CAT S22 Flip is a rugged Android phone in old-school clamshell guise

The flip or clamshell phone design has gone the way of the dinosaur, but there is still at least one company that makes them. Not only has Samsung been launching a flip phone for China and South Korea year after year after year, its Galaxy Z Flip even puts a modern and hi-tech spin to the old school form factor. Compared to those, the rugged CAT S22 Flip looks almost negligible, but it has a few important perks that make it worth a second look, especially if you're in the market for tough-as-tanks phones.

Like any other flip phone, the CAT S22 Flip comes with a traditional T9 keypad. Like many of the brand's rugged phones, this one is also on the entry-level tier, powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 215 with only 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. The 2.8-inch 640x480 screen doesn't even reach the bare 720p minimum for most content, but what the CAT S22 Flip lacks in hardware, it makes up for in software.

Google has a strict set of minimum requirements for a phone to be eligible to have Google Play Store, and, surprisingly, the CAT S22 Flip meets all of them. Not only does the phone run Android 11 Go Edition, it even has Google Play Store and apps pre-installed. And in case you're wondering how you'd even use those apps, the phone's 2.8-inch VGA screen is actually touch-sensitive, just like a regular smartphone.

Of course, the CAT S22 Flip also has the makings of a typical rugged CAT phone, including an IP68 rating, MIL-SPEC 810H certification, and the like. It also comes with a programmable Push-to-Talk (PTT) button for those times you need instant access to some function. And in case you need to take pictures of broken equipment to send to your colleagues, the 5MP main camera will try to get the job done.

The CAT S22 Flip is available exclusively from T-Mobile for $234. It is pretty much an affordable niche smartphone in an already niche line of rugged mobile devices. That said, if you do need such a tank of a phone while rocking a 90s style, then this is probably the companion you need.