Cat S61 review | TechSwitch

    Practically two years after the launch of its first flagship smartphone, the Cat S60, the Bullitt Group has put its observe up, the Cat S61, on sale. First unveiled at MWC 2018 in February 2018, it’s a vital enchancment on its predecessor, but in addition bumps the worth fairly significantly – extra on that later.

    Aside from the generic enhancements, it additionally boasts an indoor air high quality sensor in addition to a laser-assisted distance measurement device.


    There’s no telephones in the marketplace fairly just like the S61 in the case of the design. For one factor, it’s the solely handset that has a outstanding bulge, one which Bullitt describes as being a design alternative which makes it distinctive from the remainder of the competitors.

    Certainly, whereas its predecessor, the S60, wanted a bulge to deal with the additional FLIR sensor, that’s not the case within the S61, and but the bulge is current extra for, let’s say, branding causes.

    The S61 has been constructed with a specific viewers in thoughts. If you happen to’re on the lookout for a Galaxy S9 or an iPhone X lookalike with the notch, then this isn’t the place you can see it. That is no skinny system: at 162 x 77 x 13mm with a weight of 259g, it is a substantial piece of package. There are not any issues about its construct high quality – Bullitt has common this product to final.

    A part of the explanation for that’s the further reinforcement wanted to cross two necessary certifications, MIL Spec 810G and IP69, which means the cellphone is designed to endure even excessive strain water jets that are frequent in lots of industries. There’s loads of polycarbonate and rubber to soak up shock and defend the system from drops, and a metallic body to enhance its total construction.

    The entrance hosts three bodily navigation keys, that are nice for these – who put on gloves, for instance – who need some correct suggestions when urgent buttons. We’re awarding further brownie factors for the standing gentle, which some producers foolishly omit.

    An earphone socket is positioned on the prime, subsequent to the large bulge, and a bottom-firing speaker plus a Kind-C connector are beneath. A combo SIM/microSD card tray could be discovered subsequent to a devoted button on the left-hand aspect, whereas the ability button, an air high quality sensor and two quantity buttons are on the alternative aspect. The present mannequin doesn’t help twin SIM performance.

    Flip the handset on its again and you’ll discover the FLIR digicam, a standard picture sensor and a twin LED flash, a Class 2 laser (positioned simply beneath an enormous sticker) and at last, an enormous Cat brand.

    Cat S61 specs

    CPU: Snapdragon 660

    GPU: Adreno 508

    RAM: 4GB

    Storage: 64GB

    Display screen measurement: 5.2-inch

    Decision: 1920 x 1080

    Weight: 259g

    Dimensions: 162 x 77 x 13mm

    Rear digicam:  16MP

    Entrance digicam: 8MP

    OS: Android Eight.1

    Battery: four.5Ah


    The S61 was by no means meant to compete in opposition to the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S9, so it is smart that it doesn’t run the most recent (and infrequently the costliest) mixture. So there’s no Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chip however the slower (and older) Snapdragon 660 as a substitute, and ‘solely’ 4GB of RAM and 64GB on-board storage, which locations it slightly below flagship gadgets.

    The show, a 5.2-inch Full HD mannequin, is protected by the most recent Corning Gorilla Glass 5 expertise. The remainder of the specification is pretty customary: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, a 16-megapixel rear digicam, Eight-megapixel front-facer, quick charging capabilities (by way of Qualcomm’s Fast Cost expertise) and a tiny 18W energy provide.

    The system’s actual promoting factors, nonetheless, include the options that no different telephones in the marketplace provide. There’s the improved built-in thermal digicam from FLIR, which may now find warmth sources as much as 400 levels centigrade. It has a a lot greater decision in comparison with its predecessor and maybe its most spectacular functionality is the flexibility to livestream content material.

    There’s additionally a laser-assisted distance measure device that’s included on the again as a consequence of suggestions from S60 customers. Simply keep in mind that as a result of the laser itself will not be mounted, it could possibly solely give estimates, not exact measurements, and you have to to calibrate it pretty recurrently.

