There are many rugged smartphones, but really well-equipped devices are rare. For example, rugged smartphones with Snapdragon processors are rare, as are rugged smartphones with a true and above all good quality camera.
In this review, we would like to talk about the mid-range phone, but with good specifications.
As you can remember, the AGM X2 or even the AGM X3 is almost flagship rugged phones that cost over $500. But our hero will have a price tag of $255.
What do you get for this money? The AGM A9 has a large 6-inch screen, a Snapdragon 450 chipset, 4 and 64GB memory, OTG, NFC and a big battery capacity of 5400mAh.
That’s exactly what we have tested for you and tell you now in this review everything you need to know.
AGM A9: Specifications
|Display:||5.99 inches with 2160 x 1080 pixels|
|CPU:||Snapdragon 450 Octa Core 1.8GHz|
|Memory extension:||up to 128GB|
|Cameras:||12.0MP main and 16MP front camera|
|Connectivity:||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, 3G, 4G, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, and GPS|
|Connections:||Type-C and microSD card|
|Dimensions:||168 x 81.4 x 12.6 mm|
AGM A9: Design and Appearance
The theme of the design is a rather boring topic for rugged smartphones. Basically, these devices always look the same with slight variations.
Mostly there is a metal core, which is reinforced at the corners with plastic or rubber. The devices seem stable but also clunky.
Basically, the AGM A9 in our test is no exception but tries to make the typical design of a rugged phone appear higher-quality and elegant.
Many manufacturers combine black with bright colors, which AGM dispenses with. The AGM A9 presents itself in black. The metal core that protects the hardware comes to light in some places and holds the display glass on the front.
At the transition to the display glass, you have missed the metal a shiny chamfer, which makes the device look high-quality. Nothing really rattles here and everything from buttons to SIM tray makes a solid, well-made impression.
The one cap on the bottom, protect the USB Type-C port.
The second approach that AGM uses to make the design look more elegant is a matte metal back.
In a rugged smartphone, which should be very resistant by nature, metal on the back has absolutely nothing to look for. There are already numerous reports on the network about splintered backs after a fall.
Thus, the AGM is likely to be out of the race for all rugged fans who run their devices hard.
The AGM A9 in our analisis has an IP68 certification and can, therefore, be immersed under water for any length of time. AGM guarantees tightness up to 1.5 meters.
In addition, it is protected against dust and shocks (except for the back glass) and complies with the military standard 810G.
In the test period, we exposed the AGM A9 very often water and had no problems with it so far. The case itself is also very stable. Even by force, the device does not deform in the bending test.
What about wearability and usability? Well, surprisingly, the AGM A9 does not really bother so much in larger trouser pockets.
You can feel it, but it does not really annoy you. This may be because the phone is a bit slimmer (13mm) than many other rugged smartphones in our test.
In the hand, the device is naturally more “edgy” and therefore neither extremely pleasant nor unpleasant. The weight moves with 243g in a human area.
One-handed operation is unfortunately not possible due to the massive design. A one-handed mode would have helped but was not implemented by AGM.
AGM A9: Display
The display already contains the next special feature of the AGM A9 in our test, with which the phone sets itself apart from other rugged smartphones. This is where an IPS display is used, which promises to be more economical with the battery.
It is even a Full HD IPS panel with a diagonal of 5.99 inches and a classic aspect ratio of 18: 9. Unfortunately, AGM does not use a very high-quality panel.
The presentation is true and the picture looks quite sharp, but you can see the LCD typical coarser structure. Especially with thin fonts, you can occasionally see podium formations.
In addition, the color of the display is not the best. It has to do here with a typical LCD candy optics. The colors are very intense and therefore not very natural.
Unfortunately, there is no way to adjust the presentation to soften this effect. The display is of course not bad, but should not meet everyone’s taste.
Its strengths are the IPS display in the AGM A9 when it comes to contrast. In terms of brightness, the display is at a decent level. Although the picture is significantly paler in direct sunlight, you can still see enough to operate the device.
