If you're anything like the staff at Deer Hunting Guide, you've had plenty of issues with your smartphone while hunting. Shorting it out with rain, letting it slip out of your hands into the mud, or just having the battery die, hunting and normal smartphones just don't mix. That's why we love the AGM G2 Guardian, a rugged device that even comes with thermal imaging for an extra edge while hunting. In fact, we're such big fans that we decided to do a full AGM G2 Guardian review.
What Is The AGM G2 Guardian Smartphone?
The AGM G2 is basically just a super tough phone. You can scroll Instagram, play video games and even make phone calls just like any other smartphone, but it's designed to handle rough conditions and outdoor weather. It's waterproof and dustproof and can survive falls that many other phones cannot.
What sets it apart from other all-weather smartphones, though, is the thermal monocular. This is a device that picks up heat signatures and transforms them into visible images. In other words, it's night vision, though it has plenty of other uses that we'll get into later.
Who Is It Made For?
Basically, the G2 Guardian is made for anyone who lives an adventurous life or works outdoors or in a tough industrial environment. This could include anyone from frequent hikers to construction workers.
Outdoor sports that might require this phone include mountaineering, rock climbing, kayaking and rafting, and skiing as well as paragliding and other extreme sports. For many of these activities, you need your phone on, and not just for taking selfies. If something happens to you, you need to be able to contact civilization.
As for dirty jobs, you can always leave your phone in your locker, but you very well may need it on the go. A client or dispatcher might need to get a hold of you. The list of professions that could benefit from this phone is too long to write out, but common ones would include construction, factory and refinery workers, miners and loggers, welders, and electricians.
The thermal monocular in particular makes it a useful device for farmers and ranchers and those involved with search and rescue. Farmers and ranchers can use it to keep an eye on their livestock in the dark or in thick brush or to spot predators that threaten them. Search and rescue workers can use it to find missing people in the dark, through thick forest or in rubble. Similarly, all those adventure sportsmen may need it if a member of their party gets lost.
Of course, at Deer Hunting Guide, we like the AGM G2 Guardian because it's useful for hunting, which is one of those outdoor sports we talked about. It could also be your job if you're a guide or a means of sustenance for your family. Either way, this rugged smartphone is a way to have constant contact with civilization even when you're in the deep woods for days stalking your trophy buck.
Meanwhile, the rugged design keeps the challenges and demands of hunting from damaging the phone. Rain, dirt and grime, and a drop from your pocket are just par for the course.
More importantly, the thermal imaging is a game changer. Not only can you spot and track a quarry in the dark, but it can help you see animals hiding in thick vegetation that you might not see otherwise.
What’s In The Box?
When you open the AGM G2 Guardian box, the first thing you'll see is the smartphone itself. However, it comes with several other things that increase the value:
- Protective case: AGM includes a super tough case with the G2 Guardian, part of what makes it so durable. It's great that they include it, and you don't have to go searching for one that may or may not fit.
- Screen protector: Similarly, AGM gives you a screen protector made of Gorilla glass that protects the phone from scratches and minor accidents.
- Charging cable: Like any smartphone, you have to charge the G2 Guardian by plugging it into the wall. It uses a USB-C cable.
- Wall adapter: This allows you to plug the USB-C charging cable into a standard wall outlet while still letting you separate the two to plug it into a USB socket.
- SIM card ejector tool: This little device lets you open the SIM card slot to replace it. This is a lot better than digging out a paper clip that could damage the slot.
- User manual: Since the G2 Guardian is a more advanced phone, it comes with an extensive instruction manual that helps you set it up and take advantage of all the features.
Design And Build Quality
You can tell just by looking at it that the AGM G2 Guardian is built to be rugged and durable. It isn't a typical glass-sandwich smartphone. Rather, it's encapsulated in a tough exterior featuring a blend of materials, including rubber, plastic and metal of higher strengths than you'll find in most phones. These mainly provide protection against drops, but also contribute to its ability to handle rough and wet weather.
One result of this is that the G2 Guardian is a bit bulkier than other cell phones. In fact, it's a full inch in thickness with the case on. That's three times thicker than most phones. Along with just protecting the phone's inner workings, the thicker design helps protect the various cameras and imaging devices, including the 108MP main camera, 2MP macro camera and the thermal monocular.
As for the aesthetic design, the G2 Guardian only comes in black, but you can tell that it's streamlined for practical purposes and rough conditions. Similarly, it's ergonomic and easy to hold so that you don't lose your grip on it even when your hands are wet or you're in a high-stakes situation.
Here is a great video that really goes in-depth on the features and uses of the AGM G2 Guardian.
How Rugged Is The AGM G2 Guardian?
The G2 Guardian is considerably more rugged and durable than a normal smartphone. This is namely true when it comes to waterproofing, dust proofing and fall protection.
Normal phones are toast if you drop them in water and often break if you drop them from a tall height or even just when you're walking around. Dust also builds up in crevices and holes like the charging and headphone jacks. This isn't as true for the G2 Guardian.
