Notebookcheck

CAT S41 Smartphone Review

Mike Wobker (translated by Mark Riege), 09/12/2018

The CAT is safe. CAT Phones also goes with the times and updates its robust outdoor models according to the current hardware requirements. We clarify in our review what buyers can expect from the IP-68 certified S41 that has also been tested according to MIL-SPEC-810G.

CAT S41

With the CAT S41, the American manufacturer CAT Phones has added a new model into its product lineup that can be seen as the successor to the CAT S40, even though it does not have much in common with it. With its 5-inch display, the device has become slightly larger, and the battery and further hardware components were adjusted towards current requirements.

For a price of almost 500 Euros (~$579; around $390 in the US), buyers receive a Mediatek Helio P20-MT6757 SoC with an ARM Mali T880 MP2 graphics unit, 3 GB of working memory, and 32 GB of storage. Although the same equipment can also be found in affordable smartphones that cost around 300 Euros (~$348), for the CAT S41 external values are what matters. These include a case that has been certified according to IP68 and MIL-SPEC-810G, Corning Gorilla Glass 5, and salt-water resistance. The 5000-mAh battery also promises a long battery life.

However, other manufacturers have also recognized the market for robust outdoor smartphones, meaning that we cannot ignore the competitors of the CAT S41. In our test, we compare the CAT smartphone with the Poptel P9000 Max, the Crosscall Action-X3, and the Land Rover Explore. The in-house CAT S31, which has similar characteristics to the S41 but is more affordable, might also find some buyers.

CAT S41 (S Series)
Graphics adapter
Memory
3072 MB 
Display
5 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel 441 PPI, capacitive, IPS, Corning Gorilla Glass 5, glossy: yes
Storage
32 GB eMMC Flash, 32 GB 
, 22 GB free
Connections
1 USB 2.0, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm audio port, Card Reader: microSD (up to 256 GB), Brightness Sensor, Sensors: acceleration sensor, proximity sensor, compass
Networking
802.11 b/g/n (b/g/n), Bluetooth 4.1, GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850/900/1800/1900), 3G WCDMA/UMTS/HSPA/HSPA+ (B1(2100), B2(1900), B5(850), B8(900)), 4G LTE (1, 2,3, 5, 7, 8, 20), Dual SIM, LTE, GPS
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 12.9 x 152 x 75 ( = 0.51 x 5.98 x 2.95 in)
Battery
5000 mAh Lithium-Ion, Talk time 3G (according to manufacturer): 38 h, Standby 3G (according to manufacturer): 1056 h
Operating System
Android 7.0 Nougat
Camera
Primary Camera: 13 MPix LED flash
Secondary Camera: 8 MPix
Additional features
Speakers: 1 speaker, Keyboard: onscreen, Keyboard Light: yes, USB OTG cable, App Toolbox, File Commander, AVG AntiVirus Pro, OfficeSuite, 24 Months Warranty, SAR head: 0.547 W/kg, SAR body: 1.080 W/kg, fanless, ruggedized
Weight
218 g ( = 7.69 oz / 0.48 pounds), Power Supply: 96 g ( = 3.39 oz / 0.21 pounds)
Price
500 Euro

 

Case - A waterproof smartphone

The requirements for an outdoor smartphone are primarily directed towards the case. In order to be able to handle most situations, CAT Phones ensures with the IP68 certification that the outdoor smartphone is dust and water-proof. In addition, the MIL-SPEC-810G standard ensures some protection against drops and bumps. In combination with Corning Gorilla Glass 5, it is supposed to be able to survive drops from a height of 1.80 meters (~6 feet) without any damage. In our test, the S41 survived a drop from hip-height onto a concrete floor without any damage aside from some minor scratches at one case corner. In contrast, our test of the CAT S40 also showed that even robust phones are not indestructible.

The CAT S41 is made of black plastic that offers some give under pressure, so it feels slightly soft. This material completely surrounds the smartphone with 1 mm extending beyond the edge of the screen. Below the screen are the physical navigation buttons for the Android system, and on the right side of the case the power button and volume rocker sit tightly in their places. In order to operate them, a bit more force is necessary, resulting in only a short stroke and a slight click. The same is the case for the programmable key on the left side. This can either be used as a push-to-talk button or can be configured to start apps with a short or long press.

All the connections are protected by covers that give the impression of being able to prevent dirt or water from getting inside. In the comparison with our competitors, the CAT S41 is the lightest device with the smallest dimensions and is only undercut by the S31.

CAT S41
CAT S41
CAT S41
CAT S41

Size Comparison

Equipment - Dual-SIM outdoor smartphone

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Buyers of the CAT S41 receive a mid-range smartphone with Mediatek's Helio P20-MT6757 SoC and an ARM Mali T880 MP2 graphics unit. In addition, there is 3 GB of working memory and 32 GB of eMMC flash storage, which can be expanded by up to 256 GB via microSD card. At the same time, you can also insert two nano-SIM cards into the device.

A USB-2.0 port serves for charging the outdoor smartphone and also supports USB OTG, which for example allows you to charge external devices via the USB connection of the CAT S41. The included OTG cable already offers the corresponding connection. There is also a 3.5-mm audio connection to connect a wired headset or external audio devices.

Left side: programmable key, dual nano-SIM card slot, microSD card slot
Left side: programmable key, dual nano-SIM card slot, microSD card slot
Right side: volume rocker, power button
Right side: volume rocker, power button

Software - CAT smartphone with Android

Android version 7.0 is installed on the CAT S41, with the security patches on the level of August 5, 2017. The user is greeted by a relatively pure Android with only a few adjusted icons. The manufacturer's own Toolbox app gives access to many outdoor apps, and the OTG function also has its own app from CAT Phones.