The display glass of the AGM A9 is made of Gorilla Glass 5. As so often, you can not check that, of course, but only give an assessment of stability.
So far the experiences have been positive. We took the AGM A9 into nature a lot and made some big bike rides with it getting in contact with dirt and sand.
The AGM also has not saved on the touch screen and installed in the A9 unit that can capture up to 10 touch points at the same time.
In fact, it seems to be a really high-quality touch panel, because the AGM A9 in our analisis shows hardly any input lag and has no problems to keep close together touch points apart.
The accuracy in everyday life is also convincing. Marking small text, clicking on small links or just typing fast on the on-screen keyboard is not a problem.
AGM A9: Hardware and Performance
In the AGM A9 a Qualcomm processor is used, whereby the device sets off from most other rugged smartphones, which almost always bet on MediaTek chips.
Specifically, the AGM A9 has a Snapdragon 450. The chipset combines octa 1.8GHz Cortex A53 cores. For the graphics, an Adreno 506 is used. The Snapdragon 450is still with 14nm.
This is almost never noticeable in regular everyday use. Seldom did it happen that in the case of demanding multitasking or the installation of new apps in the background, slight stuttering occurred for a short time, but that always took over quite quickly.
Apart from that, the AGM A9 in the analisis always runs fast and smooth. Even more demanding games packs the smartphone without any problems.
Asphalt PUBG Mobile, Asphalt 9, Gear.Club and Oz: the Broken Kingdom we could all play fluently on highest graphics settings. Even after a long playing time, there were no framerate slumps here.
AGM A9 supports 4GB of RAM. As far as the data storage is concerned, you can choose between 32GB and 64GB for the A9.
If you need even more memory, the AGM A9 can also a Micro SD card. We did the test with a 128GB Class 10 card from SanDisk and achieved decent data rates.
Unfortunately, AGM has opted for a hybrid slot, so you have to choose between Dual SIM and Micro SD extension.
AGM A9: Software
On the AGM A9 runs as good as untouched Android 8.1. The design has not changed at all, so Stock Android fans will get their money’s worth.
The security patch is currently at the status of November 1, 2018, making it at least halfway up-to-date.
Nevertheless, it would be nice if AGM would bring this up to date with the next OTA update.
The OTA Updater is used by AGM. During the trial period, our A9 received an update. The AGM A9 is Google certified and can thus use Google services without any restrictions.
The AGM A9 in the test comes with support for many languages including English. The translation is good and almost complete. During the trial period, the A9 was always round and stable.
There was not a single crash and we did not notice any compatibility issues with apps. The only problem that existed at the beginning was a software bug that prevented the data connection via mobile radio.
AGM A9: Connectivity
The reception performance in mobile communications moves in the good midfield. Due to the thick housing, the signal strength seems to suffer a bit, which means that it can lead to short dropouts in poor coverage and sometimes the positioning of the hand affects the reception.
Basically, this is rarely a problem, but you can not call it perfect. Praiseworthy is the support of Band 20 LTE, which makes the AGM A9 very useful in European mobile networks. Also for use in other countries, the A9 is well equipped with broad frequency support.
In WLAN networks, the AGM A9 in the analisis is fast thanks to AC-WLAN. In the WLAN we could find to our surprise no limited performance.
We were able to move throughout the house without any crashes. One floor below the router was still almost 100Mbit / s achieved throughput, which is a really good result in comparison. Bluetooth is supported chipset-still according to the 5.0 standard, which also works fine. The smartphone covers three rooms without dropouts.
NFC support is also available and worked fine in a short test with an NFC tag.
The GPS performance is slightly weak in the dry test with GPS test. Here only 12 satellites were found in clear skies and the signal strength moves more in the upper midfield.
However, this never became a problem in practice. The tracking screenshots below are from a tracking session on the bike with the device in a bag. The additional shielding did not lead to limited accuracy.
The route was drawn very accurately and you can even see when on the bike path and when was driven on the road. Navigation with Google Maps works just as smoothly and accurately. Even difficult reception conditions do not cause any problems.
