Devices – August 2014

We are getting rugged this month with the CAT B15Q, perfect for anyone that works outside or doesn’t have a safe environment to protect their phone. At the other end of the market we are looking at the ZTE Open C which is one of a few phones to come equipped with the new Firefox OS. See how they both performed below.

 

CAT B15Q

CAT-B15QThe latest addition to the CAT range is the B15Q which apparently is the first rugged smartphone to run Android 4.4 Kitkat. So what do people who look at rugged smartphones really want to know about them? Mostly people want to know how much they can bash them about without smashing them to smithereens! The B15Q is IP67 certified which basically means you can drop it onto concrete, submerge it in water and it can function in a temperature range of -25 to +55 Degrees.

The device comes with 1.3GHz processor, Bluetooth and has a 5MP camera. The whole device has been designed with the users in mind and is one step towards CAT reaching its goal of being the leader in rugged devices.

When asked at the launch of the device Cat Phones CEO Oliver Schulte said, “With the Cat B15Q we have taken consumer feedback on board from its predecessor and added, for example, a faster processor and improved imaging capabilities. This is the first rugged handset available globally to support Android’s KitKat so users no longer need to choose between smartphone durability and the latest Android features.”

Other features include HSDPA, aGPS, a VGA front-facing camera, “Waves audio,” dual noise-cancelling microphone, 1GB of RAM, 4GB of expandable internal memory, and a 2,000 mAh battery (for up to 16 hours of talk time).

CAT have made a leap forwards with their rugged range here and there will be many industries which will be able to make use of its durability. Either that or there will be a lot of guys chucking their phone about in the pub! The pricing details are yet to be announced when going to the printers.

For – Durable, decent battery, good solid performance

Against – Unfortunately this is a chunky ugly beast!

 

ZTE Open C

OPEN-CThe ‘budget’ end of the market is quickly becoming as competitive as the top. Down here the cheaper the better, plastic reigns supreme and if you can get all of your business functionality it can be hard to justify spending out on anything more.

The ZTE Open C is an entry level phone which comes in at an astonishing £60! Obviously we can’t expect blistering figures in the bench tests as the specs are pretty basic. It comes equipped with 1.2 GHz dual-core processor and 512MB of RAM. Interestingly this device also supports the new Firefox OS, which is an open source platform and to be honest… it shows.

Usually this type of device would typically support an Android OS which would give it that basic level of acceptance and proven usability, unfortunately the immaturity of the Firefox OS shines through with the Open C. On the plus side basic web browsing, email and messaging apps are all fairly good quality.

The camera on this handset is beyond useless. They probably should have just left it out and saved on the space it is that bad. Being a new platform Firefox hasn’t got nearly the depth of apps that other platforms have acquired either and a few of the big name apps did seem a bit laggy. There is another version of Firefox OS on the way but it will have to be a miracle jump to get anywhere near the likes of iOS or Android.

The problem with this end of the market is inevitably you start looking at what just an extra £20 or £30 pounds can get you in terms of functionality. There are several options and they all come with an evolved ecosystem (namely Android). If it was my money, I would look elsewhere.

For – Cheap, does the basics

Against – underdeveloped OS, laggy at times, better options out there for the price

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine