AGM H5 Pro review

Two-minute review

Back in June 2022, we reviewed the AGM Glory GS1, a fully featured ruggedised smartphone that came at a premium price.

The AGM H5 Pro is a new design that borrows heavily from the Glory, specifically the Glory Pro version, to deliver something with a slightly different flavour but in familiar packaging.

Where the Glory series has more of an industrial use profile, the H5 Pro comes with more lifestyle-pleasing features like a waterproof loudspeaker and an animated LED light ring.

It’s certified with IP68, IP69K and MIL-STD-810H standards, giving it the potential to survive a drop of 1.5m onto a hard surface and 1.5m underwater for up to 30 minutes. But, this assumes that the rubber plugs covering the USB port are in position.

The core SoC is an Helio G85 sporting an octa-core chipset with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage, and you can expand storage using a MicroSD card in the SIM tray.

That’s a powerful platform, and when combined with the 7000mAh battery, it will operate for up to 400 hours on standby, output 150 hours of non-stop music and 32 hours of video.

The main rear camera uses the excellent 48MP Samsung S5KGM2SP sensor with  f1.79 optics, and alongside that are a macro sensor and night vision. Front-facing captures use the reliable 20MP Sony IMX376 sensor.

As with many modern Chinese-made phones, the H5 Pro has excellent specifications and, for around $320, represents good value for money.

The only caveats are that this is a monster phone with a  6.5-inch screen that won’t easily fit into a trouser pocket, and the dual SIMs only support 4G LTE, not 5G comms.

And, if someone near you has this phone, and you don’t like their musical tastes at 109 dB, then it might prove triggering.

A charging dock is available from AGM for this model (Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

AGM H5 Pro price and availability

How much does it cost? $320 / £400 / €400 plus shippingWhen is it out? It is available nowWhere can you get it? You can get it in the US, UK, and across Europe, among others

It is possible to buy the H5 Pro directly from AGM for $320 plus shipping to your region. This is a global version of the phone, and the bands it supports are suitable for most customers in the USA and the majority of services in Europe.

For an extra $50, AGM makes a plastic dock that enables the H5 Pro to be recharged without accessing the USB-C port via pogo pins, making it a worthwhile investment.

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)Value score: 4/5

AGM H5 Pro design

A very chunky phoneWaterproof speakerNot ideal camera placement

As I’ve already mentioned, the H5 Pro does appear to repurpose parts of the Glory Pro model, and the layout of this design is almost identical.

After removing it from its packaging, a beige box that also contains a charger, owners will first be struck by just how big a phone the H5 Pro is. It needs to be this large to incorporate the 6.517-inch IPS TFT screen, along with all the other technology that AGM stuffed inside it.

The button locations are almost the de facto placements for rugged phones, with a user-customisable button on the left and the power button and volume rocker on the right.

What AGM didn’t do was use the popular fingerprint reader on the power button, instead placing it in the centre of the rear. That is a much more friendly location for those that aren’t right-handed.

The rear has an interesting faux carbon fibre finish which helps the owner hang on to this 360g lump, even with wet hands.

But it’s not the most striking aspect of the back since AGM placed a massive waterproof speaker in the place most phones have their rear camera cluster.

The speaker situated between the camera sensors can output 109dB of sound (Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

There are two issues with this item, the first of which is that it forces the three camera sensors, LED flash and IR light out to the very edges of the phone. They are so near the side of the phone that it is incredibly easy to obscure them with a digit and ruin your attempted photography.

The second downside of the speaker is that its projection stops the phone from laying flat, a minor issue but one that guaranteed that wireless charging was never an option. AGM engineers have tried to mitigate this choice by using pogo pins on the lower back allowing the H5 Pro to be charged without pulling out the waterproofing plug covering the USB-C port.

One other rubber plug covers the extended SIM tray that can accept either a single Nano and a MicroSD card or two Nano SIMs.

In other respects, there isn’t much to say, other than this is a design that is evidently designed to take plenty of knocks, get wet, be used as a blunt instrument and still keep working.