The G2 Guardian has an IP rating, which is pretty rare for smartphones. An IP rating involves two numbers, the first reflecting resistance to dust and the second resistance to water. Higher numbers reflect better resistance.
With a rating of IP68, the G2 Guardian can be submerged in up to 1.5 meters of water, which is about five feet. Additionally, its IP69K rating means it can resist high-pressure, high-temperature jets.
This means rain is no problem, nor is hiking through streams where you might accidentally drop the phone. This makes it a great phone for hunting and fishing.
The six in the G2 Guardian's IP68 rating reflects maximum protection against dust. It's the highest rating possible and means the phone is impenetrable to 99 percent of dust.
Hunting environments are always dirty, so this helps keep your phone clean and the electronics working smoothly. It also makes it a nice choice for most industrial jobs.
Even in normal environments, falls are one of the biggest dangers to phones. Since they have a lot of little parts, some of them moving and fragile, even dropping your phone from your hands can damage them or weaken them so they break down faster.
While you're hunting, falls are more likely because you're moving around more and have more gear to deal with. The G2 Guardian is designed to be "drop proof" from a height of 1.5 meters, which is around five feet. Plus, it's likely to fair better than most other cell phones when dropped from the same height, so it's safer in a tree stand.
AGM G2 Guardian Review Of The Thermal Imaging Monocular/Camera
There are other tough smartphones out there, but what really makes the G2 Guardian stand out is its built-in thermal imaging camera. With great specs, this is a useful device that further increases the phone's usefulness for hunting.
The G2 Guardian can detect heat signatures up to 500 yards. It can essentially do this regardless of the conditions since it's designed to pick up heat rather than visible light. It doesn't matter if it's dark, foggy or raining.
There are some dedicated thermal monoculars out there that have longer ranges, but they also require you to use a whole other device on top of your phone. Meanwhile, you probably don't need more than 500 yards anyway if you're hunting. After all, that's much farther than your accurate shooting range.
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The G2 Guardian's thermal monocular uses a 10mm lens. In addition to providing the long range, this creates a wild field of view, or FOV. Specifically, the camera picks up heat signatures in a field of 17.5 degrees by 13.2 degrees.
This is especially useful for hunting because you're probably using the thermal imaging to find game. A wider field of view means you're more likely to pick up an animal.
The G2 Guardian uses a professional 12 μm thermal sensor that can pick up heat signatures between 0°C to 150°C. That's 32℉ to 300℉. While you can find dedicated thermal monoculars with wider temperature ranges, keep in mind that this is more than enough to hunt game mammals like whitetail deer. It's also perfect for picking up human beings, which have a body temperature of 98.6℉.
AGM G2 Guardian Review Of The Night Vision Camera
Thanks to the thermal monocular, the AGM G2 Guardian has a night vision camera. Imagine a normal smartphone camera, but you can use it at night to pick up objects using their heat signature rather than visible light. The specs are generally impressive.
The infrared camera is 20 megapixels, which is better than the standard camera on many smartphones. As a result, you get images that aren't just visible in the dark but also sharp and detailed. This can make it a great tool if you need to manage a herd or take images of a specific buck.
The display is an important part of any smartphone, but it's especially important if you're going to be using it to track game using thermal imaging. The G2 Guardian's display is rather advanced and well integrated with the cameras.
Size and Resolution
The G2 Guardian's display measures 6.58 inches. This is pretty big in smartphone terms. Consider that the iPhone 14 has a screen size of just 6.06 inches.
Similarly, the resolution is FHD+, which translates to 2220x1080. The resulting picture is therefore incredibly clear, allowing you to view the thermal images—and everything else—in vivid detail. It also lets you take full advantage of the high-megapixel cameras.
The G2 Guardian's display refreshes at 120Hz, or 120 frames per second. This makes the motion in video much smoother, so combined with the high resolution, you can easily make out details in your recordings. It's also great for other activities like gaming or just watching YouTube.
Integration With Cameras
The display works seamlessly with the cameras, including the thermal monocular and infrared camera. The images and videos are easily displayed without any complicated installation or advanced technical knowledge.
The Fingerprint Sensor
Fingerprint sensors have started to come out on high-end smartphones. They provide added security since seeing your PIN over your shoulder isn't enough. Plus, it adds for quick access with a single hand.
We love that the G2 Guardian includes a fingerprint sensor. That's partly due to the added security and also because it makes it a lot easier to open the phone while you're in a tight tree stand and limited mobility. As an advanced feature, it makes the phone a better value for the price.
Hardware And Performance
Besides the ruggedness and thermal imaging, you still want a quality phone with internal hardware that makes it a powerful piece of technology. We found the G2 Guardian's specs to be quite impressive.
Qualcomm QCM6490 Processor
The computing power in the G2 Guardian is provided by this industrial-grade Qualcomm octa-core processor. With a clock speed of 2.7GHz, it can handle multiple demanding applications at once. It even features fused AI architecture, so it runs AI-based applications more smoothly.
