Notebookcheck

CAT S40 Smartphone Review

Michael Moser, Stefanie Voigt (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 09/02/2015

Workhorse for rough jobs. The CAT S40 is a ruggedized smartphone that combines a very bright IPS screen and long battery life in a robust exterior. However, the hardware could have been more powerful. It is powered by a Qualcomm entry-level quad-band SoC and 16 GB of storage. Nevertheless, the latest Android 5.1 Lollipop operating system and penta-band LTE are on board.

For the original German review, see here.

So far, Caterpillar has  been known for its heavy construction equipment and outdoor apparel. However, some time ago, the manufacturer, Bullitt Group, licensed the name, and now offers various outdoor phones and smartphones under the name of CAT Phones. Our review sample, the new CAT S40, belongs to this portfolio, and aims to primarily attract construction site related business customers with its diverse features. In addition to the IP68 certificate and military standard MIL-STD 810G, they include the options of handling the device in a wet state or wearing gloves. The very bright IPS screen also enables easy use in the outdoors. Technically, the rugged phone relies on entry-level hardware in conjunction with the latest Android 5.1 Lollipop operating system.

Currently, there are not many phones in the ruggedized category, and therefore, we will use lower priced devices for comparison. Two of the few representatives are the Kyocera Torque and the Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3. We have also added the Sony Xperia M4 Aqua for comparison that is at least waterproof and dustproof.

Working For Notebookcheck

Are you a techie who knows how to write? Then join our Team! Especially English native speakers welcome!

Currently wanted: 
News and Editorial Editor - Details here

CAT S40
Graphics adapter
Memory
1024 MB 
Display
4.7 inch 16:9, 960 x 540 pixel, capacitive touchscreen, IPS, Gorilla Glass 4, glossy: yes
Storage
16 GB eMMC Flash, 16 GB 
, , 10.24 GB free
Connections
1 USB 2.0, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm jack, Card Reader: micro-SD (max. 64 GB), Sensors: GPS, GLONASS, AGPS; motion sensor, light sensor, proximity sensor, compass
Networking
802.11 b/g/n (b/g/n = Wi-Fi 4), Bluetooth 4.1, GSM quad-band (850/900/1800/1900 MHz), UMTS tri-band (850/900/2100 MHz), LTE penta-band (800/900/1800/2100/2600 MHz); network standards: GPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA, HSPA+; bandwidth (download/upload): 150 MB/s / 50 MB/s (LTE)
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 12.5 x 144.9 x 74.1 ( = 0.49 x 5.7 x 2.92 in)
Battery
Lithium-Ion, 3000 mAh, non-removable, Battery runtime (according to manufacturer): 18 h, Standby 2G (according to manufacturer): 936 h
Operating System
Android 5.1 Lollipop
Camera
Webcam: 2.0 MP; primary camera: 8.0 MP, AF, LED flash, videos @1080p/60fps
Additional features
Speakers: mono speaker, Keyboard: virtual QWERTY keyboard, Keyboard Light: yes, 24 Months Warranty, special features: IP68 certified = waterproof up to 1 m depth for 60 minutes, MIL-STD 810G certified = operating temperatures: -25 °C to 55 °C; workable with gloves and moist fingers; SIM slot size: nano-SIM
Weight
185 g ( = 6.53 oz / 0.41 pounds), Power Supply: 54 g ( = 1.9 oz / 0.12 pounds)
Price
429 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case

Screen damage after impact from waist height on a tiled floor
Screen damage after impact from waist height on a tiled floor

The martial art design resembles Caterpillar's construction machines, and is aimed at both engineers and construction site workers alike. Aluminum and rubberized plastic create an ideal mix of materials, and ensure high stability. This became evident in our warping attempts: No cracking or creaking noises were audible, and the casing did not yield at all even under high force. The build is beyond reproach.

