Caterpillar CAT S42 rugged Android smartphone review

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REVIEW – Lately I have been enjoying testing and reviewing Android smartphones and comparing them to my experience with my iPhone 10 Xs MAX. While in many ways this might not be a fair comparison for many off-brand Android smartphones, I have found that I have been liking what I have been experiencing with many of them. For this review, I am testing the Caterpillar CAT S42 Smartphone.

What is it?

The CAT S42 Smartphone runs on the Android 10 Operating System. Features include IP68 water/dust resistance, a Mediatek Heli A20 MT processor, a 13MP rear camera with PDAF, 32GB of internal storage, a 4,200 mAh battery, and compliance with MIL-SPEC 810H.

What’s in the box

1 x Caterpillar CAT S42 Smartphone
I x AC Adapter
1 x Micro USB Charging Cable
1 x User Manual
1 x Warranty Booklet
1 x Factory-fitted Screen Protector (already on device)

Design and features

Network: 4G LTE Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 20, 28; 3G Bands 1, 2, 4, 5, 8; 2G Bands 2, 3, 5, 8
Processor Type: Mediatek Helio A20 MT Quad-core
Platform: OS Google Android™ 10
Dimensions: 161.4 x 77.3 x 12.7mm
Weight:  220g
Display Type: Super Bright 5.5” Display – HD+ (1440 x 720) 18:9. IPS LCD, wet finger/glove-on working technology
Cover: Corning® Gorilla® Glass 5
Data Speed: Maximum Downlink Data Rate 300Mbps; Maximum Uplink Data Rate 50Mbps
Ingress Protection: IP68 & IP69: sand, dust, and dirt resistant; Waterproof Up to 1.5m for 35 minutes; Drop Tested From 1.8m (6ft) onto steel, MIL-SPEC 810H
Multimedia: Audio FM Radio, Music Player; Video Recording 1080p at 30fps; Video Playback 1080p at 30fps
Camera: Rear-facing 13MP sensor, f/2.0, PDAF; Front-facing 5MP sensor
Connectivity: Audio Jack 3.5mm (waterproof); Bluetooth® 5; NFC Yes (Android Pay™); Wi-Fi® 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 & 5GHz); USB USB 2.0, USB-OTG
Sim Type: Dual Nano SIM
GPS: GPS, AGPS, Glonass, BeiDou (variant dependent), Galileo
Memory: ROM 32GB; RAM 3GB; Expandable via microSD™ card up to 128GB (separate microSD ™ and SIM slots)
Sensors: Accelerometer; Proximity Sensor; Ambient Light Sensor; E-Compass
Design features: Programmable Key with PTT mode; Physical power and volume (up/down) keys; Hard-wearing, non-slip rubberized TPU back; LED notification (2 colors)
Battery: Capacity 4200mAh; Type: Non-removable Lithium-Ion
Apps: Office Suite; App Toolbox; OnGuard
Note: Network bands in regions may be different, depending on the mobile operator and your location. Upload and download speeds also depend on the mobile operator.
Available storage is less due to phone software. Battery times (talk time, standby time, and more) are based on 3G and are subject to network and phone usage. Note: Specifications are subject to change without prior notice.


  • Extended battery life (4,200 mAh, 2 days life)
  • Faster connectivity NFC, Bluetooth® 5.0, dual-band wifi (2.4 GHz + 5 GHz) enhanced camera (13-megapixel primary)
  • Greater memory (3GB RAM + 32GB ROM storage)
  • Larger, brighter touchscreen (5.5”, 18.9 HD+)
  • That works with gloves and readable in full sunlight
  • Leading rugged credentials
  • Of course, it’s drop-proof. It’s a Cat phone

From the top view of the phone, you can see the reinforced corners of the built-in case along with the rubber flap covered headphone jack. On the opposite side/bottom of the phone, there is the speaker and the charging port that is also covered with a rubber flap.

There are control buttons on both of the long edges of the phone and also the card slot that allows for a micro SD card and 2 sim cards. (See photos and illustration below)DDDDDD

On the back of the phone, there is a ribbed surface of the case, the branding, and the rear-facing camera.


As far as Smartphones go, the initial setup of this phone is no different than any other smartphone. The only difference is that the case and screen protector are permanently installed on the phone. As with other phones, I charged it fully, powered it on, and then I followed through with the “normal” setup process.

The basic functions all work well. The screen resolution is good, and the audio for all functions is good. The following are some specifics:

1: It does allow for WiFi calling

2: It has great and consistent keyboard feedback

3: The programmable button does have specific functions that can be assigned for short and long presses (See manual)

I was not able to test the phone with dual sims, but it does have that capability. The following is a video showing some of the features of the design of the phone:

Phone calls are clear and you can listen to music albeit not the best reproduction. I do have to mention that removing the sim card/micro SD card tray is a bit tricky since it is tight and quite indented.

To view the manual, click here.

What I like

  • The rugged build quality
  • The waterproof feature
  • The virtual keyboard feedback
  • The overall speed and responsiveness
  • The display
  • The limited but targeted features

What I’d change

  • A better front-facing camera so video conferencing looks better
  • Make it easier to remove the sim card/micro SD card tray.

Final thoughts

I really like the Caterpillar CAT S42 smartphone for its simple design, dual-sim capability, and rugged built-in protective case. While it is not the most feature-rich phone, it was not designed to be. Phone calls are clear, the phone is responsive and it is an all-around great deal for the on-the-go person who might usually be hard on phones.

Price: $299.00
Where to buy: Amazon
Source: The sample for this review was provided by Caterpillar.

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3 thoughts on “Caterpillar CAT S42 rugged Android smartphone review”

  1. Gadgeteer Comment Policy - Please read before commenting
  2. That price is phenomenal.
    It is a lot cheaper than I expected.
    That said I was disappointed to see it is just IP68/69 with gorilla glass five. Those are specs of a 2-3-year-old phone and not what I expected from a Milspec phone.
    I suppose it is just a basic (price) android phone with a hardened body.
    I would love to get one and try to harden the operating system or test how easy it is to flash lineageOs on to it.
    Nice that it still has a headphone port.

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