Cat S60: First look at the indestructible smartphone

Caterpillar Inc., or rather Cat as many know it, is a popular brand synonymous with hardy work boots that are indestructible enough to be passed down generations. However, not many know that the company’s primary endeavour involves making all sort of heavy machinery used in the construction and mining business, in addition to supplying crucial engine and transmission parts for everything ranging from armoured personnel carriers to freakin’ nuclear submarines. It should be amply clear by now that Caterpillar Inc. is into making all sorts of things that are pretty damn hard to kill. The Cat S60 smartphone is one such beast.

With a 4.7-inch IPS panel surrounded by a bezel that’s larger than the Pakistani mechanised infantry force surrounding Brigadier Kuldip Singh Chandpuri at the Battle of Longewala, you’d say that it’s ridiculous to have a measly screen-to-body ratio of 56 percent in the current year. But that would be akin to claiming that a Maruti Omni is better than the Israeli Merkava main battle tank because it has large, airy windows and that convenient sliding kidnap door.

That’s ridiculous because, although they both happen to be vehicles meant for carrying six passengers in relative comfort, each vehicle takes a wee bit different approach to passenger safety. In true Maruti fashion, your legs pretty much form the integral part of the crumple zone in the Omni. The Merkava, on the other hand, puts the 1500 horsepower turbocharged diesel engine in front of the tank crew cabin to absorb enemy fire. This is in addition to some pretty serious composite armour meant to improve passenger survivability against anti-tank mines and man-portable anti-tank weapons such as the RPG-7.

Israeli Merkava MBT

The Merkava MBT might not be practical, like the Cat S60, but it’s just as sturdy. Just like the S60

While the Maruti Omni starts at Rs 2.37 lakhs, the Merkava costs a whopping 29 crores and some spare change. Military spec durability, you see, doesn’t come cheap. Well, neither does the Cat S60, which retails for a sticker price of Rs 65,000. But unlike the Merkava, which comes with a host of goodies such as the Trophy active protection system, the Cat S60 could very well be upstaged both in performance and features by the Xiaomi Redmi 4. And that costs almost one-tenth of the list price of the S60. However, for your money, the Cat S60 delivers the uber-cool FLIR thermal imaging camera, which otherwise costs $200 as a USB-powered attachment for Android phones.

And that’s a great deal of fun and, not to mention, pretty damn useful for engineering applications to boot. But we will get to that fun little addition in a separate standalone feature. Coming back to the S60, engineering is the operative word here. This phone is essentially meant for professionals in the engineering and construction field, where durability and reliability are valued more than raw power and other bells and whistles.

CAT S60 Buried

MIL STD 810 and IP68 certifications ensure that this phone can endure the worst

The Cat S60, therefore, is ensconced within a steel and carbon fibre frame that’s further strengthened by a tough aluminium chassis. This allows the phone to be dropped from a height of up to 1.8m without worrying about damage. It can also withstand water immersion for up to 2m, which can be further extended to 5m by flicking two cool mechanical toggles to switch off the earpiece and loudspeaker. Needless to say, it definitely exceeds the parameters necessary for procuring IP68 as well as military standard 810G specifications. Like I said, the Cat S60 is one tough mothertrucker.

Just like the famous Cat shoes aren’t made by the parent company, but instead licenced to be produced by one with an infinitely cooler name – Wolverine World Wide, the Cat S60 smartphone is also manufactured by the lesser known Bullit Mobile under license. But you’ll have to wait until the weekend to find out whether it lives up to its price or its rugged credentials in our full review of the tough smartphone. In the interim, you can feast your eyes on the hard-as-nails exteriors of the phone.

CAT S60 FLIR Unit

The built in FLIR thermal imaging camera opens up a world of engineering applications

CAT S60 Sand 01

This phone is designed for rugged professionals in the engineering and construction fields

CAT S60 Rear

The carbon fibre back panel paired with a sturdy steel chassis and aluminium exoskeleton renders the phone indestructible

CAT S60 Volume Buttons 02

It’s not slim, but it makes up for that with bulletproof protection

CAT S60 Power Button 01

Yes, there’s a dedicated panic button

CAT S60 Flaps

All ports are hidden under flaps to achieve waterproofing up to 5m

CAT S60 SIM Hatch 01

The SIMs and MicroSD cards are hidden away under a cool looking hatch

CAT S60 Android Menu Buttons

Forget capacitive soft keys, the android buttons are made of physical keys

 

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