It is obvious here: Compact dimensions were not the manufacturer's maxim, even though it undercuts its most obvious rival, the Kyocera Torque by one millimeter with a thickness of 12.5 millimeters (~0.49 in). As expected, the relatively heavy weight of 185 grams (~6.5 oz) is also on par with the latter.

The ports in the robust casing are closed by rubberized aluminum flaps, and  comply with the IP68 standard. This means that the smartphone is dustproof and waterproof for 60 minutes at a maximum depth of 1 meter (~3.3 ft). Furthermore, the military standard MIL-STD 810G is fulfilled; the device is protected against salt fog, shocks, humidity, sunlight and low air pressure. It can also withstand temperatures ranging between -25 °C and 55 °C (~-13 °F to ~131 °F).

Of course, we dared the acid test in view of these specifications. The CAT S40 passed the underwater test in an open-air swimming pool with flying colors. The touchscreen could still be used in a wet state after diving. However, the exception happened when we dropped the smartphone from approximately 1.10 meters (~3.6 ft) on a tiled floor: The screen cracked from the display bezel over the entire surface. The uncensored comment from the manufacturer:

"The performance of the screens in CAT phones is within a sector where the Bullitt Group continually tries to make improvements. The CAT S40 is tested rigorously in accordance with the MIL SPEC 810G (1.2 m/~3.9 ft)) (we tested a drop of 1.8 m/~5.9 ft), and uses the latest version of Corning Gorilla Glass (GG4). The Cat S40 is dropped on a steel plate 26 times from a height of 1.8 meters (~5.9 ft). Despite the strict tests that Bullitt performs, screens - just like all glass objects - can of course break. Based on a performed analysis, our engineers predict the kind of environment where the phone will withstand a drop without damage or where the glass might rather crack. The glass is more susceptible on uneven surfaces where a sharp object might puncture the screen. Therefore, a screen protector is included in every smartphone box sold, providing additional protection for the phone. Quality Management will examine your review sample closely in the next few weeks to analyze the reason for the screen breaking, and to determine whether this is a one-off damage or whether there is more to it. However, where a screen cracks, such as in your case, the screen would be replaced free of charge."

That gives hope. We will publish further insights here in time. However, it is a reassuring statement. The smartphone's stability is otherwise impeccable.

144.9 mm / 5.7 inch 74.1 mm / 2.92 inch 12.5 mm / 0.4921 inch 185 g0.4079 lbs145.5 mm / 5.73 inch 72.59 mm / 2.86 inch 7.3 mm / 0.2874 inch 136 g0.2998 lbs136 mm / 5.35 inch 68 mm / 2.68 inch 13.5 mm / 0.531 inch 182 g0.4012 lbs132.9 mm / 5.23 inch 70.1 mm / 2.76 inch 9.95 mm / 0.3917 inch 154 g0.3395 lbs

Connectivity

The port for micro-USB 2.0 and the slots for the nano SIMs and micro-SD card are all under robust cover flaps. The SIM card tray that carries two nano-SIM cards is much too fragile for an outdoor smartphone. Utmost caution is needed when frequently swapping cards to prevent the tray from breaking.

In terms of hardware, the CAT S40 is on a decent level with 1 GB of RAM and a 16 GB of flash memory. In addition, the internal storage can be expanded by up to 64 GB via a micro-SD card, and most apps can be moved via App2SD. USB-OTG is also installed. The smartphone's heart piece is weak; it is only an entry-level SoC from Qualcomm. More about that in the performance chapter.

Lower edge: No interfaces
Lower edge: No interfaces
Left: Programable button, micro-USB 2.0
Left: Programable button, micro-USB 2.0
Upper edge: 3.5 mm jack
Upper edge: 3.5 mm jack
Right: micro-SD, dual-nano SIM, volume rocker, power button
Right: micro-SD, dual-nano SIM, volume rocker, power button
Android 5.1 Lollipop
Android 5.1 Lollipop

Software

Fortunately, the CAT S40 relies on the latest Android 5.1 Lollipop version. The user interface has not been modified. Both quick access options for the camera and phone app as well as the unlock icon are on the lock screen. Therefore, handling will be intuitive for Android connoisseurs.

