Meet the First Phone with a Thermal Camera

With most smartphone makers trying to outdo each other with thinner, sleeker designs, few stop to consider how rugged professionals like contractors or farmers can be overlooked. Even though these people often find themselves in places that put their phones in danger, don’t they deserve something pretty and innovative too?

That’s the idea behind Cat’s $599 S60 smartphone. Due out in early June, the S60 not only features a slick, rugged chassis, relatively modern components and durability that exceeds a mil-spec 810 rating, but it’s also the first phone in the world to include a built-in thermal camera.

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The thermal cam comes from a partnership with thermal imaging company Flir, which took the Lepton heat-seeing system from its existing Flir One smartphone add-on and embedded it right into the body of Cat’s S60. The system includes Flir’s 80 x 60 longwave infrared imager (LWIR) and its signature MSX image overlay tech so that the S60 can record temperatures from -4 to 248 degrees Fahrenheit at distances of up to 100 feet. This allows you to spot leaks in your pipes or engine, sneaky animals hanging out in the dark, or just how hot your coffee is simply by placing it in the camera’s viewfinder. And for when you just want a normal photo, the S60 features a 13-megapixel camera in back and a 5-MP camera up front.

But the S60 isn’t a one-trick pony. Cat made sure its newest phone can withstand drops of up to 5 feet 11 inches onto concrete, while also featuring all-day IP-68 dust and water protection. If complete resistance to a dunk isn’t enough, you can flip a couple switches on the phone, and increase water resistance to 16 feet for up to an hour.

The rest of the specs aren’t too shabby either. The S60 features a Snapdragon 617 CPU, 3GB of RAM, and 32GB of on-board storage with a microSD card slot for adding more capacity. The S60's 4.7-inch super bright HD screen is covered by Corning’s Gorilla Glass 4. The S60 also comes with Android 6.0 (Marshmallow), a massive 3,800 mAh battery and two bonus physical buttons on the side — one for the camera, and another that can be programmed in the OS.

While the phone is a little pricey at $599, if Cat can deliver, this might be the perfect device should you wander into the more rocky and unfriendly parts of the world. Cat will show off the phone at Mobile World Congress, which starts Feb. 22, so make sure to check back with us for an update with hands-on impressions of the S60, along with everything else that’s going to be announced in Barcelona.

Sam is a Senior Writer at Engadget and previously worked at Gizmodo as a Senior Reporter. Before that, he worked at Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag as a Staff Writer and Senior Product Review Analyst, overseeing benchmarks and testing for countless product reviews. He was also an archery instructor and a penguin trainer too (really).