In for review: AGM G2 Guardian rugged smartphone with a thermal monocular camera

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AGM announced the G2 Guardian rugged smartphone at this year’s Mobile World Congress, announcing proudly that it has the most advanced thermal imaging camera on any smartphone – a monocular thermal camera.

What is a thermal monocular camera? A thermal monocular is a device that uses thermal imaging to allow outdoors enthusiasts and professionals to see objects that are hidden to the eye by darkness, foliage, fog, smoke, fire, or even walls. It is a small, compact device that attaches to your eyeglasses and allows you to see in low-light conditions. AGM has put one in this smartphone. That is the unique proposition of the AGM G2 Guardian, and as at today, you won’t find it in any other smartphone on the planet.

AGM G2 Guardian unboxing
AGM G2 Guardian unboxing

As such, emergency workers like police, security, search-and-rescue, fire officers, and hikers, campers, etc, do not need to buy a dedicated monocular thermal camera anymore. With the AGM G2 Guardian, they are good to go, and we will be exploring this capability in detail in our full review of the phone.

The selfie camera is a 32-megapixel shooter, while at the back is a 108-megapixel main camera, a 20-megapixel night vision lens, and a 2-megapixel macro lens. Our experience with most 2MP macro lens is that they are useless. Does AGM buck the trend? We will find out. But these three light cameras are only a part of the G2 Guardian’s arsenal; the monocular thermal imaging camera is there, too, and you can’t miss it. It is the largest part of the camera module at the back of the phone.

But there is another pleasant surprise: AGM fixed a massive mono loudspeaker in the center of the camera module, and it is a good one, too. It is loud, the audio has depth, and we have enjoyed music playback and video audio on this bad boy.

AGM G2 Guardian cameras and loudspeaker
AGM G2 Guardian – four rear cameras and loudspeaker

The speaker is the branded section in the middle, while the thermal camera is the large round spot under the speaker. The rest of the layout features the three light cameras and an LED flash. Three light cameras and one thermal camera in one package.

Did we mention that the AGM G2 Guardian is big? Of course, it is. Rugged smartphones are so heavily armored that they end up big and heavy. This model weighs 406g. It isn’t the heaviest we have reviewed here at MobilityArena, but it is big.

Like all other rugged smartphones, it is built tough to withstand shocks, drops, water and dust. We are talking about MIL-STD-810H standard and IP68/69K, giving you protection from dust and allowing submersion of the device in up to 1.5 meters of water for 30 minutes.

There is a sheet of Gorilla Glass on the 6.58-inch, 120Hz IPS display. The rest of the body of the phone is plastic, which is understandable considering it is built to take hits, though a touch of metal here and there wouldn’t have been a bad thing. But plastic handles shocks and drops best, so we cannot complain.

What of performance? The G2 Guardian uses a relatively unknown chipset that is designed for industrial use (which is why it isn’t so popular), but which is quite capable, sitting firmly at the upper mid-range class. The Qualcomm QCM6490 chipset uses Kryo 670 and delivers performance a little above Snapdragon 778G and 782G. Coupled with 12GB of RAM, our review unit runs smoothly. There is an 8GB variant, too.

A smartphone designed for outdoor use like this should not have you worrying about running out of battery juice and looking for a power source out in the wilderness, in a cave, or up Mount Everest. Which is why the G2 Guardian has a 7000mAh battery. So you can top it up fairly fast, it has 18W fast charge built in and a compatible charger is included in the box.

How does a thermal photograph look?

We imagine that a number of our readers will be curious about what a thermal photo looks like. We have already taken quite a few, with interesting results. Here is an example:

thermal photo of a car tyre
A thermal photo of a car tyre

Is a thermal photo of any use to the average person? We doubt it, but professionals and adventurers find thermal imaging very useful. For example, besides being able to pinpoint objects in that are otherwise hidden from sight, the G2 Guardian can measure the temperature of each part of that tyre or person or any other object it is pointed at. There is a whole range of uses this feature can be applied. But we will get to that in our detailed review.

Rugged smartphones and smartphones with thermal imaging cameras are a growing sub-sector of the smartphone industry. Generally referred to as the outdoor smartphone industry (though use cases are not exclusive to the outdoors), once again, mobile technology is putting convergence and added value in the hands of an industry made up of security personnel, search-and-rescue, hikers, adventurers, scientists, and more.

In a world of mobile devices that are more or less replicas of one another, the AGM G2 Guardian brings extra functionality that has us excited and exploring new frontiers. Don’t go away; keep an eye out for our full review. It promises to be exciting.

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By MobileChic

That motivated, gadget-loving geeky chic who tries to stay on top of things. Unapologetic iFan.

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