The app store provides a real added value for business users with its "App Toolbox", which is available in addition to the Play Store and offers special applications for many industries. For example, apps like "Oil and Gas Safety Management" or "Bridge Constructor" are found here. Annoying bloatware is not preloaded, but useful apps like "FM Radio", "AntiVirus" or "Clean Master" are included. However, the latter fades in annoying ads.

GPS Test outdoors
GPS Test outdoors
The GPS Test needed a few minutes...
The GPS Test needed a few minutes...
…to find satellites indoors.
…to find satellites indoors.

Communication & GPS 

The CAT S40 supports GSM quad-band, UMTS tri-band, and LTE penta-band. Three GSM frequencies and six LTE bands are covered in North America, making the smartphone communication-friendly even on trips. The reception in a rural area was good in the test, and the signal ranged mostly at approximately 3/4.

The integrated Wi-Fi module supports only the 802.11 b/g/n; and unfortunately, high-speed ac networks are not supported. However, the reception was good throughout, and displayed at least half the signal strength in the test approximately 10 meters (~33 ft) away from the router and through several walls. Websites always opened at an agreeable speed. NFC and Bluetooth 4.1 are also installed for short-range transmission.

Indoors, the incorporated aGPS/GPS/GLONASS module connected to some satellites after several minutes. Finding satellites was considerably faster outdoors, and the smartphone was then tracked with an accuracy of approximately 8 meters (~26 ft).

We let the smartphone compete against Garmin's navigation system on a bike route. The CAT S40 tends to take shortcuts, which results in a deviation of about 520 meters (~0.3 mi) over the entire route. The review sample particularly has problems in curved and strongly wooded sections. However, the overall accuracy is still acceptable.

CAT S40 overview
CAT S40 overview
CAT S40 bridge
CAT S40 bridge
CAT S40 woods
CAT S40 woods
Garmin Edge 500 overview
Garmin Edge 500 overview
Garmin Edge 500 bridge
Garmin Edge 500 bridge
Garmin Edge 500 woods
Garmin Edge 500 woods
The phone app provides...
The phone app provides...
…all important features.
…all important features.

Telephone & Call Quality

The phone app provides all the key features like quick dial, contacts and last calls. Although the sound quality was rather stifled, the call quality convinced with a relatively clear intelligibility on both sides in the test call.

Cameras & Multimedia

Users who want to take photos on the construction site or on the go can fall back on an 8-megapixel lens with auto focus and LED flash. Videos are recorded in 1080p at 60 fps. The front-facing camera with a resolution of 2 MP can be used when the photographer would also like to be in the picture.

Regrettably, the achieved photo quality was not as convincing in the test. Details were blurred, and the exposure was rather too high, which led to pale and rather inaccurate colors. Furthermore, the more poorly an object is illuminated, the stronger the annoying image noise. The 2-MP front-facing camera is only sufficient for video chats. Pictures suffer extremely under image noise, poor color reproduction and low image sharpness.

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the position on touchscreens. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.

Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3
click to load images

Accessories

In addition to the smartphone, the manufacturer ships the CAT S40 with a modular power supply including USB cable and a manual. Optional accessories such as car or bike mounts and a 12 V charger are advertised on the CAT Phones website.

Warranty

A 24-month warranty period is included; accessories are covered for 6 months.

Input Devices & Handling

The touchscreen in the CAT S40 responds accurately up into the corners even when the device or the finger is wet. Glove mode is also supported. The physical, rubberized Android buttons with good pressure points are also large enough to account for this. The power button and volume rocker on the casing's right, however, are slightly small and too close to each other, and could lead to erroneous inputs with gloves. 

The yellow key that can be mapped on the casing's left is a clever idea. Prolonged pressure either releases the camera or opens another defined application, such as the flashlight or browser.

