Professional Builder’s Lee Jones reviews the rugged Cat S42 smartphone
The functions we take for granted on a smartphone are now as integral to our working lives as our vehicles or the tools of our trade, but in the unforgiving environment of a building site they can often prove to be rather delicate flowers. More heels than muddy boots, the most popular models will wilt in the face of the muck and bullets that make up a builder’s daily lot. What is required is both brains and brawn, and the CAT S42 claims to be the kind of sturdy and strapping workhorse that can deliver both.
With the Cat range of phones the distributors, Bullitt Group have carved out a niche in the rugged handset sector, and the list of tests its S42 unit must first overcome reads like an exercise in medieval torture. Its phones are subjected to drops onto steel on every side and corner 30 times from a height of 1.8m. You would expect a phone that professes to be durable to be waterproof, but this one goes further, with a rating that surpasses IP68, and testing to a 1.5m depth for 35 minutes. In fact, in a significant hygiene friendly feature, it can even be cleaned by repeated submerging in hot water and scrubbing with soap. Add to that an ordeal by thermal shock, extremes of high and low temperature, vibration and salt mist conditions, and it becomes clear that this is technology that is not just talking tough.
Many of us will have suffered the expense of fixing a cracked screen on our phones, but the Cat example is safeguarded by a thick pane of toughened and scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass 5, which is recessed beneath a protective ridge. A non-slip rubberised TPU back plate means it’s always secure in your pocket or hand, and it’s impervious to dust. Other construction compatible features include a bright display that is easily viewed in sunlight and a loud high quality audio that can be understood in loud conditions.
As soon as its sits in the hand it is apparent the S42 is made of sterner stuff, but that’s not at the expense of sophistication. Its user-friendly screen can be operated with wet hands or when wearing gloves and is your gateway to the kind of prodigious memory that would give Brains from Thunderbirds a headache, whilst additional capacity is available through a MicroSD card. For the price point the graphics are excellent, with the trusted Android operating system allowing access to a multitude of apps. We were particularly impressed with the run time of the battery, with the manufacturer claiming up to two days of ‘real world’ life, and in our experience it actually lasted for longer.
Today the smart phone is the conduit through which we organise our business and social lives. What the Cat S42 provides is just that kind of service but with the reassurance of knowing that it will resist the inevitable knocks of a tradesman’s working day.
For further information on the Cat S42 rugged smartphone visit catphones.com/en-gb/cat-s42-smartphone/