There is one additional app from AGM and it’s the Thermal AGM application which has been completely redesigned from the Glory Pro times and it can be customized to a very high degree – I will check it in depth in the dedicated section. Other than that, the stock version of Android runs great, looks really well and, while it does have more detailed notifications, I suppose the only gripe I have with AGM so far is that the display still doesn’t have an always-on option.
I have mentioned that the Glory Pro has had some issues where it restarted randomly and I have been testing the AGM G2 Guardian for a few days and so far, everything seems in order. I will, of course, update the article in case I notice any weird behaviors.
The AGM G2 Guardian relies on a 108-megapixel Samsung sensor (F/1.79 aperture, 0.8µm, PDAF) and, considering its size, it should perform really well. I did capture a difficult photo with the sky and a tree with lots of leaves and branches. I did zoom a bit to check for any chromatic aberrations and the image was surprisingly clean – furthermore, the amount of detail is impressive and you can see from the photo (I know, I know, it’s scaled down for the web), even the finer branches are visible.
The sky was not overblown and it was very well reproduced, and, just like on the Glory Pro, the AGM G2 Guardian does focus selectively various parts of the image. I also recorded a video to see if there are any tears and whether the stabilization is well implemented – be aware that the camera can film 1080p videos only. As you can see, the video is a bit shaky and I would have really benefited from a gimbal.
Now let’s move to the 2-megapixel macro camera. I did capture a few photos of some flowers in my garden and, as you can see, they’re really good. The focus is on the correct portion of the subject and there is a very good amount of detail.
Moving forward, the main shooter did relatively well in the dark, although not as good as the Pixel series. But the AGM G2 Guardian does have a black and white camera that relies on IR LEDs in the same manner as the security cameras do. I shot a few photos and they’re not blurry, but surprisingly clear and with a very good amount of detail, even if there was no immediate light source. Why would you need a night vision camera on a phone? If you’re in the wilderness and it’s night, you’re going to appreciate it very much.
The Monocular Thermal Camera
Let’s talk about the star of the show, the monocular camera which has a resolution of 256×192 pixels, an aperture of F/1.0 and 12μm pixel interval, so they’re pretty much the same specs as on the Glory Pro (as well as the Xinfrared T2S+ and the Topdon TC001 modules), but it does have an interesting 10mm focal length. Before anything else, make sure to not point the thermal camera at the sun and not just when you’re filming, the sensor can get damaged at any time.
Now let’s check out the camera’s performance because the manufacturer claims that the G2 Guardian should easily outperform the G1 Glory Pro. I went to the beach near Pisa (Italy) and I have added my position on the map, as well as the point where the camera would see moving people clearly (about 400 feet or 200 meters).
Then, I have also marked where I could see some faint silhouettes which was at 400m or about 1,3K feet. AGM says that I should be able to see people up to 500 meters (1.6K feet), so we’re very near that point. As for pets and other dog-sized animals, I could clearly see their shape at about 390 feet (120 meters), but they will become a faint dot at about 650 feet (200 meters). An important factor to keep in mind is that I did not use a tripod, this is just me holding the phone in my hand, so it is possible to gain a few extra feet if you do use a stabilizer of any kind. But even so, considering that I could ‘see’ that far while holding the phone in my hand is an impressive feat.
I also attached the thermal shot that I got using the AGM G2 Guardian and the Glory Pro, side by side and it’s obvious that the former is way sharper, with a far better contour. Let’s talk a bit about the auto-calibration. It was very obvious and quite often on the Glory Pro, and it’s very much noticeable on the AGM G2 Guardian as well. The footage does freeze from time to time, as you can see above and that’s when the camera auto-calibrated itself. Probably the only thermal camera that kept this behavior to the minimum is the Xinfrared T2S+ module.
Now let’s talk a bit about the app. I feel like AGM made the mobile app a bit complicated and, while I do appreciate the large amount of options, it can be very intimidating for a new user. First of all, you need to know that the camera auto-focuses on the subject by trying to pinpoint the correct distance. It works fine in most cases, but you do get the option to manually focus as well using the volume rocker. There are also two main modes, the temperature measurement mode, where you can see the min, max and average temperature values, and you can also adjust the temperature range from the dedicated bar on the right side of the window.
The second mode is the night vision mode which should help better see any warm-bodied creature during nighttime. From what I could gather, the main difference between the two modes is the contrast. At the top, the app will offer a few additional options, such as Ribbon, where you can choose the color palette; there’s also the Contrast/Brightness and Analysis.
