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With the CAT S60 model the manufacturer Catphones brings a world novelty on the market. It is the first smartphone with integrated thermal imaging camera.
In addition to the dual cam, it is also waterproof, crash-proof and extremely robust. The display has a nice size and is very bright. Also the sound of the mobile phone is crisp.
We have tested the device extensively and report on application areas, strengths and weaknesses of this thermal imaging smartphone!
The CAT S60 in test
Turn on, packaging and first impression
Outdoor mobile phones already exist and the selection is constantly growing. The CAT S60 looks like another of these rugged devices designed for use on a construction site, hiking, hunting and outdoor freaks.
The special feature of the mobile phone is the integrated infrared module from FLIR. It is hardly recognizable and looks like a dual cam mobile phone.
Catphones is an offshoot of the American manufacturer Caterpillar Inc. and specializes in robust outdoor mobile phones. The S60 has been available in 2016 and can be ordered from various suppliers.
The combination thermal camera and smartphone is not new, because there are already some attachments for Android and iOS devices. The S60, however, everything is already fully integrated and you no longer have to worry about compatibility anymore.
In our test we also show the additionally available accessories. The charger for the cigarette lighter, the leather case and the protective display film is not standard. But the USB sockets charger and in-ear headphones are.
What you notice immediately after unpacking is the decent weight. This is probably due to the aluminum case, which makes the S60 extremely robust. On the top right is a small “fin” with the FLIR logo. It lies well in the hand and adventure fans want to head off with the device and go straight into the wilderness.
The operating system
Da das S60 mit Android (im Test v6.0 Marshmallow) ausgeliefert wird, findet man sich als Android-User schnell zurecht. Auch iOS-Benutzer dürfte ein Umstieg aufgrund der immer mehr verschwindenden Unterschiede nicht schwierig fallen.
Since the S60 is delivered with Android (in the test v6.0 Marshmallow), as Android user one finds itself comfortable quickly. IOS users are also likely to experience little change because of the ever-diminishing differences.
Below the large and beautifully integrated display (Corning Gorilla Glass 4) there are three buttons for everyday use. On the left is the back button, then the home button and on the right a button for changing apps.
What is immediately noticeable at the front are the toggle switches for the sealing of the large loudspeaker and the earphone. By default, the setting “2 m” can reach 2-meter water tightness. Then the sound is normal. However, if the switch is set to 5 meters, a significant acoustic attenuation can be observed. The micro is integrated on the back. In front there is also a 5 MP camera with autofocus
On the back, the two camera modules are arranged one above the other. Below them is also a powerful LED flash, which can also be used as a torch. Catphones has built in the battery (Quickcharge 2.0 ready), so a change is not possible without going to the manufacturer, but the SIM card and SD card slot are easily accessible.
Via a slide, the corresponding flap springs back and you can insert a dual SIM (standby) and a micro-SD. Convenient! The majority of the back surface is in carbon look, which also has the CAT logo imprinted.
Controls left and right
On the right side of the S60 are two knobs for volume control. To the left is the micro-USB port which is closed with a lid. Also there is a 3.5 mm audio connection. Next there is the power button on the left, a freely configurable button and an SOS button. This red SOS button is only accessible after the flap has been opened. The settings of the SOS button and the yellow button can be defined in the settings.
Conclusion after unpacking
The S60 fits well into the pants pocket. Better is probably the wearing of the device in the aforementioned leather belt bag, since the weight then also not so much noticeable.
Under the hood is a Qualcomm MSM8952-3 (4 x 1.5GHz + 4 x 1.2GHz), 4G-LTE and a 4x GPS receiver. More on the “Technical [n] Details”.
The integrated FLIR thermal imaging camera
In the test, the integrated thermal imaging camera was compared with the commercially available plug-in modules for mobile phones. The built-in module can gain positive points thanks to image-combining. The permanently integrated 13 MP camera is perfectly matched to the infrared module and can help to receive significantly enhanced images. Nevertheless, in the case of close-ups, it is necessary to perform a manual axis correction via a virtual slider in the FLIR app.
