We’ve been keeping track of CAT’s rugged phone range and it’s good to see the constant progression of their range. The latest, the S62 Pro follows the same upwards trajectory.
It’s definitely a better looking phone than its predecessors, forsaking the physical buttons for a full touch experience (which might be a problem for those who figured out how to use their push button phones with gloves). Also gone is the bump at the top for the thermal camera. It’s clear that the S62 Pro is a rugged phone, and you certainly won’t mistake this one as the latest Samsung Galaxy S20. Personally I like the screws mounted on the side, plus the full stainless steel SIM tray let’s you know that CAT is not playing around, even on the inside.
Indeed, the company made sure this one is IP68 & IP69 and Mil-Spec 810H certified, resulting in a dustproof device that is vibration, sand, salt mist and pressure resistant, and apparently won’t mind if you drop it down from a height of 1.8m.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the cleanliness of your smartphone has become important, so the fact that you can easily wash your CAT phone with soap and water can make a difference to certain people. Strangely, I know of a mom who bought a CAT phone simply so her toddlers can use it and it will actually survive.
However, the S62 Pro is a thoroughly professional phone, which can be seen in the improvements made to the Flir thermal camera. This has been upgraded to the Letpron 3.5 standard, which CAT provides at a resolution of 1440 x 1090 with VividIR – quite a big increase. The way you can decrease or increase the overlay of either the thermal image or the linear detail from the ‘regular’ image is also quite astounding – CAT calls this variable intensity MSX (Multi-Spectral Dynamic Imaging). There are also new ways to amend photos to add notes before sharing it with others. While I did not have much use for a thermal camera, it’s easy to see how farmers, gas installers, plumbers and even those working in the security field might.
How does the S62 Pro feel in hand? Reassuringly hefty, with a bit of added grip on the bottom at the back (which would have been nice to have been extended upwards). It is a bit thinner and lighter than its predecessor, which makes the S62 Pro fit slightly better in your pocket.
The regular 12 MP camera is good but not exceptional. Unlike other smartphones in the price range it’s not teamed up with a second or even a third camera (not counting the thermal one). I’m pretty confident the next iteration will be.
One decrease on the specs side is a drop in battery life from 4500 mAh on the S61 to 4000 mAh (supporting fast charge) on the S62 Pro. I still managed to get a full day of usage out of the phone, but some users might be less impressed.
In all, the phone comes with solid midrange specs. It starts with Qualcomm’s midrange Snapdragon 660 with 2.0GHz octa-core processor that also does duty on phones such as the Galaxy A9 (2018) and the Nokia 7.2. This is boosted with 6 GB of RAM, and 128 GB of available space – both double that of the previous model. Finally, the phone is running Google Android 10, with an upgrade to 11 promised by CAT.
When buying a CAT phone you can expect a solid rugged device that can be used in an outdoor professional environment without worrying too much if it’s going to withstand a bit of rough and tumble. You’re not getting the best processor or most amazing camera (although taking pics in infrared is pretty damn amazing), but it will serve you in good stead. Indeed, the battery life might have decreased, but overall the S62 Pro feels like a decent upgrade from the S61.
At R14 999, the CAT S62 Pro is retailing above what you would expect for the innards, but truly, when you're buying a CAT phone it’s about the fact that you’re investing in a device built pretty much like Duane Vermeulen.