The virtual QWERTY keyboard corresponds to Google's standard model and can be used well. Its size, layout and color can also be adapted. The feature "Swift Key", which suggests words and learns, is also optionally available. Odd detail: The German keyboard layout had to be downloaded first, but this was direct and uncomplicated via the options.

Display

The 4.7-inch IPS screen in the CAT S40 with a 16:9 format has a somewhat low resolution of 960x540 pixels. Highly reflective Gorilla Glass 4 protects the capacitive touchscreen. As a proclaimed outdoor smartphone, the CAT S40 has a bright screen. We measured an average brightness of 579 cd/m² and a maximum of 697 cd/m². Only the Kyocera Torque can outshine this brightness in the comparison field with an average of 722.1 cd/m². The illumination of 90% is also very homogeneous.

569
cd/m²
598
cd/m²
593
cd/m²
553
cd/m²
607
cd/m²
589
cd/m²
546
cd/m²
576
cd/m²
580
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 607 cd/m² Average: 579 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 90 %
Center on Battery: 607 cd/m²
Contrast: 1214:1 (Black: 0.5 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 4.25 | 0.6-29.43 Ø6
ΔE Greyscale 4.09 | 0.64-98 Ø6.2
94.1292% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 71.2034% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.61
CAT S40
Adreno 304, 210 MSM8909, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Kyocera Torque
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8928, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
GC7000UL, Armada PXA1908, 8 GB eMMC Flash
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
Adreno 405, 615 MSM8939, 8 GB eMMC Flash
Screen
-33%
-20%
-22%
Brightness middle
607
723
19%
452
-26%
547
-10%
Brightness
579
722
25%
436
-25%
535
-8%
Brightness Distribution
90
87
-3%
91
1%
92
2%
Black Level *
0.5
0.65
-30%
0.53
-6%
0.81
-62%
Contrast
1214
1112
-8%
853
-30%
675
-44%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
4.25
9.07
-113%
5.71
-34%
5.77
-36%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
4.09
8.92
-118%
5.02
-23%
5.87
-44%
Gamma
2.61 84%
1.65 133%
2.15 102%
2.14 103%
CCT
6959 93%
8090 80%
7441 87%
7784 84%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
71.2034
72.0875
1%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
94.1292
96.5753
3%

* ... smaller is better

The black level of 0.5 cd/m² and the high contrast of 1214:1 are in a league of their own. Image contents are razor-sharp and black looks rich subjectively.

The analysis with the CalMAN software and a spectrophotometer reveals a faintly visible bluish tint. The color reproduction is generally appealing. The sRGB color space coverage of approximately 94% is very good. The grayscale levels are also quite decent; the gamma of 2.61 and color temperature of 6959 Kelvin are close to the ideal value. Subjectively, the color reproduction appeals with strong and rich colors.

CalMAN sRGB Colorspace
CalMAN sRGB Colorspace
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN Grayscale
CalMAN Grayscale
CalMAN ColorChecker
CalMAN ColorChecker

Despite its high brightness, the smartphone suffers under intense reflections in direct sunlight. Otherwise, outdoor use is not a problem.

The underlying IPS technology also ensures very stable viewing angles. Colors in image contents remain stable and only the brightness decreases marginally even in unrealistic, very acute viewing angles.

Performance

The CAT S40 relies on a new Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 MSM8909 entry-level quad-core SoC that clocks at 1.1 GHz. Evidently, the frugal processor has been reworked compared with the Snapdragon 200 model, and now offers Full HD video decoding and encoding as well as LTE. It has enough power for simple routine tasks like browsing and most up-to-date apps.

The CAT S40 presented a mixed performance in our compulsory benchmark course, and had to let its rivals pass in most tests. The potent Sony Xperia M4 Aqua primarily shows an overall stronger performance. However, the review sample can outrun both the Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3 and the Kyocera Torque in some cases. We did not notice any noteworthy stutters or delays in the real world test.

