Cat-branded smartphones, which are developed and manufactured by the Bullitt Team, range from absolutely rugged, aspect-laden gadgets like the flagship five.two-inch Cat S61 (£649) to the five.65-inch S52 (£380), which although however impressively strong, features a sleeker and far more buyer-helpful design.

Filling a gap involving these gadgets will come the new five.five-inch Cat S42, an organization-completely ready rugged smartphone aimed at subject employees, initial responders, healthcare facility team and anyone else who requires a rough, uncomplicated-to-clean machine that can take care of mainstream workloads.

With the buyer sector speedily saturating, the organization and ‘firstline’ sectors are having increasing awareness, with Samsung, for example, not long ago offering its initial rugged telephone for some time in the shape of the Galaxy XCover Pro.

The Cat S42’s organization credentials include a few many years of protection patch address and at the very least just one Android model update during its life span. It supports the Android Business aspect set, which includes Google’s Zero-touch enrolment program, and has been examined in opposition to a range of enrolment and coverage deployment examination scenarios with primary EMM resolution suppliers (VMware Workspace One particular, IBM MaaS 360, SOTI, Cell Iron).

The Cat S42, which succeeds the late-2017 Cat S41, expenses £229 and is detailed as ‘coming soon’ on Cat phones’ Uk web site at the time of crafting.


The five.five-inch Cat S42 has an IP68 ranking for dust/water resistance and is MIL-STD 810H compliant. It operates on the MediaTek Helio A20 chipset with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage, powered by a 4,200mAh battery.

Photos: Charles McLellan / ZDNet


The Cat S42 appears like a proper rugged telephone: it is really chunky and rather heavy for a five.five-inch handset, measuring seventy seven.2mm broad by 161.3mm deep by twelve.7mm thick and weighing 220g. It has a grippy, ribbed matte-black rubberised back plate, protective bumpers on the corners, as well as hinged covers for the (legacy) Micro-USB demand/relationship port at the base, the 3.5mm headset jack on the leading, and the SIM/MicroSD card tray on the still left side.

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There are significant bezels bordering the five.five-inch display screen, which give the Cat S42 something of an aged-fashioned appear — the display screen-to-human body ratio is just 62.7{36a394957233d72e39ae9c6059652940c987f134ee85c6741bc5f1e7246491e6}, in comparison to contemporary minimum-bezel phones with ratios around ninety{36a394957233d72e39ae9c6059652940c987f134ee85c6741bc5f1e7246491e6}.

The display screen itself is an IPS panel with average Hd+ resolution (1,440 x 720 pixels, 293ppi), great highest brightness and broad viewing angles. It can be usable with wet fingers and when sporting gloves, is protected by Gorilla Glass five and also slightly recessed, with the bordering ridge providing supplemental protection. Picture excellent is high-quality for rather static illustrations or photos, but scrolling could be smoother and the sluggish adaptive brightness aspect didn’t function nicely for me: I had to change to guide and switch up the brightness to get good outside readability, and even then the reflective display screen intended I generally had to request a shady location.

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You can find no fingerprint sensor or deal with recognition: you unlock this telephone with a common six-digit PIN. If you never want to keep getting into your PIN through the day, you can use Android’s Intelligent Lock aspect to keep the handset unlocked when it is really about your man or woman, in particular trusted sites and when linked to trusted gadgets like a Bluetooth view or your car’s infotainment method.

The Cat S42 has an IP68 ranking, which means it can resist the ingress of sand, dust and dirt, and can take care of immersion in water to 1.5m depth for up to 35 minutes. It can be also MIL-STD 810H compliant and can thus cope with specified levels of thermal shock, vibration, humidity and salt mist. The handset has also been drop-examined on every single side and corner many periods from 1.8 metres (six ft) onto a steel floor. 


The Cat S42 can accommodate two SIMs and a MicroSD card at the exact same time. The copper-coloured Programmable Vital can also initiate a PTT (Push To Chat) phone.

Picture: Charles McLellan / ZDNet

There are ports and controls on all sides of the Cat S42. The ideal side has a textured energy button and quantity up/down controls, although the SIM/MicroSD card tray is behind a address on the still left, subsequent to copper-coloured Programmable Vital, which can also initiate PTT (Push To Chat) method with acceptable app assistance. The twin-SIM variant of the S42 reviewed here can accommodate two SIMs and a MicroSD card at the exact same time, which is beneficial. You can find a 3.5mm headphone jack less than a address at the leading, and a speaker grille at the base, subsequent to the coated Micro-USB charging/relationship port. Audio excellent from the speaker is realistic, but you are going to want to use headphones or a Bluetooth speaker for the best audio knowledge.

