AGM Glory G1S 5G unlocked smartphone review

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REVIEW – For years now, cell phones have come with an industry-standard set of capabilities that get yearly refinements. The AGM Glory G1S 5G unlocked breaks the mold with a submersible ruggedized build, two infrared cameras, a 5500 mAh battery, and a laser beam. I have one to review. Read on to see what I think!

What is it?

The AGM Glory G1S 5G is the latest in the Glory series released by Chinese cell phone manufacturer AGM. AGM released four other phones in the Glory series in late 2021 and this latest entry straddles features offered by other phones in the range. The key feature of the phone is that it has an independent thermal imaging module, with a thermal resolution of 256×192, a refresh rate of 25Hz, a temperature measurement range of -20-550°C, an accurate detection distance of fewer than 5 meters, and a limit of 40 meters. The phone also supports Android 11 running on a Snapdragon 480 and 5G Internet access. The thermal imager as well as the rest of the phone is wrapped in a protective case that can safely survive drops from 1.5 meters, block 99% of dust and work for 30 minutes under 1.5 meters of water. To top it all off the phone has an integrated laser pointer.

What’s in the box?

  • AGM Glory G1S 5G unlocked smartphone
  • 18W USB A adapter, 9V/2A 18W power adapter, QC 3.0
  • USB-A to USB-C cable, USB 2.0 std
  • AGM stickers
  • online warranty card
  • sim ejector tool
  • replacement rubber flaps for the sim slot and the USB-C port
  • Quick Start Guide in English, German, Russian, and Spanish

Hardware specs

  • Appearance
    • Factor: Waterproof/Rugged touch screen smartphone
    • Color: Black
    • Dimensions: 172.8mm*82.8mm*14.8 “max 18.4mm”
    • Weight: 315g
    • Housing: Double injection plastic with TPU protection
    • Sim card type: Nano SIM “drawer”
    • Sim slot: 1 nano SIM + 1 Micro SD card or 2 nano SIM
  • Platform/CPU
    • Chipset: Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 480 5G
    • 8nm Octa-core CPU up to 2.0 GHz
    • GPU: Qualcomm® Adreno™ 619
  • Memory
    • ROM: 128GB, UFS2.2
    • RAM: 8GB LPDDR4X
    • Storage extension: Support Micro SD card up to 512GB
  • Network/RF bands
    • GSM: B2, B3, B5, B8
    • CDMA: BC0, BC1, BC10
    • WCDMA: B1, B2, B4, B5, B6, B8, B19
    • LTE-FDD: B1, B2, B3, B4, B5, B7, B8, B12, B13, B17, B18, B19, B20, B25, B26, B28AB, B66
    • LTE-TDD: B34, B38, B39, B40, B41
    • 5G NR: n1, n2, n3, n5, n7, n8, n28, n41, n66, n77, n78
  •  Screen
    • Display: LTPS TFT, 16.7M color
    • Resolution: FHD+ 2340*1080
    • Size: 6.53″ diagonally
    • Touch panel: Incell, 10 points multi-touch
  • Location
    • Type: A-GPS/GPS/Glonass/Galileo/Beidou Dual frequency GNSS
  • Connectivity
    • Bluetooth: BT 5.0, BT LE
    • FM: Plug earphone as FM antenna
    • NFC: NFC
    • WiFi: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax-ready “2.4GHz, 5GHz” MIMO 2×2
  •  Camera
    • Main camera: 48MP AF, Sony IMX582, f/1.79, 1/2.0″, 6P
    • Night vision camera: 20MP with 1 infrared LEDs
    • Macro camera: 2MP
    • Selfie camera: 16MP
    • Flash LED: Main flash LED
  • Add-on features
    • Thermal camera: Thermal Imaging Camera
      • Resolution: 256×192
      • L1: -20 to 150°C
      • L2: 100 to 550°C
      • refresh rate: 25Hz
    • Laser pointer: YES
    • Rope hole: YES, Corner
  • Other components
    • Gyroscope: YES
    • Accelerometer (G sensor): YES
    • E-Compass: YES
    • Proximity sensor: YES
    • Light sensor: YES
    • Microphone: 2 Microphones, Noise suppression
    • Fingerprint sensor: YES, backside
  • Operating System
    • Android: Android 11
    • Certified: GMS
    • FOTA: YES
  • Protection Certification
    • Waterproof/Hermeticity: IP68/IP69K
    • Resistance standard: 1.5m drop, MIL-STD-810H
  • Connector/Port
    • I/O: USB connector Type-C form factor
    • OTG: USB standard 3.0/OTG
    • Desk dock contacts: 4 pogo-pin contacts on backside
    • Earphone jack: 3.5mm
  • Buttons
    • Volume +: 1 button “volume +” on the right side
    • Volume -: 1 button “volume -” on the right side
    • Power +: 1 button for on/off
    • Programmable +: 1 programmable buttons “Push To Talk”
  • Battery
    • Battery type: Li-ion polymer wide temperature range
    • Battery capacity: 3.7V/5500mAh non-removable

