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CAT S53 review - Rugged, waterproof phone with 5G

The brightest lamp in the lamp store. Massive, robust, stable - that's how the CAT S53 looks at first glance. The phone with 5G and 2 LED lights not only provides a bright working environment but is also resistant to water, dust, and drops. In the test, we take a look at the phone's suitability for everyday use.
CAT S53


CAT S53 (S Series)
Processor
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G 8 x 1.8 - 2 GHz, Cortex-A76 / 55
Graphics adapter
Memory
6 GB 
Display
6.50 inch 20:9, 1600 x 720 pixel 270 PPI, capacitive touchscreen, IPS, Gorilla Glass 6, glossy: yes, 60 Hz
Storage
128 GB eMMC Flash, 128 GB 
, 115 GB free
Connections
1 USB 2.0, USB-C Power Delivery (PD), Audio Connections: 3.5mm, Card Reader: microSD up to 128 GB, shared, 1 Fingerprint Reader, NFC, Brightness Sensor, Sensors: accelerometer, gyroscope, proximity sensor, compass
Networking
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (a/b/g/n = Wi-Fi 4/ac = Wi-Fi 5/), Bluetooth 5.1, 2G (850/​900/​1800/​1900), 3G (B1/​B2/​B4/​B5/​B6/​B8/​B19), 4G (B1/​B2/​B3/​B4/​B5/​B7/​B8/​B12/​B13/​B17/​B18/​B19/​B20/​B25/​B26/​B28/​B34/​B38/​B39/​B40/​B41/​B66), 5G (n1/​n2/​n3/​n5/​n7/​n8/​n28/​n41/​n66/​n77/​n78), Dual SIM, LTE, 5G, GPS
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 16 x 171 x 81 ( = 0.63 x 6.73 x 3.19 in)
Battery
5500 mAh Lithium-Polymer, 18W (Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0), 10W (Qi Wireless charging)
Charging
wireless charging, fast charging / Quickcharge
Operating System
Android 11
Camera
Primary Camera: 48 MPix f/​1.79, phase comparison-AF (All-pixel AF), dual LED-flash, Videos @1080p/​30fps (Camera 1); 2.0MP, macro lens (Camera 2)
Secondary Camera: 16 MPix
Additional features
Speakers: mono speaker on the back, USB cable, SIM tool, 24 Months Warranty, FM radio, IP68/​IP69K-certified, MIL-STD-810H-certified, torch (up to 120 Lumen), fanless, ruggedized, waterproof
Weight
320 g ( = 11.29 oz / 0.71 pounds) ( = 0 oz / 0 pounds)
Price
550 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Possible competitors in comparison

Rating
Date
Model
Weight
Drive
Size
Resolution
Best Price
78.3 %
04/2023
CAT S53
SD 480, Adreno 619
320 g128 GB eMMC Flash6.50"1600x720
77.2 %
01/2020
CAT S52
Helio P35 MT6765, PowerVR GE8320
210 g64 GB eMMC Flash5.65"1440x720
82.6 %
12/2022
Gigaset GX6
Dimensity 900, Mali-G68 MP4
278 g128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash6.60"2412x1080
81.9 %
08/2022
Samsung Galaxy XCover 6 Pro
SD 778G 5G, Adreno 642L
235 g128 GB UFS 2.2 Flash6.60"2408x1080
81.1 %
08/2021
Nokia XR20
SD 480, Adreno 619
248 g128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash6.67"2400x1080

Case and equipment - Heavy, but well protected

The CAT S53 is a true ruggedized phone that is not only protected against water and dust but can also withstand drops well due to its reinforced chassis and the recessed screen. This is also noticeable in the weight: at 320 grams, the CAT Phone is not lightweight, even among outdoor phones.

The predecessor, the CAT S52, wanted to be more elegant. Our test device looks like a classic work phone at first glance. Thus there is a slightly roughened surface, which helps the CAT S53 not slip off the hand so easily, a grippy groove pattern on the back, and a huge camera module on the back. There is also an LED light on the upper edge that has a brightness of up to 120 lumens. Additionally, there is an LED flash in the camera module that can be permanently activated.

All slots are protected with rubber covers that are difficult to open with the fingers. However, these ensure very good dust and water resistance according to IP68/IP69K and MIL-STD-810H.

NFC is also on board, as is a microSD reader. However, you have to give up one of the SIM cards if you want to use microSD to expand the memory. The card reader proves to be quite fast in our test with the reference microSD Angelbird V60 in the CPDT benchmark as well as in the copy test.

