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Caterpillar's rugged S61 features an improved thermal camera and costs as much as an iPhone X
- Caterpillar announced the S61, the successor to 2016’s S60.
- The S61 features an improved thermal imaging camera with greater contrast, a larger temperature range, and more.
- The S61 will launch sometime in Q2 2018 for the equivalent of $1,105.
Known for its bright yellow bulldozers and dump trucks, Caterpillar is no stranger to the smartphone industry. At this year’s Mobile World Congress, and the company announced the new and improved S61, updating 2016’s S60, the first smartphone featuring a thermal camera. The phone predictably updates the internal hardware, but also improves the FLIR thermal imaging camera.
The S61’s thermal imaging camera shows greater image contrast and a larger temperature range, which goes from -21 to 400 degrees Celsius. The S61 also takes HD images from its regular rear camera to enhance the thermal images, an improvement from the S60’s 640 x 480 VGA images.
The S61 can also livestream thermal imaging, which could be especially useful for diagnosing electronic equipment or a leaky pipe in real-time, though one or two people might also use the feature on Facebook Live for some reason.
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.
With such hardware, it’s easy to forget the S61 is a smartphone. The phone features a 5.2-inch Full HD display that works with gloves or wet hands, 16 MP rear camera, Snapdragon 630 processor, 4 GB of RAM, 64 GB of expandable storage through the microSD card slot, and a beefy 4,500 mAh battery.
As with Caterpillar’s other rugged phones, the S61 is rated IP68 for dust and water resistance. The rating allows the phone to survive in almost 10 feet of water for up to an hour. The aluminum frame also meets the MIL Spec 810G standard, allowing the S61 to survive six-foot drops.
The S61’s eye-searing 899-euro (around $1,105) price tag may make people do a double-take, as it’s in the same territory as the Pixel 2 XL and iPhone X. That said, the phone’s technical features are meant for a specific group of people that might be fine with the price.
The S61 will ship sometime in Q2 2018.