A construction site is noisy, dirty and sometimes wet – a toxic environment for smartphones. Actually, because construction site cell phones can still cope with the adverse conditions.

IP68 and IP69 are the magic formulas for outdoor cell phones. The certificates certify that smartphones and mobile phones are dust and water resistant up to 1.5 meters for a maximum of 30 minutes (IP68). IP69 states that the devices are protected against a direct jet of water. And both are more important for construction site cell phones than performance or photo quality.

But protection is by no means the only interesting feature of a construction site cell phone, because some functions mutate it into an all-purpose tool. Sure, every newer smartphone with the appropriate app becomes a spirit level, but very few have a thermal imaging camera – that’s what you get in a premium construction site cell phone.

Construction site cell phone: Cat S62 Pro

And that premium phone is the Caterpillar (Cat) S62 Pro. The manufacturer should be familiar to most craftsmen, as the company based in Deerfield (US state of Illinois) is the world’s largest manufacturer of construction machinery. The technical specifications of the smartphone are impressive: 6 gigabytes of RAM are just as convincing as 128 gigabytes of internal memory.

According to the manufacturer, the built-in Gorilla Glass 6 is extremely scratch-resistant. The S62 Pro is water and dustproof according to the protection standard IP68 and IP69. This means that it can dive to a maximum depth of 1.5 meters for up to 30 minutes. IP69 states that it is also protected against a targeted jet of water. According to the manufacturer, the smartphone also survives falls from a height of up to 1.8 meters.

So far, so normal, so extraordinary is the thermal imaging camera of the Cat S62 Pro. Thermal imaging cameras are used on construction sites to detect drafts, moisture, blockages or increased temperatures. In fact, they cost as much as a smartphone. Caterpillar installed a Lepton 3.5 sensor from Flir in the S62 Pro. Flir is a renowned manufacturer of thermal imaging cameras. Practical when craftsmen want to use thermal imaging to quickly find and solve problems.

Nice: The display can also be operated with wet fingers or gloves. There is also an orange button under a small cover on the left side, which is freely configurable. It can be set as an SOS button that automatically sends an SMS or email to employees when clicked. Helpful when craftsmen work alone on a remote part of the construction site and have an accident.

Conclusion: The Cat S62 Pro is the all-rounder on the construction site. Other outdoor cell phones from well-known manufacturers cannot keep up with the S62 Pro. This is not only due to the thermal imaging camera, but also to the freely configurable emergency button. All smartphones offer similar functions, but only indirectly. iPhones, for example, dial emergency calls when the user presses the side button five times.

Gigaset GX290

With the GX290 Plus, the German manufacturer Gigaset also offers a model that is suitable for the construction site. According to the manufacturer, its robust and somewhat clumsy exterior protects the smartphone from falls of up to 1.2 meters. Its 6.1-inch display with HD resolution is protected by Gorilla Glass 3. Compared to displays without Gorilla Glass, this is more scratch-resistant and dirt-resistant.

Of course, the Gigaset GX290 is also dustproof and waterproof to a depth of 1.5 meters. The battery of the smartphone is particularly generous with 6200 mAh. According to the manufacturer, it lasts up to 600 hours in stand-by mode if only one SIM card is active in the phone. It takes up to three hours for the battery to be fully charged.

Conclusion: The Gigaset GX290 is the right smartphone for nature lovers. The battery is particularly large. It is therefore also suitable for extensive hiking tours. According to Gigaset, it is also increasingly using recycled and recyclable materials and produces mainly – but not exclusively – in Germany.

Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro

The world market leader Samsung also has an outdoor smartphone on offer, namely the XCover Pro. As with the Cat and Gigaset smartphones, the XCover Pro shines more through its outer than inner values. Although it doesn’t have the rugged look that is usual for outdoor smartphones, it still survives falls from a height of up to 1.5 meters.

Samsung also uses Gorilla Glass 5. As a reminder: Gigaset uses Gorilla Glass 3 for the GX290, Cat uses Gorilla Glass 6 for the S62 Pro. Logical: With Gorilla Glass, the strength and thus the resistance to scratches and breakage increases with each generation. Of course, the Samsung XCover Pro is also IP68 certified, making it dustproof and waterproof to a depth of 1.5 meters. If the cell phone falls into a puddle, it will survive.

As usual for Samsung, the manufacturer relies on OLED technology for the display. In addition, the XCover Pro is particularly large compared to other construction site cell phones. The display measures a full 6.3 inches diagonally and has a resolution of 1080 x 2340 pixels.

The outdoor all-rounder from Samsung has two lenses on the back: a macro lens with eight megapixel resolution and a main camera with 25 megapixels. The battery is significantly smaller compared to the Gigaset GX290 with 4050 mAh.

Conclusion: Compared to the Gigaset GX290, the Xcover Pro from Samsung is the more powerful smartphone because the camera and display are better. However, the battery is a bit smaller. The ideal smartphone for leisure outdoor fans. On the construction site, however, the Cat S62 Pro is the better choice.

Cat B40: Das Feature-Phone

The Cat B40 is a so-called feature phone. The term sounds a bit more noble than “mobile phone”, but means nothing more than what people defined by it before the first iPhone. Accordingly, the Cat B40 is reduced to the essentials and that is communication with the employees.

It also costs only a fraction of a smartphone. Of course, it is IP68 and 69 certified, making it waterproof and dustproof. Beautiful: Cat provides all external components of the B40 with silver particles. It therefore offers antimicrobial protection and is therefore germ-free according to the manufacturer. Ideal when several people come into contact with the device. Practical: the cell phone has a small flashlight.

Conclusion: The Cat B40 is the perfect mobile phone for multiple hands and all workers who would rather make calls than text forever.

Nokia 800 Tough

The Nokia 800 Tough is a bit smarter than the Cat B40. What Nokia and Cat have in common is that the Tough 800 is also a phone running KaiOS as the operating system. Kai what? KaiOS is programmed by the company of the same name from Hong Kong.

Anyone who thinks prematurely that this is an operating system from the Far East is half wrong. KaiOS is based on FirefoxOS, which in turn is based on Linux – i.e. the open source operating system that the Finn Linus Torvald more or less developed in the early 1990s programmed by mistake and which has always enjoyed increasing popularity. Apps from the KaiOS store can be installed on the mobile phone. Among them are YouTube, Facebook and WhatsApp.

According to the manufacturer, the Nokia 800 Tough survives falls from a height of 1.8 meters. Like every outdoor smartphone, it is IP68 certified and therefore waterproof to a depth of 1.5 meters. Unfortunately, Nokia fails to include Gorilla Glass in the phone. The display is therefore not really scratch-resistant.

According to the manufacturer, the cell phone corresponds to the US military standard MIL-STD-810. And it says that a cell phone has to withstand low air pressure, high and low temperatures, temperature shocks, solar radiation, rain, fungal attack, salt spray and much more.

Conclusion: The Nokia 800 Tough is the right mobile phone for people who are exposed to really extreme situations. Anyone waiting for the high cable car on a glacier can access it here.

This article was first published in May 2021.

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Sources: Computerbild.deChip.de Techstage.de