Notebookcheck Logo

AGM H5 Pro hands-on: Rugged, proud, and insanely loud

AGM H5 Pro rugged smartphone cameras, speaker, and LED ring area (Source: Own)
AGM H5 Pro rugged smartphone cameras, speaker, and LED ring area (Source: Own)
The AGM H5 Pro is one of quite a few MIL-STD-810x-certified smartphones currently on the market that also feature an infrared night vision camera, but only its siblings can also boast a 3.5 W speaker that can hit 109 dB. In today's hands-on review, we will take a closer look at the pros and cons of this rugged handset that is hard to ignore.

Quite similar to the AGM H5 (advertised as the first Android 12 rugged smartphone), the AGM H5 Pro comes with a MediaTek Helio G85 processor instead of the MediaTek Helio G35 of its sibling, as well as a few discrete design changes. Currently available on Amazon for more than US$300, this handset comes with a bloatware-free software environment, an attractive yet very solid build, as well as what seems to be the loudest speaker installed on a smartphone so far.

In today's hands-on review, we will take a quick look at the specs, features, level of performance, as well as the overall user experience provided by the AGM H5 Pro. However, the answer to the question regarding the value it delivers depends on each user's needs and expectations.

AGM H5 Pro rugged smartphone standard retail package without dock (Source: Own)
AGM H5 Pro rugged smartphone standard retail package without dock (Source: Own)

Box contents, design, build quality

The retail box that contains the handset and its accessories looks rather lackluster, but gets the job of protecting its contents done (at least for the phone itself, there is obviously no protection needed). Inside it, we find the phone, an 18 W charger, a USB-A to USB-C cable, a card PIN, the quick start guide, two spare protective covers (one for the SIM/memory card cover, and the other for the USB-C port cover), as well as — it would be great for big brands to do this as well — a sheet with a few stickers.

With a large speaker housing on the back, the AGM H5 Pro has a distinctive design. The speaker is surrounded by a customizable LED ring, which, in turn, is guarded by the camera assembly. A bit lower, we find the fingerprint reader and, at the bottom, the pins used to charge the phone using a dock (not provided with the package that I received, but very convenient for avoiding the wear and tear of the USB port protector, which might allow for water and dust to go through). The phone feels great in hand thanks to the Kevlar-like texture, which provides excellent grip and protection alongside the rubber-enforced corners. 

The power and volume buttons are placed on the right edge of the AGM H5 Pro, while the customizable button and SIM/memory card compartment are on the left.

The materials and craftsmanship are both excellent. This is highly subjective, but I just love the feeling of ruggedness provided by this handset, including the buttons. Other rugged phones are simply heavy and solid, but the texture of the material used in this case goes beyond these two attributes. The feeling is quite hard to explain, but I am sure that most of those who ever had the chance to hold the H5 Pro, its non-Pro sibling, or another device with a similar case can understand what I mean.

Specs, features, real-life usage

In addition to the massive 7,000 mAh battery, the AGM H5 Pro has quite a few highlights in its specs sheet that make it an excellent rugged phone for its price range, such as NFC support, a 3.5 mm audio jack, and the 20 MP Sony IMX350 night vision camera. However, what makes it stand out from the crowd is the 3.5 W speaker that promises to deliver up to 109 dB. The display has 6.52 inches in size, with a resolution of only 1,600 X 720 pixels, but combined with an excellent typical brightness value of 500 nits, as well as a typical contrast ratio of 1,500:1.

The MediaTek Helio G85 processor, alongside 8/128 GB of memory/storage space, all with a pure Android 12 experience on top should get the job done for most users. Even plenty of games can run well on this handset, but its purpose is not this. Just for reference, I will mention a few benchmark results below:

  • A1 SD Bench: 161 MB/s read and 207 MB/s write for the internal memory, 4,603 MB/s for RAM copy operations   
  • Geekbench 5.4.4: 341 single-core, 1,271 multi-core, 1,208 Vulkan and 1,184 OpenCL points
  • GFXBench: 510.8 frames
  • 3DMark: Wild Life (Vulkan) 725 points; Sling Shot (OpenGL ES 3.0) 1,836 points  

The camera setup is quite common for rugged phones in this price range these days, with a 48 MP main shooter that uses the Samsung S5KGM2SP sensor. The 2 MP macro camera could be useful in some cases, but most users wouldn't miss it if it would break or just disappear. The front camera, however, uses a 20 MP Sony IMX376 sensor and can achieve pretty good results in optimal lighting conditions.

However, the star of the show should be the 3.5 W speaker. In my experience, both notifications and ringtones are louder than anything else I've heard before on a smartphone. Sadly, I can't say the same about music or podcasts and I was only able to measure a sound level of up to about 82 dB. However, it might also be the fault of the measuring tools (I used the Noise test software on the Doogee S98 and Doogee S98 Pro, with similar results on both).

Leaving numbers aside and my failure to measure anything at least in the 90 to 100 dB range no matter what sound sources and settings I used, the AGM H5 Pro remains the smartphone with the loudest speaker that I ever encountered. The LED ring is also adding a few extra points for those who want to venture into the wild with a phone capable to survive it and then throw a party with disco lights in the middle of nowhere.  

Other than the above, the battery life is great, with over 10 hours of gaming, 32 hours of video, 150 hours of music, and no less than 423 hours of standby on a single charge. The only complaint here is that the alternative for wireless charging is a dock that was not included with my test unit and charges the AGM H5 Pro at 10 W, down from the 18 W fast charging achieved when using the included charger and USB-C cable.


The good, the bad, and the truth

The AGM H5 Pro looks great, feels great, and its 3.5 W speaker is something to hear. The battery life and level of protection from the elements are excellent (MIL-STD-810H, IP68/IP69K). The software environment is very close to stock Android 12, with just a few additional tools (LED light settings, custom side-button configuration, and a software updater). The night vision camera can be useful in many situations and gets the job done properly. The bundled accessories show great attention to detail (the stickers) and long-term customer satisfaction (spare protective caps).

It would be great to have the charging dock as a standard accessory. Also, the side button can only be configured with a single-click action. Adding options for long press and double-click would be very useful. The main camera might not be great in certain conditions, and using a different camera app can sometimes help, especially for the video shooting part, where Open Camera is an excellent choice for software-assisted image stabilization.

The lack of 5G connectivity and a higher-resolution display are no weak spots for the AGM H5 Pro, but strengths and the reasons should be obvious in each case. Overall, this is a great companion for outdoor adventures but can be just as effective during a shopping spree while on a city break. Last, but not least, the AGM H5 Pro (or its non-Pro sibling, for those on a tighter budget) can be the perfect device for kids.

Disclaimer: The author of this review received the AGM H5 Pro rugged smartphone from AGM free of charge for the purpose of testing.


AGM (official product page)

Read all 1 comments / answer
static version load dynamic
Loading Comments
Comment on this article
Please share our article, every link counts!
Codrut Nistor, 2022-10- 6 (Update: 2022-10- 6)