AGM Glory G1S review: superhero powers in a rugged smartphone

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advantages

  • thermography
  • Big ad
  • Tangible, robust housing
  • Long battery life
  • Powerful reversing cameras
  • Solid performance

Disadvantages

  • Difficult
  • Security for Android 11 and January 2022
  • Single rear mono speaker

Earlier this summer, my ZDNET colleague Jack Wallen posted his impressions of the AGM Glory G1S rugged smartphone. I follow that with this formal review. I spent a month using the G1S in the water, at the beach, in the wilderness, and other environments this mid-range phone was intended for.

phones like that AGM Glory G1S are clearly not designed for the standard consumer looking at the iPhone, Samsung Galaxy or Google Pixel. However, with a large, sturdy protective case on these phones, there isn’t much of a difference in size and weight. That Glory G1S was developed for people who are looking for a tool to solve a specific problem. If you’re looking for a phone that comes with a thermal imaging sensor and night vision cameras and also behaves like a regular smartphone, then the Glory G1S is for you.

Likewise: The best security cameras with night vision: see in the dark

Jack provided all the specs in his article, so be sure to check out those details. It’s also interesting to read another opinion on the phone where we both agree that the Glory G1S is a solid Android smartphone for the right customer.

Back of the AGM Glory G1S.

Five openings and a fingerprint sensor on the back.

Matthew Miller/ZDNET

hardware

The AGM Glory G1S is a large phone measuring 315 grams. Given the cameras, large battery and robust features, it makes sense. If you train outdoors, it’s nice to have a large display to view information, and the high durability is appreciated by frequent falls.

The 6.53-inch display has a resolution of 2340 x 1080 pixels, with a small central notch for the front camera. The display is very bright and fortunately easy to read outdoors. There are slightly wider bezels at the top and bottom, but I’m really impressed with the narrow side bezels for such a sturdy phone. An orange line highlights the frame of the display.

Likewise: The five best phones you can buy right now

Laser pointer on AGM Glory G1S.

Convenient laser pointer on top of the phone.

Matthew Miller/ZDNET

The volume and power buttons are on the right side, with a sturdy lanyard hole in the lower-right corner. A programmable hardware button — in a textured orange finish — accents the left side, while the SIM card and microSD card tray reside on the right. The four corners have additional TPU material to protect the phone from drops, similar to how protective cases are designed.

A unique red laser pointer is located on top of the phone alongside a microphone opening. This can be toggled on and off via a quick control button in the notification shade. From my point of view, the laser pointer was very useful for pointing out objects to others. I only wish it had the ability to serve as a laser range finder.

More: Why you need an Android smartphone with thermal and IR cameras

A rubber port cover can be removed from the bottom to reveal a USB-C port and 3.5mm headset jack. The USB-C port is bottom-inserted, so you’ll need a USB-C cable that fits into the port for charging.

You can also charge the AGM Glory G1S through the $20 dock accessory. The dock allows you to place the phone in the slot and it charges using the four pin connectors on the bottom back of the phone. The charging station is completely powered via USB-C.

AGM Glory G1S charging in dock.

Keep the bottom ports covered and charge the device in the dock.

Matthew Miller/ZDNET

The back of the AGM Glory G1S is one of the phone’s most standout features, with a radical upper rear half housing five vents: three cameras and a flashlight. The camera system includes a 48MP Sony IMX582, 2MP macro and 20MP Sony IMX350 infrared night vision lens.

The infrared thermal imaging camera sits proudly in the middle. To test it out, I tried out the night vision while camping and the image sensor was certainly helpful for getting through trails in the dark. There’s also a rear fingerprint sensor, which regular readers will know I love for its ergonomics, accessibility, and reliability.

Likewise: The best rugged phones that can take a beating

software

The AGM Glory G1S starts with Android 11, which lags almost two generations behind the latest Google software. The January 5, 2022 Android security update is present on our test device. I haven’t heard any plans from AGM regarding Android updates, but having such an old security update on the phone doesn’t bode well for long-term support. The bottom line with this phone is buy it if you like what’s on the phone right now, not what more it can be. Security updates are important to businesses, so hopefully we’ll see some activity here soon.

The G1S runs a stock version of Android with no bloatware or additional apps installed. The only additional apps focus on the specific tool experience, including a compass, VHF radio and “IRCamera” for thermal imaging. The laser pointer controller appears as an optional tile in the notification bar.

Regular image and thermal image of a machine on AGM Glory G1S.

This mode allows you to compare the current image with a thermal image.

Matthew Miller/ZDNET

Aside from all the standard Android settings, there is a custom button setting on the left. You can set this button for push-to-talk, audio playback, and opening services like camera, LED flashlight, laser pointer, or even Google Assistant. I currently have it set for the laser pointer.

For more customization options, see the thermal imaging camera software. The Pro and Classic options are shown at the bottom of the thermal imaging software. You can change the thermal color palette, create time-lapse images, turn measurements on and off, integrate GPS information, highlight areas on the image, and more.

perfomance

I took the Glory G1S to a recent ship check to measure temperatures of various engines, water temperature in the piping and hotspots in control panels. I also took the phone with me for fly fishing as I spend time standing in the river and a phone that can withstand the water and fall in the river is important.

In general, the software is easy to use and very functional even for beginners. The thermal imaging application also allows for the creation of videos, which I appreciate for the flexibility.

Normal image and thermal image of operational panel on AGM Glory G1S.

A view of an operational switchboard with the G1S.

Matthew Miller/ZDNET

I also tried watching movies on the Glory G1S and they looked great on the large display. However, I’m not a fan of the single rear speaker between the cameras. It’s quite loud, but not as loud as what I’ve experienced on other rugged smartphones. A speaker is a must for field work.

bottom line

If you’re looking for a device that can capture thermal imaging images and video, can be used to see and detect objects at night in infrared vision, and doubles as a rugged Android smartphone, then the Glory G1S is for you. The Amazon price of $599 is very attractive for such a powerful mid-range phone. Now if only the company could be a little more proactive with Android security and firmware updates.

to examine alternatives

Want more rugged phone suggestions? These are your best options:


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