Reviews

Get Predator vision with CAT’s new thermal imaging rugged phone

Spot water leaks and electrical problems with a simple scan of CAT's heat-seeking new handset

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Most smartphones we’ve used will break when dropped on a hard surfaces, and we have to be extra careful when we take our phone out of our pocket. CAT is here to buck the trend, though, it has designed a phone for builders, plumbers or those who do a lot of DIY. The S60 can take a beating but also has its fair share of practical features.

As a result of it’s hardiness it is a little bulky, but it was designed to be practical, not fashionable. At 12.7mm thick it is almost twice as thick as other smartphones on the market and it can survive being dropped up to a distance of six feet. The S60’s case is tough, not indestructible, but it can take a knock or two, is it also dust-resistant as well as waterproof up to five metres.

The CAT S60 is the world’s first smartphone to have a thermal camera built into the device, it takes a good five seconds to load, and there is a second or two delay, but it does work. The camera, made by thermal imaging experts FLIR, not only shows what area is hot or cold, it also displays the highest, lowest and average temperatures. Your thermal images can be viewed through nine different filters, each of which has a different use. Arctic mode, for example, displays cold temperatures in blue.

The CAT S60 is available to buy now for £510/$555 from Clove Technology.

Why use a heat-seeking camera?

1 In the woods

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Finding wildlife can be tricky, you have to look through large spaces and animals can easily hide. You could also use it to get the upper hand in a game of hide and seek.

2 Find plumbing faults

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Check boilers to see what the temperatures the water is or find a leak in a pipe, using the arctic mode you can detect cold spots or see if water is leaking.

3 Check your insulation

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From looking at your walls or ceiling with a thermal camera you can see if the insulation in the house is working, check that no heat is escaping or see if cold air is getting in.

4 Check electrical problems

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Fuses, transformers and wiring can have faults that thermal cameras can detect. Loose connections often produce more heat, or the insulation of the wiring may be worn and letting heat escape.

Take a thermal selfie with your existing phone

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The CAT S60’s heating-seeking camera is made by FLIR, which also has an attachment for your existing iPhone or Android that allows it read heat signatures. The £200/$250 FLIR One add-on has its own camera lenses, so it won’t use the ones already on your phone. The attachment is connected using either micro-USB for Android or Lightning connector for Apple devices. It runs on its own battery to save power on your smartphone and weighs just under 80 grams.

This article is an extract from a larger profile in Gadget Magazine issue 14. For more tech news and buying advice, pick up the latest issue of Gadget now.

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