You can select the G2 Guardian with either 8GB or 12GB of RAM. What you ultimately choose will depend on how many applications you want to run at the same time. Even 8GB allows for quite a bit of multitasking as far as phones go, but the 12GB version is cutting edge.
The G2 Guardian is available with 256GB of storage space. This is quite a bit for a smartphone and lets you install plenty of apps while still having space for photos and videos. You definitely need this if you're going to be using the phone a lot for thermal imaging and tracking game.
The G2 Guardian is a new generation phone and can connect to 5G networks. This lets you take advantage of faster data speeds on cellular networks.
Software And Support
AGM installed some pretty good software on the G2 Guardian, but it is worth noting that this is the most restrictive aspect of the phone. Make sure to check the specs and consider your situation, namely your mobile provider.
The G2 Guardian comes with Android 12 right out of the box, though you can immediately upgrade it to Android 13, the most recent version. This provides access to the Android ecosystem, which is quite flexible and has a wide range of apps available on the Google Play Store.
You can only use the G2 Guardian with T-Mobile. If you're with another provider, you'll have to switch over or else you're out of luck.
AGM has a commitment to customer support and offers it 24/7. Since it's an advanced piece of technology that you may be using at strange hours while hunting, this is a great bonus to the phone.
Call Quality And Connectivity
Because the G2 Guardian has robust configuration combined with top-of-the-line components like a fast octa-core processor, it provides clear and consistent voice communication. Plus, it has a robust radio antenna that has great fidelity, even on the 5G network. This means calls are less likely to drop, even when you're in areas with worse coverage, which is usually the case with hunting terrain.
The battery is one of our favorite features of the G2 Guardian—other than the thermal imaging, of course. It has an enormous 7,000mAh capacity, almost twice the size of the Galaxy S23's. Exactly how long this will last depends on the applications and what you're doing, but it should likely make it three days with minimal use and even over one day of video playback.
This large battery is pretty important for hunting applications and really anything you'll be doing outdoors. You probably aren't going to have an outlet handy for a long time and need to be able to rely on the phone to do power-intensive tasks like running the thermal monocular and making phone calls.
What We Like
The AGM G2 Guardian is simply one of the toughest smartphones on the market. It can literally be submerged in water and keeps out 99 percent of dust. Plus, it can take falls in stride.
We love this for hunting. The outdoors, especially during whitetail season, is a rough place. More than likely, you'll have to deal with wind, rain or snow, plenty of dirt and grime, and thick brush that could scratch your phone or make you drop it.
If you want to take a smartphone with you when you hunt (and we suggest you do in case of emergency), we highly recommend the G2 Guardian. It has the durability to remain reliable even when used regularly in the harsh wilderness.
Ideal Thermal Imaging for Hunting
Frankly, we'd recommend the G2 Guardian for the ruggedness alone, but the thermal monocular makes it the ideal hunting tool. With a range of 500 yards and the ability to pick up heat signatures between 32 and 300 degrees, it's perfect for picking up coyotes and wild boar in the dark, fog or thick brush.
Whitetail deer are crepuscular and mostly active at dawn and dusk. Plus, they like to hide. The thermal imaging helps you find and track them that much more easily.
Night Vision Camera
The night vision camera is an excellent feature that you can use if you want to extensively track a herd or manage one on your property. It allows you to take images and video of animals moving at night, which is when many game animals like whitetail deer are most active. This way you can get a better idea of the herd's behavior, or even that of individual deer.
Long Battery Life
With a battery capacity of 7,000mAh, the G2 Guardian can last a long time. We were really impressed with this because many of us here at Deer Hunting Guide regularly complain about our phone's dying while we're sitting in the tree stand or ground blind. With the ability to last several days on a single charge, you can get a lot more out of this phone without having to worry about rationing your battery.
The G2 Guardian has a number of features that make it ideal for hunting specifically, but it's also just a great phone. It has a powerful processor and plenty of RAM and storage for gaming, working or other intensive applications. Plus, the cameras have high resolution, which you can take advantage of thanks to the FHD+ display. We'd honestly consider the phone to be a good value for the money for these specs alone, so with the other features, it's more than worth it.
What We Don’t Like
Unfortunately, you can only use the G2 Guardian with the N41 band of the 5G network, so you can only use it with T-Mobile. If you prefer another company, you're simply out of luck. T-Mobile is often considered one of the better providers in the US, but its coverage, prices or plans may not be for everyone.
The G2 Guardian is a full inch thick. This is part of what makes it so tough and rugged, but it also makes it hard to store in your pocket. While you're hunting, you probably have big cargo pockets and a rucksack, so it's not as much of an issue. Nevertheless, it's not the best phone for carrying around town in your jeans.
For hunters, especially those who like to brave rough conditions like rain and deep woods, the AGM G2 Guardian smartphone is a game changer. The thermal monocular allows you to find and track animals by their signatures so you can find them in the dark and thick brush. Even if you're not interested in the thermal imaging, the tough design gives you a reliable connection to the outside world in case of emergency.
It's an all-around amazing tool at a great value and makes a great gift for outdoorsmen.