CNET First Look
Rugged CAT B15Q tackles falls and splashes in styleCaterpillar's CAT B15Q smartphone takes a beating without being bulky, but a poor display sours the experience.
Hey, I'm Nate and today we're checking out the rugged CAT B15 Q. Now the phone comes to us from Caterpillar, a company that's probably better known for those big yellow construction vehicles. I doubt this is going to be able to stand up to quite as much punishment as those behemoths, but it's definitely built to last, and starts at 350 dollars unlocked. The specs here aren't really impressive. The 4 inch screen has a measly 800 by 480 pixel resolution. And doesn't hold up too well in direct sunlight. Viewing angles aren't great either. Color's look fine, but hold the phone at the wrong angle, and the contrast degradation becomes really noticeable. There's also only 4 gigs of total storage space. It does have a micro SD card slot, though, which supports up to 32 GB card so, you're gonna wanna pick one up, if you plan on installing many apps. Performance, on the other hand, isn't that bad. A 1.3 GHz quad core CPU isn't all that stellar on paper, but the phone never got in the way as I flipped through apps and websites during my testing. More importantly, simple, casual games like Angry Birds, Transformers handled really well. So any down time can be spent productively to the 5 megapixs of camera on the back. And while I was able to tip off the occasional and usable shot in ideal conditions, bright lighting and that sort of thing. It mostly cranks out grainy, noisy shots. The autofocus cells are pretty sluggish so youre going to want to stick to slow moving or static options. But you're probably aren't buying the rugged smart phone for gaming or photography. This thing is solid with a scratch resistant gorilla glass display. It's also pretty light, just under six ounces. That's thanks to the silver anodized aluminum body. Rubber bumpers keep the corners safe and also make sure the phone is really comfortable to hold. The B15Q is IP67 certified. That means it's dust-proof and water resistant, in this case up to three feet for 30 minutes. The phone's USB port and headphone jacks are covered, and you'll get a little warning when unplugging the phone or removing the headphones, reminding you to seal it back up. Pretty nice touch. Now, on the back, you'll find the locking switch. Slide it over to the right and you'll see the yellow. That means it's unlocked. And then you're gonna pry the back lid off. It's a little tough to get off, which is a good thing, actually, because that's how the phone keeps its water resistance. Underneath, you'll find the 2,000 milliamp hour battery. The micro c card slot and a SIM card slot. This particular model has dual SIM slots. So that's the [UNKNOWN] B15Q. Now if you're just a little clumsy this phone is probably gonna be overkill, especially at $350, but if you work outdoors of spend a lot of time camping and are worried about, you know, dropping your phone in inclement weather- This is going to be a pretty strong contender. The glossy display does give me pause though. So you're going to want to be aware if you spend a lot of time in bright sunny areas. I'm Nate Ralph. Thanks for watching