Hands-on with the smartphone that can see through walls

MWC 2016 has been rife with innovation. We’ve seen everything from modular smartphones, like the LG G5, to 360-degree-camera-enabled handsets, like the Galaxy S7.

However, for me the most interesting smartphone unveiled at MWC this year comes from ruggedised hardware manufacturer, Caterpillar.

The CAT S60 is smartphone that can give anyone superhuman powers using a special thermal imaging camera.

VIDEO: Check out our hands on with the CAT S60

4 things you need to know about the CAT S60

1) It can see through walls like Superman

The thermal sensor is based on MSX imaging camera tech and is accessed using a custom FLIR app.

The app can be used in a variety of ways. These include highlighting temperature contrasts, for identifying hot and cold spots. The interface shows the sensor's readings in real time in a camera interface that looks like the Predator movie alien's thermal vision.

The heat-sensing tech is accurate to a distance of up to 30m and can even see through thin walls – though a spokesman at the stand confirmed to me that, as with Superman, thick substances such as lead are beyond its gaze.

The sensor can also be used to get exact temperature readings on items and monitor specific sections of the camera’s field of view. Nightvision’s also included, as if the superpower list wasn’t already long enough!

2) Like Wonder Woman, it’s indestructible

Like all CAT phones the S60 is a pretty sturdy bit of kit that, according to a spokesman, has “been designed to exceed military specifications”. The _phone_ has a strengthened die-cast frame that’s drop-proof at distances up to 1.8m, and its 4.7-inch HD screen is coated in a solid shell of Gorilla Glass 4. I’d like to say my drop test proved this claim. However, sadly I missed the floor and dropped it on my foot. My toes came off worse than the 810g CAT phone.

3) It has the Aquaman of cameras

The CAT S60’s also waterproof and features a 13-megapixel rear camera that can shoot video and take pictures underwater. The spokesman on hand told me the S60’s thermal imaging sensor wouldn’t work when submerged, but hey, the fact you can use the camera underwater at all is pretty cool.

4) It’s tricked out like Batman’s utility belt

The CAT S60 is also pretty impressive as a smartphone and comes loaded with some top-end hardware and software. Out of the box the _phone_ will run using Google’s latest Android Marshmallow operating system and be powered by a sizable 3,800mAh battery. Backing this up is a nippy octa-core Snapdragon 617 CPU and 3GB of RAM.

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CAT S60 in pictures

CAT S60
The CAT S60 features 4G connectivity

CAT S60

But it's a little chunkier than your average smartphone

CAT S60
CAT’s confirmed the S60 will retail for €649 upon its release later this year

CAT S60
The camera sensor's only this big

CAT S60 opening impressions

The CAT S60 is an awesome-looking phone with a feature list that makes it sound more like a member of the Justice League than a smartphone.

However, sadly it’s not a phone you’re likely to see in your local phone shop. The S60’s designed for commercial use and will likely only be sold via specialist hardware stores or CAT directly.

What are your thoughts on the Cat S60? Let us know in the comments below.

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