AGM H5 Pro Rugged Smartphone Review

Dhanisa Mashilfa

The AGM H5 Pro was fairly recently unveiled to the public and it’s a rugged smartwatch that has a lot of design elements in common with the AGM Glory Pro, while keeping the cost far more accessible. As expected, some features won’t be present, such as the thermal camera and the dual torch, but the developers were very keen on keeping the design signature of the Glory Pro.

This means that there’s still a loud speaker mounted on the rear side of the smartphone, the cameras are positioned in a similar manner and, to be honest, when putting the AGM H5 Pro and the Glory Pro side by side, I wouldn’t be able to tell them apart if it wasn’t for some different color accents. This does mean that the AGM H5 Pro is pretty much just as rugged as the Glory Pro, right? It does seem so because the smartphone is IP68 and IP68K-rated, as well as certified for some MIL-STD-810H standards.

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Into the wild.

The manufacturer seems to have also kept the night vision camera which I suppose could come in handy in some situations, although I assume pretty niche. The main and front-facing cameras still appear to be the same which is great because there was a large Sony sensor which could take in a lot of light.

But, there are also some downgrades, such as the resolution, which is 720 x 1,600p and I will have to check if it’s actually enough for such a large display (6.5-inches). And the battery is no longer able to withstand those extreme temperature, but the silver lining is that it’s actually larger, having a capacity of 7,000mAh. I do think there is a lot to unravel with this rugged smartphone, so let’s put it to the test.

The Design and Build Quality

I knew that the AGM H5 Pro looks similar to the Glory Pro before I actually received the box, but I didn’t really expect it to be pretty much identical. Well, at least on the front side. The bezel width, the teardrop approach for the front-facing camera and even the frame looks the same. It’s made of robust rubber with four elevated corners to protect the smartphone from shattering when dropped on its side. These elevated corners are more prominent on the AGM H5 Pro, but the protective lip around the display is the same.

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Left: AGM Glory Pro. Right: AGM H5 Pro.

I would have preferred if it was a bit deeper to ensure a better screen protection, especially since the display is so large, therefore more vulnerable to mechanical shocks. The position of the ports and buttons is the same on the AGM H5 Pro as it was on the Glory Pro, which means that on the right side of the frame, there’s the volume rocker and the Power / Wake button. And yes, both are made of metal, which is excellent.

On the left side, there’s the User Defined Key which is orange (on the Glory Pro, it was red) and it serves the same function – you can set it as Push-to-Talk, Camera shortcut, LED torch and more. But it does not have an SOS function which is very important for people that travel a lot in isolated locations and it can make a difference if they get injured or lost.

At the bottom of the AGM H5 Pro, there’s a protective cover which, once removed, will expose the USB-C port alongside a 3.5mm jack for headphones. I didn’t expect that we would reach a point where we would rejoice at the sight of a headphones jack, yet here we are (kudos to AGM).

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The USB-C port and the 3.5mm jack.

But what I didn’t like here and neither did on the AGM Glory Pro is that not all USB-C cables can be used to charge up the AGM H5 Pro. That’s because the manufacturer made the canal too narrow, so that only the cable provided into the package can be used. I guess there are always means of circumventing the rules for an universal charging port (I bet Apple is furiously taking notes). The SIM/microSD card slot is positioned in a similar manner to the Glory Pro, so you can find it above the User Defined Key and it’s also protected by a silicone cover.

I did like that there are no logos or any other flashy signature anywhere on the front side, since it made the phone look a bit more elegant and serious, but do be aware that this is a huge smartphone. If the 6.5-inch screen wasn’t a giveaway, know that the entire case is bulky, measuring 6.9 x 3.3 x 0.9 inches (17.6 x 8.5 x 2.3 cm), but the slightly better news is that the AGM Glory Pro is less heavy than the Glory Pro, weighing 12.7oz, so, not really by much.

Yes, you need a good belt when carrying this rugged smartphone around with you (I mean, you could use it as a self-defense instrument ..). The star of the show is the rear panel which does have a similar layout to what we saw on the Glory Pro.

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Left: AGM Glory Pro. Right: AGM H5 Pro.

So, towards the top, there’s the circular speaker which is the same as on the more expensive Glory Pro, meaning that it can reach 109dB. It’s going to be loud, very loud, but it does suffer from the same shortcomings as well. I know it sounds cool to have a 3.5W speaker that can reproduce the sound with relative high fidelity, but how does the sound get reflected? Well, if you keep the smartphone on the table, the sound is going to get muffled and, if you hold the device in hand, it’s going to reflect on the nearby wall.

That’s why a lot of manufacturers point the speakers on the frame, so that a table or any other flat surface amplifies the sound. Still, because it’s loud, you’re going to hear what’s going on in a video, just that there will be some loss in clarity. Surrounding the speaker, there is an LED ring which doesn’t really have any purpose above the aesthetic value (if you’re into RGB).

It’s also strange that there is only a setting that turns on and off the LED ring, while also plays a song, but it’s not associated to any other app.

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The LED ring.

On the left and right side of the speaker (and ring), there seems to be four cameras, but on a closer inspection, one of them is the flashlight. The other three consist of the main 48-megapixel camera, the 2-megapixel macro camera and the 20-megapixel IR night vision camera. Besides this assembly, the AGM H5 Pro is covered by an Aramid-like texture and there is a Fingerprint sensor in the middle.