According to technical data, the thermosensor has a resolution of 80 x 60 pixels with a wavelength spectrum of 8-14 μm. The field of view is 46 ° x 35 ° (horizontal x vertical) and the refresh rate is 8.7 Hz.
With the fixed focus an object can be targeted at a minmal distance of 15 cm. Also interesting is the thermal spectrum limited to -20 ° to + 120 ° C, the thermal accuracy of ± 5 ° C or ± 5% and the thermal sensitivity of 150 mK.
Apart from the technical details, the thermal imaging camera strongly reminded us of the FLIR ONE model. The available color palettes are at least identical:
- “Hot – Black”
- “Hot – White”
- “Coldest zones”
- “Hottest zones”
Quality of pictures
When you start the FLIR app you have to wait a few seconds until everything is calibrated and the infrared sensor is loaded. There is no sound. Autocalibration is performed automatically at certain intervals. You can also initiate this manually by clicking on the corresponding icon at the top right of the app. But a running video recording is briefly stopped.
The picture quality is okay for the price class and for beginners certainly enough. For demonstration we have put together a few pictures taken with the S60:
Settings for the app
The emission coefficient can be adjusted roughly in 5 steps:
The automatic display rotation worked very well when turning the smartphone in the test. The app also offers a delayed trigger and a panoramic recording feature.
The integrated infrared module eats a lot of current and naturally strains the shared mobile phone battery. You should not play too long – otherwise the S60 not even lasts a working day and has to go back to the charger. But it lasts longer than the FLIR ONE plug-in module!
A small highlight surely is the free FLIR app provided as “Flir Tools”. With the Smartphone, the finished images can then be subsequently modified and further thermal measurements can be taken.
Various measurement functions are available:
- Spot measurement
- Line measurement
- Circle measurement
- Square measurement
For the last three, the average value, the maximum value and the minimum value are always determined.
On the whole, the integrated thermal imaging camera is a sound feature. Plus points are assigned for the successful and stable FLIR-APP as well as for the app “Flir Tools” for subsequent editing.
Apps, sound and more
Thanks to the Android operating system, the Play Store offers a huge selection of apps for outdoor freaks and home improvement enthusiasts. For example, you can quickly download a water level app that accesses the integrated acceleration sensor.
In the test, the sound of the loudspeaker can “speak” for itself. The sound is loud but not overdriven or distorted. Switching to the 5-meter mode, however, you must expect a strong attenuation. There is yet another special application in the operating system for cleaning the speaker of moisture and water droplets. There, different sounds are played in succession, which should speed up the cleaning process.
The golden head on the side can be programmed very versatilely. There is even a distinction between short and long pressing. For example, the SOS button allows you to start any app or send an SMS to a predefined number with GPS data as text content.
A radio receiver is also integrated, which can use the supplied headset as an antenna.
The integrated CMOS camera
In the video mode you can record quite decent movies with the main camera, as our short test video shows:
The autofocus is good, only the image stabilization still needs some improvement compared to the iPhone 6. The resolution is 1080p (HD) at 30 fps.
Plus points can be assigned to the S60 in normal image recording. You can shoot great photos. In the test we were also satisfied by the HDR (High Dynamic Rendering) function. This is a very good way to take pictures with high brightness differences.
In the following, HDR is activated and deactivated:
Here are some more photos for demonstration – taken with the S60:
Our test video
The technical details of the integrated infrared module have already been described above. Here are other interesting features and features of this phone from CAT*.
As mentioned briefly, as a CPU is a dual-Quadcore installed. Specifically, a Qualcomm MSM8952-3 (4 x 1.5GHz + 4 x 1.2GHz) processor. With this the Android version 6.0 runs super fluently. For mobile connectivity the S60 is equipped with the fast 4G standard. This allows LTE data rates up to 100 Mbps and short loading times. As an GPU, an Adreno 405 Core is used.
