FLIR camera tech lets you see when you've turned up the heat.
So you’re no stranger to getting your hands dirty, and you’ve pulled on a pair of CAT boots before - but do you have the CAT smartphone to go with them?
CAT is out at MWC with the excellent S60 smartphone, a rugged slab of a handset that’s built to take any punishment a building site can throw at it, but that’s not the whole story.
It’s the first phone with a FLIR thermal imaging sensor built-in, which means you can instantly check the temperature of anything you point the camera at.
We stepped in front of the lens to make sure we weren't running a fever - and to get some hands-on impressions of the phone.
FEEL THE HEAT
FLIR makes high-end thermal imaging cameras for the pros, but this is the first time it’s appeared on a smartphone. The FLIR sensor sits above the regular 13MP camera on the back of the phone, meaning you can overlay a real-world outline over the thermally-imaged image.
It has it’s own app, so you can open the standard Android camera when you’re in your down time and flick open FLIR when it’s time to get to work. Thermally imaged selfies do look quite trip though, so it’s not all serious business.
Thermal images show heat as white, so the colder the scene the bluer the pic. You can “see” heat up to 100m away, with accurate temperature readings from about 50m.
You can get temperature readings for any point in a pic with live view before you’ve pressed the shutter button, or you can tap anywhere on a saved image and check temperatures later. It’ll measure average temperatures too; just draw a box and a measurement appears onscreen.
FLIR works with video as well as photos, and it’l do time-lapse recording too. It’s very quick as well, so if you have a temperature probe that gets regular use, this could be a whole lot easier.
Thermal imaging isn’t just a snazzy effect to give your Instagram photos a little extra pop; it’s accurate enough for serious work with electricians, engineers and the like.
The S60 has other heavy duty extras too, like an SOS button on the side in case you have an accident on the job. It’s hidden underneath a flap, jet fighter-style, so you won’t accidentally send simultaneous texts and phone calls to your five nearest and dearest friends.
It can take a dunking down to 2m underwater, or 5m if you flip the tiny protective covers over the microphones, and it’ll survive dust and dirt as well.
POWER ME UP
Serious business phones don’t usually have cutting edge hardware, but the S60 might be the exception. CAT’s gone with an octa-core Qualcomm CPU and 3GB of RAM, which should help it fly through Android Marshmallow.
It certainly felt snappy when I gave the prototype version a go. With no custom skin slowing it down I could jump between apps really quickly.
You might not get extra frills like a fingerprint sensor, but all the other mod cons are here: GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC and microSD card expansion.
The 3800mAh battery is absolutely massive for a 4.7in phone, and will definitely mean you’ll be able to get through a whole day of use without having to search for a power point.
The only black mark on the spec sheet is the 720p screen resolution, but the screen is protected by Gorilla Glass 4 so it should be able to survive drops and bangs.
It was never going to take on the likes of Samsung and LG in the styling stakes, but the CAT S60 didn’t need to.
It’s built for the world of work, where it’s almost guaranteed to take a few dents and scratches, but that won’t matter thanks to the sturdy build. The FLIR thermal imaging is pretty unique, and a hell of a lot more useful than a fake IR filter effect downloaded from the app store.
Performance is up there with the best mid-range handsets, and you get a vanilla version of Android Marshmallow too, so you’re bang up to date on that front too.
If you’re in the line of work of a typical CAT customer, the S60 makes a lot of sense. No word on price yet, but it’s going on sale later this year.