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The Cat S60’s thermal camera is one of MWC’s coolest products

Updated Dec 19th, 2018 9:13PM EST
Caterpillar S60 FLIR Thermal Camera
Image: Chris Smith, BGR

You can’t really tell by looking at the image above, but that’s me taking a picture of what you’ll see when you look through the thermal camera in the newly unveiled Cat S60. The feature is very cool and it’ll be available on a high-end rugged handset this summer. And while most of us will not actually see uses for it during regular day-to-day activities, professionals in different businesses will certainly appreciate this nifty camera feature.

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Announced just before MWC 2016, the Cat S60 boasts impressive specs, including a 4.7-inch HD display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 processor, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, microSD card, 3,800 mAh battery. The phone runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow, and the company says it’s the most rugged handset it has ever created.

The handset has a super-bright display, Gorilla Glass 4 protective glass, a strengthened die-cast frame, MIL Spec 810G. The phone is waterproof and dustproof, can go underwater up to 5 meters for one hour, and can survive drops onto concrete from 1.8 meters.

That also means the phone is rather thick and bulky, so it’s definitely not the kind of phone you’d easily slip into your pocket.

But the absolute coolest thing the Cat S60 has to offer is the FLIR thermal camera on the back. The phone can be used as a standalone camera, using the regular camera app, or in independent thermal mode. Interestingly, the camera can combine the two elements.

The thermal features of the Cat S60 will certainly be appreciated by people such as construction professionals who can use it to spot overheating electrical circuitry or missing insulation, while rescue workers could use it to find buried victims.

The app can also be used to determine whether a certain location is safe when it comes to temperature. You can use the app to discover the highest and lowest temperature in a section, and thus, determine whether it’s safe to pass.

The bottom line is that people who are looking for a way to visualize temperature quickly, regardless of the purpose, will appreciate the abilities of the FLIR camera in the smartphone.

There might not be many things I could actually use the FLIR camera for during my regular activities – perhaps I could use it to check the water temperature when preparing a bath – but I’m fascinated by this particular technology and the fact that we can have it included in a device as small as a phone.

In case you have any worries regarding storage or battery, you should know that the thermal pictures are about the same size as regular photos. As for battery life, the Cat S60 I saw is a prototype, so there are no estimates for it just yet. But the demo unit that I played with was used for an entire day of demos and was still at around 10% battery life at around 5 p.m.. At 3,800 mAh capacity, the battery should be good for at least a day of work.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.