AGM X2 review
We’ve had quite a few robust smartphones in for review over the last 18 months, but few have us buzzing as the AVA X2 did. The follow-up to the X1 was announced in the second half of 2017, but getting hold of one is tricky to say the least.
The AVA x2 is great. At 168.5 x 83.4 x 14mm weighing 250 grams, it is one of the largest rugged smartphones we have tested to date, and that is despite the fact that a display that is as large as most of its competitors (5.5-inch).
The argument for having a bad screen-to-Body ratio is that in return you get more material around the fragile bits (i.e. the screen) to cushion a trap-which is especially noticeable at the top and bottom of the X2. We have no complaints here, though, as this is a IP68-rated smartphone that is also MIL-STD-810G certified.
Look at the device from the front and you’ll notice a status LED, a fairly large 16-megapixel front-facing camera sensor, and a chrome bezel. The screen is not oleophobic and is a worse fingerprint magnet compared to, say, the cheaper Verne active. There is no physical Home button or dedicated capacitive buttons like the X1.
A headphone jack and a type-C USB port can be found at the bottom and top of the device, with a dedicated camera knob and volume rocker on the left side, and the Power button, SIM tray and the VOC sensor on the right.
On the backside you will find 2 12-megapixel camera sensors, a large LED flash, the AGM logo, a square fingerprint sensor plus a small speaker grill. What annoys us is the presence of a glass panel that is not only a fingerprint magnet, but is also likely to break or get scratches.
Overall, new X2 AGM sports a completely different design from the previous x1, and between the two, we certainly prefer its predecessor.
AGM X2 SPECS
CPU: Snapdragon 653, 1.95 GHz
GPU: Adreno 510
Screen size: 5.5-inch
Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Weight: 250 grams
Dimensions: 168.5 x 83.4 x 14mm
Rear Camera: 12 + 12MP
Front Camera: 16MP
OS: Android 7.1.2
X2 stands out of competition because it uses the Qualcomm processor rather than the cheaper MediaTek parts. X2 uses Qualcomm Snapdragon 653, which is a tad faster than those used in X1 – the GPU Speed is also higher, which should translate into faster graphics performance.
It was the first device during rival brand to sport 6GB of RAM (LPDDR3) and 128GB on-board storage. Being the first means having premium prices as well, which partly explains why it is twice as expensive as the Verne active.
According to this price of the phone, it is not surprising that it boasts one unique function, VOC (volatile organic compounds) sensor, which is useful for those working in areas with potentially high levels of harmful gases.
But that’s not all: there are three cameras from Sony and Samsung here, along with a Samsung full HD 5.5-inch AMOLED screen, a massive 6, 000mAh battery and the ability to run two SIM cards or one SIM card and one microSD card. There’s also NFC support, but the strange is not 802.11 AC Wi-Fi, which is unacceptable for the device that aspires to be a top-end contender.
Speaking of connection, Bluetooth supports X2 GPS, except 4.0, Glonons and Beidou as well as all major global groups (including all major B20 Band). As noted, remember that you will not be able to run two SIM cards with a microSD.
Here’s how the AVA X2 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:
Geekbench: 1,513 (single-core); 4,666 (multi-core); 4,992 (Calculate)
PCMark (Work 2.0): 5,751
Pass mark: 7,779
Pass Mark CPU: 135,543
Androbench (successively): 262 (sequentially read); 111 (Sequential Write)
Androbench (Random): 68 (randomly read); 8 (Random writing)
3DMark Slingshot Extreme: 976
3DMark IceStorm Extreme: DNR
HWBot Prime number: 4,174
The X2 performed consistently better than most of the MediaTek-Powered rugged smartphones on the market. Indeed, benchmarking got a bit ridiculous at times, with 3DMark Ice Storm Extreme not to run on the Adreno 510 GPU saying it’s just “too powerful “.
As expected, this device is running Android 7.1 and has a few bundled apps like AGM Air (for the VOC sensor) and AGM tools (which is a suite of, err, features that jacks-and women-could use, such as a protractor, Loupe, etc.).
The High-end sturdy mobile market is busier than ever. The DOOGEE S60, the Vernee Active and V2, the Ulefone Armor 2, the BlackView BV9000 Pro and the Snowpow M10W can all picket a claim to the crown of the Best top-end rugged smartphone-but the X2 shines for several reasons.
However, the sad truth is that the price is not one of them. That said, none of the competition has three camera sensors, a VOC sensor or a battery that is so big.
The AVA x2 is the antithesis of the X1 in terms of design but stands on its own with some unique features. Indeed, if you want or need a VOC sensor/meter, then there is simply no alternative on the market. The X2 shares some of the strong outlets of the cat S60 (with its IR sensor). However, the lack of 802.11 AC Wi-Fi, fingerprint problems, and the inability to run two Sims and a MicroSD card simultaneously are hard to stomach-especially at this price.
We don’t understand why the manufacturer swapped the utilitarian rubber back of the X1 for a shiny tailgate that is more prone to scratches. Going forward, it is likely that Ava will not release the Ava X2 Max, a model that sent our pulses racing when we had the wind of its existence at the beginning of 2017.