CAT S53
CAT S53
CAT S53
CAT S53

Size comparison

171 mm / 6.73 inch 81 mm / 3.19 inch 16 mm / 0.63 inch 320 g0.705 lbs170.7 mm / 6.72 inch 82.2 mm / 3.24 inch 11.9 mm / 0.4685 inch 278 g0.613 lbs171.6 mm / 6.76 inch 81.5 mm / 3.21 inch 10.6 mm / 0.4173 inch 248 g0.547 lbs168.8 mm / 6.65 inch 79.9 mm / 3.15 inch 9.9 mm / 0.3898 inch 235 g0.518 lbs158.1 mm / 6.22 inch 76.6 mm / 3.02 inch 9.7 mm / 0.3819 inch 210 g0.463 lbs148 mm / 5.83 inch 105 mm / 4.13 inch 1 mm / 0.03937 inch 1.5 g0.00331 lbs
SD Card Reader - average JPG Copy Test (av. of 3 runs)
CAT S53
Adreno 619, SD 480, 128 GB eMMC Flash (Angelbird V60)
37.8 MB/s
Gigaset GX6
Mali-G68 MP4, Dimensity 900, 128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash (Angelbird V60)
30.6 MB/s -19%
Samsung Galaxy XCover 6 Pro
Adreno 642L, SD 778G 5G, 128 GB UFS 2.2 Flash (Angelbird V60)
27.9 MB/s -26%
Nokia XR20
Adreno 619, SD 480, 128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash (Angelbird V60)
22 MB/s -42%

Cross Platform Disk Test (CPDT)

05101520253035404550556065707580Tooltip
CAT S53 Adreno 619, SD 480, 128 GB eMMC Flash; SDCard Sequential Write 0.5 GB: Ø35.3 (25.3-45.6)
Gigaset GX6 Mali-G68 MP4, Dimensity 900, 128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash; SDCard Sequential Write 0.5 GB: Ø41.8 (28.1-52.6)
Samsung Galaxy XCover 6 Pro Adreno 642L, SD 778G 5G, 128 GB UFS 2.2 Flash; SDCard Sequential Write 0.5 GB: Ø39.3 (27.6-48.9)
Nokia XR20 Adreno 619, SD 480, 128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash; SDCard Sequential Write 0.5 GB: Ø23 (17.4-38)
CAT S53 Adreno 619, SD 480, 128 GB eMMC Flash; SDCard Sequential Read 0.5 GB: Ø78 (24.9-84.3)
Gigaset GX6 Mali-G68 MP4, Dimensity 900, 128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash; SDCard Sequential Read 0.5 GB: Ø73.5 (53.1-77.5)
Samsung Galaxy XCover 6 Pro Adreno 642L, SD 778G 5G, 128 GB UFS 2.2 Flash; SDCard Sequential Read 0.5 GB: Ø68.9 (47.7-76.5)
Nokia XR20 Adreno 619, SD 480, 128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash; SDCard Sequential Read 0.5 GB: Ø74.4 (32.7-83.3)

Communication, software and operation - Old operating system

With the CAT S53, the manufacturer also brings 5G connectivity to one of its outdoor phones for the first time. Quite a lot of frequencies are available for the currently fastest mobile standard and also for 4G, so you can surf the mobile Internet with the smartphone even when traveling. The mobile reception proves to be good during our random tests in the test period, but not quite on the level of high-end smartphones.

In terms of WLAN, there is WiFi 5 with overall good speeds but also significant fluctuations and individual drops in the transfer rates.

The CAT S53's operating system is still based on Android 11, and the security patches are from July 2022 at the time of testing. An older Android version might be desirable for corporate customers since apps written in-house have to be adapted for each new Android version. However, at least the security should be on a more current level. After all, CAT only pre-installs a few third-party apps that can be easily removed.

The touchscreen of the CAT S53 can still be used with wet fingers and gloves. A large programmable button on the left of the casing can be used for launching apps or switching integrated flashlight, for example. A fingerprint sensor is found below the camera module on the back. It is not quite optimally placed for large hands, but it reliably recognizes stored fingers and unlocks the phone from standby after a delay of about one second. Face recognition is also possible, but it is only software-based and thus not as secure.

