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AGM, Action Gains Memory, also wants to play a role in the niche of outdoor smartphones, which is why the manufacturer launches the X1. The smartphone was among the bestsellers in the outdoor phone section in China – not a surprise if you have a look at the hardware. The X1 houses a 5.5-inch display, a 5400mAh battery and a Snapdragon 617. Special features are the dual camera, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage as well as a fingerprint scanner. Is the AGM X1 able to manage the balancing act between outdoor phone and a phone for everyday life? Like the Nomu S30, the X1 tries to find a middle course between user friendliness and outdoor smartphone. Besides, one thing we’d still like to know is how did a newcomer on the smartphone market get a Snapdragon processor? I tested the X1 for 2 weeks and you’ll find my experiences in the following review.
Design and build quality
Of all AGM phones, the X1 is the smartphone with the most discreet design. The weight of 210g is alright for everyday life, and the dimensions of 163.5 x 79 x 12mm are okay as well. It fits in almost every trouser pocket, the operation with one hand only on the other hand is quite a challenge.
The AGM X1’s design follows a classic bar design with a fine front side. There is also a notification LED. The outdoor protection seems to be a protective cover around the smartphone. The rear side is not designed in an excessive way, in contrast to most other outdoor smartphones. It is made of rubberized polymer, which makes it easy to grip. The screws, the camera in bronze mounting and the AGM logo in triangle style let the smartphone seem fine and rustic at the same time – nicely done, I would say!
Design is always a matter of taste, but I think the phone is stylish and plain enough to be used in everyday life. The ports for headphones and micro-USB as well as the tray for SIM card and memory card are protected by plastic covers. They can easily be opened with fingernails – the impression that they could loosen themselves is not true.
In the SIM card tray, you can put a micro and a Nano SIM card, however, you can also replace the Nano SIM with a micro-SD card with which the storage can be extended up to 128GB. The audio jack works perfectly, plugs which have an angle as well as normal micro- USB plugs fit well into the AGM X1. There are no such problems with the connections as you have with a Blackview device.
The build quality is fine for an outdoor smartphone! There are no big gaps or sharp edges. The used material is also alright. All buttons at the phone deserve special praise. At the front, you find 3 sensor keys (not illuminated) and the home button, which is also used as fingerprint scanner, is not a physical home key. However, AGM was clever here: on the one hand, it helps to protect the button from dirt and water, on the other hand it is programed in a way that it is not set off at slightest contact. The fingerprint scanner is not produced by AGM itself, it is made by Sweden FPC Waterproof Fingerprint Identification and it works extremely well. During the test, 9/10 attempts were successful – with dry screen and fingers. In wetness, there are more problems, but wiping the scanner clean helps here. The buttons at the sides did also well in the test, they have a nice and pleasant feedback.
AGM X1 outdoor suitability
The X1 was designed as outdoor smartphone, therefore, it is IP68 certified meaning that it has highest protection from dust and dirt and it is protected from water (up to 1.5m deep) for about 30 minutes. Concerning the design, AGM secures enough protection.
The frame is sufficiently stable and cushions falls from 1.5m onto parquet and tiles without any problems, which was confirmed in our test. The frame juts out 1mm of the display and protects it when falling. However, if it lands unfortunately, it can still break. Gorilla Glass 3 protects the display additionally.
The IP68 certification protects the phone from water in 1.5m depth for 30 minutes. It easily survived a dive in the sink, only the speaker needed a few minutes until it worked perfectly again.
However, we noticed a weak spot in the test. The AGM X1 sounds a bit hollow when you knock against the rear side or when you tap stronger on the display. This makes the phone seem to be of less quality – but increased outdoor protection would mean less user-friendly design. Nevertheless, the AGM X1 meets all expectations of an outdoor smartphone.
The AGM X1 is equipped with several sensors, which make the smartphone kind of a digital Swiss army knife! The functions can be used via the preinstalled app “Outdoor Tools”. The app offers a compass, a water level, a digital scale and different functions with the camera (magnifying glass, pendulum, determining of an angle). Further, you can send an emergency message and stay informed about avalanches or other extreme environmental factors. The AGM tool is very useful especially outdoors and it’s more than a simple addition.
In the black box you also find a power supply unit (however, without quick-charge 3.0) and a micro-USB cable in orange. In addition, you get a screen protector and a quick reference guide.
