The trend in smartphones is to be thin and light with big screens, so much so that many now have notches or sliders to give them more screen, or leave out ports, or are so thin they can bend. Well, no-one’s bending the CAT S61.
It’s hard to overstate just how tough this phone is. The C61 is impressive enough just based on the rugged body. It can take a drop like a champ. The ports (SIM, SD, USB-C, Headphone jack) are sealed up tight in case of a submersion. With those closed, the phone is waterproof in 3 meters (almost 10 feet, Americans) for up to an hour. There’s a specific underwater control mode for this, which is a brilliant bit of design.
You also get volume and power buttons, plus a programable button on the left side. The back, home, and app switching buttons are physical as well, which makes sense considering this thing is likely to get used with nice, thick gloves. The stunning 5.2″ IPS display is Gorilla Glass – but if it does break within the first two years, Bullit Group will replace it for free.
Here’s a quick video for a nice look:
The hardware under the hood impresses as well. An Octocore chip, 64 GB of storage, and 4 GB of RAM means Android O runs great (and it’s supposed to get updated to P). The 4500mAh battery is a beast that can actually last TWO days. The rear 16 MP camera doesn’t sound impressive until you realize it has thermal imaging.
Cool, right? The regular camera isn’t terrible either. I regret not taking any good shots for posting. The issue there was me, not the camera.
That’s just the start. There’s also an air quality sensor and laser measuring “tape”. Plus they made a special app store for curating apps that take advantage of the S61’s unique tools.
As you can probably tell, this isn’t a typical phone for a typical user. It’s also not a typical price. Without the special aspects, you might expect to pay $650 tops for a phone like this. With it though, the $999 price tag doesn’t seem insane. Note that one seller on Amazon has them for $817 for a limited time. If you Google, you can find more sub $850 deals. If you’re interested, I’d get to looking.
So who is this phone for? I would argue serious outdoor sports enthusiasts, heavy duty workers, and law enforcement. The thermal camera and laser measuring aspects make it a handy tool for contractors.
This phone isn’t a toy. It’s a tool. A power tool.
Note: Bullitt Group sent me the CAT61 to try out. I am not the user it is designed for.