Networking
iperf3 receive AXE11000
Average of class Smartphone
  (34.8 - 1875, n=208, last 2 years)
657 MBit/s +7%
CAT S53
Adreno 619, SD 480, 128 GB eMMC Flash
614 (544min - 640max) MBit/s
iperf3 transmit AXE11000
Average of class Smartphone
  (40.5 - 1810, n=209, last 2 years)
694 MBit/s +2%
CAT S53
Adreno 619, SD 480, 128 GB eMMC Flash
682 (353min - 727max) MBit/s
iperf3 transmit AXE11000 6GHz
Average of class Smartphone
  (229 - 1894, n=61, last 2 years)
1536 MBit/s
Samsung Galaxy XCover 6 Pro
Adreno 642L, SD 778G 5G, 128 GB UFS 2.2 Flash
944 (866min - 952max) MBit/s
Gigaset GX6
Mali-G68 MP4, Dimensity 900, 128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
892 MBit/s
iperf3 receive AXE11000 6GHz
Average of class Smartphone
  (598 - 1840, n=61, last 2 years)
1364 MBit/s
Samsung Galaxy XCover 6 Pro
Adreno 642L, SD 778G 5G, 128 GB UFS 2.2 Flash
910 (677min - 949max) MBit/s
Gigaset GX6
Mali-G68 MP4, Dimensity 900, 128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
743 MBit/s
iperf3 transmit AX12
Nokia XR20
Adreno 619, SD 480, 128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
630 (561min - 645max) MBit/s
CAT S52
PowerVR GE8320, Helio P35 MT6765, 64 GB eMMC Flash
256 (138min - 284max) MBit/s
iperf3 receive AX12
Nokia XR20
Adreno 619, SD 480, 128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
649 (589min - 673max) MBit/s
Average of class Smartphone
  (last 2 years)
376 MBit/s
CAT S52
PowerVR GE8320, Helio P35 MT6765, 64 GB eMMC Flash
259 (188min - 274max) MBit/s
04080120160200240280320360400440480520560600640680720Tooltip
CAT S53; iperf3 receive AXE11000; iperf 3.1.3: Ø614 (544-640)
CAT S53; iperf3 transmit AXE11000; iperf 3.1.3: Ø682 (353-727)

Cameras - Not very convincing

Photo from the front camera
Photo from the front camera

Sony's IMX582 is used as the main camera's sensor. It offers a resolution of 48 megapixels but combines four pixels into one by default so that a better light yield is possible and 12-megapixel photos are created. There is also a low-resolution macro camera on the back that can be used in a special mode for extreme close-ups.

The photos from the main camera look noticeably blurry and could be brightened better. The white balance is set quite cool ex-factory. The weaknesses are particularly obvious in low light and high contrasts. The test chart also looks washed out in studio lighting.

Videos can be recorded in 1080p and 30 fps at most. The sharpness of the material could be higher here as well, but at least the autofocus works reasonably fast, and the brightness adjustment works well.

The selfie camera has a high resolution of 16 megapixels. Here, photos also look a bit cool and very grainy when enlarged.

Thus, the CAT S53 is not a phone for photo fans, but the camera is sufficient for snapshots or documentation.

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.

Main cameraMain cameraLowLight
click to load images
ColorChecker
14.1 ∆E
10.5 ∆E
12.8 ∆E
15.2 ∆E
9.7 ∆E
7.5 ∆E
10.8 ∆E
7.8 ∆E
10 ∆E
5.4 ∆E
8.6 ∆E
8.4 ∆E
5.7 ∆E
11.8 ∆E
9.3 ∆E
5.8 ∆E
7.3 ∆E
7.8 ∆E
6.3 ∆E
6.9 ∆E
10.2 ∆E
9.5 ∆E
5.5 ∆E
6.1 ∆E
ColorChecker CAT S53: 8.87 ∆E min: 5.37 - max: 15.19 ∆E
ColorChecker
29.4 ∆E
53.7 ∆E
39.1 ∆E
37.8 ∆E
44.2 ∆E
64.1 ∆E
54.3 ∆E
34.8 ∆E
41.8 ∆E
27.1 ∆E
66.4 ∆E
64.5 ∆E
30.4 ∆E
48.8 ∆E
37.1 ∆E
76.3 ∆E
42.6 ∆E
45.3 ∆E
87 ∆E
69.9 ∆E
51.6 ∆E
37.1 ∆E
24.1 ∆E
14.3 ∆E
ColorChecker CAT S53: 46.74 ∆E min: 14.31 - max: 87.02 ∆E

Display - True color screen in the CAT S53

Subpixel structure
Subpixel structure

The screen offers a resolution of 1600 x 720 pixels. At the price point of the CAT S53, a Full HD screen with more than 60 Hz frame rate would have been possible, and the competition proves it. The brightness of 504 cd/m² is decent, but even for an outdoor phone, more would always be welcome to ensure good legibility in the sun.