Design and features

Unboxing

The AGM Glory G1S comes in a telescoping box. The box is paper-bag brown with black lettering. the first indication that this is not your typical phone is that the box has a Class 2 laser warning label. Upon opening a box there is a cardboard envelope with printed information within and a Sim ejector tool mounted through the backside. Below the envelope is the phone wrapped in a protective plastic shell. Below the phone are two boxes that contain the USB cord, the wall adapter, end replacement rubber stoppers for the SIM card, and the USB port.

This phone is also compatible with the AGM dock charger. The dock charger comes in a separate box that matches the aesthetic of the AGM Glory G1S box. Inside of this box is the dock charger.

The phone screen is covered by a plastic laminate that is useful as a screen protector until it comes in contact with anything abrasive. I used the screen protector until some dirt or sand got in my pocket with my phone and rendered the plastic screen unusable.

Design

The first impression of the AGM Glory G1S 5G unlocked smartphone is the size and weight of the unit itself. The specifications may lead one to believe that this is a big phone, But doing a little research on kimovil.com, I have determined that roughly half the phones released in the past year are larger than this model. In addition, while the TCL 30V 5G, which I reviewed earlier this year, has a 6.67 inch screen the glass is roughly the same size as the glass on the AGM Glory G1S and the phones are approximately the same size and weight when the TCL 30V 5G is installed in an Incipio Duo case.

The ruggedized exterior of this phone is dark grey (looks like dull lead) and has accents in orange.  On the front side, a 0.3 mm raised bezel surrounds the Gorilla Glass. While Gorilla Glass is very sturdy it is not indestructible so I choose to apply a screen protector on top of it. Unfortunately, most glass screen protectors are not less than 0.3 mm thick so the bezel doesn’t do much to protect it. Within the month it was cracked. The earpiece microphone is above the screen glass and is covered by a plastic grill. The ruggedized corners of the phone protrude to distribute impact forces from the corners to the sides. I find that the corners actually aid in holding the phone in my palm. The lower right corner has a loop for installing a lanyard. I found threading the lanyard was an easy chore.

The SIM tray and the USB/audio jack are each protected from dirt dust and water by a rubber door. The sim tray does not appear to have an o-ring around the exposed portion of the SIM tray so the only protection from water or dust intrusion to the phone interior is by the rubber door. I found that getting the SIM tray loaded and installed is a bit of a balancing act but once it is loaded it shouldn’t need to be touched. If not for the 5500 mAh battery opening and closing the rubber door on the base would be a nuisance. However, both the SIM tray and USB/audio door also have a notch on the side to make opening easier. If leaving the bottom door closed is a must then the phone can be charged using the AGM Glory series dock.

