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You've heard of rugged phones, but what about a rugged mobile hotspot?

Whether you need 5G service at a work site or an outdoorsy family vacation, the Cat Q10 has you covered in rugged style.
By
March 1, 2022
CAT Phones Q10 Rugged Mobile hotspot front
Eric Zeman / Android Authority
TL;DR
  • Cat has announced the Q10 5G mobile hotspot.
  • This is a rugged hotspot with IP68 water/dust resistance and a MIL-SPEC 810H rating.

Cat phones, maker of heavy-duty rugged phones, threw down a new product category at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona: a rugged mobile hotspot. More specifically, the Cat Q10 5G Mobile Internet Hotspot takes the idea of mobile coverage on the go into new, mud-covered terrain.

Neither mobile hotspots nor rugged devices are a new product category. The Cat Q10, however, may be one of the very first 5G mobile hotspots that also happens to be toughened up for an outdoor environment. The Q10 covers the rugged basics.

The hotspot has an IP68 rating for protection against water and dust.

The Q10 covers the rugged basics by meeting the MIL-SPEC 810H rating, which means you can mistreat it with shock, vibration, temperature extremes, and other nasty weather. The hotspot has an IP68 rating for protection against water and dust, so you can feel at ease providing coverage at the beach or a soggy campsite. It also comes with 1.8m drop protection (5.9 feet) so you needn’t worry if it falls off a rock. The exterior features a non-slip rubberized TPU body and you’ll find a lanyard loop on one corner as well.

One feature that could be particularly useful is the magnetic bottom panel. This allows you to slap the Q10 onto metal surfaces with the confidence that it will stay put while it provides the needed coverage.

CAT Phones Q10 Rugged Mobile hotspot left profile
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

In terms of wireless performance, the Q10 handles a wide range of sub-6GHz 5G bands, but it is not compatible with mmWave. Cat wasn’t sure about C-Band support when asked. The device can provide 4G/5G coverage for up to 32 simultaneous connections for up to 10 hours. Standby time is rated at up to 1,000 hours. It ships with a 5,300mAh battery that can be swapped out whenever needed. Cat also mentions that the battery can be used to charge up a mobile device such as a cell phone.

Check out: The best mobile hotspot carrier plans

A trio of LEDs are positioned on the top panel that allow you to gauge your connection to the broader network, the level of local Wi-Fi being provided, and the battery life. The lights cycle through green, amber, and red depending on the level. Cat decided against using a display in order to maintain its rugged goals.

Cat doesn’t necessarily see the Q10 as a consumer device. It expects the device to be favored by businesses and governments that need to provide coverage to devices in places such as work sites or disaster areas. The rugged hotspot will go on sale around late Q2 or early Q3 2022, although there’s no word on pricing right now. Cat expects to sell the Q10 through its carrier partners, which haven’t been named yet.