The black value is high at 0.6 cd/m², so the contrast drops and displayed colors look quite dull. However, the color reproduction is true to the original, as we found out in our tests with the spectrophotometer and the software CalMAN. There is no visible color cast in the display, and only a few color tones deviate visibly from the reference color space.

We do not notice PWM flickering in the IPS display.

521
cd/m²
489
cd/m²
476
cd/m²
544
cd/m²
476
cd/m²
447
cd/m²
544
cd/m²
507
cd/m²
529
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
tested with X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 544 cd/m² (Nits) Average: 503.7 cd/m² Minimum: 4.3 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 82 %
Center on Battery: 476 cd/m²
Contrast: 793:1 (Black: 0.6 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 3.18 | 0.5-29.43 Ø5
ΔE Greyscale 4.2 | 0.57-98 Ø5.3
95.5% sRGB (Calman 2D)
Gamma: 2.268
CAT S53
IPS, 1600x720, 6.50
CAT S52
IPS, 1440x720, 5.65
Gigaset GX6
IPS, 2412x1080, 6.60
Samsung Galaxy XCover 6 Pro
PLS, 2408x1080, 6.60
Nokia XR20
IPS, 2400x1080, 6.67
Screen
62%
19%
-41%
21%
Brightness middle
476
521
9%
505
6%
510
7%
599
26%
Brightness
504
530
5%
491
-3%
495
-2%
598
19%
Brightness Distribution
82
91
11%
93
13%
92
12%
99
21%
Black Level *
0.6
0.16
73%
0.3
50%
0.46
23%
0.33
45%
Contrast
793
3256
311%
1683
112%
1109
40%
1815
129%
Colorchecker dE 2000 *
3.18
2.69
15%
4.32
-36%
7.41
-133%
4.52
-42%
Colorchecker dE 2000 max. *
5.86
5.07
13%
7.22
-23%
13.26
-126%
7.6
-30%
Greyscale dE 2000 *
4.2
1.8
57%
3
29%
10.6
-152%
4.2
-0%
Gamma
2.268 97%
2.243 98%
2.268 97%
2.518 87%
2.279 97%
CCT
7234 90%
6622 98%
7098 92%
10050 65%
7309 89%

* ... 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 not detected

In comparison: 53 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 17933 (minimum: 5 - maximum: 3846000) Hz was measured.


CalMAN Grayscale
CalMAN Grayscale
CalMAN color accuracy
CalMAN color accuracy
CalMAN color space
CalMAN color space
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
21.4 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 13.9 ms rise
↘ 7.5 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 0.1 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 41 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (21.5 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
53 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 27.7 ms rise
↘ 25.3 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.2 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 88 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (33.8 ms).

Performance, emissions and battery life - Could use more power

With the Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, CAT integrates the most modern mobile standard, but the SoC does not offer much performance compared to other rugged phones in this price range. Especially the Galaxy XCover 6 Pro is in a completely different league when it comes to processor and graphics performance.

The CAT S53 usually runs without delays in menus, but the phone stutters noticeably in more complex apps or when another process is running in the background. The fact that the system does not feel as smooth is also due to the fact that the smartphone only has a 60 Hz screen and that slower eMMC storage is installed.

With up to 45.1 °C on the front, the CAT S53 can already get quite warm at room temperature under load. It could also become uncomfortable to hold the phone on hot days. However, this does not affect the performance: 99.1% of the initial frame rate is still achieved at the end of the 3DMark stress test.

The speaker is located in the camera module on the back. Not an ideal placement when the phone is resting on a soft surface, but the speaker can get quite loud. This is helpful in noisy work environments.

In terms of sound, trebles are very strongly emphasized, which is also visible in our chart. The music also sounds a bit muffled. A 3.5 mm audio port is available for connecting headphones or speakers, and there is also Bluetooth 5.1 for wireless connections. The modern aptX TWS+ codec is also available, but not the current LHDC variants.

CAT uses a strong 5,500 mAh battery that can be charged with up to 18 watts. However, a suitable charger is not included in the package, only a USB cable. The phone even supports wireless charging with up to 10 watts. The phone's stamina is good, with almost 19 hours in our WLAN test, but charging via cable can take 3 hours or longer.

