW OVERVIEW
Quality
Features
Performance
Value

Today, cell phones are tools as much as any others that we use. Much like our drills and saws, cell phones have become extensions of our skills. The ability to communicate with customers, co-workers and even manage things like inventory and price quotes, cell phones are virtually impossible to do without in today’s world. Not to mention, technology is certainly going to continue evolving to become even more a part of our lives. Today we look at a cell phone that serves both a professional contractor in several fields as well as the average person looking for a more durable phone. Let’s see what this phone is all about in the CAT Phone S61 Review.

CAT Phone S61 Review Overview

CAT Phone S61 Review

When you think of CAT, you think of a manufacturer of large heavy machinery. You’d be hard pressed to enter a job site without seeing the iconic yellow machines doing serious work. But you may not know that CAT teamed up with Bullitt Mobile to make a phone that would not only hold up to tough job site conditions but could also pack a powerful punch with technology that adds not only value but utility to a tool you are already using constantly.

Tools like Thermal Imagers and Laser Distance Measurers are some of the best advances we have seen in tool technology in recent years. LDM’s take a lot of guesswork and human error out of measuring, especially when great distances or awkward positions make using a standard tape measure impossible. General Contractors know and love LDM’s, but so do Real Estate Professionals and virtually every trade imaginable. Not to mention with LDM technology expanding and becoming more cost-efficient, more homeowners own tools like LDM’s than ever before.

Thermal Imagers though, now those aren’t tools everyone comes in contact with. What’s interesting about them is their huge range of uses and fields. Some of the most traditional ways, and the reason I was eager to get my hands on one is checking for variances in temperature, specifically to improve energy efficiency and detect unwanted leaks. When looking at this application a few things come to mind. HVAC techs could easily find a leak in ducts or detect the temperature of the air coming off the AC and Heater. Electricians could detect an issue on a circuit board or an issue with outlets. With a lot of money and resources going into improving the energy efficiency of your home, Thermal Imagers also give you a way to verify your efforts. If you install additional insulation or things like solar screens, but you can’t verify the results you are hard pressed to justify those costs. This phone has seen significant success in the agriculture industry too, something that brings a lot of other creative utility to this powerhouse of a cell phone.

Additionally, this phone is chock full of protection and durability. Bullitt mobile was started in 2009 and has spent a significant amount of time creating electronics. Bullitt focuses on consumer electronics and has seen tremendous growth in recent years. Today they have products available in over seventy-five different countries.

CAT Phone S61 Review Features

CAT Phone S61 Review

The CAT Phone S61 is a Smart Phone operating on the Android Operating system and operates on cell phone networks across about 50 countries. With routine updates to security and free screen replacements, Bullitt aims to stand by their customers. The 4500 mAH provides up to 35 hours of talk time on 3G, and up to 37 days on standby.

CAT Phone S61 Review

The phone comes equipped with 64GB ROM and 4GB of RAM with the option to add additional storage using a microSD.

CAT Phone S61 Review

The 5.2-inch FHD display is made from Corning Gorilla Glass 5 and provides significant visibility and is optimized to work even with glove-covered fingers.

The CAT Phone is rated IP68 and IP69K making it both dust and waterproof. Drop ratings include testing on concrete with repeated drops of 1.8 meters. Water ratings allow for 3 meters for up to 60 minutes. The MIL-SPEC 810G allows protection from extreme temperatures as well from -25 degrees to 151 degrees Fahrenheit for up to 24 hours.

The FLIR thermal imaging camera provides thermal images that measure up to 400 degrees Celsius. The HD camera provides improved images over the previous S60 CAT phone. Three moveable spots to detect surface temperatures from previously captured images or live. There are several options to get the most out of the FLIR Thermal Camera, including improved clarity and filters to provide additional information, as well as the ability to stream thermal images live to allow collaborative sharing.

CAT Phone S61 Review

There are two cameras on the CAT 61. The back camera is 16MP with a Dual LED Flash, and the front is an 8MP Camera.

Indoor Air Quality Sensor detects VOC’s in the air to give information about the environment. The VOC sensor samples the air every four seconds to give accurate levels and will alert the user if unhealthy levels appear.

Laser Assisted Distance Measurer provides several measurements beyond the traditional point to point distances such as area and can be given in both metric and imperial units.

The phone comes pre-equipped with Google Play as well as the App Toolbox, which included tools tailored for trades from construction to agriculture.

CAT Phone S61 Review Performance

This phone is a thing of beauty. I had a few specific reasons for wanting to look at this phone. The first came down to durability. While I love the iPhone, they don’t tend to love me. I can’t even count the frequency in the last handful of years I have replaced them for either a cracked screen or the dreaded water exposure. Another thing I’ve noticed in recent years is how easily the ports get bogged down with dust and debris, which in my shop is pretty impossible to avoid. So, to say the least, the protection and built-in durability made it stand out to me.

