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The best CAT smartphones: Ruggedness takes a whole new shape

If you are in the market for an ultra-rugged phone that can survive anything, no one does it better than Cat.
December 8, 2021

Most modern smartphones feature beautiful metal and glass constructions that push the boundaries of screen-to-body ratios. Unfortunately, they’re not always the most durable of devices. Luckily, Caterpillar — yes, that Caterpillar — has been rolling durable work-ready smartphones for the past few years. Here’s a list of the best Cat phones available for anyone who needs the most rugged Android devices you can get.

See also: These are the best rugged phones you can buy right now

Best Cat phones:

  1. Caterpillar Cat S62 Pro
  2. Cat S52
  3. Cat S42
  4. Caterpillar Cat S61
  5. Cat S41

Editor’s note: We’ll regularly update this list of the best Cat phones as new devices launch.

1. Caterpillar Cat S62 Pro

Cat S62 Pro Construction
Chase Bernath / Android Authority

The Cat S62 Pro is the newest device on our list, and it packs the toughest internals you can get. It runs on a Snapdragon 660 chipset, and the upgraded FLIR Lepton 3.5 is the best thermal camera with four times the thermal pixels. You’ll also have an IP69 and Mil-Spec 810H certification to keep your new phone safe from just about anything.

Learn more: Cat S62 Pro review

If there’s one drawback to Cat’s newest device, it’s the lack of 5G connectivity. However, you’re probably not buying the S62 Pro for its speed — you’re here for the toughest phone on the market.

Caterpillar Cat S62 Pro specs:

  • Display: 5.7-inch, HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 660
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Cameras: 12MP FLIR Lepton 3.5
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 4,000mAh
  • Software: Android 10

2. Caterpillar Cat S52

Cat S52

The Cat S62 Pro is excellent if you want the toughest phone around, but some people want to blur the line slightly. That’s where the Cat S52 comes in — it lies right between the toughest work phones around and mainstream consumer-ready devices.

The S52 features entry-level hardware and comes with quite a sleek design compared to previous Cat phones in terms of specifications. However, it’s no less protected with its IP68 rating for ingress protection and MIL-STD 810G certification for impact protection. The phone has been drop-tested repeatedly on concrete from a height of 1.5m and can be submerged in water.

Caterpillar Cat S52 specs:

  • Display: 5.65-inch, HD+
  • SoC: MediaTek Helio P35
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64GB
  • Cameras: 12MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 3,100mAh
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie

3. Caterpillar Cat S42

cat S42

Joining the list of Caterpillar’s 2020 releases is the Cat S42, which was launched as the Cat S32 at CES last year before the company decided to rename it. It’s a decidedly entry-level device with an affordable price tag.

The phone comes with an IP68 rating for dust and waterproofing and a MIL-STD 810G certification for impact protection. It has also been drop-tested numerous times from a height of 1.8m onto steel, with drops on every side and corner. Despite the low-end processing package and less RAM and storage, the S42 has its advantages over the S52 as well, like a slightly better primary camera and a larger battery.

Caterpillar has also introduced a hygiene-focused version named the Cat S42 H+. It’s infused with silver ions to help fight the growth of bacteria. Otherwise, it packs the same features you can expect from the rugged device.

Caterpillar Cat S42 specs:

  • Display: 5.5-inch, HD+
  • SoC: MediaTek Helio A20
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Storage: 32GB
  • Camera: 13MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 4,200mAh
  • Software: Android 10

4. Cat S61

Cat S61

The S61 was announced at MWC 2018 and is the successor to the S60 — and predecessor to the S62 Pro. One of the highlights of the S60 was the fact that it was the first smartphone — rugged or not — to have a thermal camera. As expected, its successor brings critical improvements to this feature while also having the necessary hardware upgrades.

The S61’s thermal imaging camera shows greater image contrast and a more extensive temperature range from -21 to 400 degrees Celsius. The S61 also takes HD images from its regular rear camera to enhance the thermal images. The phone also includes a laser that measures things up to 33 feet away and a Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) that can detect air quality every 30 seconds.

As with Cat’s other rugged phones, the S61 has IP68 and IP69K ratings for dust and waterproofing and water pressure resistance. It also comes with the MIL-STD 810G certification for impact protection. It’s certainly showing its age at this point but remains among the best Cat phones you can buy.

Cat S61 specs:

  • Display: 5.2-inch, Full HD
  • Chipset: Snapdragon 630
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64GB
  • Camera: 16MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery:4,500mAh
  • Software: Android 8 Oreo

5. Caterpillar Cat S41

The Cat S41 is the oldest device on this list, having launched way back in 2017. It’s not the flashiest of the bunch either, but it boasts an incredible 38-hours of battery talk time. If that’s not enough, the Cat S41 allowed for battery power-sharing way before Samsung made it cool.

See also: Cat S41 review — Truly a niche device

Unfortunately, you might find a few of Caterpillar’s other specs a bit lacking. The device features just 32GB of storage and 3GB of RAM. You’re also looking at Android 7.0 to keep you moving. Cat didn’t roll out too many fancy camera features on the S41, but a 13MP shooter is still a decent place to start.

Cat S41 specs:

  • Display: 5.0-inch, Full HD
  • Chipset: MediaTek Helio P20
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Storage: 32GB
  • Camera: 13MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 5,000mAh
  • Software: Android 7 Nougat