In addition, File Commander, AVG AntiVirus Pro, and OfficeSuite are preinstalled on our test unit. All these apps can be updated to a Pro version for a fee, or they can also be completely uninstalled. If several different people will be using the robust outdoor smartphone, you can setup several individual accounts in the Settings menu.

Software CAT S41
Software CAT S41
Software CAT S41
Software CAT S41
Software CAT S41
Software CAT S41

Communication and GPS - A robust smartphone with LTE

The CAT S41 can be connected to the GSM, 3G, and LTE networks. The latter can use LTE Cat. 4, allowing download speeds of up to 150 Mb/s and upload rates of up to 50 Mb/s. For close-range connections, you can use Bluetooth 4.1 and WLAN in the b, g, and n standards.

In our test, the outdoor smartphone achieves a below-average transfer rate of only about 38 Mb/s in the WLAN, making it significantly slower than most competing devices. However, the connection is constant and uninterrupted. 

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Crosscall Action-X3
Adreno 505, 430, 32 GB eMMC Flash
199 MBit/s ∼100% +422%
Average of class Smartphone
  (5.9 - 939, n=269)
195 MBit/s ∼98% +412%
Poptel P9000 Max
Mali-T860 MP2, Helio P10 MT6755, 64 GB eMMC Flash
71.6 MBit/s ∼36% +88%
Land Rover Explore
Mali-T880 MP4, MT6797X, 64 GB eMMC Flash
61.1 MBit/s ∼31% +60%
Cubot King Kong
Mali-400 MP2, MT6580M, 16 GB eMMC Flash
54.4 MBit/s ∼27% +43%
CAT S31
Adreno 304, 210 MSM8909, 16 GB eMMC Flash
41.6 MBit/s ∼21% +9%
CAT S41
Mali-T880 MP2, Helio P20 MT6757, 32 GB eMMC Flash
38.1 MBit/s ∼19%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Crosscall Action-X3
Adreno 505, 430, 32 GB eMMC Flash
201 MBit/s ∼100% +419%
Average of class Smartphone
  (9.4 - 703, n=269)
191 MBit/s ∼95% +394%
Poptel P9000 Max
Mali-T860 MP2, Helio P10 MT6755, 64 GB eMMC Flash
83.2 MBit/s ∼41% +115%
Land Rover Explore
Mali-T880 MP4, MT6797X, 64 GB eMMC Flash
62.7 MBit/s ∼31% +62%
Cubot King Kong
Mali-400 MP2, MT6580M, 16 GB eMMC Flash
57.7 MBit/s ∼29% +49%
CAT S31
Adreno 304, 210 MSM8909, 16 GB eMMC Flash
39.3 MBit/s ∼20% +2%
CAT S41
Mali-T880 MP2, Helio P20 MT6757, 32 GB eMMC Flash
38.7 MBit/s ∼19%
GPS Test outdoors
GPS Test outdoors
GPS Test indoors
GPS Test indoors

Using the GPS Test app, we evaluate how accurately the CAT S41 can determine our own location. Outdoors, the locating process works with an accuracy of up to 3 m (~10 ft). While the outdoor smartphone is also able to create a satellite connection indoors, the accuracy is then only 5 m (~16 ft). The CAT S41 uses GPS and GLONASS to determine the location; whether it also supports Beidou depends on the model variant.

During our mandatory bike tour, we compare the CAT S41 with our Garmin Edge 520 reference device. While the recorded routes are similar, the CAT smartphone occasionally places us next to the route and cuts our corners significantly. This makes the outdoor smartphone only suitable for simple navigation tasks.

GPS Garmin Edge 520
GPS Garmin Edge 520
GPS Garmin Edge 520
GPS Garmin Edge 520
GPS Garmin Edge 520
GPS Garmin Edge 520
GPS CAT S41
GPS CAT S41
GPS CAT S41
GPS CAT S41
GPS CAT S41
GPS CAT S41

Telephone Functions and Voice Quality - A good connection with the CAT S41

The CAT S41 uses the standard Android app for making phone calls. This allows users to perform phone calls quickly and without complications, manage contact lists, and enter phone numbers manually via the dialing pad. During conversation, the outdoor smartphone ensures a clear communication on both sides, reliably suppressing other noises. The volume of the ear piece also permits phone calls in louder surroundings, for example with street noises present.

The hands-free function of the CAT S41 offers an alternative but only works in quieter surroundings. A headset can be connected via Bluetooth 4.1, and wired devices can also be connected to the outdoor smartphone via the 3.5-mm audio port, offering higher volumes and better communication in loud surroundings.

Cameras - Outdoor smartphone with good camera

Picture taken with front camera
Picture taken with front camera

CAT Phones has equipped the S41 with a 13-MP main camera on the back and an 8-MP front camera. The latter allows you to take pictures with a good quality. Even in slightly dark rooms, the objects remain easily recognizable and are reproduced sharply. Only the details in the background become slightly blurry. You can adjust the white balance and ISO values in the settings menu as well as select various configurations such as panorama mode. These settings are identical for both cameras.

The main camera of the CAT S41 allows taking panorama images with a good quality, with darker color tones turning out slightly weak, however. Mainly shady and dark image areas turn out so dark in parts that you can hardly see any content. Light structures, on the other hand, are well defined. These effects are not as strong in close-up ranges, but they are still present. Image content is reproduced in detail but becomes slightly blurry when it is outside the focus area. Colors are also reproduced well and turn out only a tad too dark. While the objects in the image are still recognizable in low-light areas, they are very blurry. You can also adjust the ISO values and white balance or select various modes for selected scenes in the settings menu here as well. In addition, you can activate an underwater mode that, triggered via the decease volume button, allows taking pictures under water. In this mode, touchscreen functions remain deactivated.

