7 July 2013

REVIEW: CAT B15 Rugged Smartphone

Nobody's pussy cat.

CAT: to us a company that has always been synonymous with making shoes and really big diggers. So, if you are a successful multinational that has already conquered the shoe and big digger worlds, your next logical move would be to release a mobile phone. Wouldn't it?

In CAT's case, that's just what they've done; by releasing the curious looking B15 Android Smartphone. But before you scratch your chins and wonder why a company like CAT would do that, you must first understand that if it ever came down to a physical fist fight between all the phones on the planet, the B15 would win. That is because this is the TOUGHEST PHONE IN THE WORLD.

Look at it, just look at it. Only a mother could love that. Scratch proof, dust proof, water resistant... the CAT B15 has been purposefully designed without a care for elegance and instead as been made TO BE TOUGH. Rubberised on all four corners and sturdy metal along the sides, the phone is blocky and solid yet remarkably light despite all that armour.

The four inch screen sits behind a layer of Gorilla Glass, the headphone and USB/charger ports are tucked away underneath rubber caps and the battery compartment is shielded by a thick plastic panel complete with rubber seals and a slide lock. Holding this phone makes you feel invincible, like you could take a call on Mars or use it to fend off a hungry bear. GRRRR, MAN PHONE!

But despite all these external distractions, when it comes down to it the B15 is actually a very good day-to-day smartphone. Call quality is crisp and clear and the built in speaker packs quite a punch. The multi-touch capacitive touchscreen is very responsive and of course there is wifi and bluetooth.

Android 4.1 runs very smoothly inside, thanks to the Duel Core 1GHz processor and everything you would expect from a modern phone is present. You get 4GB of internal storage, expandable up to 32GB via the micro SD slot and a five mega pixel camera. But you also get something most other phones can't offer.

As we were using the B15 we found that our hand confidence grew. What we mean is that instead of carefully extracting it from our pockets as we would with any other phone - pinching it by the edges and fearing it slipping from our hands - we seized it up without fear and gripped it tightly and soundly. Its almost like having the best most reassuring protective case in the world wrapped around your phone, but without the extra bulk. Yes, the B15 is thicker than the average smartphone, but nowhere near as chunky as all that protection actually offers.

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Although there are some other mobile manufacturers who have water resistant phones out on the market, all of these seem suitable only for staying dry during a light shower or resisting a few splashes of a spilt drink. The CAT B15 goes further than that and we are sure you wouldn't think twice (nor cack your pants) were you to drop it into a muddy puddle from ear height.

You may look at it and think it's purely a phone for a builder, and certainty CAT has heavily considered the needs of the people who may drive their own brand of diggers for a living. But the B15 is also a very good phone, suitable for every occasion and profession. At last, we don't have to treat our mobiles like delicate crystal sculptures.

Around £280

Visit www.catphones.com

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