    The third helpful characteristic is an indoor air high quality monitor that measures humidity and ambient temperature in addition to the standard of the air. The outcomes are displayed in an simply digestible site visitors gentle format with pink indicating harmful ranges of VOC (Risky Natural Compounds).

    The four.5Ah battery is without doubt one of the largest we’ve seen on a rugged system in current reminiscence. It recharges quickly due to the aforementioned Fast Cost expertise, but it surely might need been a good suggestion to implement wi-fi charging. Perhaps that’s one thing for the S62.


    Right here’s how the Cat S61 carried out in our suite of benchmark assessments:

    Geekbench: 882 (single-core); four,192 (multi-core); three,760 (compute)

    Antutu: 90,422

    PCMark (Work four,831

    Passmark: 5,808

    Passmark CPU: 117,514

    Androbench (sequential): 281 (sequential learn); 213 (sequential write)

    Androbench (random): 50 (random learn); 15 (random write)

    3DMark Slingshot: 1322

    3DMark Slingshot Excessive: 822

    3DMark IceStorm: 17,zero18

    HWBot Prime: three,839

    In use

    When it comes to efficiency testing, we found this handset was one thing of a blended bag. It held its floor on graphics benchmarks however was marginally behind Mediatek-based rivals. That mentioned, we didn’t expertise any sluggishness through the restricted time spent with the system, and the one benchmark that did not run was BaseMark, which we consider might need been all the way down to an incompatibility with Android Eight.1, the OS which powers the system.

    A brand new Android replace landed throughout our check which brings the safety patch degree to June 2018, the most recent accessible. The show is respectable with out being distinctive though, reality be advised, it’s refreshing to pay money for a smartphone with a smaller floor space.

    The display screen is reasonably shiny and sports activities a better pixel density, wanting sharper than many we’ve examined earlier than. It’s a disgrace in regards to the lack of an oleophobic layer on prime of the show. Count on greasy fingerprints to stay.

    We appreciated the bodily navigation buttons and the three most important options of the S61 have been comparatively straightforward to familiarize yourself with. The devoted programmable button on the left can set off a PTT (push-to-talk) name as soon as paired with a third-party utility.

    The hump is ideally positioned to relaxation your thumb whereas watching a video in panorama mode. There’s additionally an antivirus bundled at no cost (AVG), OfficeSuite productiveness suite and a curated app retailer centered on rugged system customers, aptly named App Toolbox. Not like a few of its Chinese language rivals, the S61 doesn’t include devoted bundled apps (e.g. barometer, plumb line and so forth).

    The competitors

    The Cat S60 is the plain different for these on the lookout for a digicam with infrared capabilities. It’s far cheaper (by virtually 45%) however can also be way more restricted in its scope. Nonetheless, it’s a really succesful handset in case your funds or wants are restricted.

    The AGM X2 then again has a VOC detector however no FLIR digicam. It’s way more highly effective with a Snapdragon 653 CPU plus 50% extra system reminiscence, but in addition suffers from some bizarre design decisions like a glass again.

    Enterprise take

    The Cat S61 is a uncommon beast – it’s a smartphone that’s larger than the sum of its parts. By committing to supply complete aftersales help – together with the assured supply of Android P and safety updates for at the least two years, alongside free display screen alternative in case of unintended harm – Bullitt Group exhibits that it means enterprise, and sees the profitable B2B market as being a significant development space.

    Which brings us to the plain query: when will Cat be a part of the record of Android Enterprise Really helpful gadgets? That may open a very new marketplace for the seller, as the one present rugged smartphone that makes the record of 36 is the Sonim XP8, which isn’t extensively accessible.

    At £799 ($999), that is an costly system, however given the that’s crammed inside, it’s a real discount. A devoted FLIR One Professional digicam, a standalone VOC meter and a laser-assisted distance measuring device most likely price simply as a lot, which signifies that basically you get the cellphone at no cost.

    We’re due to this fact delighted to current the primary editor’s alternative award for a rugged smartphone to the Cat S61.

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