The video function offers a similar quality as our example pictures. However, the camera is only able to handle fast movements to a limited extent, so that blurriness can strongly influence the image quality. You can adjust the resolution and white balance among other settings in the menu. 

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
ColorChecker Passport
ColorChecker Passport

Using the ColorChecker Passport, we test the color reproduction of the main camera of the CAT S41. Here, it shows that all the colors are reproduced too dark through the bank. This goes for all the colors, as well as black and gray tones.

This characteristic also has an effect on the picture taken under controlled light conditions of our test chart. While this also turns out too dark, the details are reproduced well. Very high zoom levels show some blurriness, but this does not stand out too much when looking at the whole picture. 

Test chart CAT S41
Test chart (detail) CAT S41

Accessories and Warranty - 24-month warranty for the CAT S41

The box of the CAT S41 contains the smartphone itself, a USB charger with the corresponding MicroUSB cable, and a USB OTG adapter. You can order car chargers with a CAT logo, power banks, headsets, and a holster in the accessory section of the CAT Phones website.

Buyers of the CAT S41 receive a warranty of 24 months for the device.

Input Devices and Operation - CAT S41 with accurate touchscreen

Google's standard GBoard keyboard is available to users of the CAT S41, allowing you to input text quickly and accurately. The touchscreen responds very directly, registering every input with a slight vibration. The surface of the screen offers just enough resistance to the fingertips to enable drag-and-drop movements without any problems. The physical keys can be operated easily and stand out from the surrounding case. In addition, a crisp pressure point offers good feedback that can also be clearly felt when wearing gloves.

CAT S41 input devices
CAT S41 input devices

Display - CAT smartphone with Corning Gorilla Glass 5

Subpixel grid
Subpixel grid

The display of the CAT S41 is a 5-inch IPS panel, offering a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels. We measure a brightness of about 506 cd/m², placing the outdoor smartphone in the middle of the field of comparable devices. The brightness distribution is below average at only 86%.

503
cd/m²
506
cd/m²
509
cd/m²
531
cd/m²
537
cd/m²
504
cd/m²
505
cd/m²
493
cd/m²
464
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 537 cd/m² Average: 505.8 cd/m² Minimum: 19.9 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 86 %
Center on Battery: 537 cd/m²
Contrast: 597:1 (Black: 0.9 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 5.02 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.3
ΔE Greyscale 5.3 | 0.64-98 Ø6.5
98.2% sRGB (Calman 2D)
Gamma: 2.154
CAT S41
IPS, 1920x1080, 5
Poptel P9000 Max
LCD IPS, 1920x1080, 5.5
Crosscall Action-X3
IPS, 1280x720, 5
Land Rover Explore
IPS, 1920x1080, 5
Cubot King Kong
IPS, 1280x720, 5
CAT S31
IPS, 1280x720, 4.7
Screen
-9%
12%
-9%
11%
42%
Brightness middle
537
406
-24%
417
-22%
633
18%
466
-13%
784
46%
Brightness
506
397
-22%
425
-16%
604
19%
449
-11%
750
48%
Brightness Distribution
86
90
5%
91
6%
91
6%
90
5%
92
7%
Black Level *
0.9
0.38
58%
0.29
68%
0.84
7%
0.25
72%
0.45
50%
Contrast
597
1068
79%
1438
141%
754
26%
1864
212%
1742
192%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
5.02
6.7
-33%
7.12
-42%
6.41
-28%
7.03
-40%
4.28
15%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
7.98
13.8
-73%
10.19
-28%
11.88
-49%
16.25
-104%
8.75
-10%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
5.3
8.5
-60%
6.1
-15%
9.2
-74%
7.1
-34%
6.1
-15%
Gamma
2.154 102%
2.21 100%
2.687 82%
1.927 114%
2.26 97%
2.49 88%
CCT
7226 90%
8858 73%
7687 85%
6165 105%
7244 90%
7175 91%

* ... smaller is better

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 250 Hz ≤ 15 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 250 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 15 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 250 Hz is relatively low, so sensitive users will likely notice flickering and experience eyestrain at the stated brightness setting and below.

In comparison: 53 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 8872 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

Our measurements also show a significantly increased black value of 0.9 cd/m² and a low contrast ratio at 597:1. All the comparison devices on our list show better values here. However, in the overall evaluation, the S41 can still be placed in the middle of the field.

The CalMAN analysis does not show any significant blue tint and attests the CAT smartphone with Delta-E values that are considerably above those of comparable devices. PWM is used for brightness control, causing the display to flicker at 250 Hz at brightness values below 15%.

CalMAN - Color Accuracy
CalMAN - Color Accuracy
CalMAN - Color Space
CalMAN - Color Space
CalMAN - Grayscales
CalMAN - Grayscales
CalMAN - Saturation
CalMAN - Saturation

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
14 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 3 ms rise
↘ 9 ms fall
The screen shows good response rates in our tests, but may be too slow for competitive gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 11 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (25.7 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
24 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 3 ms rise
↘ 21 ms fall
The screen shows good response rates in our tests, but may be too slow for competitive gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 9 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (41.1 ms).

Outdoors, the CAT S41 can be used easily, as long as you prefer shady places and avoid direct sunlight. Reflections of the surroundings and the sky hinder the view a lot, and the display is unable to overcome direct sunlight.

Outdoor use
Outdoor use
Outdoor use
Outdoor use

The IPS panel of the S41 offers very good viewing-angle stability, allowing you to read the screen content from almost any position. As long as no reflections hinder the view on the screen, you can also use the outdoor smartphone from unusual angles.

