CAT S50 MWC AH 01

MWC 2015: Hands on the CAT S50 and B15Q

March 3, 2015 - Written By Nick Sutrich

When you think of the name CAT you likely don’t think of smartphones first.  CAT is best known for their construction equipment and other outdoor equipment that’s built tough and built to last, so seeing them enter the smartphone race is a little surprising to say the least.  We got our first hands on of one of CAT’s phones back at CES 2015 in January, but this time we’re getting a look at more here in Barcelona at Mobile World Congress 2015.  Both of CAT’s phones are built to last and are made to withstand the elements no matter what you throw at them.  Both the S50 and B15Q are fully waterproof phones, not just labeled as water resistant, and even feature wet finger tracking.  This is important because many phones that feature water resistance will survive in the water but won’t actually work, as the capacitive touchscreen on phones works via electrical impulses that are normally triggered when submerged in water.  CAT has found a way around this and still offers a responsive touchscreen.

CAT’s S50 is the higher end model that is built to Mil Spec 810G and is designed to survive the elements all while delivering great performance.  Featuring a quad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 MSM8926 processor and 2GB of RAM, the CAT S50 will run everything you need.  The 4.7-inch 720P IPS display delivers crisp images and gets the job done, and the IP67 certified water and dustproof case feels great in the hand.  It’s a little heavier than some smartphones out there at 185g but isn’t anything crazy if you’ve ever used an Otterbox or a similar durable case on a phone.  There’s also an 8 megapixel camera on the back that promises good results as well as Category 4 LTE support for fast data transfer.

CAT’s B15Q is the more entry level device and packs a 4-inch WVGA (400 x 800 pixel) screen.  The quad-core 1.3GHz MediaTek 6582M processor and 1GB of RAM is less powerful than what’s in the S50 but the lower resolution screen helps make up for the difference in performance.  This is a much smaller phone than the S50 and is a bit lighter at 170g, but features the same durable casing as the S50.  You’ll also find capacitive buttons below the screen here which helps free up your screen a little bit since it’s smaller than the S50’s.  There’s no LTE connectivity here but that’s pretty typical of cheaper devices anyway.  Both devices are powered by Android 4.4 KitKat and feature a very stock looking version of Android.