CAT S60, S61 & S62 Pro Phones vs FLIR Thermal Cameras
Caterpillar phones or CAT phones are highly rugged smartphones. One of their unique features is the integration of a FLIR thermal imaging camera sensor alongside the more 'usual' specs you'd expect in a smartphone.
Not All Cat Phones Have a FLIR Thermal Camera
The Cat S60 was the first smartphone with an integrated but basic FLIR lepton thermal sensor. Since then they have released the Cat S61 and Cat S62 Pro with slightly improved thermal imaging performance.
At the time of writing the above models are the only Cat phones with thermal imaging. The Cat 31, Cat 41, Cat 42, and Cat 52 do not include thermal imaging.
Cat Phone Thermal Imaging Specs
CAT seems to like hiding the actual thermal imaging specifications from all marketing materials. For the Cat 60 I had to dig up an old user manual to reveal the crucial details, which you normally wouldn't see until after purchasing the device.
For the newer Cat 62 Pro they don't even mention the thermal resolution anywhere. Thankfully, FLIR put out a media release which clarifies some of the details (link).
Image from engadget who accidentally broke their CAT S60 when reviewing it.
For comparison sake, and to aid your decision, I've prepared a table below showing three FLIR thermal imaging camera options against the CAT phones. The notably 'better' specs are highlighted in green.
CAT S60, S61 & S62 Pro vs. FLIR
|Model||CAT S60||CAT S61||CAT S62 Pro|
|Thermal Resolution||80 x 60||80 x 60||160 x 120|
|Temperature Range||-20 to 120°C||-20 to 400°C||-20 to 400°C|
|Model||FLIR One Pro||FLIR C5||FLIR E8 XT|
|Thermal Resolution||160 x 120||160 x 120||320 x 240|
|Temperature Range||-20 to 400°C||-20 to 400°C||-20˚C to 550˚C|
With the latest Cat S62 it seems like Cat phones have caught with the FLIR One Pro. However, I'd still generally recommend the FLIR One Pro attachment for the following reasons:
- You can use it with your existing smartphone. This will turn your existing phone into a thermal imager for about half the price of upgrading to the CAT S62 Pro.
- You only tend to need thermal imaging some of the time. For this reason, a separate attachment can be better than a fully integrated phone. If, for example, you prefer the features of an Apple iPhone to a CAT phone.
- Cat specs have tended to lag FLIR's release cycle. Based on past experience with the S60 and S61, you might get stuck with a poorer performing thermal camera than can be purchased directly from the FLIR range. I note, for example, that Cat does not disclose the thermal sensitivity of their latest phones. This is a critical thermal imaging specification for which the FLIR branded units possibly beat even the latest S62.
The FLIR One Pro offers the best of both worlds for many users: your preferred smartphone (such as an Apple iPhone) and thermal imaging functionality.
Is It The Right Tool for the Job?
Don't forget that both the CAT phones and the FLIR One Pro are regarded as entry-level thermal cameras.
If you're using thermal imaging professionally, you will likely be much better off purchasing a standalone thermal imaging camera. A standalone thermal camera is a device such as the FLIR C5 or FLIR E8 XT mentioned above.
Our most popular range with electricians and other trades is the FLIR Ex XT Series. I suggest you also check those out before making your purchase decision.