Last month the Cat S60 was introduced in South Africa. It’s one of those handsets that is not aimed at the regular consumer, but rather to professionals in very specific fields, like construction, mining, etc. As it is made by Caterpillar, you can expect it to be rugged, durable, and of military grade. The S60 is exactly that.

It also has two “world first” features, according to Caterpillar – a thermal imaging camera; and is waterproof up to 5m deep, for an hour. Previous waterproof handsets I’ve played with go 1.5m deep for 30 minutes.

In this blog post, I will take you through 5 things I think you should know about the handset.

Naturally, the first thing you’d notice about the S60 is what it looks like. It’s one badass looking phone that screams to be thrown around (not really, or really?). It’s a very chunky and heavy handset, at 223g, but not in a brick-like-Nokia kinda way. The top edge of the phone sticks out to accommodate the FLIR branding, which also appears on images from the thermal camera but more about that later. There’s volume controls to the right side, and to the left is a power/lock button; a yellow ‘programmable key’ (you can choose what you want it to be); an SOS button under a flap; the charging port; and at the bottom, a covered 3.5mm audio jack. On the back you will find the SIM slot and micro SD slot. When you insert a SIM card while the phone is switched on, it will remain on; unlike other Androids that restart.

Cat says the handset goes beyond military specifications at being drop-proof up to 1.8m, reinforced by a die cast frame. Yes, this is a feature I love showing people, and unlike other handsets that offer the same feature, I’m confident about dropping it from my height (1.7m), without checking it still works after (of course it does, duh).  It also keeps cool in hot weather, is dust-proof, and as mentioned, it’s waterproof up to 5m for one hour, after using the “Lockdown Switch”. The 4.7″ HD display (1280×720) with Corning Gorilla Glass 4 works underwater as well, and you can take photos and video too. It works if you wear gloves as well.

You will see an “app toolbox” on the homescreen, in addition to the Google Play Store. The collection that appears here is more tailored to the professional it is aimed it. Categories for these curated apps to get the job done include construction, farming, rugged work & tools, sports & outdoor, to name a few. Expect to find apps like a level, electrical calculator, measure & sketch, construction calculator, agri precision, geo area, tyre pressure etc; you get the picture.

The main 13-megapixel camera supports thermal imaging using MSX technology exclusive to FLIR. This allows the capturing of clear thermal images, video and time-lapse footage. Caterpillar says, “Multiple spot meters allow you to retroactively pinpoint a temperature in your image while the thermal imagery technology is capable of penetrating even obscurants like smoke.” The purpose of the thermal camera is meant to ‘help identify gaps in insulation, electrical faults, and monitor the performance of machinery’.

I’ve just taken some regular photos with it:


The 4.7″ Cat S60 is powered by a Snapdragon octa-core processor (4×1.5GHz + 4×1.2GHz); 3GB of RAM; 32GB of storage, expandable up to 128GB via micro SD; with connectivity options like Bluetooth, WiFi, micro USB; NFC; GPS; and LTE. Sensors include accelerometer, proximity, compass and ambient light. It has a large 3800mAh battery with standby up to 43 days! I couldn’t believe the battery on it when I switched it on after a being caught up in a family emergency and my work was on hold for a while. It has a13MP main camera; and a 5MP front cam.

The Cat S60 is available at a recommended retail price of R12999 from August. At the time of posting, the local website did not have the new model listed.