Good rugged phones can be on the expensive side, but they don’t have to be. Cat announced the Cat S48c, a high-quality midrange tough phone that offers a lot of rugged impact for your money. Here’s everything you need to know about the Cat S48c.
Design and display
Being a tough phone, the design and durability of the Cat S48c are of paramount importance. Like many of Cat’s other offerings, the S48c looks rugged. It’s thick and looks solid; chunky bezels surround the screen, and they are reinforced by the raised edges and corners that help to protect the phone against falls and drops. According to Cat’s press release, the S48c should be able to withstand drops of up to six feet onto solid concrete. Other durability specs are similarly impressive, with IP68 water and dust-resistance, and compliance with Mil-Spec 810G, which gives it resistance to extreme cold and heat, vibrations, salt mist, and more.
The display is a 5-inch LCD panel running a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution. There’s no bezel-less design or elongated resolution here, but it is protected by shatterproof Gorilla Glass 5 and has been specially tuned to work with gloved hands and wet fingers — perfect for cold and wet areas. The navigation buttons on the front are easier to use with gloves or in wet conditions than software keys, and an optional key on the side can be programmed for use as a push-to-talk key or otherwise.
Specs and battery
As is often the case with tough phones, you won’t find the latest top hardware here. However, the Cat S48c is no slouch and it comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 that should handle most day-to-day tasks with ease. 4GB of RAM means it should be easy to flick between apps, while 64GB of storage gives plenty of room for apps, files, or important photos. That storage can be bolstered with a MicroSD card up to 128GB in size.
It’s all powered by a 4,000mAh battery that should easily last a day running such modest specs, though the battery is not removable. Those who bought this phone for a durable outdoors phone will also likely benefit from the addition of an ecompass sensor. There’s support for Bluetooth 5.0, NFC for mobile payments, and a headphone jack.
Software and special features
The Cat S48c isn’t lagging behind in software — you’ll find Android 8.0 Oreo here and Cat has also promised an upgrade to Android 9.0 Pie. While we don’t expect to see any changes to stock Android on this phone, expect to find some extra bloatware. However, a prompt update to Android 9.0 Pie is not to be sniffed at and it bodes well for future updates for the phone.
While you may not expect the camera to be much of a priority in a rugged phone, the Cat S48c has a decent set of shooters. The main camera is a rear-mounted 13-megapixel lens with an equipped flash. Thanks to the phone’s waterproofing and handy touchscreen Cat boasts its fully capable of taking underwater pictures. The front-facing lens is only a 5-megapixel lens though, so it’s unlikely to please selfie fans. The phone can also capture 4K video at 30 frames per second.
Release date and price
Interested in picking up the Cat S48c? It will be available from Verizon, Sprint, and Cat directly with prices starting at $600. You’ll need to be a business or enterprise member to pick up the phone from Verizon, but you’ll also be able to grab for just $250 on a two-year contract. Anyone else can pick it up directly from Cat or from Sprint.
- The best rugged smartphones of 2021
- Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G vs. Galaxy S10 Plus 5G
- Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus vs. Galaxy Note 20 Ultra: Which should you buy?
- Motorola One 5G Ace vs. Google Pixel 4a 5G: Which sub-$500 phone is for you?
- Samsung Galaxy S21 vs. OnePlus 8T: $800 smartphone showdown