At the front, the leading bezel properties the 5MP front digital camera, earpiece and ambient mild sensor, although the back has the major 13MP digital camera and an LED flash unit.


The Cat S42 is powered by an entry-amount MediaTek Helio A20 chipset with a quad-main ARM Cortex-A53 CPU working at up to 1.8GHz and a 550MHz IMG PowerVR GE8300 GPU. There is a modest 3GB of RAM and a miserly 32GB of internal storage — despite the fact that as mentioned over, this can be augmented with external MicroSD storage (up to 128GB).

The Cat S42’s 4G LTE modem supports nine LTE bands, which is considerably less than the S61’s 14, so acquire observe if you are organizing to journey commonly. For other wireless connections, you get wi-fi (two.4/5GHz 802.11ac), Bluetooth (five), NFC and GPS (GPS, AGPS, Glonass, BeiDou, Galileo). You can find also an FM radio, as well as an e-compass, proximity, ambient mild and accelerometer sensors.

The Cat S42’s major 13MP digital camera has an f/two. lens and can best be explained as suitable (see illustrations or photos under) — a description that also applies to the 5MP front digital camera. Pictures is just not a priority for this rugged telephone, but it provides satisfactory stage-and-shoot illustrations or photos.


Photos from the Cat S42’s 13MP major digital camera.

Photos: Charles McLellan / ZDNet

Android ten was set up on our review unit You can find no OS overlay, but a fair amount of money of pre-set up software package which includes Toolbox, which presents a curated selection of apps less than several headings — Business Equipment, Cat Applications, Development, Farming, Outdoor, Rugged Equipment. If you discover that the 32GB of internal storage is filling up quick, you can usually uninstall some of the 3rd-get together apps (or acquire a MicroSD card).


As nicely as a selection of 3rd-get together apps, the Cat S42 will come with Toolbox, which curates a range of apps acceptable for a rugged telephone.

Photos: Charles McLellan / ZDNet

The battery is a sizeable 4,200mAh unit with quick charging assistance (despite the fact that it is really not as sizeable as the five,000mAh battery in the Cat S41). You can find no assistance for wireless charging.

Overall performance & battery everyday living

Overall performance is the Cat S42’s weakest space, many thanks to its entry-amount Helio A20 chipset and 3GB of RAM. It sent ordinary scores of 132 (solitary main) and 483 (multi main) in the Geekbench five CPU examination, but unsuccessful to operate the Compute GPU examination. Major scores for Android phones in the CPU checks strategy 900 (solitary main) and 3300 (multi main) at the time of crafting.

We also ran the PCMark for Android Do the job two. suite, which covers world wide web browsing, movie editing, crafting, photograph editing and facts manipulation. The all round Do the job two. rating was 4915, which is on the reduced side — class-primary handsets currently come in at around 13000.

Below the PCMark Do the job two. battery examination, the Cat S42 took 18 several hours 37 minutes to go from 100{36a394957233d72e39ae9c6059652940c987f134ee85c6741bc5f1e7246491e6} to twenty{36a394957233d72e39ae9c6059652940c987f134ee85c6741bc5f1e7246491e6} of the 4,200mAh battery’s potential. On this foundation, you should really get at the very least two doing work times of battery everyday living prior to demanding a recharge, which is impressive. This also beats the documented 13h 16m final result for its predecessor, the Cat S41, irrespective of the latter’s greater five,000mAh battery.


Photos: Cat Phones


The Cat S42 is something of a mixed bag. It can be appropriately rugged, economical at £229, features great organization functions, and the battery everyday living is fantastic. On the other hand, the blend of the Helio A20 chipset, 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage is distinctly entry-amount, and there are display screen concerns (scrolling, adaptive brightness, reflectivity), limited 4G frequency assistance, as well as a legacy Micro-USB port to contend with.

Organisations with budgetary constraints could discover the Cat S42 suitable for their requires, but Samsung’s renewed force into the organization rugged smartphone area with the $499.ninety nine/£529 Galaxy XCover Pro will be tempting if expense is considerably less of an concern.

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