Geekbench 5.5
Single-Core
Average of class Smartphone
  (119 - 2138, n=216, last 2 years)
914 Points +79%
Samsung Galaxy XCover 6 Pro
Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G 5G, Adreno 642L, 6144
773 Points +52%
Gigaset GX6
MediaTek Dimensity 900, Mali-G68 MP4, 6144
693 Points +36%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G
  (503 - 520, n=9)
511 Points 0%
CAT S53
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, Adreno 619, 6144
510 Points
Nokia XR20
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, Adreno 619, 6144
504 Points -1%
Multi-Core
Average of class Smartphone
  (473 - 6681, n=216, last 2 years)
2997 Points +83%
Samsung Galaxy XCover 6 Pro
Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G 5G, Adreno 642L, 6144
2802 Points +71%
Gigaset GX6
MediaTek Dimensity 900, Mali-G68 MP4, 6144
2095 Points +28%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G
  (1618 - 1713, n=9)
1665 Points +1%
Nokia XR20
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, Adreno 619, 6144
1662 Points +1%
CAT S53
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, Adreno 619, 6144
1642 Points
Geekbench 6.0
Single-Core
Average of class Smartphone
  (188 - 2531, n=44, last 2 years)
1279 Points +87%
CAT S53
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, Adreno 619, 6144
684 Points
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G
  ()
684 Points 0%
Multi-Core
Average of class Smartphone
  (512 - 6460, n=44, last 2 years)
3412 Points +91%
CAT S53
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, Adreno 619, 6144
1787 Points
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G
  ()
1787 Points 0%
3DMark
Wild Life Score
Average of class Smartphone
  (395 - 9839, n=133, last 2 years)
2579 Points +159%
Samsung Galaxy XCover 6 Pro
Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G 5G, Adreno 642L, 6144
2464 Points +147%
Gigaset GX6
MediaTek Dimensity 900, Mali-G68 MP4, 6144
2179 Points +119%
CAT S53
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, Adreno 619, 6144
997 Points
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G
  (980 - 997, n=9)
983 Points -1%
Nokia XR20
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, Adreno 619, 6144
980 Points -2%
Wild Life Unlimited Score
Average of class Smartphone
  (394 - 20068, n=200, last 2 years)
6267 Points +543%
Samsung Galaxy XCover 6 Pro
Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G 5G, Adreno 642L, 6144
2472 Points +154%
Gigaset GX6
MediaTek Dimensity 900, Mali-G68 MP4, 6144
2167 Points +122%
Nokia XR20
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, Adreno 619, 6144
977 Points 0%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G
  (969 - 979, n=9)
975 Points 0%
CAT S53
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, Adreno 619, 6144
974 Points
Wild Life Extreme
Average of class Smartphone
  (22 - 5226, n=204, last 2 years)
1686 Points +470%
Samsung Galaxy XCover 6 Pro
Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G 5G, Adreno 642L, 6144
686 Points +132%
Gigaset GX6
MediaTek Dimensity 900, Mali-G68 MP4, 6144
607 Points +105%
CAT S53
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, Adreno 619, 6144
296 Points
Nokia XR20
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, Adreno 619, 6144
294 Points -1%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G
  (290 - 296, n=8)
293 Points -1%
Wild Life Extreme Unlimited
Average of class Smartphone
  (110 - 5248, n=199, last 2 years)
1695 Points +491%
Samsung Galaxy XCover 6 Pro
Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G 5G, Adreno 642L, 6144
684 Points +138%
Gigaset GX6
MediaTek Dimensity 900, Mali-G68 MP4, 6144
594 Points +107%
Nokia XR20
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, Adreno 619, 6144
287 Points 0%
CAT S53
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, Adreno 619, 6144
287 Points
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G
  (284 - 291, n=8)
286 Points 0%
GFXBench
3840x2160 4K Aztec Ruins High Tier Offscreen
Average of class Smartphone
  (0.38 - 42, n=210, last 2 years)
12.5 fps +331%
Samsung Galaxy XCover 6 Pro
Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G 5G, Adreno 642L, 6144
5.9 fps +103%
Gigaset GX6
MediaTek Dimensity 900, Mali-G68 MP4, 6144
4.4 fps +52%
CAT S53
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, Adreno 619, 6144
2.9 fps
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G
  (2.9 - 2.9, n=2)
2.9 fps 0%
on screen Aztec Ruins High Tier Onscreen
Average of class Smartphone
  (2.8 - 105, n=223, last 2 years)
32.6 fps +72%
Samsung Galaxy XCover 6 Pro
Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G 5G, Adreno 642L, 6144
19 fps 0%
CAT S53
