Hands On With The Rugged Cat B15 Smartphone [MWC 2013]


mwc2013bug-coaBARCELONA, MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS — Cat isn’t normally known for its smartphones, but here at Mobile World Congress, the company has unveiled the new Cat B15 — a rugged, Android-powered device that’s almost begging for a good beating. Built from anodized aluminum and shock-absorbent rubber, the device will withstand drops onto concrete, as well as water, dust, and extreme temperatures.

If you like crazy sports or you work in harsh environments, then most smartphones are unlikely to last you very long. Take a Galaxy S III onto a construction site and give it to a clumsy builder and you can almost guarantee it’ll be smashes to pieces before he takes his lunch break. But the Cat B15 is different.

You can drop it, dunk it, and throw it and it’s unlikely you’ll be able to break it. It promises to withstand drops onto hard concrete from up to 1.8 meters, and it’s resistant to water up to 1 meter deep. It’s also dust-proof, and will happily operate between -4F and 122F.

According to Cat’s director of technology, Dave Floyd, the B15 is “one of the most exciting launches in the rugged mobile device sector, a handset that will withstand seriously tough conditions, whilst remaining distinctively designed.”


The B15 has a 4-inch WVGA display made from Gorilla Glass, with a 800×480 resolution and wet finger tracking. There’s also a 1GHz dual-core processor, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage, a microSD card slot, and a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera. The device runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.

The B15 clearly isn’t aimed at consumers who want a high-end smartphone, then — it’s aimed at those who want a durable smartphone that’s going to withstand all kinds of abuse. Unfortunately, Cat wouldn’t let me prove that at its booth, however.

The B15 will be available in the U.K. from March, priced at £299. Cat couldn’t confirm when the device would be making its way to other markets.