So how well did this feature set pan out on this phone? Well after about two months of consistent carrying in the same way I have always carried my iPhone, I have yet to see a scratch appear let alone actual cracks. Now I have no doubt that I could crack the screen but in my experience most of the cracks and screen breaks I have experienced happened in the least expected way. The typical day to day functions like getting out of the car and forgetting it was in your lap, or just plain slipping from your hand is where I have seen the most damage. Thankfully I’ve dropped it plenty of times and haven’t had an issue. This is most definitely some sort of record as this has yet to be the case with any other phone. As well, the small covers on ports make all the difference in how well it resists build-up and debris. On this side of things, this phone is a winner for sure.

Another comes down to the included features. FLIR is well known for their thermal imaging, and one of my biggest questions as a homeowner has been how do I “prove” something like an improvement in energy efficiency. An example, when trying to reduce electricity usage, outside of upgrading the units, your best bet is adding insulation and improving the existing insulation. This comes in a lot of forms, windows, attics, walls etc. Being in Texas, we have brutal summers. With high temperatures and an incredible number of variables to consider it can make tracking these things difficult. So, what better way to demonstrate the improvements. Before and after images add a lot of value to this type of work, and as a homeowner, I know the tangible proof is paramount when I look at spending money on upgrades. As a contractor though, this is an even bigger asset as you have quick access to information your customers will want to see.

The FLIR camera is nothing short of amazing. It provides information that is practical and lends a lot of benefits in diagnostics. I definitely have seen a lot of great uses for this feature and anticipate using it on numerous more projects in the near future. Stay tuned for updates on the practical uses I found for this phone.

Some of the other features in this phone were surprisingly handy too. The Air Quality Sensor was sensitive enough to detect things I didn’t expect. I walked into the shop at one point, several hours after I spray painted some hardware and I received an alert to the change in air quality. This sensor has a lot of value if you work around harsh chemicals and have risks of exposure too. For me, this was a really unique safety measure as you have an idea of when to take extra precautions. Safety is always key.

The LDM was very useful too. While it took a bit to configure, it was incredibly accurate once you did. I also found the visual box around the red dot interesting as it gave you a great double check that you are measuring what you intend too. The traditional camera took excellent photos too, something that is always needed on a job site for records.

In terms of just being a cell phone, this phone gave me no issues. While I had a bit of a learning curve coming from an Apple device, I found it easy to navigate. I use Verizon and specifically tested the phone service in areas I generally have issues with call quality and call drops. The CAT phone performed well, with an improvement over the iPhone here. I will say one of its biggest gains over my iPhone was the actual battery life. I have not gone a single 24 hours without needing to charge my phone, yet this one was easily able to last a day. The convenience of that alone was impressive.

CAT Phone S61 Review Value

The CAT S61 can be found on Amazon for $799.00. While it is hard to justify the cost of a phone today, the reality is eight hundred dollars is actually less than I paid for my current iPhone. Considering the cost of the added features like the FLIR Thermal Imager, and the Laser Measurer alone would easily cost you the same if not more than this phone. For me, the biggest value of this phone comes from its durability and protection. I have yet to have a phone resist as much damage as the CAT phone. Technology is pricey but this phone stands out as an incredible investment as a tool, and a worthwhile investment for those who need the protection this phone can afford.

CAT Phone S61 Review Final Thoughts

The CAT Phone is an impressive piece of technology. Tradesmen can combine several expensive tools and have these right at their fingertips for quick access and increased productivity. For users like me, this phone falls in this incredible category that gives homeowner’s access to tools beyond what the standard garage would have. The CAT phone gives incredible opportunities to not only uses the technology in the phone itself but benefit from the insane amount of durability it affords.

I can’t tell you how impressed I have been with this phone overall. From call quality to the camera images, it performs exceptionally as a phone. What’s more though, is it is well protected and durable, something few phones can claim. For me, the dust, water, and drop protection had me ready to make the switch. Add in the FLIR thermal imager and Laser Distance Measurer and I truly can’t imagine what more they could include. All in all, the CAT Phone does exactly what it is designed to do, and does it well.

1 COMMENT

  1. Great review! I have a few questions that venture more into an industrial application setting. What metrics does the indoor air quality sensor measure (i.e.- oxygen saturation, CO, H2S, etc.)? Is the phone considered “intrinsically safe” by the manufacturer? Also, does this phone have any additional satellite connectivity abilities (GPS and GLONASS) to where the phone could operate as a standalone handheld GPS (i.e. – topcon or trimble)? Thanks!

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