If you feel rugged smartphones are a must for your line of work, you might be glad there isn’t an endless selection. But even so, choosing one can still be a chore.
Apart from expected features like flashlights, walkie-talkie functions and a heavy armored feel, it’s really the functional differences between one rugged handset versus another that would drive your final decision. This review is of the AGM Glory G1S, first made available to the U.S. market in May 2022. The company, which I was unfamiliar with until this year, says they’ve been making rugged phones – and nothing else – for ten years.
Is this phone loud enough for the outdoors? That depends on your definition of ‘loud’
While I’m no audio engineer, AGM seems to have set this phone’s 1 kHz sound wave frequency at a high setting. This is probably what gives the impression of this phone having “great volume”, which I’ve seen mentioned in other reviews. A high 1 kHz setting is proven to better for hearing people’s voices, along with bumping up the frequencies adjacent to 1 kHz. I feel this was all done with intent, to produce the final effect of above-average volume in human voices on phone calls, Zooms, etc. Ultimately, ‘loud’ isn’t the word I’d use to characterize the Glory G1S’s audio. More like engineered and marketed to people who need their customers’ or colleagues’ voices to sound ‘extra enunciated’. But if you need true loudness – in a construction zone, for example – I’d still recommend a volume-boosting app like 4TForLive’s Super Loud Speaker Booster. This isn’t a negative critique. Because I suggest free volume booster apps for all brands of Android phones, even LG’s last-gap phones which were marketed as “loud”, though to my ears, weren’t.
The thermal camera has its uses
The thermal camera, which I tested, is something I imagine would be useful. Alluding to this feature, AGM’s press release says the phone matches up well with sectors like “search and rescue, building construction, plumbing, pest management, healthcare, fire fighting and other first responders”. In my test, I took a pic of 2 portable coolants. One was in my freezer for several days, the other was refrigerated for the same span of time. The thermal sensor showed the temperatures of both, in celsius at first, before I changed the default setting to farenheit. In the thermal color scheme, you’ll notice the phone took the temperature of my kitchen counter too, showing it as 77.7 degrees. The frozen coolant and the refrigerated one were read at 6.1 degrees, and 42.4 degrees, respectively.
Even if you work indoors, you might still see positives in the general durability of rugged phones. Or if you tend to drop your phone a lot.
Pros of the Glory G1S
- No need to buy a separate case
- Latest MIL-STD-810H military standard to cope with extreme conditions such as humid heat and frost
- Conforms to IP68 water resistance
- Reliable compass
- Made to work with T-Mobile and dual SIM cards. Note: AGM says in the phone’s Quick Start Guide: “When inserting 2 SIM cards, you can only choose one of the 2 SIM cards to use data services.”
- Sony IMX 350 infrared night vision camera. Note: Pics taken with the night vision camera will always be in black and white
- Reprogrammable instant side button. Note: AGM calls it the User Defined Key. It’s the walkie-talkie unless you change it
- Simple red laser pointer for in-person presentations (or as a cat toy when you’re home)
- Thermal camera with readings. Note: This is not the same as its night vision camera. It’s in the center-back. Pics come through in thermal colors
- Almost zero bloatware
- Battery life hasn’t disappointed
- The phone will look to connect to T-Mobile’s 5G network where it can
Cons of the Glory G1S
- Surprisingly, there’s no OEM gallery app, therefore you’d need to download something like Google’s Gallery app from the Play Store
- Of the 4 Glory line variants, the Glory G1S has the lightest weight at 360g or 0.79 pounds, but still feels heavy. This will be true with any rugged phone, even relatively lightweight ones will have a heavy feel. It is the 2nd-most expensive of the 4 variants.
- The calculator app has to be accessed by a 2-finger downward swipe
- Unsure if Android ‘power users’ will be impressed by the OEM’s defaults. Power users can always root at their own risk.
The optional charging dock for the G1S, while high quality, is the closest thing you’ll get to “wireless” charging. The OEM acknowledges the G1S has no true wireless charging
The AGM G1S is available at agmmobile.com/products/us-agm-glory-g1s and through Amazon at amazon.com/AGM-Snapdragon-Smartphone-Resolution-Waterproof/dp/B09YYKNRPZ, priced at $699 without the optional dock
Image: AGM Mobile
Any likelihood of seeing Android/security updates? Hard to imagine investing in phones which will become “outdated” in a short period of time.