The dock has 2 pogo contacts that contact the 2 outermost contacts on the back of the phone. It makes me wonder if the other two contacts on the back of the phone are for differential data signals used in a USB 2.0 connector. One other issue I have identified is that the USB port is mounted within a recess and not every plug will fit into it, and certainly not an adapter that is not shaped like a USB C type plug at the end of a cable.

 

There is a User-definable button on the left side of the AGM Glory G1S that has the following options:

Push-to-talk
Audio Play
Camera
LED Torch
Google Assistant
Laser Pointer
None

If you choose the Push-to-talk feature, it launches the preinstalled Zello app. This digital walkie-talkie app uses your phone’s cellular connectivity to broadcast half-duplex communications on the app’s channel. I tried using tasker, button mapper, and key mapper and none were able to detect the button press.  The Camera option opens the camera app in the standard photo setting, no matter what setting it is currently set to on the phone and will act as a shutter when the camera app is opened no matter what option is selected above.

The right side of the AGM Glory G1S has the power button at about the middle of the phone and the volume rocker mounted above.

The back of the phone has the fingerprint sensor mounted in about the middle of the phone. It is responsive to touches and opens apps quickly. Actually, if holding the phone within my palm across the center of the phone I can occasionally feel the phone vibrate as my palm contacts the sensor. It is a little low on the back for a natural press; most will find that this sensor would be better if mounted between the led flash and the active IR camera.

The bottom half of the back has an asymmetric technical detail with a rubber pattern that looks like carbon fiber as an added detail in certain sections. Behind this section is the NFC antenna. The phone does not support wireless charging. The camera bank, at the top of the backside, has a symmetrical design centered around the InfiRay thermal imager lens cover. The thermal imager lens is the item that protrudes furthest from the phone and when the phone is placed on its back it rests on the backside bottom edge and the bottom edge of the thermal imager lens. The lens has a plastic rim to keep the lens from getting roughed up but I would hate to see what would happen if it was struck directly.

Looking at the backside and following in a clockwise direction around the thermal imager lens are the macro camera (with an adjacent pressure equalization port), the single loudspeaker grill, the active infrared camera (with an adjacent IR LED), the camera flash, and the main camera. Each camera is surrounded by a raised bezel of the case to protect the glass/plastic covering the lens.

The main Sony IMX582 with autofocus optics is very good for still image capture but provides only average video recording results.

The sensor lacks optical image stabilization and the default camera app recording resolution is 8.3 MP, not 48 MP. The OS limits the resolution for other apps to 12 MP with no burst mode. Similarly, the front camera’s standard resolution is 4.1 MP. However, the IR camera’s standard resolution is a full 19.7 MP. The Thermal camera has a resolution of 256 x 192 and a frame rate of 25 FPS.

Here is using the low light mode of the main camera with an edit to show a highlight in a dark section of equipment

The IR Camera software is able to a variety of color palettes to show thermal differences, and can provide the temperature at a point, along a line, and in a rectangular or circular region.

The AGM Glory G1S’s camera can also display the thermal image alone, alongside a PIP window of the main camera,  with a superimposed image of the thermal camera on a larger image of the main camera, or with a superimposed image of the main and thermal camera.

In the pictures below the outside VFDs are at ~50Hz and the center is at about 15Hz. You can see the thermal profile differences.

In this photo, it is easy to see the powered solenoid

The next four images are of my dog on a dark night using 4 different camera modes and 3 different cameras

Dragging your finger on the screen aligns the images so that thermal information can be aligned. The thermal image data is saved in the IR Camera app so that additional analysis of the image may be done after the fact. The camera also supports geotagging using the built-in GPS antenna.

The top of the AGM Glory G1S has a microphone used for noise cancellation and a laser. The laser can be started from either the user-definable key or the notification shade. The laser beam is red but appears brighter than the typical pen-style presentation laser. Unfortunately, the laser is not mounted perpendicular to the screen or this could have been used as a level guide.

