There are a plethora of Android smartphones on the market, so why would you want to consider a model from a lesser-known brand like AGM? In the case of the AGM G1S, the thermal camera is the killer feature that may sway you. In this review, I'll attempt to help you decide if the AGM G1S Android smartphone is for you.
Full disclosure: AGM provided me with the G1S for this review. But, as always, this review is as honest as unbiased as possible.
Before we dive into my thoughts about the AGM G1S, let's go over the specifications.
- Screen size: 6.53"
- Screen resolution: FHD+ 2340x1080 LCD
- Connectivity: 5G
- Processor: Snapdragon 480
- Main camera: f/1.79 48MP Sony IMX582 w/ 10x optical zoom
- Thermal camera: 25Hz 192x256 resolution
- RAM: 8GB
- Storage: 128GB
- Battery: 5500mAh
- Weight: 315g
None of those specs are going to wow anyone, but they make this phone very competitive in the midrange of the Android market. Flagship models from the bigger companies, like Samsung and Google, have slightly better performance, but the AGM G1S isn't far behind.
The AGM G1S wasn't designed to compete with a Galaxy S22 or Google Pixel 6. Instead, it is meant for users who need something more durable than a slab of aluminum and glass. And, most importantly, who need a thermal camera.
True thermal cameras are rare, especially on smartphones. But they're very useful for people in some professions. HVAC techs and mechanics, for example, can use the thermal camera to help find leaks or diagnose issues. And those are exactly the kinds of customers who are going to value a rugged smartphone over one that scores a tiny bit higher in performance benchmarks.
And the AGM G1S is rugged. It is the only smartphone I have held in several years that I didn't feel the need to immediately enclose in a protective case. It a nice textured plastic and rubber frame that feels secure in the hand, and can hold up to drops and other abuse. Dust covers on the ports ensure that dirt and grime don't get in.
Everyone interested in the AGM G1S can sigh in relief now, because it comes with completely vanilla Android installed. No awful manufacturer skins or bloatware here. You get plain ol' Android, which is exactly what everyone wants.
The only pre-installed app I saw was for the thermal camera. That is necessary, since Android doesn't build thermal capability into its standard camera app. And if you wanted to uninstall it, you could—though doing so would cause you to use the thermal camera functionality.
AGM recommends using T-Mobile for the G1S in the United States and you'll see some information online that suggests that it is the only option.
I'm not sure which providers you can use, but I had no issues with Google Fi service during my testing. I was able to text, make calls, and use data as normal. That was with a 5G connection receiving 586mbps download speeds when I tested it.
While the AGM G1S may not have the quite the performance of some flagship phones, it is no slouch. The phone always felt quick and responsive. There was never any kind of lag like used to be common on some older Android smartphones.
It even works great for gaming. I tried playing PUBG and had the best match I've ever done—getting first place in the end. The gameplay was smooth throughout the experience, and this is a pretty resource-intensive game.
The thermal camera isn't the only neat trick up the G1S's sleeve. It also has a night vision camera, configurable user button, charging pins, and even a built-in laser pointer.
The night vision camera worked well in my tests, even in very low light. I'm not sure how useful customers will find it to be, but I'm sure there are people out there who will love this feature.
On the side there is a nice orange button that the user can set to do whatever they like. That's awesome if you have a function you use frequently and want easy access too.
The AGM G1S has both a standard USB-C charging port and a headphone jack. But the available dock makes contact using a few metal pins on the back of the phone case, which is a nice substitute for wireless charging.
And yes, there is a laser pointer. My dogs had fun with that!
This is what everyone looking at the AGM G1S is coming for. The thermal camera is a very cool feature and, frankly, the entire reason I chose to review this phone.
The first use I thought of was looking at motorcycle tire temperature. Tire temp is important when taking a motorcycle to the race track — something I started doing this year. Being able to look at the tire's overall temperature, as well as any hot or cool spots, is very useful.
To demonstrate that, I took this photo of my bike's rear tire when it was cold. Unfortunately, that bike was stolen before I could take a follow-up picture of the tire when hot. But you get the idea.
If you're used to looking at standard camera specifications, then the 192x256 resolution probably sounds low. But it is actually very good for a thermal camera. It is more than enough to get a high density of temperature readings. You can also overlay the temperatures over the normal camera view, giving you the best of both worlds.
The built-in thermal camera app has all kinds of settings to help you get the information you're looking for. You can set ranges, view types, color modes, and more. It lets you record both photos and videos, if you need to reference the information later.
I really like the AGM G1S. If I was willing to make a permanent switch from iOS to Android, I would keep this phone for myself.
It is rugged, powerful enough for everything I can imagine, and has cool features you don't see on other phones. It is a little bit big for my tastes, but not by much — and nowhere close to behemoths like the Galaxy Note.
And I'm happy to see a manufacturer that realizes that not everyone wants a smartphone that looks like a shard of glass. If you're going to use a case anyway, then what is the point? With the G1S, you get to skip all of that nonsense.
In a world where every smartphone looks identical, the AGM G1S is something different.