Phones

CAT S22 Flip put to the check: sturdy, traditional Android cellphone for connectivity within the subject

CAT phones are known for rugged design features, affordable prices, and features that help you get your job done away from the office. The CAT S62 Pro offers a thermal imaging camera, while the CAT S42 can take a punch for a price of $ 299. In the last few weeks we have been working, running and enjoying nature with the CAT S22 Flip.

The CAT S22 Flip is available exclusively from T-Mobile for $ 234 and offers LTE connectivity with the wireless operator. It’s an interesting phone that harks back to when clamshell phones were the standard for cell phones. CAT goes a step further with a 2.8-inch touchscreen display on the top and Android GO 11 for the user interface.

See also: Best Rugged Phone in 2021.

This phone can only appeal to people with its extremely rugged build and flip form factor, even if they don’t use all of the features of the Android operating system. It’s a solid phone for basic communication, and it can even double as a Wi-Fi hotspot if you plug in a sturdy tablet for more extensive work in the field.

To like

  • Robust design
  • Large tactile keyboard keys
  • Removable battery and microSD
  • Affordable price

Don’t like

  • Chunky
  • Battery a bit small

Specifications

  • processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 215
  • Display (inside): 2.8 inch touchscreen with a resolution of 640 x 480 pixels
  • Display (outside): 1.44-inch 128×128 pixel monochrome
  • operating system: Android 11 Go edition
  • R.A.M.: 2 GB
  • storage: 16 GB internal with microSD card support
  • durability: IP68, MIL-SPEC 810H, drop tested from a height of 1.8 m on steel, non-ignitable class 1 for potentially explosive areas
  • Cameras: 5 MP rear camera and 2 MP front camera
  • Wireless technology: 4G LTE, 802.11 b / g / n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS / GLONASS / Galileo, FM radio
  • battery: 2000mAh removable lithium-ion
  • Dimensions: 119.4 x 61 x 22.9 mm (closed) and 224 g

hardware

The CAT S22 Flip arrived in a fairly small black and yellow CAT box, and when I pulled it out for the first time, I was a bit surprised at how clunky the phone was. It’s quite thick in the closed position and when opened it shows that it’s not a small flip phone. However, it is not intended to be a small phone and the focus is on basic communication with a rugged phone that can work away from the desk.

The phone is covered with matte black soft-touch material, making it easy to hold even with wet hands. There are also grooves along the back wall so you can grip them better. In the closed position there is a small external display that shows incoming calls, basic notifications, the date and time. Centered above this display is a microphone opening, a flashlight and a 5 MP rear-view camera. It’s located on the front, but becomes a higher-resolution rear-view camera when open and in capture mode.

On the right side are the volume buttons as well as a USB-C port and a cover. On the left is a programmable orange metal button.

There is a screw on the back to remove the panel. A large red seal lines the opening on the inside of the rear panel with the battery, the SIM card slot and the microSD card slot under the removable battery. There are also two POGO pins on the back so you can put the phone in a charger to make sure the phone is ready for the day to come.

See also: Cat S62 Pro smartphone with thermal imaging and ultra-rugged design is launched in the USA.

Unfold the CAT S22 Flip to see the interior display and keyboard. The phone can be opened to the rear to around 165 degrees with a solid stop. There is no intermediate angle to stop the phone and the back of the phone supports it at a slight angle. Closing it and then letting the hinge take over to close the phone is very satisfying.

The touchscreen display is quite usable and the touch sensitivity works well. The fonts are clear and there is some information available on the 2.8 inch display. On the left above the display there is a 2MP front camera that is offset to the left.

At the top of the keyboard we find the traditional three Android buttons for back, home and the task switcher. Below that we find direction arrows, a middle selection button, green and red buttons for accept / exit and 12 number buttons. The keys are all very large with a great feel. They also have a soft-touch coating so they’re easy to find and activate.

There is a fairly loud mono speaker under the keyboard that has proven itself when testing the phone outdoors. There is a handset loudspeaker above the display, but music and hands-free calling are only switched to the lower loudspeaker.

software

The CAT S22 Flip runs Android 11 (Go Edition), which offers all the important Google apps and access to the Play Store for even more apps. Google Assistant, Chrome, Google Duo, Gmail, Keep Notes, Google Go, Google Maps, Messages, and YouTube Music are loaded by default. Google TV is even there, though watching movies on a small 2.8-inch display doesn’t seem to be of much use.

T-Mobile only contains a few important utilities with no spam games or anything like that. The T-Mobile app for managing your account is available along with Visual Voicemail and Scam Shield.

CAT also has a custom camera app, a hyperlink to CAT phones, an FM radio app, and the CAT toolbox. The CAT Toolbox is a filter from the Google Play Store with categories for construction, agriculture, outdoor, rugged tools and more. This utility is designed to help you find apps to work with the S22 Flip.

Daily experiences and conclusions

Opening the phone to take calls and closing the phone to hang up has been satisfying, and it’s hard to beat the experience. Phone calls sounded good and the LTE signal was solid with T-Mobile. Callers sounded great even with the speakerphone on.

There is a bit of jumping back and forth between the keyboard and the touchscreen when using Android apps, but I imagine people won’t be using as many apps on the display as I was during my testing. The focus of this phone is not on the smartphone experience, although it is suitable for limited app use. It was interesting to be able to enter text on Gboard’s on-screen keyboard with very little space above the keyboard to display the application you are working in.

However, you can toggle to Kika 12-key input if you want to use the large keyboard instead of tapping the small keys on the display. This is a predictive input method, and not quite the same as the T9 that I am used to from my early days with mobile technology. Perhaps the best input method is simply Google’s excellent voice-to-text feature.

The phone is quite bulky and heavy, so I expected a long battery life. It’s been 2-3 days with moderate use, but it’s not one of those old-school clamshell phones that you charge once a week. That said, it doesn’t compromise on functionality either, and it can take a beating. I dropped it, dipped it in water and walked with it in the pouring rain with no problem or effect on the phone.

The CAT S22 Flip is not designed to compete with the Apple iPhone or Samsung Galaxy worlds, but it does offer a good option for the targeted market segment. It was reliable, had good battery life, worked well on calls, and gave me access to all the information I needed outside in bad weather. For $ 234, it’s a good second phone for field work, or even a primary phone for those who need a simple large keypad for basic and essential communications.

Related Articles