Viewing-angle stability
Viewing-angle stability
Viewing-angle stability
Viewing-angle stability

Performance - Mid-range smartphone with good system performance

With Mediatek's Helio P20-MT6757 SoC and the ARM Mali T880 MP2 graphics unit, good hardware equipment is available to users of the CAT S41. While both components are already slightly more than two years old, they are still used in some current mid-range smartphones. In addition, there is 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of eMMC flash storage.

In our benchmark test, the CAT S41 places at the top of our comparison list, taking turns with the Land Rover Explore. The performance is also good in everyday operation. The whole system runs smoothly and reacts to input without any delays.

PCMark for Android - Work performance score (sort by value)
CAT S41
4778 Points ∼95%
Poptel P9000 Max
4609 Points ∼91% -4%
Crosscall Action-X3
4665 Points ∼93% -2%
Land Rover Explore
5041 Points ∼100% +6%
Cubot King Kong
3041 Points ∼60% -36%
CAT S31
3080 Points ∼61% -36%
Average Mediatek Helio P20 (LP4) MT6757 (4477 - 5893, n=4)
4977 Points ∼99% +4%
Average of class Smartphone (4147 - 10571, n=387)
4730 Points ∼94% -1%
BaseMark OS II
Web (sort by value)
CAT S41
731 Points ∼95%
Poptel P9000 Max
10 Points ∼1% -99%
Land Rover Explore
769 Points ∼100% +5%
Cubot King Kong
567 Points ∼74% -22%
CAT S31
10 Points ∼1% -99%
Average Mediatek Helio P20 (LP4) MT6757 (731 - 847, n=4)
766 Points ∼100% +5%
Average of class Smartphone (7 - 1731, n=463)
678 Points ∼88% -7%
Graphics (sort by value)
CAT S41
1126 Points ∼69%
Poptel P9000 Max
641 Points ∼39% -43%
Land Rover Explore
1222 Points ∼75% +9%
Cubot King Kong
138 Points ∼8% -88%
CAT S31
256 Points ∼16% -77%
Average Mediatek Helio P20 (LP4) MT6757 (1016 - 1126, n=4)
1094 Points ∼67% -3%
Average of class Smartphone (18 - 15875, n=463)
1626 Points ∼100% +44%
Memory (sort by value)
CAT S41
1269 Points ∼100%
Poptel P9000 Max
779 Points ∼61% -39%
Land Rover Explore
1230 Points ∼97% -3%
Cubot King Kong
403 Points ∼32% -68%
CAT S31
328 Points ∼26% -74%
Average Mediatek Helio P20 (LP4) MT6757 (1063 - 1467, n=4)
1259 Points ∼99% -1%
Average of class Smartphone (21 - 4798, n=463)
1156 Points ∼91% -9%
System (sort by value)
CAT S41
2372 Points ∼82%
Poptel P9000 Max
1868 Points ∼65% -21%
Land Rover Explore
2889 Points ∼100% +22%
Cubot King Kong
985 Points ∼34% -58%
CAT S31
899 Points ∼31% -62%
Average Mediatek Helio P20 (LP4) MT6757 (2372 - 3063, n=4)
2864 Points ∼99% +21%
Average of class Smartphone (369 - 12202, n=463)
2345 Points ∼81% -1%
Overall (sort by value)
CAT S41
1255 Points ∼93%
Poptel P9000 Max
308 Points ∼23% -75%
Crosscall Action-X3
Points ∼0% -100%
Land Rover Explore
1352 Points ∼100% +8%
Cubot King Kong
420 Points ∼31% -67%
CAT S31
1 Points ∼0% -100%
Average Mediatek Helio P20 (LP4) MT6757 (1255 - 1393, n=4)
1315 Points ∼97% +5%
Average of class Smartphone (150 - 6097, n=467)
1177 Points ∼87% -6%
Geekbench 4.1/4.2
Compute RenderScript Score (sort by value)
CAT S41
2888 Points ∼70%
Poptel P9000 Max
1758 Points ∼43% -39%
Crosscall Action-X3
2045 Points ∼50% -29%
Land Rover Explore
3605 Points ∼88% +25%
Cubot King Kong
773 Points ∼19% -73%
Average Mediatek Helio P20 (LP4) MT6757 (2576 - 2929, n=4)
2785 Points ∼68% -4%
Average of class Smartphone (836 - 14417, n=162)
4114 Points ∼100% +42%
64 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
CAT S41
3414 Points ∼69%
Poptel P9000 Max
2628 Points ∼53% -23%
Crosscall Action-X3
2360 Points ∼48% -31%
Land Rover Explore
4927 Points ∼100% +44%
Cubot King Kong
1237 Points ∼25% -64%
CAT S31
1135 Points ∼23% -67%
Average Mediatek Helio P20 (LP4) MT6757 (3414 - 4053, n=4)
3657 Points ∼74% +7%
Average of class Smartphone (1099 - 11598, n=211)
4126 Points ∼84% +21%
64 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
CAT S41
869 Points ∼50%
Poptel P9000 Max
616 Points ∼35% -29%
Crosscall Action-X3
634 Points ∼36% -27%
Land Rover Explore
1739 Points ∼100% +100%
Cubot King Kong
425 Points ∼24% -51%
CAT S31
437 Points ∼25% -50%
Average Mediatek Helio P20 (LP4) MT6757 (828 - 869, n=4)
847 Points ∼49% -3%
Average of class Smartphone (394 - 4824, n=212)
1219 Points ∼70% +40%
3DMark
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Physics (sort by value)
CAT S41
1529 Points ∼92%
Poptel P9000 Max
1118 Points ∼67% -27%
Crosscall Action-X3
1098 Points ∼66% -28%
Land Rover Explore
1668 Points ∼100% +9%
CAT S31
560 Points ∼34% -63%
Average Mediatek Helio P20 (LP4) MT6757 (1246 - 1804, n=4)
1584 Points ∼95% +4%
Average of class Smartphone (1711 - 3669, n=316)
1572 Points ∼94% +3%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Graphics (sort by value)
CAT S41
613 Points ∼55%
Poptel P9000 Max
322 Points ∼29% -47%
Crosscall Action-X3
234 Points ∼21% -62%
Land Rover Explore
892 Points ∼81% +46%
CAT S31
0 Points ∼0% -100%
Average Mediatek Helio P20 (LP4) MT6757 (574 - 628, n=4)
610 Points ∼55% 0%
Average of class Smartphone (457 - 5220, n=316)
1108 Points ∼100% +81%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) (sort by value)
CAT S41
707 Points ∼67%
Poptel P9000 Max
383 Points ∼36% -46%
Crosscall Action-X3
284 Points ∼27% -60%
Land Rover Explore
995 Points ∼94% +41%
CAT S31
0 Points ∼0% -100%
Average Mediatek Helio P20 (LP4) MT6757 (677 - 733, n=4)
705 Points ∼67% 0%