Using the latter, the app will give you the possibility to see the temperature of a fixed point, along a line or on a drawn rectangle, and there were also some additional effects. You can also shoot a time-lapse of the surrounding area and, under Settings, I saw that it was possible to enable the Shutter compression and a bit lower, there is a Setting tab which opens up a lot of available options.
Here, you can change the temperature unit, range and alarm, the isotherm colors, the temperature values (max, min and/or average), enable the Dual optical fusion, as well as the hot spot tracking. The Dual optical fusion is a bit trippy, but it’s the closest I have seen to a proper overlay since CAT and some FLIR implementations. And yes, the AGM G2 Guardian does offer the option to view the actual footage in a small window, but I dislike this approach and prefer the actual overlay.
The Call Quality and Connectivity
There have been several instances when the developers forgot the initial purpose of a device after ‘smartening it up’, so can the AGM G2 Guardian function as a reliable regular phone? The microphones are well placed and the noise reduction one does a decent job at focusing on the voice near the phone, while limiting the impact of the ambient noise. So yes, the call quality is good and if you want to put the phone on the speaker, know that the G2 Guardian can get unreasonably loud, easily covering the entire room.
As for connectivity, there is support for 5G even if it’s no longer advertised in the name of the device (it’s been normalized now) and, as for the WLAN, you can connect the smartphone to WiFi 6 routers and access points. Indeed, the inner WiFi adapter supports 802.11ax, but I also saw some mentions about WiFi 6E so what was that all about? The Qualcomm QCM6490 does support WiFi 6E (6GHz), but I wasn’t sure that the phone did actually have support for it. What do you know, I actually had a WiFi 6E router on my desk, the TP-Link EX920. So, I made sure that the 6GHz SSID was broadcasted and I checked whether the AGM G2 Guardian saw it. It did not, so it support WiFi 6, but not WiFi 6E.
The Battery Life
The AGM G2 Guardian has a 7,000mAh battery which is an upgrade over the 6,200mAh of the Glory Pro and I suppose one of the reasons why the smartphone is so thick. I have been using the rugged smartphone for about a week and, so far, it seems that the average battery life with the brightness set to 60 percent was a bit over 3 days. Remember that during this time, I have actually tested the smartphone, including using the thermal camera, plus the screen is 120Hz.
Even so, I think that 3 days is a very good performance as long as they can keep it consistent over many years. There is a 10W wireless charging coil embedded into the case of the smartphone and, while it’s a cool way to charge the G2 Guardian, it’s going to take a while to reach 100% considering the 7,000mAh. As a side note, while some smartphones do have this option, you can’t switch to 60Hz to preserve the battery life.
The AGM G2 Guardian is big, heavy, flashy and it gets the job done. The frame is solid and I have no doubt that the smartphone will survive most extreme conditions. But the decision to go with a monocular thermal camera has made it a bit more sensitive to corrosive substances and to direct sun exposure. Even so, you do gain the best thermal camera on a smartphone to date, so I guess the trade-off is worth it. The question that some of you may ask is whether the AGM G2 Guardian is just a thermal camera that also happens to be a phone?
And the answer is no, the hardware is powerful enough to offer a smooth experience and the 120Hz panel is simply the cherry on top. The screen is big, you can play games with no freezes or stutters and yes, the G2 Guardian does work well as a regular phone as well (for calls). In conclusion, I can say that at this moment, the AGM G2 Guardian is most likely the best rugged smartphone available on the market, so you should definitely check it out if you don’t mind its design particularities.
AGM G2 Guardian-
SOFTWARE & UPDATES7.2/10
- Monocular Thermal Camera
- Rugged exterior
- 120Hz display
- Good overall performance (+WiFi 6 supoport)
- 3.5mm headphone jack
- It's huge and heavy
- The canal towards the USB-C port is very narrow
- No AoD
- No support for future Android versions
Mark is a graduate in Computer Science, having gathered valuable experience over the years working in IT as a programmer. Mark is also the main tech writer for MBReviews.com, covering not only his passion, the networking devices, but also other cool electronic gadgets that you may find useful for your every day life.
2 thoughts on “AGM G2 Guardian Rugged Smartphone Review: First Thermal Monocular Smartphone on the Market”
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This phone is amazing, it has thermal imaging!