Field Gear
AGM’s new H3 Rugged Smartphone has an IR Night Vision Camera

AGM’s new H3 Rugged Smartphone has an IR Night Vision Camera

If you are in the market for a smartphone that will be hard to break in the bush and give you field shots day and night, this new rugged device might be just the thing.

The H3 is the latest in a line of rugged smartphones manufactured by Chinese device maker AGM. It was only announced last month and I haven’t had a chance to try one out but based on the information on the company’s website and a few reviews that have been posted online, it sounds like it can stand up to rugged fieldwork conditions, without adding too much weight to a kit bag or lifting too much from the wallet.

AGM’s advertising is putting this phone’s infrared night-vision camera up front and centre as one of its main selling features. If you work on nocturnal animals or have other reasons to be in the bush at night, this phone could be useful for taking pictures. Basely solely on the images published on AGM’s website, the 13MP IR camera appears to take clear monochrome photos in the dark.

In addition to the IR camera, the H3 has a 12MP main camera for daylight shots and a 2MP macro camera that could be used for getting close-up pictures of, for example, insects or mosses.

The Canadian price for the AGM H3 on its website is only $259, which naturally brings with it some compromises. The screen is 5.7 inches diagonally from corner to corner and has a resolution of only 720 x 1440. That’s much lower than the resolution of most flagship phones but the upside is that it should draw less power from the battery.

The H3’s battery is rated as 5400mAh, which AGM claims will last for 300 hours on standby or around 40 hours if you were on calls continuously. At that rate, it ought to last a full field day or might keep you connected overnight if you were stranded in a survival situation.

AGM says the H3 meets IP68, IP69K and MIL-STD-810H standards. According to the manufacturer, this makes it 99% dustproof, resistant to temperatures ranging from -20 to 60 degrees Celsius, waterproof up to 1.5m for 30 minutes and drop-proof from to 1.5 metres on concrete. All this should mean that if field conditions are dusty or wet, or if you drop the phone in a puddle or on hard-ground, it should keep working. The body of the phone appears to have textured grips on each side and at each end, too, which would make dropping it less likely.

AGM says that the H3 supports GPS but at the time of writing the website doesn’t say which international standards it is compatible with.

Unusually, the phone does have a 2W front-facing speaker, which could be handy in noisy situations such as around a helicopter, on windy days, or when working near a highway. The position of the speaker means that the USB-C charging port is on the side. Like some other rugged devices, the H3 also has a customizable side key. This might be handy if you want to activate the camera, open a navigation app or open another app quickly and easily.

To wrap up the H3’s feature list, it has NFC for contactless payments and it runs Android 11 so the software is bang up to date.

Images in this article are copyright AGM.

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