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, Adreno 619, 6144
19 fps
Gigaset GX6
MediaTek Dimensity 900, Mali-G68 MP4, 6144
16 fps -16%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G
  (9.9 - 19, n=9)
12.9 fps -32%
Nokia XR20
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, Adreno 619, 6144
10 fps -47%
CAT S52
Mediatek Helio P35 MT6765, PowerVR GE8320, 4096
4.7 fps -75%
2560x1440 Aztec Ruins High Tier Offscreen
Average of class Smartphone
  (0.85 - 94, n=223, last 2 years)
25.7 fps +295%
Samsung Galaxy XCover 6 Pro
Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G 5G, Adreno 642L, 6144
13 fps +100%
Gigaset GX6
MediaTek Dimensity 900, Mali-G68 MP4, 6144
11 fps +69%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G
  (6.4 - 6.7, n=9)
6.53 fps 0%
Nokia XR20
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, Adreno 619, 6144
6.5 fps 0%
CAT S53
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, Adreno 619, 6144
6.5 fps
CAT S52
Mediatek Helio P35 MT6765, PowerVR GE8320, 4096
1.5 fps -77%
on screen Aztec Ruins Normal Tier Onscreen
Average of class Smartphone
  (3.6 - 123, n=223, last 2 years)
43.9 fps +42%
CAT S53
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, Adreno 619, 6144
31 fps
Samsung Galaxy XCover 6 Pro
Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G 5G, Adreno 642L, 6144
30 fps -3%
Gigaset GX6
MediaTek Dimensity 900, Mali-G68 MP4, 6144
24 fps -23%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G
  (16 - 31, n=9)
20.7 fps -33%
Nokia XR20
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, Adreno 619, 6144
16 fps -48%
CAT S52
Mediatek Helio P35 MT6765, PowerVR GE8320, 4096
7.4 fps -76%
1920x1080 Aztec Ruins Normal Tier Offscreen
Average of class Smartphone
  (2.3 - 229, n=223, last 2 years)
64.6 fps +259%
Samsung Galaxy XCover 6 Pro
Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G 5G, Adreno 642L, 6144
34 fps +89%
Gigaset GX6
MediaTek Dimensity 900, Mali-G68 MP4, 6144
28 fps +56%
Nokia XR20
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, Adreno 619, 6144
18 fps 0%
CAT S53
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, Adreno 619, 6144
18 fps
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G
  (17 - 19, n=9)
18 fps 0%
CAT S52
Mediatek Helio P35 MT6765, PowerVR GE8320, 4096
3.9 fps -78%
on screen Car Chase Onscreen
Average of class Smartphone
  (5 - 117, n=184, last 2 years)
43.3 fps +49%
CAT S53
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, Adreno 619, 6144
29 fps
Samsung Galaxy XCover 6 Pro
Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G 5G, Adreno 642L, 6144
28 fps -3%
Gigaset GX6
MediaTek Dimensity 900, Mali-G68 MP4, 6144
21 fps -28%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G
  (14 - 29, n=6)
18.8 fps -35%
Nokia XR20
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, Adreno 619, 6144
14 fps -52%
CAT S52
Mediatek Helio P35 MT6765, PowerVR GE8320, 4096
4.9 fps -83%
1920x1080 Car Chase Offscreen
Average of class Smartphone
  (2.9 - 166, n=184, last 2 years)
59.9 fps +274%
Samsung Galaxy XCover 6 Pro
Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G 5G, Adreno 642L, 6144
33 fps +106%
Gigaset GX6
MediaTek Dimensity 900, Mali-G68 MP4, 6144
25 fps +56%
Nokia XR20
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, Adreno 619, 6144
16 fps 0%
CAT S53
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, Adreno 619, 6144
16 fps
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G
  (16 - 16, n=6)
16 fps 0%
CAT S52
Mediatek Helio P35 MT6765, PowerVR GE8320, 4096
2.8 fps -82%
Octane V2 - Total Score
Average of class Smartphone
  (4633 - 89112, n=210, last 2 years)
33573 Points +79%
Samsung Galaxy XCover 6 Pro
Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G 5G, Adreno 642L, 6144
25445 Points +36%
Gigaset GX6
MediaTek Dimensity 900, Mali-G68 MP4, 6144
21753 Points +16%
CAT S53
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, Adreno 619, 6144
18774 Points
Nokia XR20
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, Adreno 619, 6144
17816 Points -5%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G
  (15636 - 18774, n=6)
16687 Points -11%
CAT S52
Mediatek Helio P35 MT6765, PowerVR GE8320, 4096
4494 Points -76%
CAT S53CAT S52Gigaset GX6Samsung Galaxy XCover 6 ProNokia XR20Average 128 GB eMMC FlashAverage of class Smartphone
AndroBench 3-5
-45%
43%
66%
35%
-39%
199%
Sequential Read 256KB
510.9
286.2
-44%
953.5
87%
841.6
65%
485
-5%
Sequential Write 256KB
208.2
195.4
-6%
454.7
118%
484.7
133%
452
117%
Random Read 4KB
140.7
76.6
-46%
194.9
39%
170.6
21%
174.8
24%
82.4 ?(8.63 - 247, n=74)
-41%
Random Write 4KB
141.4
21.3
-85%
39.9
-72%
204.2
44%
146.2
3%
Max. Load
 45 °C
113 F
38.4 °C
101 F
37.1 °C
99 F
 