Geekbench 3
32 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
CAT S40
1021 Points ∼1%
Kyocera Torque
1331 Points ∼2% +30%
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
1717 Points ∼2% +68%
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
2103 Points ∼3% +106%
32 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
CAT S40
313 Points ∼6%
Kyocera Torque
396 Points ∼8% +27%
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
575 Points ∼12% +84%
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
539 Points ∼11% +72%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
CAT S40
5.2 fps ∼0%
Kyocera Torque
5.9 fps ∼0% +13%
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
5.4 fps ∼0% +4%
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
12.7 fps ∼0% +144%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
CAT S40
12 fps ∼0%
Kyocera Torque
10.7 fps ∼0% -11%
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
15.1 fps ∼0% +26%
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
21.5 fps ∼1% +79%
GFXBench 3.0
off screen Manhattan Offscreen OGL (sort by value)
CAT S40
1.8 fps ∼0%
Kyocera Torque
1.7 fps ∼0% -6%
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
0.8 fps ∼0% -56%
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
5.4 fps ∼1% +200%
on screen Manhattan Onscreen OGL (sort by value)
CAT S40
6.2 fps ∼2%
Kyocera Torque
3.9 fps ∼1% -37%
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
2.3 fps ∼1% -63%
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
10.4 fps ∼3% +68%
3DMark
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 (sort by value)
CAT S40
37 Points ∼0%
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
366 Points ∼4% +889%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
CAT S40
6789 Points ∼8%
Kyocera Torque
9072 Points ∼10% +34%
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
9613 Points ∼11% +42%
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
5758 Points ∼7% -15%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score (sort by value)
CAT S40
4014 Points ∼1%
Kyocera Torque
4229 Points ∼1% +5%
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
2591 Points ∼0% -35%
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
7000 Points ∼1% +74%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score (sort by value)
CAT S40
4415 Points ∼2%
Kyocera Torque
4798 Points ∼2% +9%
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
3093 Points ∼1% -30%
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
6680 Points ∼3% +51%
1920x1080 Ice Storm Extreme Physics (sort by value)
CAT S40
6168 Points ∼7%
Kyocera Torque
8759 Points ∼10% +42%
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
8885 Points ∼11% +44%
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
5660 Points ∼7% -8%
1920x1080 Ice Storm Extreme Graphics (sort by value)
CAT S40
2233 Points ∼0%
Kyocera Torque
2467 Points ∼0% +10%
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
1412 Points ∼0% -37%
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
4028 Points ∼1% +80%
1920x1080 Ice Storm Extreme Score (sort by value)
CAT S40
2602 Points ∼1%
Kyocera Torque
2936 Points ∼1% +13%
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
1737 Points ∼1% -33%
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
4304 Points ∼2% +65%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Physics (sort by value)
CAT S40
6288 Points ∼4%
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
8944 Points ∼6% +42%
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
5569 Points ∼4% -11%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Graphics (sort by value)
CAT S40
4845 Points ∼1%
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
3274 Points ∼0% -32%
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
8421 Points ∼1% +74%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Score (sort by value)
CAT S40
5105 Points ∼0%
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
3811 Points ∼0% -25%
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
7561 Points ∼1% +48%
Smartbench 2012 - Productivity Index (sort by value)
CAT S40
3331 points ∼18%
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
6497 points ∼35% +95%
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
3782 points ∼20% +14%
Linpack Android / IOS
Multi Thread (sort by value)
CAT S40
184.942 MFLOPS ∼6%
Kyocera Torque
265 MFLOPS ∼9% +43%
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
226 MFLOPS ∼8% +22%
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
334.656 MFLOPS ∼11% +81%
Single Thread (sort by value)
CAT S40
70.448 MFLOPS ∼7%
Kyocera Torque
98 MFLOPS ∼10% +39%
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
122 MFLOPS ∼12% +73%
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
238.841 MFLOPS ∼23% +239%
BaseMark OS II
Web (sort by value)
CAT S40
616 Points ∼30%
Kyocera Torque
544 Points ∼27% -12%
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
744 Points ∼37% +21%
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
687 Points ∼34% +12%
Graphics (sort by value)
CAT S40
260 Points ∼1%
Kyocera Torque
356 Points ∼1% +37%
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
129 Points ∼0% -50%
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
600 Points ∼2% +131%
Memory (sort by value)
CAT S40
408 Points ∼5%
Kyocera Torque
291 Points ∼4% -29%
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
366 Points ∼5% -10%
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
817 Points ∼11% +100%
System (sort by value)
CAT S40
792 Points ∼5%
Kyocera Torque
1006 Points ∼6% +27%
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
1103 Points ∼7% +39%
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
986 Points ∼6% +24%
Overall (sort by value)
CAT S40
477 Points ∼6%
Kyocera Torque
488 Points ∼6% +2%
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
443 Points ∼5% -7%
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
764 Points ∼9% +60%
PCMark for Android - Work performance score (sort by value)
CAT S40
2927 Points ∼15%
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
3236 Points ∼17% +11%

