With the Cat S62 Pro, the company best known for its huge construction vehicles and machines has set out to construct the ultimate work phone. Compared to the previous generation S61, the S62 Pro features a host of spec upgrades alongside an integrated Flir 3.5 professional-grade thermal sensor. The S62 Pro is also starting off at a much lower retail price than the S61, but is it enough to stand out among the best rugged phones you can buy? Find out in Android Authority‘s Cat S62 Pro review.
What you need to know about the Cat S62 Pro
- Cat S62 Pro (6GB/128GB): $649 / £499 / €549
The standout feature of the Cat S62 Pro is the built-in Flir Lepton 3.5 professional-grade sensor for thermal imaging. It’s the highest resolution sensor you’ll find in any consumer smartphone, with a 4x increase in the number of thermal pixels compared to previous-gen devices. Thermal imagery can be overlayed on top of images from the device’s 12MP dual pixel Sony camera, or used in combination with Flir’s variable intensity MSX (Multi-Spectral Dynamic Imaging) technology that overlays linear detail from the scene. It should be noted that the thermal imaging system replaces the laser-assisted distance measurement feature found on the Cat S61.
With a stiff thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) back and aluminum frame, the Cat S62 Pro is built to survive the most grueling of tasks. The 5.7-inch FHD+ display is protected with Gorilla Glass 6, which comes with a protective film pre-installed. IP68 and IP69 ratings (with no port covers needed) alongside a MIL-STD-810H durability rating mean this phone can survive dust, water, drops (to 1.8 meters), pressure, and a wide range of climates. A non-slip pad on the back of the phone helps with grip, especially when wearing gloves.
See also: The best Cat smartphones
Other noteworthy specs include a 4,000mAh battery that can last up to two days on a single charge, 6GB of RAM, and 128GB storage which is expandable if you sacrifice one of the dual-SIM slots. The phone ships with Android 10, though Bullitt Group (the OEM behind Cat phones) states that an Android 11 update is incoming and is promising three years of security updates.
Android Enterprise is supported for custom business profiles. The phone ships with OfficeSuite to read, edit, and create Word, Excel, or Powerpoint documents. There is also a toolbox app that includes a library of productivity tools created by Cat and its partner companies that features everything from a bubble level to a VR learning platform.
Available only in black, the Cat S62 Pro is available to buy from Cat directly, Amazon, and other major retailers globally.
The headline thermal imager is much more than a toy or gimmick. The sensor provides enough detail to accurately locate objects on screen, whether you are attempting to diagnose a leak, hotspot, electrical short, blockage, or elevated temperature. In our testing, the phone was able to accurately identify the temperature of objects within a single degree. Check out the photo samples later in this review for some examples.
The included MyFlir app includes a host of productivity features for accurate thermal detection. MSX mode showcases a clear outline of the scene on top of the heat map, while the overlay mode seamlessly switches between the thermal sensor and the main camera on the device. You can use pinpoints to identify temperatures in a specific spot or draw out boxes and circles on the display to identify minimum, maximum, or average temperatures within an area.
The Cat S62 Pro's thermal imager performs exceptionally well.
The grip panel on the back of the phone helps with better handling with gloves. Within the Settings, there is also an option to activate a glove mode for increased display sensitivity. The orange button on the side of the phone can be used in PTT (push-to-talk) mode with voice communication apps, or you can program specific apps to launch with a press of the button. It’s also got a notification LED which could be useful for those working in darker environments.
The 5.7-inch 1,080 x 2,160 LCD display isn’t as vivid as an OLED panel, but it does get bright enough to use even in direct sunlight. The rear camera can shoot video in 4K at 30fps and is able to take decent photos in good lighting. Both the rear and front cameras also have a portrait mode for a blurred background effect, though it’s not nearly as good as the portraits taken on flagship smartphones, as you might expect.
The Cat S62 Pro also offers some of the best protection ratings of any smartphone, with IP68/69 and MIL-STD-810H ratings and the Gorilla Glass 6 display with a protective film. Combine this with the durable build — metal frame, rubber rear — and you’ve got a phone that is built to take damage while still not being too heavy for everyday use. Likewise, for those that prefer their phones to not stand out, the muted yet industrial aesthetic compares favorably to some of the more gaudy rugged phones on the market.
While the Cat S62 Pro is running the year-old Android 10, Bullitt Group’s promise of security support for three years — plus comprehensive aftersales support — exceeds almost all other rugged phones and rivals Samsung’s Galaxy XCover Pro.