Average of class Smartphone (550 - 4734, n=324)
1058 Points ∼100% +50%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Physics (sort by value)
CAT S41
1261 Points ∼78%
Poptel P9000 Max
1176 Points ∼73% -7%
Crosscall Action-X3
1099 Points ∼68% -13%
Land Rover Explore
1610 Points ∼100% +28%
Average Mediatek Helio P20 (LP4) MT6757 (1261 - 1892, n=4)
1597 Points ∼99% +27%
Average of class Smartphone (2176 - 3642, n=347)
1469 Points ∼91% +16%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Graphics (sort by value)
CAT S41
909 Points ∼60%
Poptel P9000 Max
480 Points ∼32% -47%
Crosscall Action-X3
492 Points ∼33% -46%
Land Rover Explore
1103 Points ∼73% +21%
Average Mediatek Helio P20 (LP4) MT6757 (827 - 909, n=4)
868 Points ∼58% -5%
Average of class Smartphone (6554 - 8312, n=347)
1505 Points ∼100% +66%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 (sort by value)
CAT S41
969 Points ∼76%
Poptel P9000 Max
553 Points ∼43% -43%
Crosscall Action-X3
561 Points ∼44% -42%
Land Rover Explore
1186 Points ∼93% +22%
Average Mediatek Helio P20 (LP4) MT6757 (921 - 1015, n=4)
963 Points ∼75% -1%
Average of class Smartphone (4529 - 6378, n=355)
1282 Points ∼100% +32%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
CAT S41
12063 Points ∼82%
Poptel P9000 Max
10560 Points ∼72% -12%
Crosscall Action-X3
8864 Points ∼60% -27%
Land Rover Explore
10223 Points ∼69% -15%
Cubot King Kong
8112 Points ∼55% -33%
CAT S31
6396 Points ∼43% -47%
Average Mediatek Helio P20 (LP4) MT6757 (12063 - 16603, n=4)
14755 Points ∼100% +22%
Average of class Smartphone (7103 - 36762, n=502)
12399 Points ∼84% +3%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score (sort by value)
CAT S41
13844 Points ∼81%
Poptel P9000 Max
10012 Points ∼58% -28%
Crosscall Action-X3
9342 Points ∼54% -33%
Land Rover Explore
17173 Points ∼100% +24%
Cubot King Kong
2396 Points ∼14% -83%
CAT S31
5042 Points ∼29% -64%
Average Mediatek Helio P20 (LP4) MT6757 (13125 - 14001, n=4)
13712 Points ∼80% -1%
Average of class Smartphone (2465 - 160199, n=502)
16702 Points ∼97% +21%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score (sort by value)
CAT S41
13404 Points ∼90%
Poptel P9000 Max
10129 Points ∼68% -24%
Crosscall Action-X3
9231 Points ∼62% -31%
Land Rover Explore
14919 Points ∼100% +11%
Cubot King Kong
2841 Points ∼19% -79%
CAT S31
5291 Points ∼35% -61%
Average Mediatek Helio P20 (LP4) MT6757 (13404 - 14506, n=4)
13885 Points ∼93% +4%
Average of class Smartphone (2915 - 77599, n=503)
14153 Points ∼95% +6%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
CAT S41
23 fps ∼72%
Poptel P9000 Max
17 fps ∼53% -26%
Crosscall Action-X3
15 fps ∼47% -35%
Land Rover Explore
32 fps ∼100% +39%
Cubot King Kong
4.2 fps ∼13% -82%
CAT S31
5.6 fps ∼18% -76%
Average Mediatek Helio P20 (LP4) MT6757 (22 - 24, n=3)
23 fps ∼72% 0%
Average of class Smartphone (4.1 - 251, n=527)
29.2 fps ∼91% +27%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
CAT S41
23 fps ∼70%
Poptel P9000 Max
16 fps ∼48% -30%
Crosscall Action-X3
26 fps ∼79% +13%
Land Rover Explore
33 fps ∼100% +43%
Cubot King Kong
7.5 fps ∼23% -67%
CAT S31
9.8 fps ∼30% -57%
Average Mediatek Helio P20 (LP4) MT6757 (22 - 33, n=3)
26 fps ∼79% +13%
Average of class Smartphone (6.9 - 120, n=530)
24 fps ∼73% +4%
GFXBench 3.0
off screen Manhattan Offscreen OGL (sort by value)
CAT S41
10 fps ∼63%
Poptel P9000 Max
6.8 fps ∼43% -32%
Crosscall Action-X3
6.7 fps ∼42% -33%
Land Rover Explore
16 fps ∼100% +60%
CAT S31
1.9 fps ∼12% -81%
Average Mediatek Helio P20 (LP4) MT6757 (9.6 - 11, n=4)
10.2 fps ∼64% +2%
Average of class Smartphone (2.2 - 115, n=450)
15.5 fps ∼97% +55%
on screen Manhattan Onscreen OGL (sort by value)
CAT S41
10 fps ∼53%
Poptel P9000 Max
6.8 fps ∼36% -32%
Crosscall Action-X3
14 fps ∼74% +40%
Land Rover Explore
19 fps ∼100% +90%
CAT S31
4.3 fps ∼23% -57%
Average Mediatek Helio P20 (LP4) MT6757 (10 - 19, n=4)
12.8 fps ∼67% +28%
Average of class Smartphone (4.4 - 115, n=452)
15.2 fps ∼80% +52%
GFXBench 3.1
off screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Offscreen (sort by value)
CAT S41
6.8 fps ∼51%
Poptel P9000 Max
4.5 fps ∼34% -34%
Crosscall Action-X3
4.4 fps ∼33% -35%
Land Rover Explore
12 fps ∼90% +76%
Average Mediatek Helio P20 (LP4) MT6757 (3.4 - 6.8, n=4)
5.95 fps ∼45% -12%
Average of class Smartphone (1.3 - 69.3, n=314)
13.3 fps ∼100% +96%
on screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Onscreen (sort by value)
CAT S41
6.8 fps ∼52%
Poptel P9000 Max
4.6 fps ∼35% -32%
Crosscall Action-X3
10 fps ∼76% +47%
Land Rover Explore
13 fps ∼98% +91%
Average Mediatek Helio P20 (LP4) MT6757 (6.8 - 15, n=4)
8.88 fps ∼67% +31%
Average of class Smartphone (2.6 - 110, n=316)
13.2 fps ∼100% +94%
GFXBench
off screen Car Chase Offscreen (sort by value)
CAT S41
4 fps ∼44%
Poptel P9000 Max
2.4 fps ∼26% -40%
Crosscall Action-X3
2.4 fps ∼26% -40%
Land Rover Explore
6.8 fps ∼74% +70%
Average Mediatek Helio P20 (LP4) MT6757 (3.7 - 4.1, n=4)
3.98 fps ∼43% 0%
Average of class Smartphone (0.72 - 40, n=246)
9.19 fps ∼100% +130%
on screen Car Chase Onscreen (sort by value)
CAT S41
4 fps ∼48%
Poptel P9000 Max
2.4 fps ∼29% -40%
Crosscall Action-X3
5.3 fps ∼63% +33%
Land Rover Explore
7.3 fps ∼87% +83%
Average Mediatek Helio P20 (LP4) MT6757 (4 - 7.9, n=4)
5.03 fps ∼60% +26%
Average of class Smartphone (1.1 - 50, n=249)
8.37 fps ∼100% +109%

