AGM is a smartphone company which takes the elements seriously while not getting too involved in system software. Their design focus is about physical components which rugged phone users want or need, and in the past we’ve tested their ‘Glory Pro’ model (see review) which even offers a thermal camera.
Goodies like that aren’t cheap though, which is where the AGM H5 comes in. It’s still built on a very solid platform, but sticks to the features most will use. It has not escaped AGM’s attention that phones often serve as portable sound systems, so the speaker is designed to be be LOUD. It promises of 109dB of output - which is roughly the sound you get from a full orchestra or a jackhammer.
AGM H5 Pro Specs
The model we tested was the H5 Pro is, from the spec-sheet at least, a fairly standard Android phone. In reality it has a few tricks up its sleeve.
Display: 720 x 1600 pixel 6.52 inch
Rear Camera: 48MP Main, 20MP Infra-Red, 2MP Macro
Front Camera: 20MP
Weight: 176 x 86 x 23mm
Size: 360g (12.7oz)
OS: Android 12
Chipset: MT6765 Performance cores + 4 efficiency cores up to 2.3GHz A53
As we’ve come to expect, “rugged” means IP68, IP69K and military standard 810H so this handset could survive a 1.5M (5ft) drop, or half an hour under 1.5M of water. Aside from strength, this phone has two significant additions to help it stand from the crowd. One is the Infra-Red camera (and light) which lets you see in the dark, just like a security camera
The more obvious is the enormous 109db speaker protruding from the back which means you won’t miss a thing when working, or can enjoy tunes on site. It is the self-styled “world’s loudest mobile phone,” and wants others to know; the speaker is surrounded by a color-changing LED circle. You can even play FM radio (though you’ll need wired headphones as an antenna.)
There is also a meaty 7,000 mAh battery and physical charging dock means the phone has decent battery life – a claimed 400 hours standby, though we suspect that is with without network connection.
AGM H5 Pro: Build & handling
This handset is built to survive some rough and tumble, and so the first thing which leaps out is the protruding shock protectors on the corners. These certainly inspire confidence. On its back, the handset features it’s enormous speaker and lights; these respond to sound in a way you choose in settings. The camera lenses aren’t excessively exposed because it is the speaker housing which protrudes furthest.
Looking down the back you see a fingerprint scanner and, nearer the bottom, metal contacts – to fit into the physical base station. Sony’s CM-DX1000 had a dock a quarter of a century ago; inductive charging would feel more 21st century. When working (they didn’t’ for us), they can provide 10W charging, though plugging the USB-C directly into the handset is a faster 15W.
Looking around the edges you see rubber covers for the charging sockets, and we did like that AGM had included spares in the box.
AGM H5 Pro: Camera performance
Shooting with the H5 Pro’s camera is a pain-free experience, largely through lack of complexity. The Android camera app includes live filters (Beauty, Skincare, Slim and Enlarge). Android 12 also provides plenty by way of post-shoot filters (Dynamic, Vivid, Luminous, Radiant, Ember, Airy, Afterglow and Stormy) in the Photos app.
The image quality is average, with lens distortion visible around the edges of the frame and a slightly uncertain auto white balance. There is only one main sensor, so all zoom is digital; 1x to 4x are offered on-screen. Close up, however, and the 1600 x 1200 pixel Macro camera can reveal interesting detail. We can see this being very useful if you need to share pictures of small components, and we liked that you could invoke the camera rather than waiting for it to kick in automatically.
Video is recorded at 1080P and isn’t the phone’s strength. There doesn’t seem to be any form of image stabilization and, even in a very light breeze, a lot of wind noise was recorded. The MP4 was compressed to just 19Mbps, too. We also noted the auto exposure seemed to lean on under-exposing – it didn’t seem prepared to lose detail in the sky.
Video sample: Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the video is the apparent lack of stabilization.
The AGM H5 Pro offers good functionality, and a genuinely solid frame at a reasonable cost. The speaker’s volume comfortably drowned out the iPhone 13 Pro Max though the sound wasn’t as clean – we detected resonance on some frequencies. Still, for voice listening and hearing notifications in a noisy environment you can’t beat it.
We can see this being a useful tool for all kinds of workers who need to see in the dark. A security installer could also test for IR light pollution, while wilderness explorers and hunters have a friend here. At a pinch we can see it as a child’s first phone – it’ll be fun to play with in the dark and hard to break!
Were impressed with the battery life and have a nostalgic fondness for dock charging in theory, though it seemed a weak spot here. Minor issues aside, however, the AMG H5 Pro’s price – and very convincing rugged frame – gives this device obvious appeal.