Pogo pins designed to work with the charging dock (Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

Design score: 4/5

AGM H5 Pro hardware

109dB speakerOdd screen resolution1080p capture but only 720p playback

Specs

The AGM H5 Pro that was sent to us for review came with the following hardware:

CPU: MediaTek Helio G85
GPU: Mali-G52 MC2
RAM: 8GB LPDDR4X
Storage: 128GB (microSD memory card Up to 1TB)
Screen: 6.517 ” IPS TFT
Resolution: 1600 x 720 FHD+
SIM: Dual Nano SIM (or single Nano and MicroSD)
Weight: 360g
Dimensions: 176.15 x 85.5 x 23mm
Rugged Spec: IP68, IP69K
Rear cameras:  Samsung S5KGM2SP 48MP, Gcoreinc GC02M2 2MP Macro camera, Sony IMX350 20MP Night camera.
Front camera: 20 MP Sony IMX376 Sensor
OS: Android 12
Battery: 7000mAh

There was a time when phone makers embraced screens that had resolutions that fitted with the standards that video and still images embraced in other parts of our digital world.

The H5 Pro uses a 1600 x 720 IPS panel that AGM calls FHD+, which is curious since FHD means “Full High Definition”, and that starts at a resolution of 1920 x 1080. According to most sources, FHD+ is 2220 x 1080, or roughly double as many pixels as this screen.

That the screen doesn’t reach these higher resolutions is disappointing, but for reasons we’ll soon come to, having a better one probably wouldn’t help.

What this screen does deliver is plenty of brightness with a quoted 500 nits of luminescence. However, it’s a very glossy glass surface, and even with these brightness levels, it can be challenging to see clearly in bright sunshine.

Where this design doesn’t cut any corners is in the choice of SoC. It uses one of the best chips MediaTek makes in the Helio G85 and its associated Mali-G52 MC2. An impressive eight-core platform with two ARM Cortex-A75 2GHz cores for performance tasks and six smaller ARM Cortex-A55 1.8 GHz for efficiency.

Here it has 8GB of DDR4 memory and 128GB storage at its disposal, and that’s sufficient for most users that aren’t recording excessive amounts of video or holding other data.

Extra storage can be added by using a MicroSD card if you only use one Nano SIM position.

There is more than enough power and space to use the H5 Pro in a vast range of scenarios, and the performance of the GPU does offer some gaming potential.

It’s not as spritely as the phones we’ve encountered with the Helio G95 SoC, like the DOOGEE S96GT, but it’s better than any of the lesser Helio designs.

This is a large phone, even with this reviewers shovel-like hands (Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

Like all the AGM phones we’ve tested recently and Chinese phones in general, there is no support for WideVine L1, only L3, reducing the best resolution any major streaming service (Netflix, Amazon, Disney, etc.) offer is 480p on this device.

Our research suggests that the MediaTek silicon can be programmed for L1 mode, but it doesn’t appear to be a feature Chinese phone makers can be bothered with.

The final, and possibly controversial feature of this phone we’d like to discuss, is the speaker.

AGM claims that the speaker can output 109dB, and to put that into perspective, standing next to a motorbike is around 95dB, so it’s louder than that. There is a context where being able to blast out music for an impromptu beach party or similar might justify using this ability. But it’s more likely it will annoy those nearby intensely. If you are that person, then enjoy the ability to deliver 109dB as long as that lasts, but be aware that permanent hearing damage can be an issue at 120dB.

Hardware score: 4/5

AGM H5 Pro cameras

48MP main and 20MP frontSamsung sensor delivers high-quality capturesMacro and Nightvision sensors

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

 The AGM H5 Pro has four cameras:

48MP Samsung S5KGM2SP main sensor20MP Sony IMX376 front-facing sensor2MP Gcoreinc GC02M2 2MP Macro camera20MP Sony IMX350 IR Night camera

Another strong point, at least on paper, is the four cameras, with three on the rear and one on the front.

It used to be expected for phone makers to use sensors from a single source, but the H5 Pro is indicative of a mix-and-match approach. The main rear camera uses the excellent Samsung S5KGM2SP 48MP sensor, and alongside that is a 2MP Gcoreinc GC02M2 for macro work and focus-adjusted portraits, and the third rear sensor is a 20MP Sony IMX350 in IR night-vision mode.

Of these, the Samsung S5KGM2SP is undoubtedly the star, producing very crisp and well-saturated images. Using the Gcoreinc GC02M2 produced some acceptable images, but the focus control features need work to achieve the best results more reliably. Night vision works fine for those who enjoy stumbling around in the dark using your phone to guide the way.

The most significant issues with the rear cameras are the awkward side placement we’ve already mentioned and how this can end up with unwanted fingers in the shot.

