CAT B25 Review
The CAT B25 is the 'little brother' to CAT phone's B15 handset
CAT phones released the impressive CAT B15 'smart' tough phone last year, and the handset went down a storm.
A refreshing take on what a tough mobile handset could be like, in terms of tech and build quality, the CAT B15 was well received. Can its little brother CAT B25 emerge from its shadow?
The black sheep of the family?
Where the CAT B15 had top of the range specs the B25 doesn't hit close to that mark at all. The CAT B25 is running a proprietary OS system that brings to mind the old Nokia systems of 10+ years ago, we'll cover this in more detail later though.
A 2.0" QVGA, 240 x 320 pixel display is a far cry from the HD screens most modern handset users are used to, combined with 256MB RAM, 512MB on board storage with up to 8GB increased storage capacity via MicroSD Card, and a 2MP rear camera, this handset is nowhere near the high specifications of some of today's top handsets.
That said, does it need to be? CAT have clearly got their mobile handset plans clearly laid out - with the B15 aimed towards the more 'techie' mobile users and the B25 meant for those who might not necessarily be keeping up-to-date with the world of mobile technology.
Think of your friendly neighbourhood plumber, builder, or DIY enthusiast, people who (while needing to use mobiles) don't need all of the bells and whistles that accompany higher end handsets, people who just want a phone to be a phone.
Enter the CAT B25
This is where the CAT B25 really comes into its own. The handset is rated as IP67 standard for waterproofing, and is also dustproof and shock resistant at a height of up to 1.8m. This is a handset that will be able to survive the most hardy of construction sites with ease and still come back for more.
The handset is pretty chunky too. Weighing in at 161g and measuring 125 x 57 x 22mm, it feels pretty solid in the hand, which is good. That's what you want from a tough phone.
Battery life, connectivity and features
The handset comes paired with a 1300mAh battery, not huge by any means - if you were running a smart phone it'd last you half a day (if that) with standard connectivity being used. However this is not one of those handsets and the 1300mAh battery is more than sufficient, powering the device for up to 9.5 hours of continuous talk-time and 13 days on standby.
Durability and features
The handset is rated as IP67 which means that it is waterproof, dustproof, and shock resistant. Clad in a thick, soft-ish rubber which is sure to absorb some of the impact if dropped - CAT states that the handset is still reliable after drops of up to 1.8m - although we think that it'd withstand drops from a greater height. Don't take this as an excuse to launch the handset into lower orbit though as we can't guarantee it'd work afterwards.
The screen has been screwed onto the front facia of the handset and appears to be pretty sturdy and well-sealed. The screen is reported as being 'scratch resistant' although it isn't made from Gorilla Glass.
The only way to access the battery/SIM card compartment is to unscrew the rear covering. This cover is held in place with two small screws (a tool is provided with the handset to allow access into the rear of the handset), once screwed in place there is no way to remove the covering, this is great as it really makes the handset feel watertight and durable - our submersive tests showed no sign of water anywhere inside the handset after we took it apart again.
As mentioned earlier the handset is running a proprietary OS, so it is quite basic.
There is a standard style phonebook, SMS service, 2G connectivity (no 3G or WiFi here), and 2MP snapper camera.
The home screen and menu system is very simply designed with yellow icons on a black background. All the menu items have descriptions.
There is 2G data connectivity available for use if you need it, with access to a simple browser with no search engine. You will need to type webpage URLs directly into this. Further to this there is access to emails and a multimedia player, which unfortunately we couldn't test at the time. However, we expect it will be basic, and with the limited amount of storage available we don't think you'll be listening to any of your albums regularly.
There is a dedicated camera button along the left hand side of the handset above the rubber capped Micro USB port. This is a useful feature and means that you don't have to go fiddling around in the menu to access the camera. The 2MP camera does as well as can be expected really, the images produced are crisp enough but don't expect to be blowing them up any time soon for canvas prints, the camera also has access to the flashlight bulb for some extra lighting.
What's in the box?
You will receive with the handset, the standard fare of headphones, charger, USB-to-MicroUSB cable, plus a user manual. The headphones are a funny thing, they use the MicroUSB port that is also used to charge the handset. There is no 3.5mm headphone jack on the handset (which we suppose reduces the number of entry points for liquids and dirt).
All in all, we really like the CAT B25 handset. No it isn't as up-to-date as its larger cousin the CAT B15 but then again it was never meant to be. CAT mobiles are great for people who just want a phone to be a phone. This is a handset for calls and texts. It will survive being chucked into a tool box, the back of the van, or a drop.
It isn't clever and it isn't fancy, but it will do what you need a tough phone to do - which is be tough. When looking for a tough mobile phone what more can you really ask for?