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If you have Rs 65,000 to splurge on a smartphone, which one will you buy: Apple or Samsung? What if you can get a military-grade, rugged smartphone with thermal imaging that can help you see in the dark (like in "The Predator" series) at the same price?
Recognising India's potential as a grown-up smartphone market, US-based construction machinery manufacturing company Caterpillar Inc. has for the first time launched the sturdy CAT S60 smartphone targeting both consumers and the B2B sector in the country.
Priced at Rs 64,999, CAT S60 is the first smartphone with an integrated thermal camera, allowing users to detect heat loss around windows and to see in complete darkness.
Here is what works for the device.
The device does not have great looks like the Samsung Galaxy S8 or iPhone 7 Plus, but the moment you hold the S60, it feels tough and robust, with heavy-duty specifications backing it up.
The device is IP68 certified -- a global standardisation which makes it dustproof and shockproof. It is also "MIL-SPEC 810G" certified which means the device is ready to bear extreme temperature, vibration, humidity and is claimed to have been built to withstand drops from 1.8 metres.
The device is waterproof up to two metres that extends up to five metres to block more water if you flip the "Lock Down" switches on the front-facing speakers which enables the smartphone to be used as an underwater camera.
CAT S60 stands out from other smartphones for its thermal camera. The technology is provided by US-based company FLIR that specialises in the design and production of thermal imaging cameras, components and imaging sensors. Users need to use the FLIR app to take thermal images (which was a delight to experience).
The thermal camera visualises heat that is invisible to the naked eye and highlights temperature contrasts. It can pick up heat and measure surface temperature from a distance of up to 50 feet and can also see through smoke.
The app offers nine different filters, ranging in colour palettes that help make certain temperatures more visible than others.
The thermal camera will come in handy for wildlife explorers, construction workers and users who like to trace moisture and missing insulation.
Sporting 4.7-inch HD display, colours are not as sharp as in the Samsung Galaxy S8, but the touchscreen works nicely even with wet hands or while wearing gloves.
Opening mid-to heavy apps and browsing among those with Snapdragon 617 octa-core processor paired with 3GB of RAM was smoother.
Both front and rear cameras clicked decent images but were disappointing as they captured noise and graininess became apparent in low-light environments (but then, this is not a selfie-phone, is it?).
It runs on Android Marshmallow 6.0, has Corning Gorilla Glass 4 and houses 32GB internal storage expandable up to 256GB with an external memory card.
The device is powered by 3800mAh battery that lasted almost a day-and-a-half with normal usage.
The phone has a dedicated SOS button on the left that lets you send your location to a pre-entered number.
What does not work?
Weighing 225 grams, the smartphone did not feel heavy for the first time. However, after a few scrolls through Instagram or other social media apps or while browsing videos, you might get tired as it is a bit on the heavier side.
Conclusion: CAT S60 makes for a perfect companion for those who want to live rugged lifestyles. But for the common users, its an expensive Android gadget and the thermal imaging is of little practical use. Still, a unique offering for the Indian smartphone market which is evolving by the day.
(Anuj Sharma can be contacted at email@example.com)