back to article Under construction: CAT lobs bargain-basement rugged mobile that will take a kicking and keep on clicking

Tired of breaking your phone on nights out? Happy to walk around with a handset that looks as though it was stolen from a construction yard? If so, you'll want to check out the new Cat S32 mobe, announced at CES in Las Vegas. Caterpillar isn't a firm you would instinctively associate with the mobile industry. It is best known …

  1. Alan J. Wylie


    Lets hope that CAT do better than Blackview (as mentioned in the article) at keeping the software up-to-date and patched. My BV9600Pro hasn't had a firmware update since I bought it, the image is labelled 20190430.

  2. macjules

    Comparison with other MIL-SPEC-810G phones?

    Wonder how this rates with other CAT phones or especially the Dogee S90 - the phone that comes with a night vision camera, walkie-talkie and battery extension pack.

    1. GruntyMcPugh

      Re: Comparison with other MIL-SPEC-810G phones?

      @macjules: "Dogee S90 - the phone that comes with ..., walkie-talkie"

      I've seen such, can they be programmed to use UK legal PMR446 frequencies? If you can get UK legal PMR446 compatible phone / walkie talkie I'm interested, as I spend a fair amount of time outdoors, and having comms with no phone service would be great. When we go snowboarding we still use walkie talkies, as we tend to head off piste and as long as are all in the same valley we're good.

      1. macjules

        Re: Comparison with other MIL-SPEC-810G phones?

        400-480MHz, -120dBm

  3. Chronos

    Bloody Mediatek

    Take a Moto G7, stick it in a ruggedised housing and I'll buy one. Make anything with Mediatek appearing anywhere in its specs and you can bloody well keep it as it's destined for landfill in about as long as it takes for you to launch a GPS app...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bloody Mediatek

      So why not buy a Moto G7, and a ruggedized case? Why do you want a phone with the case built in to it?

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Bloody Mediatek

        Two reasons come to mind. First, there might not be ruggedized cases for every phone on the market. I am certain there are some for the devices that sell very well, such as the latest iPhones and Samsungs, but there won't be for the low-priced phones which get changed out from month to month, and for everything in between there's no certainty at all. Therefore, one can't choose a phone they like and be guaranteed to find a case that fits it.

        Second, a ruggedized case might not give you as much protection as a ruggedized phone. The case manufacturer probably has tried their best. Still, there's less profit margin for them to buy a bunch of another company's phones and try to break them than there is for the original manufacturer to try to damage their own. Finally, if the unit you're using turns out not to have been ruggedized sufficiently, the manufacturer of a phone that claims to be able to handle it is probably more likely to replace it for you than the case manufacturer.

  4. myxiplx2

    Nevermind the builders, that'll do for my kids!

    Might finally be a phone that can last more than 6 months before being smashed to pieces. Even though they have to pay the insurance excess themselves, and know the number of repairs is limited, they still manage to drop the things at every opportunity.

    1. Lazlo Woodbine

      Re: Nevermind the builders, that'll do for my kids!

      Make them buy the phone themselves and they might respect it a bit more.

      My sister makes her boys pay for their own phone, they've yet to break or lose one...

  5. renniks

    I've an Ulefone Armor 6E, and find it great. I got it for €175, which is a fine price to pay for the spec you get. Build quality feels really solid.

    The new Armor 7 has double the ram & storage of the 6E - 8Gb/128Gb vs 4Gb/64Gb, but is double the price of the 6E.

  6. Cuddles


    "The manufacturer adds that the S32 meets the US Army's MIL-SPEC-810G standard for ruggedness. That covers the whole gamut of things that would ordinarily damage a phone — from drops to extreme temperatures. For what it's worth, no independent body certifies devices to this standard"

    That's because it isn't actually a standard. Or more accurately, it's a standard that gives guidance on how to define what standard you intend to use to perform your own tests. Saying a device meets the MIL-SPEC-810 standard is like saying the standard was typed in 12-point Times New Roman. It's the content of what was actually written that matters, not how you set up the template for it. There are a variety of example tests given, but exactly how they are carried out and how results are interpreted is deliberately left up to the tester, because the whole point is to be a generic framework and not a specific testing methodology. There is no such thing as a test for "ruggedness" in those examples.

    1. vir

      Re: MIL-SPEC

      Another big thing to look for is "designed to MIL-STD-810 standards"; i.e. "we never actually tested it". Although, knowing most marketing/sales departments, they'd still proudly proclaim "tested to MIL-STD-810 standards" even if the product failed every single test.

      1. the Jim bloke

        Re: MIL-SPEC

        obligatory xkcd

  7. Dave559

    "In terms of storage, the S32 has 32GB of internal ROM."

    "In terms of storage, the S32 has 32GB of internal ROM."

    Oh dear, it's not much use having internal storage that you can't actually save anything to... :-(

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: "In terms of storage, the S32 has 32GB of internal ROM."

      That's part of its durability - no update will ever brick it!

  8. juice

    A friend had a Cat S60...

    He's a roadie/lighting engineer, so spends a lot of time literally crawling around, above and under stages with varying levels of H&S rules being applied.

    After a pint or two, he had a habit of showing off how tough it was - throwing it against the wall, stomping on it with New Rock[*], dunking it in a pint glass, etc.

    I think it did finally give up the ghost, but it was certainly an order of magnitude tougher than any other handset I've ever seen - even a Nokia 3310!

    In fact, there's even a Russian video which goes some way to prove this...

    [*] Goth/punk/biker boots - about a quarter tonne of leather and steel mashed together by an Spanish shoe company...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A friend had a Cat S60...

      I remember testing early "ruggedised" phones when they were first launched (I worked at a mobile network at the time, and we often got kit to test). If this is better than that, it will likely survive the apocalypse along with cockroaches, as those early ones were practically indestructible. We tried throwing them out of windows onto concrete, bouncing them off steel bars (from a distance), standing on them with heavy boots...

      They might have a limited appeal, but for what they do, they are unrivalled phones.

  9. the Jim bloke

    dropping 1.8 m onto a plate of steel

    is not a problem

    dropping 0.6 m onto a piece of gravel - display down - will do horrible things to that IP68 rating.

    One of the major uses I have for my work phone - actually work related, rather than carrying my music collection, is taking pictures of things, Things that need to be fixed before we can start work, things that need to be fixed because we have worked on them, things that have been fixed and are now no longer our problem.. and things which are too complicated to describe or remember correctly. Using the phone to talk to people is way down on its list of uses.

  10. Jaap Aap

    Yeah, it's all fine and dandy until you find some guy on youtube easily scratching the display with a glass pick. And these things are not on the LineageOS supported devices list, so you'd have to depend on the manufacturer for updates. And we all know how well that goes.

  11. Valeyard


    Ok so it can withstand a fall or submersion in water

    but are there an unlimited number of screen covers for the inevitable concrete or plaster getting stuck to the screen?

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