Legend

 
CAT S41 Mediatek Helio P20 (LP4) MT6757, ARM Mali-T880 MP2, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
Poptel P9000 Max Mediatek Helio P10 MT6755, ARM Mali-T860 MP2, 64 GB eMMC Flash
 
Crosscall Action-X3 Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 (MSM8937), Qualcomm Adreno 505, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
Land Rover Explore MediaTek Helio X27 MT6797X, ARM Mali-T880 MP4, 64 GB eMMC Flash
 
Cubot King Kong Mediatek MT6580M, ARM Mali-400 MP2, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
CAT S31 Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 MSM8909, Qualcomm Adreno 304, 16 GB eMMC Flash

In the browser benchmarks, the CAT S41 also shows a good performance but is beaten by the Land Rover Explore. In everyday operation, the outdoor smartphone delivers a good performance. Websites are loaded quickly and media content needs only short load times to be shown.

JetStream 1.1 - 1.1 Total Score
Land Rover Explore (Chrome 67)
48.863 Points ∼100% +83%
Average of class Smartphone (10.8 - 273, n=384)
35.1 Points ∼72% +32%
Average Mediatek Helio P20 (LP4) MT6757 (24.3 - 29, n=4)
27.1 Points ∼55% +2%
CAT S41 (Chrome 67)
26.675 Points ∼55%
Poptel P9000 Max (Chrome 68)
18.86 Points ∼39% -29%
Crosscall Action-X3 (Chrome 68)
18.048 Points ∼37% -32%
Cubot King Kong (Chrome 66)
12.789 Points ∼26% -52%
CAT S31
12.442 Points ∼25% -53%
Octane V2 - Total Score
Land Rover Explore (Chrome 67)
9798 Points ∼100% +95%
Average of class Smartphone (1506 - 43280, n=520)
5235 Points ∼53% +4%
CAT S41 (Chrome 67)
5024 Points ∼51%
Average Mediatek Helio P20 (LP4) MT6757 (3609 - 5024, n=4)
4347 Points ∼44% -13%
Poptel P9000 Max (Chrome 68)
3441 Points ∼35% -32%
Crosscall Action-X3 (Chrome 68)
3251 Points ∼33% -35%
Cubot King Kong (Chrome 66)
2208 Points ∼23% -56%
CAT S31
2010 Points ∼21% -60%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score
Cubot King Kong (Chrome 66)
18388.4 ms * ∼100% -76%
CAT S31
17827.9 ms * ∼97% -71%
Poptel P9000 Max (Chrome 68)
13879.9 ms * ∼75% -33%
Crosscall Action-X3 (Chrome 68)
13331 ms * ∼72% -28%
Average Mediatek Helio P20 (LP4) MT6757 (9506 - 23224, n=4)
13219 ms * ∼72% -27%
Average of class Smartphone (603 - 59466, n=539)
11789 ms * ∼64% -13%
CAT S41 (Chrome 67)
10444.4 ms * ∼57%
Land Rover Explore (Chrome 67)
4261.4 ms * ∼23% +59%

* ... smaller is better

The 32 GB eMMC flash storage in the CAT S41 offers about 22 GB of empty storage space for the user's own apps and data. The read and write rates of the internal storage are on an average level and offer fast access to music or stored images, for example.