The AGM phone houses a 5.5-inch full-HD display with 401 pixels per inch. The Super AMOLED technology is made by Samsung and provides nice colours, sharp contrasts and good viewing angles. Colour temperature is merely warm, but it cannot be adjusted in the settings.
The brightness sensors automatically controls the display’s brightness, which overall could be brighter. Reading in bright sunlight is possible thanks to the “sunlight visual technology”. The display is protected by Gorilla Glass 3 and it scores 10 points in our test. The only weak spot, which is because of the outdoor qualities, are the bezels; this is better with normal smartphones.
The X1’s highlight: huge power in an outdoor smartphone! AGM uses a Snapdragon 617. The 8-core processor clocks at 1.5GHz and it is supported by an Adreno 405 and 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. What a performance for an outdoor smartphone!
During normal use, there are never any jerks and apps start without noticeable load time. The Antutu score of about 46,000 is not that good, but for an outdoor smartphone, it is quite high. The RAM has a speed of 5GB/s and the internal storage has a reading/writing speed of 201/195MB/s. when the phone is used intensely, the temperature climbs to 38°C, which you however do not notice through the thick casing.
As the Benchmarks show, the AGM X1 can be used for more than just email checking, even Asphalt 8 runs well on with highest graphics settings. 4GB of RAM, of which 2GB can used in Idle, are worth it, and 64GB of storage are appropriate as well.
Strangely enough, the AGM X1 is only equipped with Android 5.1, but it has been already confirmed that Android 7 will be available on May 7th 2017. However, the update is available only with manual installation; there are some OTA updates by AGM, but the leap from Android 5.1 to 7 is probably too big.
Nevertheless, the a bit out-of-date operating system works perfectly. It runs stable, very fast and fluently. The surface stays quite original, the only thing that has been changed is the overview of all apps. In the settings, you find additional menu items: a blacklist to block numbers and buttons that can be customized are the most useful functions.
The 4 preinstalled apps are annoying, primarily because it is not that easy to get rid of them. The apps are a file manager (which is at least working well), a quick link to a mobile hotspot, a Dictaphone and an app to play and show videos.
The AGM X1 is the first outdoor smartphone to have a dual camera, which is currently the latest trend. The 13MP camera does a perfect job in the test. The bigger lens has an aperture of f2.2, the smaller lens takes photos with 5mp, which saves depth of field. With the dual mode, you are able to brighten up photos afterwards and you can do all sorts of knick-knacks with the camera. You usually get beautiful pictures, no matter what the scenery or the motives are. Furthermore, the AGM X1 has a pretty nice camera app, with different modes: panorama, dual, video function and automatic mode. It is also possible to change to the pro mode, which helps when there is not enough brightness. Otherwise, the automatic mode increases the ISO value, which leads to image noise. The autofocus is fast and the flash handles close-ups nicely. Have a look at the photos! The X1’s camera is not the ultimate one, but it takes nice pictures and I often used it instead of a digital camera.
Communication and connectivity
The AGM X1 has all necessary standards, and the reception is really strong and never let me down. However, the signal needs quite a bit of the battery capacity in stand-by.
The GPS was designed to guide you everywhere: the phone houses GPS; A-GPS (faster determination of the position), GLONASS (northern latitudes) and BDS (Asia-Pacific region), which all work excellently. Moreover, there is a compass for pedestrian navigation available as well as Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi with 2.4 & 5GHz and NFC.
AGM equips the X1 with a huge 5400mAh battery with quick-charge 3.0! We checked the capacity and can confirm the manufacturer’s statement. The outdoor smartphone reaches 10.5 hours in the PC Mark battery test, with which we can confirm AGM’s promise to get “battery capacity for a whole weekend”. Although we have to add that AGM could do better in terms of battery life. The Redmi note 4 for instance reaches 16 hours of run time with a smaller 4100mAh battery. The battery power convinces in normal use, although there is still potential left. A full-HD YouTube video (60min) in medium display brightness consumes 9% of the battery. The processor does its work thriftily and the display does not consume too much battery either. Only the reception consumes a lot of battery – no wonder if you have such an enormous reception.
As the AGM phone has quick-charge 3.0, the huge battery is fully charged quite fast:
|Original charger||2:00 – 75%||2:30 – 90%||3:40 – 100%|
|Quick charge 3.0||1:30 – 75%||2:00 – 90%||3:00 – 100%|
The big battery is definitively a blessing for power users. I never feared to have a run-down battery with the AGM X1 and I only had to charge the phone every two days.
* Incl. VAT and, if applicable, delivery costs – subject to interim changes.