The GPS is perfect for intensive outdoor use. It supports the satellite system GPS, aGPS, Beidou and GLONASS. WLAN is supported in the standards 802.11 b / g / n as well as NFC. Bluetooth is also included in version 4.1.
A total of two visual cameras are installed. The front camera has a resolution of 5 MP and has an autofocus. The main camera comes with 13 MP, dual LED flash and auto focus. The very bright display is 4.7 ” is generous and has an HD resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels, which is certified for use with wet fingers and gloves, and the TFT display is protected by a Corning® Gorilla® Glass 4.
It was already said that the fixed battery itself can not be exchanged. It has a capacity of 3800 mAh and according to the manufacturer a talk time of up to 30 hours and a standby time of up to 43 days. It supports the fast charging technology Quickcharge 2.0 (60% in 30 minutes).
Catphones has given the S60 some sensors. In addition to the infrared sensor, there is, of course, an acceleration sensor, a compass, an ambient light sensor and an approximation sensor. The S60 is explicitly certified with protection class IP68. This means that it is insensitive to the penetration of dust and water to a certain depth (5 meters up to 60 minutes). In addition, Catphones has the S60 still certified with the military standard MIL-SPEC 810G. This makes it particularly resistant to impact, vibration and drops. According to the data sheet, it withstands a fall from 1.8 meters. It is also designed for a temperature range of -25 ° C to 55 ° C.
The external dimensions are 73.4 x 147.9 x 12.95 mm (W x H x D) with a weight of 223 g. For comparison, the iPhone 6s with the same-sized display weighs only 143 g. But it has also only a 1715 mAh battery integrated.
Outdoor and camping
The S60 is perhaps the best smartphone for people who love nature and wilderness. Great special features such as the SOS button the high-sensitivity GPS module and the programmable button are only a few functions that enhance the S60 as a mobile phone for outdoor use. Last but not least, the infrared camera can prove to be useful when protecting camp sites against wild animals and when finding lost objects.
On the hunt
There are many helpful gadgets for hunters and thermal imaging cameras are one of them. Once a hunter has killed an animal, he must also retreive it. In the dark or dusk, it is not that easy. With the S60 you have not only a mobile phone for the emergency, but also a thermal imaging camera. Choosing the “hot zones” color palette simplifies the search.
For hobbyists and technology enthusiasts
Thermal issues are often difficult for hobbyists to investigate. Thanks to increasingly favorable offers of thermal imaging cameras, it is no longer a rarity to find them in the workshop. For example, a mainboard can be examined for hotspots. Also the photovoltaic installation on the roof.
On construction sites and during installations
Contractors and supervisors often use their smartphone to document progress and problems on the construction site. The S60 is particularly convenient because it can thermally detect electrical installations, water pipes and heating installations with the infrared image. This saves you the purchase of a separate thermal imaging camera. Of course, it is just for a first investigation. For construction inspections you have to get a very expensive thermal imaging camera for precise documentation purposes.
Real estate owner
In the management of real estate and apartments insulation problems, water damage and mold problems occur again and again. With the CAT S60 you can make visible what is to the eye normally invisible. Practically, if you can not only document a mold infestation with the 13 MP high resolution, but maybe even thanks to the thermal imaging camera – conclusions can draw on its origins.
- CAT S60 smartphone
- USB-charger with detachable micro USB cable
- Quick start guide
- Warranty paper
- Leather imitation belt bag
- Car charger
- “Tank” display protection
Conclusion – CAT S60 Smartphone with thermal imaging camera
The CAT S60 is certainly worth its price. As a smartphone-multitalent, it does not have to hide in the daily business life thanks to cool CAT-optics. Technically,as a cell phone it is on the state of the art and can score with a 13 MP camera, quadruple Quadcore CPU and 4G-LTE.
The integrated thermal imaging camera is comparable to the first version of the FLIR ONE housing and is intended for hobbyists, home improvement and DIY enthusiasts.
It is perhaps the ideal mobile phone for people on the construction site or outdoor freaks. Technology lovers will surely have their fun – thanks to the endless list of features!