Using the built-in microSD card reader, the internal storage can be expanded by up to 256 GB. Due to read problems, we had to use a microSD card by Qumox with 32 GB of storage as our reference. But using that, our test unit only achieved below average transfer rates which resulted in longer access times of data on the SD card.

CAT S41Poptel P9000 MaxCrosscall Action-X3Land Rover ExploreCubot King KongCAT S31Average 32 GB eMMC FlashAverage of class Smartphone
AndroBench 3-5
188%
206%
226%
-28%
192%
160%
143%
Sequential Write 256KB SDCard
5
53.18 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M401)
964%
56.17 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
1023%
66.3 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
1226%
10.3 (Kingston 32GB)
106%
59.5
1090%
46 (3.4 - 87.1, n=104)
820%
44.1 (3.4 - 87.1, n=293)
782%
Sequential Read 256KB SDCard
23.87
72.89 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M401)
205%
84.13 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
252%
75.2 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
215%
20.6 (Kingston 32GB)
-14%
81.8
243%
65.1 (8.2 - 96.5, n=104)
173%
62.5 (8.2 - 96.5, n=293)
162%
Random Write 4KB
12.99
11.23
-14%
8.4
-35%
11.2
-14%
7
-46%
14.81
14%
18.2 (0.75 - 77.3, n=143)
40%
14 (0.14 - 164, n=573)
8%
Random Read 4KB
65.47
35.1
-46%
47
-28%
28.7
-56%
17.2
-74%
14.28
-78%
35.4 (3.59 - 117, n=143)
-46%
35.6 (1.59 - 173, n=573)
-46%
Sequential Write 256KB
117.16
129.64
11%
139.3
19%
104.5
-11%
32.6
-72%
62.13
-47%
93.3 (14.8 - 189, n=143)
-20%
74.3 (2.99 - 228, n=573)
-37%
Sequential Read 256KB
253.02
269.44
6%
264.7
5%
237.3
-6%
77.3
-69%
71.06
-72%
228 (25.8 - 440, n=143)
-10%
218 (12.1 - 895, n=573)
-14%

Games - Outdoor smartphone for current games

You can also play modern games with regular graphics settings on the CAT S41. The load times are moderate and do not let you wait too long to begin the game. While the touchscreen offers accurate control, in the long run it gives slightly too much resistance to the fingers. Control of games via the position sensor is also accurate and movements of the phone are directly transferred into game responses.

Arena of Valor
Arena of Valor
Dead Trigger 2
Dead Trigger 2

Emissions - Hollow-sounding smartphone speaker in the CAT S41

Temperature

During idle operation, the surface temperatures of the CAT S41 always remain below the 30-°C mark (86 °F). Under load, the temperatures rise noticeably and even reach more than 40 °C (104 °F) in the upper area of the outdoor smartphone. However, because of the plastic case this only feels warm and not hot, so you should not have to expect any limitations due to too high temperatures in everyday operation.

Max. Load
 41.7 °C
107 F
35.2 °C
95 F
32.5 °C
91 F
 
 41.5 °C
107 F
35.8 °C
96 F
32.3 °C
90 F
 
 41 °C
106 F
35.8 °C
96 F
32.3 °C
90 F
 
Maximum: 41.7 °C = 107 F
Average: 36.5 °C = 98 F
31.9 °C
89 F
34.6 °C
94 F
37.3 °C
99 F
31.6 °C
89 F
32.9 °C
91 F
38 °C
100 F
31.6 °C
89 F
34.5 °C
94 F
37 °C
99 F
Maximum: 38 °C = 100 F
Average: 34.4 °C = 94 F
Power Supply (max.)  43.3 °C = 110 F | Room Temperature 22 °C = 72 F | Voltcraft IR-260
Heat map - front
Heat map - front
Heat map - back
Heat map - back

Speaker

Speaker characteristics
Speaker characteristics

While the speaker of the CAT S41 can play slightly louder than comparable devices, it still can only be considered mediocre. Audio reproduction and voices sound a bit hollow but remain clear. The mids are well represented up to the lower highs but then start dropping slightly. The very high notes remain. Bass is lacking completely and lower tones below the mids are underrepresented or not present at all.

