One of Android’s many niches is the emerging market for work phones. These rough and ready devices often compromise on high-end specifications to offer a device that’s capable of withstanding anything you throw at it – usually they sport a robust design and full IP68 protection. Cat is one of the leading manufacturers of these devices and the S40 is its latest to hit the market.
In a similar fashion to many of these types of devices, the S40 is bulky and won’t be something that seamlessly slides into your pocket. However, the entirety of the reinforced shell protects the device from dust, high drops, water damage and scratches – it really is that robust. As you’d expect, ports are covered and we were glad to see the inclusion of a microSD port sitting alongside the SIM slot for when you use up the 16GB internal storage.
Display-wise, it’s a 4.7-inch IPS LCD offering, which is average at best. It caters for the basic functions with colours washed out, but the ruggedness comes through with the Gorilla Glass 4 lining on the display. Just below sits a series of hardware buttons, useful if your job involves you wearing gloves that don’t sit well with capacitive buttons, but they feel flimsy to touch.
There’s no real custom skin involved on the S40, so it’s as close to vanilla Android as we hoped it would be. It includes everything we fell in love with when we began using Lollipop 5.1, but there are a few extra menus available to help out completely novice users. The lack of real bloatware pays dividends, as the quad-core Snapdragon 210 looks slow on paper, but does enough to keep the device ticking over quite nicely. It won’t be enough for demanding tasks, but then again, this isn’t a device built for that sort of function.
What it’s built for, however, is being a device that offers stellar battery life. If you’re working away from home, the 3,000mAh battery included here will keep you going for more than a day without any problems. A nice feature that we sincerely hope some higher end competitors will take due notice of.
The Cat S40 isn’t a device for the mainstream Android market, but the niche end of tough and sturdy work phones is what it’s looking to cater for and it does the job quite well. Compared to its predecessor, the S50, there’s little change, but if you’re looking for an entry point for a device that lives up to your rough and tumble day job, this could be a solid choice for you.
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