Press "Enter" to skip to content

CAT S60, S61 & S62 Pro Phones Thermal Camera Review

CAT dropped the phone 26 times from 1.8m (6ft) to make sure it survives hard hits. The display is covered with 1mm Gorilla Glass 4 (normal phones get 0.4mm) and very bright – 540nits. The touchscreen works with gloves, of course.

The first phone with a thermal camera tells you how hot you are

The Cat S60 and has a regular camera and a thermal camera, which shows thermal footprints that are normally invisible to the naked eye.

By Stan Schroeder on February 22, 2016

The thermal camera works even if you cover the regular camera with your finger. Credit: Wil Sands/Mashable

BARCELONA — Remember the FLIR One thermal camera that attached to your phone, giving it thermal vision capabilities? A new rugged phone from Cat has a similar camera built in.

The company showed off a prototype of the device a day ahead of Mobile World Congress on Sunday, and though it appeared to have some serious battery issues, it was one of the most interesting phones we’ve seen in Barcelona so far.

You can take the Cat S60 phone up to 5 meters below water surface and keep it there for an hour. Credit: wil sands/mashable

It’s called the Cat S60 and has two cameras that work together: a regular one provides an outline of objects as seen in visible light, and a thermal camera shows thermal footprints, normally invisible to the naked eye. The two cameras work together.

The company rep showcased the thermal camera mode at Mobile World Congress by covering the regular camera with his finger; you could still see the thermal vision on the phone’s screen. Thermal cameras allow you to see infrared light, electromagnetic radiation that you normally cannot.

The thermal camera can measure surface temperatures from a distance of up to 100 feet. According to the company, it can primarily be used during construction for detecting gas or water leaks, but some other use cases — firefighting, rescue missions and police work — come to mind, too. It would be able to see warm pipes behind thin walls, for example.

The Cat S60 features some other tricks. It can survive submerged in water up to 16.4 feet of depth for one hour and has a huge 3,800mAh battery.

The Cat S60 is a bit bulky, but it can survive a lot of wear-and-tear and has a huge battery. Credit: Wil Sands/Mashable

Other specs include a 4.7-inch HD screen (it supports wet finger and gloved operation), a Snapdragon 617 octa-core processor, 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage.

While the phone seems best suited for professionals rather than regular users, the $599 price point isn’t too bad; those with a bit of disposable income could pick it up for the fun of checking out objects’ thermal footprints (yes, you can do the trick where you place your hand on a surface and remove it, and the phone will still see the heat signature).

One bug that will hopefully be ironed out: The phone was constantly at a very low battery percentage, despite being plugged into an outlet. We suspect the thermal imaging drains the battery life, but Cat says this should be optimized before the phone hits the market, which should be sometime this summer.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

CAT S60, S61 & S62 Pro Phones Thermal Camera Review

The Cat S60 was the first smartphone with an integrated but basic FLIR lepton thermal sensor. Since then they have released the Cat S61 and Cat S62 Pro with slightly improved thermal imaging performance.

At the time of writing the above models are the only Cat phones with thermal imaging. The Cat 31, Cat 41, Cat 42, and Cat 52 do not include thermal imaging.

CAT S60, CAT S61 & CAT S62 Thermal Imaging Specs

CAT seems to like hiding the actual thermal imaging specifications from all marketing materials. For the Cat 60 I had to dig up an old user manual to reveal the crucial details, which you normally wouldn’t see until after purchasing the device.

For the newer Cat 62 Pro they don’t even mention the thermal resolution anywhere. Thankfully, FLIR put out a media release which clarifies some of the details (link).

Image from engadget who accidentally broke their CAT S60 when reviewing it.

For comparison sake, and to aid your decision, I’ve prepared a table below showing three FLIR thermal imaging camera options against the CAT phones. The notably ‘better’ specs are highlighted in green.

CAT S60, S61 & S62 Pro vs. FLIR

With the latest Cat S62 it seems like Cat phones have caught with the FLIR One Pro. However, I’d still generally recommend the FLIR One Pro for iPhone or Android thermal camera attachment for the following reasons:

  1. You can use it with your existing smartphone. This will turn your existing phone into a thermal imager for about half the price of upgrading to the CAT S62 Pro.
  2. You only tend to need thermal imaging some of the time. For this reason, a separate attachment can be better than a fully integrated phone. If, for example, you prefer the features of an Apple iPhone to a CAT phone.
  3. Cat specs have tended to lag FLIR’s release cycle. Based on past experience with the S60 and S61, you might get stuck with a poorer performing thermal camera than can be purchased directly from the FLIR range. I note, for example, that Cat does not disclose the thermal sensitivity of their latest phones. This is a critical thermal imaging specification for which the FLIR branded units possibly beat even the latest S62.

The FLIR One Pro offers the best of both worlds for many users: your preferred smartphone (such as an Apple iPhone) and thermal imaging functionality.

Is The S60, S61 or S62 the “Right Tool for the Job”?

Don’t forget that both the CAT phones and the FLIR One Pro are regarded as entry-level thermal cameras.

If you’re using thermal imaging professionally, you will likely be much better off purchasing a standalone thermal imaging camera. A standalone thermal camera is a device such as the FLIR C5 or FLIR E8 XT mentioned above.

CAT S60: world’s first smartphone with built-in thermal camera

The new CAT S60 is more than a smartphone – it’s a professional tool. It’s the first smartphone to feature an integrated thermal camera.

It can measure the temperature of objects from 15m-30m (50ft-100ft) away and can even see through smoke. It can, for example, be used by firefighters to look for people in a smoke-filled building or just a contractor to check your insulation.

The thermal camera is courtesy of Flir, a Lepton module, and shows 80 x 60px thermal video.

Anyway, the CAT S60 goes beyond casual smartphone toughness. If you batten down the hatches (closing the mouth and earpieces with the yellow covers), it can go under 5m of water. Otherwise, the limit is 2m.

CAT dropped the phone 26 times from 1.8m (6ft) to make sure it survives hard hits. The display is covered with 1mm Gorilla Glass 4 (normal phones get 0.4mm) and very bright – 540nits. The touchscreen works with gloves, of course.

You also get a beefy 3,800mAh battery to last you a long day at work and a 105dB loudspeaker. The rest of the CAT S60 put it in the mid-range – 4.7″ 720p screen, Snapdragon 617 with 3GB of RAM and 32GB storage. The phone runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow and offers 4G LTE connectivity. There’s also a 13MP main camera, 5MP selfie cam.

The CAT S60 will be shown off at the MWC and will retail later this year for $600/€650. Keep in mind that a Flir One (a smartphone add-on thermal camera) alone costs $250.

Related articles

  • Hands-on: Cat S75 at MWC 2023
  • The new Cat S75 is a rugged phone with 2-way messaging over satellite built in
  • Cat teases S62 Pro with improved thermal camera
  • Cat S32 rugged phone announced with Android 10 and 4,200 mAh battery

Reader comments

  • Arike
  • Sam
  • 07 Aug 2017

Please Advise I want to bay. CAT 7733S60

  • robinson_sd69
  • LC8
  • 13 May 2017

maybe is too much to ask, but if by any chance the manufactures or research team read this: * a small solar panel on the back could be use full when away from electricity ** a GPS application without connectivity to towers (maybe an electronic s.

  • SAR unity
  • fXY
  • 16 May 2016

I think next time anyone makes any comment, look at pros and cons, I do search and rescue ops, believe me that this would help a great deal, as we don’t always have a flir to our disposal, this will make it much easier to find the casually. So if pe.

  • Read all comments
  • Post your comment

Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.