For occasional media consumption, we recommend using external earphones or speakers that can be connected via Bluetooth 4.1 or the 3.5-mm audio connection to the outdoor smartphone.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2032.334.12525.630.13125.733.24027.429.7503738.86323.327.98021.422.910021.72512519.932.416017.434.52001741.125016.445.431514.548.940014.25750014.159.263012.662.380012.565.610001265.3125011.864.9160011.669200011.472.5250011.371.7315011.470.9400011.169.4500011.261.7630011.357.2800011.263.21000011.365.31250011.353.31600011.345.8SPL65.824.180.1N17.80.643.4median 11.8CAT S41median 61.7Delta1.78.625.625.527.13225.43025.230.431.733.822.827.12125.819.525.317.72716.832.716.738.215.241.514.245.313.653.313.455.412.760.212.363.511.865.411.964.911.365.711.365.411.366.211.26711.467.111.168.411.370.611.468.411.460.111.458.711.565.359.950.12478.412.96.60.541.3median 11.8Land Rover Exploremedian 63.51.610.2hearing rangehide median Pink Noise
Frequency diagram (checkboxes can be checked and unchecked to compare devices)
CAT S41 audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (80.1 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 23.8% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (8.7% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 4.6% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (6.3% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 5.2% higher than median
(+) | highs are linear (6.7% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (21% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 16% of all tested devices in this class were better, 10% similar, 74% worse
» The best had a delta of 13%, average was 25%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 47% of all tested devices were better, 8% similar, 44% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Land Rover Explore audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (78.4 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 28.5% lower than median
(+) | bass is linear (6.6% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 3.6% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (5.3% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 4.3% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (4.3% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (19.9% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 11% of all tested devices in this class were better, 5% similar, 84% worse
» The best had a delta of 13%, average was 25%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 41% of all tested devices were better, 7% similar, 52% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Battery Life - CAT smartphone with a long battery life

Power Consumption

During our measurements of the power management, the CAT S41 shows slightly elevated power consumption in idle operation as well as under load. While with a minimum consumption of 1.4 watts and a maximum of 6.4 watts, the outdoor smartphone places in the middle of our comparison field, the distance to the devices with a lower consumption is considerably larger than that to smartphones with a higher consumption.

The included USB charger delivers an output of 16 watts and thus provides sufficient power even under load.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.1 / 0.5 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 1.4 / 2.2 / 2.8 Watt
Load midlight 4.1 / 6.4 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
CAT S41
5000 mAh
Poptel P9000 Max
9000 mAh
Crosscall Action-X3
3500 mAh
Land Rover Explore
4000 mAh
Cubot King Kong
4400 mAh
CAT S31
4000 mAh
Average Mediatek Helio P20 (LP4) MT6757
 
Average of class Smartphone
 
Power Consumption
29%
-3%
-1%
27%
26%
28%
20%
Idle Minimum *
1.4
0.92
34%
1.1
21%
1.2
14%
0.7
50%
0.73
48%
0.895 (0.64 - 1.4, n=4)
36%
0.881 (0.2 - 3.4, n=603)
37%
Idle Average *
2.2
1.9
14%
1.9
14%
1.5
32%
1.6
27%
2.21
-0%
1.553 (0.81 - 2.2, n=4)
29%
1.718 (0.6 - 6.2, n=602)
22%
Idle Maximum *
2.8
2.19
22%
2.9
-4%
3
-7%
1.8
36%
2.25
20%
1.75 (0.86 - 2.8, n=4)
37%
1.987 (0.74 - 6.6, n=603)
29%
Load Average *
4.1
3.1
24%
4.8
-17%
4.5
-10%
3.8
7%
2.99
27%
3.29 (2.09 - 4.37, n=4)
20%
4.02 (0.8 - 10.8, n=597)
2%
Load Maximum *
6.4
3.12
51%
8.4
-31%
8.6
-34%
5.5
14%
4.12
36%
5.28 (3.31 - 7.06, n=4)
17%
5.68 (1.2 - 14.2, n=597)
11%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

In our realistic WLAN battery test, the CAT S41 achieves a runtime of almost 16 hours. This places the outdoor smartphone in the solid center of our comparison field. According to the manufacturer, the S41 will last for more than a month in standby, without needing to be recharged. The 5000 mAh battery is completely recharged after about four hours.

Battery Runtime
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
15h 53.4min
CAT S41
5000 mAh
Poptel P9000 Max
9000 mAh
Crosscall Action-X3
3500 mAh
Land Rover Explore
4000 mAh
Cubot King Kong
4400 mAh
CAT S31
4000 mAh
Battery Runtime
WiFi v1.3
953.4
1346
41%
843
-12%
529
-45%
1098
15%
1074
13%

Pros

+ robust case with IP68 and MIL SPEC 810G
+ dualSIM and microSD can be used simultaneously
+ good system performance
+ solid camera quality

Cons

- GPS slightly inaccurate

Verdict - CAT S41: ready for any challenge

Testing the CAT S41. Test unit provided by CAT Phones Germany
Testing the CAT S41. Test unit provided by CAT Phones Germany

In our test, the CAT S41 shows itself as a robust outdoor smartphone with a relatively good system performance. The Android system runs smoothly and the performance is sufficient for apps that demand more than WhatsApp and the Internet browser. In addition, there is a good camera that produces decent snapshots. Only the GPS could have been more accurate, since the tolerance turns out slightly too high outdoors in our opinion.

The CAT S41 is not only equipped to protect from outside harm but also offers a good system performance that can keep up on the level of most mid-range smartphones.

In terms of its case, our test unit shows no weaknesses. The material survives drops on concrete with only small scratches and the Corning Gorilla Glass 5 prevents a cracked display. In addition, the S41 is certified for resistance against drops, dust, and water, with even submersing it in up to two meters of water not resulting in any harm.

CAT S41 - 09/06/2018 v6
Mike Wobker

Chassis
84%
Keyboard
65 / 75 → 87%
Pointing Device
82%
Connectivity
35 / 60 → 59%
Weight
88%
Battery
99%
Display
84%
Games Performance
32 / 63 → 51%
Application Performance
49 / 70 → 70%
Temperature
90%
Noise
100%
Audio
64 / 91 → 70%
Camera
58%
Average
72%
81%
Smartphone - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > CAT S41 Smartphone Review
Mike Wobker, 2018-09-12 (Update: 2018-09-13)