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Kyocera DuraForce Ultra 5G UW vs. Cat S62 Pro: What’s the world’s best rugged phone?

duraforce ultra vs s62 pro
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

While smartphones have gotten tougher overall, there’s still a demand for rugged phones that target people working in demanding environments. A Kyocera DuraForce 5G UW vs. Cat S62 Pro face-off will show which is the best choice if you need a phone that can stand up to harsh conditions that would turn most of today’s mainstream phones into a pile of shattered glass and broken dreams . 

Outside their target market — think construction sites, factories and the like — these two phones aren’t going to draw in any regular consumers. They serve a specific niche and perform more than adequately for those scenarios.

But if you or your company needs to get a rugged phone, these are the two most recent releases worth considering. Both the Kyocera DuraForce 5G UW and Cat S62 are insanely durable, boasting batteries that last more than 12 hours and some extra features you’ll never find on a mainstream smartphone. Here’s a closer look at how the two phones compare. 

Kyocera DuraForce Ultra 5G UW vs. Cat S62 Pro: Specs 

Kyocera DuraForce Ultra 5G UWCat S62 Pro
Starting price$899$649
Screen size5.45-inch IPS LCD (2160 x 1080)5.7-inch TFT LCD (2160 x 1080)
CPUSnapdragon 765GSnapdragon 660
RAM6GB6GB
Storage / Expandable128GB / Yes128GB / Yes
Rear cameras24MP (f/1.8), 16MP ultrawide (f/2.2)12MP (f/1.8)
Front cameras8MP (f/2.0)8MP
Water/dust resistanceIPX5/IPX8, IP6XIP68, IP69
Battery size4,500 mAh4,000 mAh
Battery life (Hrs:Mins)12:2912:16
Size6.5 x 2.95 x 0.63 inches6.24 x 3 x 0.47 inches
Weight9.81 ounces8.75 ounces

Kyocera DuraForce Ultra 5G UW vs. Cat S62 Pro: Price and availability 

Kyocera and Verizon teamed up for the DuraForce Ultra, making it an exclusive to Big Red. You can grab one for $899, which puts the DuraForce Ultra 5Gt smack dab in the middle of iPhone 12 and Galaxy S21 territory, both of which start below $899. There’s only one model of the DuraForce Ultra with 128GB of storage and 6GB of RAM. 

The Cat S62 Pro is available from Cat for $649 with 128GB of storage and 6GB of RAM. It features lower-tier specs than the DuraForce Ultra, so the lower price difference shouldn’t surprise you. However, you’ll spend less on the S62 Pro while still getting the same amount of things done. There’s just no carrier partnership to fall back on, and that’s how a lot of people buy their phones in the U.S.

Winner: Cat S62 Pro 

Kyocera DuraForce Ultra 5G UW vs. Cat S62 Pro: Design 

kyocera duraforce ultra vs cat s62 pro

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Design makes or breaks a rugged phone. In the case of the DuraForce Ultra and S62 Pro, both are built to survive water, dust, drops, and almost anything else you can think of.

The DuraForce Ultra can withstand 1.5 meter drops onto concrete, and it can hold off dust thanks to its IP6X certification. The phone will also survive 2 meters underwater for 30 minutes. The Sapphire Shield Display protects the display from scratches and cracks. The DuraForce Ultra can shrug off shock, too. It’s a hefty device at 9.8 ounces and quite tall at 6.2 inches.

The S62 Pro, meanwhile, is a smaller phone with a rubberized back for that extra grip. (Note that it picks up and holds onto dust pretty easily.) The Cat phone sports IP68 and IP69 standards, which means that the phone can survive underwater up to 1.3 meters and resist dust entirely. According to Cat, the S62 Pro can survive a fall onto steel from 6 feet. That’s a bit higher up than the DuraForce’s 1.5 meter drop onto concrete.

kyocera duraforce ultra vs cat s62 pro

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

I dropped both phones onto a brick surface from about 6.5 feet in the air. They survived with just tiny scuff marks on the frames.

Both phones are certified for MIL-STD-810H durability, but the DuraForce Ultra is also supposedly usable underwater. When I attempted to use the touchscreen underwater, it was unresponsive. I turned on glove mode thinking it might help, but the phone resisted all my efforts, so good thing there’s a dedicated camera button if you want to take photos underwater.

All that said, the DuraForce Ultra can survive greater depths, so it wins this round.

Winner: Kyocera DuraForce Ultra 5G UW 

Kyocera DuraForce Ultra 5G UW vs. Cat S62 Pro: Display 

kyocera duraforce ultra 5g uw

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

I wasn’t wowed by the displays on either phone. Whether you’re looking at the screen of the DuraForce Ultra of the Cat S62 Pro, you’ll see dull colors are dull, limited viewing angles and a drab overall look. Both phones use LCDs, but the S62 Pro turns to a TFT LCD while the DuraForce Ultra has an IPS LCD. Both produce crushed blacks that don’t look natural. The Kyocera can get brighter than the Cat — 849 nits to the Cat phone’s 495 readout.

The DuraForce Ultra reproduced 89.5% of the sRGB spectrum and 63.4% of DCI-P3. The S62 Pro fared better, with 137.9% of the sRGB gamut and 97.7% of DCI-P3.

cat s62 pro

(Image credit: Toms' Guide)

These displays won’t win awards, especially since neither impresses in person., but they get the job done.The DuraForce Ultra wins out with its better brightness, perfect for working outdoors in direct sunlight.