Legend

 
CAT S40 Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 MSM8909, Qualcomm Adreno 304, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Kyocera Torque Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 MSM8928, Qualcomm Adreno 305, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3 Marvell Armada PXA1908, Vivante GC7000UL, 8 GB eMMC Flash
 
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 MSM8939, Qualcomm Adreno 405, 8 GB eMMC Flash

In the browser-based benchmarks, the CAT S40 can only outperform its rivals in the Kraken 1.1 test. It is clearly inferior in all other benchmarks.

Google V8 Ver. 7 - Google V8 Ver. 7 Score (sort by value)
CAT S40
1945 Points ∼10%
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
1993 Points ∼10% +2%
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
3565 Points ∼18% +83%
Sunspider - 1.0 Total Score (sort by value)
CAT S40
2314.3 ms * ∼25%
Kyocera Torque
1701 ms * ∼19% +27%
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
1676.1 ms * ∼18% +28%
Octane V2 - Total Score (sort by value)
CAT S40
2052 Points ∼4%
Kyocera Torque
2755 Points ∼5% +34%
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
2059 Points ∼4% 0%
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
3215 Points ∼6% +57%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score (sort by value)
CAT S40
33490.8 ms * ∼56%
Kyocera Torque
13209 ms * ∼22% +61%
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
18847.3 ms * ∼32% +44%
WebXPRT 2015 - Overall Score (sort by value)
CAT S40
38 Points ∼5%
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
48 Points ∼6% +26%

* ... smaller is better

The internal flash memory has a sufficient capacity of 16 GB (net: 10.24 GB), and can be expanded by up to 64 GB via a micro-SD card. Most apps can also be moved to it.

The CAT S40 proves to be very fast, especially with larger memory blocks compared with its rivals in the app AndroBench 3. Only Kyocera Torque stands out significantly in reading and writing smaller 4 KB units. We did not observe any noticeable waiting times with the CAT S40 during the test.

AndroBench 3-5
Random Write 4KB (sort by value)
CAT S40
5.39 MB/s ∼2%
Kyocera Torque
10 MB/s ∼4% +86%
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
4 MB/s ∼2% -26%
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
3.91 MB/s ∼2% -27%
Random Read 4KB (sort by value)
CAT S40
14.93 MB/s ∼7%
Kyocera Torque
20 MB/s ∼9% +34%
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
15.8 MB/s ∼7% +6%
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
9.76 MB/s ∼4% -35%
Sequential Write 256KB (sort by value)
CAT S40
64.3 MB/s ∼11%
Kyocera Torque
45 MB/s ∼8% -30%
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
25.6 MB/s ∼4% -60%
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
28.81 MB/s ∼5% -55%
Sequential Read 256KB (sort by value)
CAT S40
137.88 MB/s ∼8%
Kyocera Torque
155 MB/s ∼9% +12%
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
113.5 MB/s ∼6% -18%
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
130.02 MB/s ∼7% -6%

Games

The SoC-integrated Qualcomm Adreno 304 graphics card that clocks at 400 MHz is only suitable for more basic 3D games in low to medium settings. Both "Asphalt 8" and "Modern Combat 5" ran agreeably fast and lag-free during the test. Simpler games are no challenge for the graphics card. Control via touchscreen, position sensor and accelerometer always functioned well.