The front of the phone has a 6.53″ inch screen. The screen is a 2340*1080 LTPS TFT type but besides that, there isn’t any specification about color gamut or nits. In my opinion, the colors on the screen are true to life and the brightness is sufficient to work well in direct sunlight without seeming too dim and also in complete darkness without seeming too bright. The front camera is in a teardrop notch along the topside of the screen which still leaves plenty of room for the status bar. The screen runs at 60 Hz, which is low by today’s standards but is faster than the screen rate of the video cameras on the device.  The screen refresh also seems to be very close to 60Hz all the time and is much less dynamic than other phones I have tested. The screen can be mirrored on a computer using “Scrcpy -m 1080p” but will not output to a monitor without a computer because the AGM Glory G1S is not MHL compliant.  Also, even though the phone has 1080p resolution and 5G connectivity it is only rated to Widevine L3 stream certification. Therefore, streaming on the Netflix and Disney+ apps will be limited to just 480p.

The loudspeaker is in the back of the AGM Glory G1S. Many phones have the ear speaker serve double duty as a speaker as well or have a speaker mounted at the base. The AGM Glory G1S has the only loudspeaker on the rear. It is plenty loud, but it gets muffled easily if the phone is placed on a soft surface. If using BlueTooth, the phone supports aptX, but not aptX HD, aptX adaptive, LDAC, or aptX TWS+.

The AGM Glory G1S runs a pretty vanilla version of Android 11. There are no carrier apps and no extraneous apps installed. The phone comes with the IR camera software IRCamera, the previously mentioned Zello software, and an app for the FM radio. There are a few things missing too, though. There is no picture-in-picture support for running apps in a window and no way to lock the apps to the app drawer so they are not closed. There is also no one-handed mode to make navigating the huge screen with one hand’s thumb. The device supports split screen and app info from the overview screen and if developer options are enabled app pinning may be selected, which locks the foreground app in view and is very helpful when sharing the phone to look at photos so the screen does not turn off.

Behind the screen is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 SoC. This is the same chip that is in the Moto G51, Oppo A55s 5G, Nokia X100, and Redmi Note 10 JE. It is a mid-tier processor built from two units of A76-based Kryo 540 Prime CPU, clocked at 2GHz, and six units of A55-based Kryo 560. The trade-off from power to efficiency makes sense in this model. The Adreno 619 GPU is capable of better than the average graphics performance. The Snapdragon 480 is coupled with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, and you can increase storage by using up to a 512GB MicroSD card in the SIM tray. In addition, a second SIM can be used in the tray if there is no MicroSD card installed.

Note that this is an unlocked phone and supports both CDMA 5G and GSM 5G bands. This phone works with both GSM carrier SIMs like T-Mobile as well as CDMA SIMs by Verizon. I have been using a Verizon SIM on this phone for over a month and have had no issues.

Next to the chip is the phone battery. The 5500 mAh unit in this phone is less advanced than the freeze-protected version in the AGM Glory Pro but will provide long-time use with the efficient 480 processor. I have been charging it on my commute to work and it has lasted the rest of the time without running out of power.

What I like

  • Great set of cameras for technical use
  • rugged design
  • great battery

What I’d change

  • Main camera has no OIS and limited resolution
  • Streaming is limited to lower resolutions
  • OS is missing some useful features for a screen this big

Final thoughts

Despite its shortcomings, including a less than stellar main camera, poor streaming capabilities, and non-standard OS improvements, the AGM Glory G1S 5G unlocked smartphone has a lot to offer the technical worker. The excellent battery life, adaptable camera systems, and rugged design are features that make this phone last longer and do more in the field than just about any other phone available. In the worst case, if none of the phone’s features meet your demanding expectations, this is still a world-class thermal camera with built-in Android support. However, the phone has many features typical of today’s mid-tier phones and should provide a valuable tool and enjoyable device for many users. If you are in the market for a thermal camera or rugged phone I recommend you consider the AGM Glory G1S.

Price: $699.99
Where to buy: AGM and Amazon
Source: This product sample was provided by AGM.

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