AGM A9: Sound
The media speaker has AGM shipped to the back of the A9.
AGM has installed a waterproof loudspeaker that will not shut up under water.
As you can see, there are already 4 loudspeakers here, and to be honest, the sound is very loud and good, as the speakers from JBL are used here.
Therefore, if you are very noisy at work, then with these speakers you will definitely hear a call or a message.
Like the speaker, the microphones in the AGM A9 are waterproof. For some rugged smartphones, no sound recording is possible under water. The AGM A9, however, no strange noises, but you get a surprisingly good recording of the sounds to be heard there.
This is very useful for underwater shooting. And the quality of the microphones also convinces in the air. When talking on the phone, the call partners attest to good voice quality and the caller is also very well understood by the AGM A9.
AGM A9: Camera
We’ve already tested some rugged phones from China, but the AGM A9 beats them for the camera. At this point, we dare to say that this is currently the best camera in a rugged smartphone.
The camera is definitely anything but perfect for the price range. Nevertheless, it provides very good results in some areas and can be quite adequate depending on the user’s needs.
The first category in which the AGM A9 can score with its camera is normal photos by day. The main camera provides sharp and detailed photos, which can always convince in color.
The dynamic range has managed AGM surprisingly well. Especially here devices of smaller manufacturers often have massive problems. Although the AGM A9 is sometimes difficult in extreme situations, on the whole, it works quite well with the dynamics.
A slight image noise or a slight graininess is noticeable here and there, but bothers in most cases hardly to not at all. The trip time is very short.
You get almost immediately after pressing the trigger his finished picture. Moving objects are sharply scanned. The focus sits thanks to PDAF lightning fast and usually without manual intervention correctly.
At night, the camera starts to weaken a bit, but at least in night mode is still better than the average of the devices from small manufacturers.
For snapshots, use the results with enough artificial light sources. They seem a bit muddy, however, because it lacks details.
Too bad that the AGM A9 does not offer Pro mode with manual exposure. With a tripod, you could certainly produce quite good shots.
The LED flash is relatively bright but is not enough for large spaces. It is noticeable that the A9 is very susceptible to wobble when shooting with flash. It is very difficult to get sharp pictures with the flash in complete darkness.
The 16MP front camera produces good-looking photos with enough detail insufficient light. In light deficiency, however, it begins to falter. The pictures are getting muddier.
The main camera can record videos at UHD resolution and 30fps. The videos offer a very good audio quality and look good quality.
AGM A9: Battery
The battery in the AGM A9 in the test is advertised with 5.400mAh. In external measurements, we even came to a higher value.
With one battery charge, according to our statistics, theoretically with continuous everyday use, 18 hours and 4 minutes of screen-on time are possible.
That’s a good result, considering that this is a 14nm chipset used. In extreme use, we could easily through a day. With regular everyday use, a charge lasted one and a half to two days.
The AGM A9 is charged with Quick Charge 3.0. A charge of 20% to 100% takes less than three hours.
The fastest section is the load from 20% to 70%. This takes less than an hour. If it has to go fast, so also a short reload enough to be mobile for several hours.
AGM A9: Conclusions and Reviews
The AGM A9 in our review is a very good rugged China phone, which comes along with the unusual for rugged smartphones metal back without quirks and a lot right.
The equipment is impressive, the software is clean and stable, the promised tightness against dust and water is kept and the dual camera can surprise in some areas.
Also, the use of the Snapdragon 450 processor with average indicators makes the phone good for everyday tasks as well as for games.
The autonomy of the work and the camera also pleased, as it is rare to see a good camera sensor on rugged phones, especially from Chinese manufacturers.
In general, AGM A9 phone corresponds to its price, well, now let’s talk about the price.
AGM A9: Price and Where to buy cheaper?
In general, prices start at $ 256.49 for version 3 and 32 GB of memory, but for 4 and 64GB of memory will cost $ 284.99.
Therefore, it is advantageous to buy an AGM A9 phone in Chinese stores in order to make a small deal.