CAT B15 – Interface and Usability
Given the price of the CAT B15, its specification is a little bit weak for our liking. It’s got a dual-core 1Ghz A9 processor and 512MB of Ram, which is similar to what we’re starting to see at the higher-end of the entry level Android market now.
For example, it scored 747 in our Geekbench 2 test, less than the £120 Kogan Agora (886) we reviewed recently. It edged the Kogan in the Linpack benchmark (64.872MFlops against 60.541MFlops), but not by much. On the plus side, CAT has used Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) on the phone, so
it does feel a lot smoother and more responsive to use than older
handsets that run the Ice Cream Sandwich version of Android, but if you want near top-end performance in additon to rugged design, look elsewhere.
On that note, a handset such as this probably isn’t going to be used all that much for gaming but its score of 24fps in GLBenchmark Egyptian standard test shows that while it’s fine for the likes of Angry Birds and less demanding 3D titles, its gong to suffer a bit in more complex 3D games like Real Racing 3.
In terms of the user interface, Cat has basically made no changes at all to the standard Android UI. The only thing it has added is a couple of shortcuts in the app drawer that open webpages for its CAT Rental and CAT Used services, as well as the CAT at Phones and Cat.com websites.
Everything else is stock Jelly Bean. This makes the phone very straight forward to use and you get all the usual benefits of Android, such as the handy pull down notifications tab for previewing incoming emails and text messages, as well as five home screens onto which you can plonk widgets or shortcuts for your apps.
CAT B15 – Contacts, Calling and Browser
One interesting aspect of the B15 is that it supports dual SIMs, so you can have a work and personal SIM in the phone at the same time and switch between them as you like. In fact, using the settings option in the menu, you can configure multiple different aspects of how the phone uses the SIMs, so you could, for example, use one SIM for calls and another for data.
Because the B15 uses pretty much a stock version of Android, its dialler and contacts book are very straight forward. It’ll automatically important contacts from services like Gmail when you enter your account details, and stuff like email addresses and photos are pulled in alongside phone numbers and contact names. You can quickly search through your contacts list or just scroll through it alphabetically and you can also gather contacts into sub-groups such as Friends, Family and Coworkers.
Call quality is very good with both the mic and earpiece delivering very crisp and clear speech. The speakerphone mode works well too, and although it isn’t massively loud, it’s good enough to comfortably use indoors.
The Chrome web browser pre-installed on the phone is top-notch, too. It renders pages quickly and scrolling around even very graphics heavy pages is smooth and quick. You can have multiple tabs open at the same time to jump between different sites, too.
In our Browsermark test the CAT B15 scored 1,448, which is not much off the Kogan Agora, which managed to rack up a score of 1,499 (higher is better). In Sunspider it did better finishing the test in 1,392ms, whereas the Agora took 2,219ms (lower is better).
How we test phones
We test every mobile phone we review thoroughly. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly and we use the phone as our main device over the review period. We’ll always tell you what we find and we never, ever, accept money to review a product.