 45.1 °C
113 F
40.4 °C
105 F
37.5 °C
100 F
 
 44.2 °C
112 F
40.3 °C
105 F
36.7 °C
98 F
 
Maximum: 45.1 °C = 113 F
Average: 40.5 °C = 105 F
32.6 °C
91 F
35.3 °C
96 F
43.6 °C
110 F
33.7 °C
93 F
34.4 °C
94 F
40.1 °C
104 F
33.5 °C
92 F
34.8 °C
95 F
37.2 °C
99 F
Maximum: 43.6 °C = 110 F
Average: 36.1 °C = 97 F
Power Supply (max.)  42.6 °C = 109 F | Room Temperature 21.2 °C = 70 F | Fluke t3000FC (calibrated), Voltcraft IR-260
(-) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 40.5 °C / 105 F, compared to the average of 32.7 °C / 91 F for the devices in the class Smartphone.
(-) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 45.1 °C / 113 F, compared to the average of 35 °C / 95 F, ranging from 21.9 to 56 °C for the class Smartphone.
(±) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 43.6 °C / 110 F, compared to the average of 33.8 °C / 93 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 24.1 °C / 75 F, compared to the device average of 32.7 °C / 91 F.
3DMark
Wild Life Extreme Stress Test
Samsung Galaxy XCover 6 Pro
99.6 (4.1min - 4.11max) %
Gigaset GX6
99.4 (3.63min - 3.65max) %
Nokia XR20
99.1 (1.747min - 1.763max) %
Wild Life Stress Test Stability
Gigaset GX6
99.7 (13.1min - 13.1max) % +1%
Nokia XR20
99.6 (5.86min - 5.89max) % +1%
CAT S53
99.1 (5.88min - 5.93max) %
Samsung Galaxy XCover 6 Pro
99 (14.6min - 14.7max) % 0%

Legend

 
CAT S53 Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, Qualcomm Adreno 619, 128 GB eMMC Flash
 
CAT S52 Mediatek Helio P35 MT6765, PowerVR GE8320, 64 GB eMMC Flash
 
Gigaset GX6 MediaTek Dimensity 900, ARM Mali-G68 MP4, 128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy XCover 6 Pro Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G 5G, Qualcomm Adreno 642L, 128 GB UFS 2.2 Flash
 
Nokia XR20 Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, Qualcomm Adreno 619, 128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
Heatmap Front
Heatmap Front
Heatmap Back side
Heatmap Back side
dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2038.635.72537.137.73128264032.933.85031.832.8632628.88022.927.210021.131.512523.734.416018.237.820013.341.925014.54731512.852.340011.455.750011.761.263010.96880015.275.6100012.280.1125012.881.4160010.976.9200010.974.9250011.674.531501273.1400012.972.7500013.681.6630014.383.1800015.177.31000015.773.11250016.569.21600017.469.4SPL25.489.9N0.779.1median 13.3median 73.1Delta2.311.345.643.140.236.733.430.631.232.93537.427.526.920.120.919.624.317.219.715.923.112.435.61249.710.256.210.159.78.763.415.270.516.372.215.674.813.174.511.173.311.57211.771.714.173.114.473.917.769.116.566.316.767.718.171.117.557.818.848.427.183.90.858.2median 15.2median 67.72.711.7hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseCAT S53Nokia XR20
Frequency diagram (checkboxes can be checked and unchecked to compare devices)
CAT S53 audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (89.9 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 32.3% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (7% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | reduced mids - on average 7.2% lower than median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (7.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 3.5% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (5.4% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (20.5% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 28% of all tested devices in this class were better, 9% similar, 63% worse
» The best had a delta of 12%, average was 38%, worst was 134%
Compared to all devices tested
» 49% of all tested devices were better, 8% similar, 43% worse
» The best had a delta of 4%, average was 25%, worst was 134%

Nokia XR20 audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (83.9 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 32.9% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (14.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | higher mids - on average 5.4% higher than median
(+) | mids are linear (5.1% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 3.1% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (4% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (24.2% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 50% of all tested devices in this class were better, 8% similar, 42% worse
» The best had a delta of 12%, average was 38%, worst was 134%
Compared to all devices tested
» 69% of all tested devices were better, 6% similar, 25% worse
» The best had a delta of 4%, average was 25%, worst was 134%

Battery Runtime
WiFi Websurfing
18h 55min
CAT S53
5500 mAh
CAT S52
3100 mAh
Gigaset GX6
5000 mAh
Samsung Galaxy XCover 6 Pro
4050 mAh
Nokia XR20
4630 mAh
Battery Runtime
-44%
-12%
-32%
-18%
WiFi v1.3
1135
637
-44%
1002
-12%
768
-32%
927
-18%
Reader / Idle
1321
1786
H.264
856
895
Load
266
301

Pros

+ bright flashlight integrated
+ stable and protected
+ 5G cell phone
+ no PWM flickering
+ long runtimes
+ true color screen
+ wireless charging

Cons

- heavy and bulky
- mediocre camera quality
- significant heating under load
- no charger included
- outdated software
- lame memory

Verdict - Bulky outdoor phone with good runtimes

In review: CAT S53. Test device provided by:
In review: CAT S53. Test device provided by:
cyberport.com

The CAT S53 is a classic ruggedized phone that is well protected against environmental influences and drops thanks to its bulky and heavy chassis. It comes with 5G, NFC, wireless charging, and a color-accurate screen.

The battery runtimes are convincing, the fingerprint sensor and touchscreen work reliably, and the bright integrated flashlight keeps the user safe even in dark environments. On the other hand, every smartphone nowadays offers a permanently activatable LED flash, so an additional flashlight is probably just a nice gadget in the end.

However, the outdated security patches and the outdated Android 11 are annoying for private users. The manufacturer does not specify whether updates are still planned. The camera is more suitable for snapshots and documenting processes than for real photo enthusiasts and the performance is sufficient but lags behind other outdoor phones in the price range.

Environmental influences leave the CAT S53 cold, and thanks to 5G, NFC, and a large battery, the equipment is decent. However, there are slimmer and more powerful alternatives without gimmicks for the price.

Similar strong battery runtimes are almost not available anywhere but much lighter phones with a more restrained design are available, while Samsung Galaxy XCover 6 Pro even lets you swap the battery. Gigaset GX6 also has a removable battery and a fast 120 Hz display.

Price and availability

The CAT S53 is available directly from the manufacturer https://www.catphones.com/de-de/cat-s53/at a price of 549 Euros. The rugged phone can also be found at this price on amazon.de.

Our lending partner cyberport.de even grants a significant discount and sells the outdoor phone for 476 Euros at the time of testing. Some even cheaper offers can be found on the Internet.

CAT S53 - 04/17/2023 v7
Florian Schmitt

Chassis
85%
Keyboard
67 / 75 → 90%
Pointing Device
93%
Connectivity
50 / 70 → 72%
Weight
86%
Battery
92%
Display
85%
Games Performance
24 / 64 → 38%
Application Performance
60 / 86 → 70%
Temperature
88%
Noise
100%
Audio
70 / 90 → 78%
Camera
48%
Average
73%
78%
Smartphone - Weighted Average

Transparency

The present review sample was made available to the author as a loan by the manufacturer or a shop for the purposes of review. The lender had no influence on this review, nor did the manufacturer receive a copy of this review before publication. There was no obligation to publish this review.

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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > Reviews > CAT S53 review - Rugged, waterproof phone with 5G
Florian Schmitt, 2023-04-18 (Update: 2023-04-18)