Is The CAT S41 The Toughest Phone Ever? We Put It To The Test

By Tom Pritchard on at

Last week CAT announced a brand new phone, the latest in its line of rugged phones designed to handle more things than the pansy-ass phones produced by the likes of Apple and Samsung. Those need to be wrapped up in big cases to even hope of surviving. This is the S41, and it's supposed to last through thick and thin.

So I've decided to put the claims to the test, and seeing some of the everyday torture the phone might come across during its lifespan. Bare in mine that this everyday damage. I had to promise I wouldn't do anything too extreme like drive a car over it. So don't expect that, a blender, a hydraulic press, or anything like that.

First up is the knife test.

Rewatching this video makes me cringe, particularly when I get to the end when I'm dragging the knife across the display. I could feel it scraping against the screen, and was sure that putting a bit of force behind it would leave a mark. But it did not. Granted it's quite difficult to see because it's a black glass screen.

The knife is quite sharp too. Not the sharpest knife in my arsenal, but it's the only one really suitable for this type of work. I'd just snapped off a new blade too, so it was nice and fresh. Still, nothing.

Again keys did nothing. I've had keys scratch old phones before (admittedly only after a lot of exposure and only very faintly), but they still did naught to the S41.

Hell it didn't do much more than flinch when I hit it with a hammer.

You can see the LCD display flashing under the pressure, but they all do that if you push a little bit too hard so it's not a huge deal. Unfortunately it didn't do much else to the crap broken Nokia Lumia I've had lying around for years, and if anything I was willing to hit that harder.

The only damage I could really inflict on this on the S41 was dropping it in my back yard and accidentally hitting the metal grate that's there for unknown reasons. Even then that damage was purely cosmetic, and only affected the phone's outer case. The phone still works fine, and the display is totally unaffected.

The first drop, which was directly on concrete, had the phone come out unscathed. In fact I've spent the last couple of days tossing this around the house, and there were zero ill effects. It was only that metal grate that did the damage. So, erm, keep a watch out for metal grates if you've got butter fingers.

Last but not least we have the waterproofing test. The S41 is supposed to be able to last 60 minutes in up to two metres of fresh water. I only left it in for half an hour, and here's a hyperlapse of 15 minutes of that (sped up 32 times).

The screen didn't seem to work when it was completely submerged (there is a water mode specifically for underwater photography that works round this), but otherwise everything was working perfectly. It was the first thing I did too, so it's continued to work long after its bath.

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