And I am happy to say that it’s a better sensor than on the AGM Glory Pro. It’s not perfect since it does fail about 1 times out of four, but it’s definitely better than the Pro’s sensor which almost never works. As expected, the wireless charging is gone, but the manufacturer did leave the dock charging pins in case you want to use the optional charging station.

How rugged is the AGM H5 Pro?

The outer shell of the AGM H5 Pro seems to be just as strong as on the Glory Pro and this is confirmed by the MIL-STD-810H certification but, unless the manufacturer discloses the actual tests that were passed by the smartphone, this certification doesn’t really tell that much.

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Rugged smartphone.

In AGM’s defense, they have disclosed that the H5 Pro has survived from repeated drops from up to 5 feet, it can resist water ingress when submerged down to 5 feet for 30 minutes and that the chassis will offer protection against dust ingress up to 99%. Furthermore, the AGM H5 Pro is also IP68 and IP69K-rated which put an emphasis on the previously mentioned tests, where the smartphone has proven to resist dust and water.

I did see that the extreme temperature-resistant battery is gone (the Arctic Battery), so if you need to be exposed to that type of harsh environment, it’s better to give the AGM Glory Pro a chance. I have already mentioned the protective lip around the display which is not really that prominent, but should still provide some level of protection.

I was interested whether AGM went with Gorilla Glass this time since it hasn’t with the Glory Pro. I haven’t found any mentions that the AGM H5 Pro uses Gorilla Glass, so it’s safe to assume that it doesn’t. Which is why you should leave the pre-applied screen protector in place, to keep it scratch-free as much as possible.

The Display

The AGM H5 Pro uses a 6.52-inch LCD display with a resolution of 720 x 1,600 pixels, so it’s a step down from the 2340 x 1080p resolution of the Glory Pro.

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AGM H5 Pro display – the photo was not edited (except the cropping and resizing).

And yes, when I put the two displays next to each other, I could tell the difference since the H5 Pro was less sharp. At the same time, considering the 269ppi, I wasn’t really able to tell pixels apart and, considering the price tag, the display is not really half bad. Still, if the screen would have been smaller, the resolution would have made more sense. Furthermore, since it’s not AMOLED, the black levels aren’t very deep.

The white is on the cool side, without displaying any type of tint. The contrast is slightly elevated which does help when viewing movies and pictures, and I haven’t noticed any color bleeding. Also, the text is fairly sharp, so, if you’re not constantly comparing the screen with higher-res displays, you won’t even notice that the resolution is not that high. And the good news is that it’s also going to go easy on the battery, as long as the SoC is efficient.

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AGM H5 Pro – The photo was not edited (except the cropping and resizing).

I wasn’t happy about AGM’s decision to ignore the Always-On Display feature yet again because this is one of the most frustrating things about the iPhones. Android phones are more flexible, so I don’t really understand why the AGM H5 Pro is also missing this great feature. Sure, the battery life will be extended, but then again, the AoD doesn’t really consume that much battery to being with.

The Internal Hardware

Unlike the Glory Pro which went with the Qualcomm platform, the AGM H5 Pro uses the Mediatek platform and, to be specific, the SoC is an octa-core Helio G85 MT6769V clocked at 2GHz. I was tempted to think that the G85 was more powerful, but it’s not. Unlike the Qualcomm Snapdragon 480, which is a decent mid-ranger, the Helio G85 falls a bit in the entry-level segment but does it truly matter, considering that the refresh rate of the screen is 60Hz and the resolution is HD+? I ran the GeekBench 5 benchmark and the single-core score (334) was a bit above the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7, the same as the multi-core score (1278).

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GeekBench 5 Results

The Geekbench Compute score was 1195 which came as a complete surprise since it’s higher than the AGM Glory Pro‘s score. So, how did that happen? Well, it seems that the ARM Mali-G52 GPU is better (or at least better optimized) and, when paired with the lower-res screen, the AGM H5 Pro may actually perform better in games than its more expensive sibling. But, before reaching any conclusions, let’s check the GFXBench results as well.

This benchmark is focused on the graphical performance of the smartphone and, it seems to have done decently well. The High-Level Tests where the Aztec Ruins OpenGL ran at 1461 x 720p, the was an average of 8fps, while the normal-tier Aztec test showed an average of 15fps. That was pretty much the case with the Car Chase test (at the suitable resolution) and the surprise came from Manhattan 3.1 which showed 28fps.

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AGM H5 Pro – GFXBench Results

Both T-Rex and Manhattan tests showed good fps (53 and 41fps respectively). Moving to the Compare section, we can see that the AGM H5 Pro sits above the Apple iPad Pro, but just below the Samsung Galaxy S7. This is an overall score which takes into account higher resolutions that the rugged smartphone can support, so I decided to simply run some games and check the performance by myself.

It’s worth noting that the AGM H5 Pro has 8GB of RAM and native 128GB of storage (upgradeable using the microSD card up to 512GB). So, I first installed Asphalt 9, a racing game and playing it for a few minutes didn’t show any issues, the frame rate was fine, the movement smooth and no stuttering.

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AGM H5 Pro

agm-h5-pro

SOFTWARE & UPDATES

7.2/10

Pros

  • Solid, rugged exterior
  • Decent rear camera + night vision camera
  • I liked the software layout and feel
  • It seems to receive software updates
  • Loud speaker

Cons

  • The canal to connect the USB-C is too narrow for most USB-C cables
  • The smartphone is a bit too large and heavy
  • Most likely stuck on one Android version
  • 1-year warranty
  • The video quality is not that great

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