News Column

Durability is the name of the game, not fancy features

June 26, 2014

Naushad K Cherrayil Staff Reporter


Are you looking for a rugged phone that will keep on working even when dust and water won't stop interfering?

Caterpillar, known for its heavy-duty machinery used in the construction industry, has answered these by launching its third Cat-branded mobile phone in the market - CAT B100 - after CAT B15 and CAT B25.

The device is very good for workers in the construction industry. It is a feature phone, same as CAT B25.

The device is bit bulky and the sides are covered by thick rubberisied-plastic shell with metal casing on the sides fixed by three large screws on each side.

The 2.2-inch display with 320 x 240 resolution uses MediaTek processor with 64MB of RAM and 128GB of internal capacity, out of which only 50MB is available for end users. It runs on MTK Nucleus (version 2.1) operating system which does not need much power. It also has a microSD slot for expanding the external storage capacity to 32GB. It weighs just 136 grams.

On the left sits the microUSB port which is covered by a rubber flap. The headphone jack on the top is also covered by rubber flap. On the right houses the yellow volume up and down buttons.

The angled keyboard with navigation buttons is quite big and sturdy and can be operated with gloves on.

The device can be immersed in water for 30 minutes up to one metre and it survived a drop of close to two metres. It survives on everything you throw at. Before immersing in water, be sure the flaps are well covered.

CAT has improved its speaker quality and its noise-cancelling microphone is loud and clear with no background noise.

The3MP camera with 4 x digital zoom and the flash is slightly sunken into the body in bid to protect it; same is the case for the mono speaker grill. The back cover is fixed by two large screws and it has to be removed to insert the battery.

The camera app offers limited features but options to change exposure levels, white balancing, continues shot mode, face detection and other effects, apart from auto and night modes.

Despite being a fixed-focus device, the photos captured by the device came out well with accurate colours and details but when zooming to the maximum will make the picture and colours look washed out.

Taking photos in picture dark conditions with flash are overexposed and colours look washed out. The photo quality can be improved a bit with the night mode on.

Videos taken with the device are okay and viewing on such a small screen is a pain.

Listening to music on this device is very good and it supports all major formats.

The phone, meant for basic features like calling, sending and receiving text messages, and for emails. The device has a folder - Fun and Games - which has some Java Games. Due to the small screen size and low resolution, I don't think many will take a second chance to try these games.

Others features included are Sound Recording, GPS, FM Radio, Photo Editing, Media Player, Opera Mobile browser and Google Maps.

There is also a LED torch between the camera and the speaker grill at the back and can be useful in the night. The torch can be activated by pressing the button for a few seconds in the middle of the volume buttons.

The good aspect of this device is that audio quality on the back speaker is loud and clear.

Regarding connectivity, it has 3G and Bluetooth 2.0 and lacks WiFi.

The 1150mAh battery lasted for more than three days due to the low resolution and small screen size and the device has a standby time of up to 20 days. It is priced at Dh799.

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Source: Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)

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