What’s not so good?
For a phone with a premium price tag, some of the specifications on the Cat S62 Pro are underwhelming. The mid-tier Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor can handle everyday tasks and even some light gaming, but does fall behind performance on other rugged phones with comparable MediaTek and Exynos processors. There is even some noticeable lag when switching between apps and taking multiple photos.
The lack of any face detection software is strange considering this phone has a dedicated glove mode — good luck trying to unlock the phone using the fingerprint sensor with a glove on. Wireless charging is also a noticeable absence, so you can’t plug the phone in to charge if the USB-C port is wet. Speaking of which, there isn’t a flap to prevent water and dust from getting stuck inside the charging port, though this may be considered a positive by those who don’t want to mess around with port covers.
The Cat S62 Pro also can’t escape the typical downsides of a rugged phone — a chunky design and a not inconsiderable weight of 248g (not the heaviest, but it’s not exactly light). For such a large phone, it’s a shame Cat couldn’t fit any more than a 4,000mAh battery inside. The battery life is still more than enough to make it through a full day of use, but there are lots of thinner and lighter phones that manage to pack larger batteries inside their chassis.
There’s no support for 5G on this phone, so you’ll be stuck on 4G networks. Unlike some rugged phones, there also isn’t a headphone jack, so you have to turn to USB-C dongles or Bluetooth to playback audio.
Cat S62 Pro camera samples
Cat S62 Pro specs
|Cat S62 Pro|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, 2.0GHz octa-core|
|Dimensions||158.5 x 76.7 x 11.9mm|
|Display||5.7” FHD+ (1,080 x 2,160) 18:9 TFT LCD|
Corning Gorilla Glass 6
|Thermal Imaging||– Lepton 3.5 |
– 1,440 x 1,080 HD output with VividIR
– MSX linear overlay from visual camera
– Measurable range: -4°F to 752°F
|Protection||IP68 and IP69|
MIL SPEC 810H
|Camera||Rear: 12MP Sony dual pixel sensor, f/1.8 aperture, large 1.4µm pixel size|
Video: 4K (3,840 × 2,160 at 30 fps)
Front: 8MP sensor
|Connectivity ||Bluetooth 5|
Wi-Fi 802.11 (2.4 and 5GHz)
Nano-SIM, dual and single SIM variants
GPS, AGPS, Glonass, BeiDou, Galileo
|Memory||128GB storage (expandable)|
Cat S62 Pro review: Should I buy it?
A large portion of the Cat S62 Pro’s $649 price went towards having the best thermal sensor and an ultra-durable design, which means sacrifices were made pretty much everywhere else. At best, this phone performs as well as mid-range phones that cost hundreds of dollars less.
If you’re in the market for this phone though, chances are you don’t care about the latest specs or most powerful performance. You likely just want a rugged phone that can take a beating and capture some thermal imagery in the process. If that sounds like you, then the Cat S62 Pro won’t disappoint. It’s also one of the few rugged phones that are promised to be supported for years into the future, with Android Enterprise security updates guaranteed until late 2023. The sleek look and capable cameras also add to the phone’s appeal.
If you want a truly rugged phone that can take a beating and capture some thermal imagery in the process, the Cat S62 Pro won't disappoint.
Flir sells thermal camera attachments for both iOS and Android devices, so you could theoretically turn almost any phone into a thermal imaging device. However, the Flir One Gen 3 attachment costs $229.99, and carrying around a separate camera module is a lot less convenient than an all-in-one device like the Cat S62 Pro.
Alternatives with thermal sensors include the Blackview BV9900 Pro ($519) and Ulefone Armor 9 ($629), but they both feature weaker Flir Lepton 2.5 sensors. If you want the best thermal imaging experience in a smartphone, the Cat S62 Pro can’t be beat. Otherwise, the Doogee S96 Pro ($389) is a solid handset at a reasonable price and the Galaxy XCover Pro ($499) brings a similarly sleek design and a removable battery. However, neither have the thermal sensors and can’t match the Cat S62 Pro on protection ratings.
Top Cat S62 Pro questions and answers
Q: Is the battery removeable?
A: No, the battery in the Cat S62 Pro cannot be easily swapped out.
Q: Does the phone support Pogo pin connection?
A: No, unlike some other rugged devices, the Cat S62 Pro does not have Pogo pins for charging or connecting to other devices.