"Asphalt 8"
"Asphalt 8"
"Call of Duty: Heroes"
"Call of Duty: Heroes"
"Modern Combat 5"
"Modern Combat 5"

Emissions

Temperature

The temperatures measured on the surface always remained within a pleasant range even under permanent full load with an average of 32.2 °C (~90 °F) on the underside and 34.5 °C (~94 °F) on the upper side. The device never got noticeably hot. As it is, the temperatures are very low in idle mode.

We also examined the performance with the battery test of GFXBench 3.0. Here, the T-Rex benchmark is run thirty times in succession. The temperature, performance and battery state are recorded. We did not observe temperature-related throttling, i.e. performance loss under permanent load.

Max. Load
 35 °C
95 F
34.5 °C
94 F
33 °C
91 F
 
 36.6 °C
98 F
34.8 °C
95 F
33.4 °C
92 F
 
 35.9 °C
97 F
34.4 °C
94 F
33 °C
91 F
 
Maximum: 36.6 °C = 98 F
Average: 34.5 °C = 94 F
29.9 °C
86 F
33.5 °C
92 F
32.1 °C
90 F
30.1 °C
86 F
33.3 °C
92 F
32.5 °C
91 F
31 °C
88 F
34 °C
93 F
33.2 °C
92 F
Maximum: 34 °C = 93 F
Average: 32.2 °C = 90 F
Power Supply (max.)  59 °C = 138 F | Room Temperature 22.6 °C = 73 F | Voltcraft IR-350
(±) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 34.5 °C / 94 F, compared to the average of 33.1 °C / 92 F for the devices in the class Smartphone.
(+) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 36.6 °C / 98 F, compared to the average of 35.5 °C / 96 F, ranging from 22.4 to 51.7 °C for the class Smartphone.
(+) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 34 °C / 93 F, compared to the average of 34 °C / 93 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 31.3 °C / 88 F, compared to the device average of 33.1 °C / 92 F.

Speaker

The speaker located on the lower front delivers a decent sound that is, however, slightly muffled. It also emphasizes trebles more than low tones for construction-related reasons. Furthermore, the maximum volume is not very high, and the sound is still just clear enough in louder environments.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The frugal processor in the CAT S40 cannot achieve low power consumption rates in conjunction with the bright screen. The review sample already requires between 1.2 and 2.1 watts in idle mode. The even brighter Kyocera Torque is satisfied with a maximum of 1.9 watts here, and the Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3 with just 1.3 watts. The consumption climbs to 4.3 to 5.3 watts at full load as simulated in the app Stability Test. Once again, the Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3 consumes considerably less power with 3.6 watts; the Kyocera Torque is somewhat more hungry than the review sample with at most 6 watts. We measured 0.5 watts in both shutdown state and in standby. These rates could however also be a measurement error. Overall, the power consumption does not point to a very good battery life.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.5 / 0.5 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 1.2 / 2 / 2.1 Watt
Load midlight 4.3 / 5.3 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Runtime

The CAT S40 relies on a non-removable, 3000 mAh lithium ion battery. The manufacturer states a maximum possible runtime of 18 hours, and even 936 hours in standby. Only the Kyocera Torque is equipped with a slightly stronger, 3100 mAh battery. Against all our low expectations in view of the high power consumption, the review sample usually achieved longer battery runtimes than its rivals. Wi-Fi browsing ended after 10:11 hours using a brightness of 25% (150 cd/m²). Most contenders lag far behind in the video loop of the Full HD clip "Big Buck Bunny", in flight mode and a brightness of 150 cd/m². Only the Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3 offers 49 minutes more for video entertainment. The 6:10 hours in full load and maximum brightness are just as impressive; the contenders shut down much earlier. Thus, the smartphone should easily last a whole workday of mixed use with adapted brightness.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
23h 49min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
10h 11min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
10h 29min
Load (maximum brightness)
6h 10min
CAT S40
Adreno 304, 210 MSM8909, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
Adreno 405, 615 MSM8939, 8 GB eMMC Flash
Kyocera Torque
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8928, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
GC7000UL, Armada PXA1908, 8 GB eMMC Flash
Battery Runtime
-30%
-46%
-22%
H.264
629
518
-18%
678
8%
WiFi v1.3
611
420
-31%
446
-27%
503
-18%
Load
370
221
-40%
132
-64%
166
-55%

