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Cat S48c phone for Verizon is burly, and tough as nails

It's billed as shatterproof, dust-proof and resistant to extreme cold and heat.

Sarah Tew/CNET

You never realize just how fragile your everyday smartphone is until you hold a rugged phone in your hand. The folks at Verizon clearly agree -- soon, the rough 'n' ready Cat S48c phone will join Big Red.

Rugged phones are built to survive drops, extreme temperature, sand, humidity, dust and vibration in intensities that could crack, shock or otherwise damage your run-of-the-mill phone. They're not pretty, they're not advanced and you won't use them to take dreamy portrait photos, but they get the job done in challenging conditions.

As such, the Cat S48c isn't a phone most people would pocket themselves, but you can buy it a the end of January from Verizon if you'd like. It's currently on sale for companies to buy for their employees. Think construction workers, Antarctic explorers and people who do remote field work. Units cost $250 with a two-year contract or $600 all-in.

While you might not be trying to cram this thick, rubberized phone into your own pocket, the Cat S48c's readiness for extreme environments illustrates another way that smartphones are powerful and important tools.

Now playing: Watch this: Cat S48c is your phone for glaciers and deserts
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Cat S48c specs

  • Temperature extremes of -13 degrees F to 131 degrees F for up to 24 hours
  • Waterproof for up to 35 minutes in 4 feet of water
  • 13-megapixel camera that works underwater
  • 5-megapixel front-facing camera
  • 4,000mAh battery (up to 30 hours to 4G talk time)
  • Dedicated convenience key you can program to launch an app
  • 5-inch 1080-pixel display with Gorilla Glass 5
  • Qualcomm 630 chipset (2.2GHz octa-core)
  • Android 8.0 Oreo
  • 32GB storage/4GB RAM

Article posted Jan.10 at 6:00 am PT. Updated: 9:00am PT to correct an error. The phone will sell to the general public.

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