Winner: Kyocera DuraForce Ultra 5G UW 

Kyocera DuraForce Ultra 5G UW vs. Cat S62 Pro: Performance 

No one expects these rugged phones to be powerhouses capable of taking on the best phones — and a good thing, since neither the DuraForce Ultra nor the S62 Pro defy that expectation. 

Kyocera opted for a Snapdragon 765G with the DuraForce Ultra, the same chip that we saw in the Pixel 5, Pixel 4a 5G, and some other recent releases. This phone has 6GB to go along with that system-on-chip. With the S62 Pro, Cat went with a Snapdragon 660 processor and 6GB of RAM. It’s not a bad chip, but the 765G will obviously perform better.  

kyocera duraforce ultra vs cat s62 pro

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

In Geekbench 5, the DuraForce Ultra scored 619 in single-core and 1,883 in multicore — that beats the Pixel 4a 5G’s respective results of 598 and 1,614. The S62 Pro scored a mere 295 in single-core and 1,422 in multicore. 

The Kyocera is much more powerful than the Cat. The latter can lag when opening apps from the Recents menu and it just has this sluggish feel to it. The DuraForce isn’t all that much better, but it’s more responsive when scrolling through apps and webpages.

Winner: Kyocera DuraForce Ultra 5G UW 

 Kyocera DuraForce Ultra 5G UW vs. Cat S62 Pro: Battery life and charging

Both the DuraForce Ultra and S62 Pro scored very highly on the Tom’s Guide battery test, right up there with the devices on our best phone battery life list. In this test, a phone is left to endlessly reload webpages over a cellular connection until they die. Ten hours is the average mark.

kyocera duraforce ultra vs cat s62 pro

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Kyocera features a 4,500 mAh battery while the Cat has a 4,000 mAh battery, but despite those differences in battery size, these two phones ran neck and neck for battery longevity. The DuraForce Ultra (with 5G support) managed 12 hours and 29 minutes, while the S62 Pro came in at 12 hours and 16 minutes. The Cat impressed us, given that it’is using a smaller battery and lasted just 13 minutes less than the Kyocera.

We also tested charge times at the 15-minute and 30-minute markers. The DuraForce Ultra was able to get to 18% in 15 minutes and 40% in 30 minutes. The S62 Pro recharged to 17% in 15 minutes and 37% in 30 minutes. 

Winner: Kyocera DuraForce Ultra 5G UW 

Kyocera DuraForce Ultra 5G UW vs. Cat S62 Pro: Camera, software, and other features 

The DuraForce Ultra has two cameras: a 24MP main shooter paired with a 16MP ultrawide lens. Around the front is a 8MP selfie cam. Kyocera says that you can shoot photos and videos underwater easily.

The S62 Pro uses a single 12MP sensor for its photos and a 8MP sensor on the front. And while it will never come close to matching the output from the best camera phones, the S62 Pro has a trick up its sleeve — FLIR thermal imaging. It’s a really neat tool, great for certain industries where thermal imaging is more widely used and valuable, such as construction and home repair. 

That said, these phones produce very lackluster photos. Just look at the slider above. The DuraForce Ultra’s shot is way too bright, with the exposure cranked up. The S62’s image of the produce stand is a bit dimmer, but lacks proper focus. It’s also odd how the S62 Pro managed to make the lemons look more orange. Overall the S62’s photo proved better than the DuraForce Ultra’s, though you’ll want to restrict photos to shots on a job site and not sweeping vistas or intimate portraits.

Both phones run Android 10, unfortunately, though an upgrade to Android 11 will come later. They also have minimal software tweaks, making your experience all feel like stock Android. On both phones, you have some extra options in Settings for assigning the programmable keys, including a Push-to-Talk feature (aka walkie talkie). The DuraForce Ultra also has a dedicated camera key and SOS button.

kyocera duraforce ultra vs cat s62 pro

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Though both are unfortunately stuck on Android 10 — which is almost two years old at this point — the camera performance in the tiebreaker. Since it produced a much better shot, the Cat S62 Pro wins this round. 

Winner: Cat S62 Pro

Kyocera DuraForce Ultra 5G UW vs. Cat S62 Pro: Verdict 

Kyocera DuraForce Ultra 5G UWCat S62 Pro
Price (10 points)67
Design (20 points)1816
Display (15 points)108
Performance (10 point)75
Battery life (20 points)2019
Cameras (10 points)46
Software (15 points)1313
Overall (100 points)7874

Both the Kyocera DuraForce Ultra 5G UW and Cat S62 Pro are solid rugged phones. They can survive harsh conditions, add some useful tools for workers who need them, and they last a very long time as far as smartphone batteries go.

However, the DuraForce Ultra is a better option for people who want the best rugged phone available. It has the better display (especially brightness), more horsepower, and it supports Verizon’s mmWave 5G.

kyocera duraforce ultra vs cat s62 pro

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

While the Cat S62 Pro is a good alternative — and the FLIR stuff is really cool — it just falls behind the DuraForce Ultra, especially since it lacks 5G support. The $250 difference may attract people who don’t want to pay flagship phone prices, though.

Otherwise, if you or your company need a durable phone, the DuraForce Ultra is the way to go.

Jordan Palmer

Jordan is the Phones Editor for Tom's Guide, covering all things phone-related. He loves nothing more than relaxing in his home with a book, game, or his latest personal writing project. It's hard to nail down one thing that Jordan is passionate about, since his attention span for a single given topic or activity doesn't last long. Jordan tends to lurk on social media, but you can best reach him on Twitter: @jccpalmer — his Instagram feed is mostly photos of his cat.