These ergonomics aren’t an issue for the front camera that uses a 20MP Sony IMX376 Sensor, good quality for what will mostly be used for selfies and face-timing.

Where these cameras slightly miss the mark is that the maximum video resolution they offer is 1080p, whereas the Samsung S5KGM2SP is designed for greater than 4K, 240fps at 1080p and capturing RAW images. The photo application on this phone offers none of those features, regrettably.

But logically, given the screen resolution, you can’t play back anything higher than 720p without scaling the capture. However, it would be nice to capture in 4K and then download that video to be displayed elsewhere. This isn’t the only resolution caveat on this phone.

Camera samples

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Camera score: 4/5

AGM H5 Pro performance

Uses the MediaTek Helio G85 SoCGood, but not a gaming phoneLarge-ish battery

Benchmarks

This is how the AGM H5 Pro performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

Geekbench: 344 (single-core); 1299 (multi-core); 1185(OpenCL)
PCMark (Work 3.0): 8940
Passmark: 6578
Passmark CPU: 3288
3DMark Slingshot: 1839 (OGL)
3DMark Slingshot Extreme: 1434 (OGL); 1449 (Vulkan)
3DMark Wild Life: 738
HWBot Prime: 4945

The results of the H5 Pro aren’t a huge surprise because we previously tested the Armor 14 Pro, a phone that uses the same Helio G85 SoC, and the difference between these two machines is measured in fractions of a percentage.

This hardware is less power than you would see from a Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 or the Helio G95 phone, but it is much better than Helio G35 used in the base AGM H5 model.

The lift from the H5 to the H5 Pro is dramatic, with this platform delivering double the scores across most tests, with the exception of HWBot Prime, where it’s only marginally better.

Overall, the performance of the H5 Pro is good, although there are a few areas where it could have been better.

We’ve already mentioned the lack of WideVine L1 support, but the Mali-G52 MC2 GPU isn’t the best in class and therefore isn’t ideal for gaming. While it can cope well with a simple title, like Candy Crush, it doesn’t have the 3D rendering performance for titles that use VR or FPS modelling.

Performance score: 4/5

AGM H5 Pro battery

Enough power for a few daysNo wireless charging10w Pogo pins

The 7000mAh battery is a decent amount of power, but there are designs around 10000mAh or even 12000mAh of capacity.

According to AGM, this translates into 400 hours on standby, 150 hours of non-stop music or 32 hours of video.

The only problem with these values is that if you buy the H5 Pro for a trip into nature, where you won’t get a recharge, would you want to blow what battery life you have, destroying the inherent tranquillity or trying to stream video with little or no mobile service?

What 7000mAh represents is at least two, if not more, working days without needing a recharge, depending on how you choose to use it.

The lack of wireless charging is somewhat offset by the inclusion of Pogo pins that allow the charging docks to recharge the phone without disturbing any of the rubber waterproofing seals.

Our only reservation about the charging docks is that they only operate at a maximum of 10w, whereas if you plug in a suitably powerful charger directly to the phone, 15w can flow. Therefore, if you need the H5 Pro to charge rapidly, don’t use the dock.

Battery score: 4/5

There are many good things to say about the H5 Pro, especially in regard to the main camera sensor and the overall high quality of construction.

The inclusion of an IR night vision mode also makes it ideal for woodland adventures where stumbling around in the dark can end badly.

We’re not sure if the market for phones that generate 109dB of sound is a large niche, but that’s the one that AGM targeted with the H5 Pro.

AGM H5 Pro score card

AttributesNotesRatingDesignThe placement of the camera sensors might have been better.4/5HardwareGood camera sensors, including night vision and being able to charge the phone without exposing the USB-C port are all positives. The giant speaker’s value is more subjective.4/5PerformanceThe MediaTek G85 SoC is a powerful and popular choice for higher-end Chinese phone makers. Not record-breaking, but respectable performance.4/5CameraExcellent rear main sensor, good IR night vision and passmable macro mode. Slightly let down by the lack of better than 1080p 30fps video.4/5Battery7000mAh isn’t a small battery, but some rugged designs offer more.4/5ValueThe strength of the dollar is making all phones more expensive, although this one isn’t premium priced.4/5OverallA decent design, with a few idiosyncrasies4/5

Should I buy the AGM H5 Pro?

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