Pros

+ Very bright, homogeneous IPS screen
+ Good color reproduction
+ One-time free screen replacement in case of damage by drop
+ Very rigid build and impeccable processing
+ Balanced design
+ Dustproof and waterproof according to IP68
+ MIL-STD 810G certified
+ Swift internal storage, expandable via micro-SD
+ Very long battery life
+ Dual-SIM feature
+ USB-OTG
+ Penta-band LTE
+ NFC
+ Latest Android 5.1 operating system
+ Additional profi-app store
+ Casing's low temperatures
+ Good input devices
+ Intuitive handling

Cons

- Mixed performance and slightly weak SoC
- No high-speed ac Wi-Fi
- Poor camera modules
- Low screen resolution
- Fragile SIM tray
- High power consumption

Verdict

In review: CAT S40. Test model courtesy of CAT Phones Germany
In review: CAT S40. Test model courtesy of CAT Phones Germany

The CAT S40 is a rather rugged device with rough corners. High-end specifications and compact dimensions are non-existent. It cannot get rough enough for the smartphone, which is underlined by the IP68 and MIL-STD 810G certifications and the robust exterior. The fact that the review sample's screen cracked in the drop test should be an exception. In addition, a possible one-off damage will be repaired free of charge. Thanks to the latest Android 5.1 Lollipop operating system and the good controls, its utilization is intuitive; even moist fingers or gloves are not an issue. The additional professional app store is a real added value. We very much liked the bright, homogeneously illuminated IPS screen with good color reproduction. The fast internal storage can be expanded via micro-SD, and most apps can be moved. USB-OTG is also on board, which enables connecting USB flash drives, HDDs or input devices. The versatile communication modules with good reception qualities will please users who are frequently on the move, even if high-speed ac Wi-Fi is not installed. Then again, LTE, NFC and Bluetooth 4.1 are on board, and the CAT S40 supports dual-SIM. Unfortunately, the SIM tray is a bit fragile. The casing's low temperatures even during full load are pleasant. Although the power consumption is high, the long battery life is all the more pleasing. The target group will probably ignore the poor camera modules and the screen's somewhat low resolution. The mixed application performance is, however, more weighty. The CAT S40 copes with routine tasks without major restrictions, but a little more power would have looked good in the device, particularly considering the RRP of 429 Euros (~$482). 

Users who find the outdoor qualities imperative and can live with the listed shortcomings will find a good and very enduring smartphone with a superb screen that can also take a beating in the CAT S40.

Buyers, who are prepared to invest a little more, should also take a closer look at the Kyocera Torque.

CAT S40 - 08/26/2015 v4(old)
Michael Moser

Chassis
93%
Keyboard
72 / 75 → 96%
Pointing Device
86%
Connectivity
46 / 60 → 77%
Weight
89%
Battery
94%
Display
85%
Games Performance
54 / 63 → 86%
Application Performance
18 / 70 → 26%
Temperature
90%
Noise
100%
Audio
62 / 91 → 68%
Camera
64%
Average
73%
82%
Smartphone - Weighted Average

Pricecompare

Read all 2 comments / answer
static version load dynamic
Loading Comments
Comment on this article
Please share our article, every link counts!
> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > CAT S40 Smartphone Review
Michael Moser, 2015-09- 2 (Update: 2018-05-15)