Kogan_Agora_smartphone
Well we’ve just received the Kogan Agora HD Smartphone, OK you’ve never heard of it or them? Well let us introduce you to a mid-ranged smartphone, made by Kogan, so who are they? Well they are an Australian online retailer selling, TV’s, Tablets, Laptops, Audio and of course Mobile phones, of their own brand.

So you want a smartphone on the cheap? Usually that means signing up for a two-year contract that’ll cost you a small fortune by the time you’re done. So how does paying £149 for a dual-sim quad-core phone sound?

The Kogan Agora is an unlocked Android 4.0 smartphone priced at £149 (plus shipping). Orders are direct from its UK site. To put that in some perspective, the similarly phablet-size Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Marble white sells unlocked for around £429. Needless to say, £149 won’t buy you quite the same level of specs that you’ll get from the Galaxy Note 2. But as entry to mid-level phones go, the Agora might prove appealing to budget-minded buyers.
Packed with a powerful 1.2GHz Quad Core processor, a good 1280×720 IPS screen, high quality 8MP rear and 2MP front cameras and, running Android 4.2.1 (Jelly Bean), this smartphone is unbelievable value! Full specs below.

Drawing 2

So What’s in the box
Agora HD Smartphone, Headphones, Battery, Charging cable and a Quick start guide

Our first Impressions:

Design

The new Quad Core Agora is a little more unique.  On the front it has a similar curved look to the Galaxy S4, however side on it has a tapered edge at the top and bottom with a large protrusion for the rear camera. On the back a soft style plastic cover with a small set of speaker holes, the Kogan logo and the camera and flash up top are simple and plain in layout, which is a good thing because when you put in too much effort for a small price it shows.  This looks better than the price-tag suggests. With a 5” screen featuring the latest in IPS technology, colours are clearer and vibrant. Movies, Pictures, eBooks and Game images are bright and filled with amazing detail.

BenchMark

Performance

For those interested in Geekbench style performance measures, the Agora gets smashed.  You wouldn’t know it was quad-core when you see the results.

However, turn away from these and into the real world, I was surprised, in fact impressed by the speed of browsing on this device.  Let’s face it, aside from phone calls and SMS messaging, email and web browsing are the key features for any smartphone user.  Browsing the web on this Kogan Agora was sharp and snappy, I didn’t feel like a £149 device lag I’ve seen in things like low-price android tablets.  This – side by side with a top end phone, and on the same WiFi connection was giving me web pages at the same rate as the top phones in store, if not faster.  The rendering was simple, and it happened at a pace I’m familiar with from the most expensive devices I’ve used.

I can’t imagine too many complaints from users as to the basic performance of the core functions of this device.

Quad Core Processor for superior performance.
The 1.2GHz Quad Core processor will ensure that gaming and application performance will exceed all of your expectations, while the functionality and security of the Android operating system will ensure that when it comes to business and document management, this handset will have all of your bases covered.

photo_5-600x450

Camera 8.0 and 2MP.
The camera isn’t the world’s best, and if photography is your thing this isn’t the device for you, but if snapping a few handy shots here and there appeals, then you won’t be too disappointed by this device.  Watch out for low-light or bright light situations though, that’s where these cameras normally perform the worst. That said, using the 8 megapixel rear-facing camera, you will love sharing high quality images of your experiences with friends and family via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine or a host of other social media applications available from the Google Play Store.

Dual_Sim

Dual-SIM Functionality and Connectivity Options.
Dual-SIM functionality lets you make and receive calls from your business and personal phone accounts on the one handset! With integrated GPS functionality, connectivity options such as MicroUSB, MicroSD, Bluetooth V4, WiFi and millions of applications for business, social interaction and personal use to choose from, you will never be stuck for new ways to make your technological life better.

Tri Band 3G (850, 1900, 2100mHz) and Quad Band 2G (850MHz/900MHz/1800MHz/1900MHz) compatible and network unlocked.
Conveniently, the SIM management option in the main menu allows you to switch SIM card slots on and off, select which SIM supplies data for the phone, and also allows you to edit the name and colour of each SIM slot. The Agora HD’s dialler features two call buttons, one for each SIM card slot.

Those specs should tell you that the Agora phone isn’t aimed at the high end, but despite that, the build quality is solid. The square handset looks alright, too. We liked the dimpled back panel and prominent metal Kogan logo, as well as the shiny dark grey rim holding it all together.

The Good

This is Android plain and simple. There is no additional extras, no Kogan add-ons, no network add-ons, it is Android as Google intended it to be.  The experience is simple and user-friendly right out of the box. Screen brightness and resolution is very good on the Agora, the 1280 x 720.

It’s cheap, and I mean cheap to buy – it really isn’t cheap in terms of quality.  No, it’s not engineered to a millionth of a micro millimetre as other devices might be, but the back cover snaps off and on easily, the SIM cards (yep, it has a Dual-SIM functionality) and MicroSD card supports up to a 32GB microSD card but, we have a 64GB class 10 running in the Agora. The SC card can be removed and inserted without taking out the battery, although it’s easier to take the battery out .  Buttons are clear and easy to use, headphones in the top as is the power charging Micro USB port.

The Bad

The core problem some will see with this phone is its lack of 4G support.  While it has Dual-SIM capabilities, neither of them can be 4G, in fact one is 3G the other 2G.. The SIM cards are also normal SIM size, not Micro as you may already have – but, getting a SIM card these days is pretty easy going. Any concerns about lack of 4G should be offset by price, and again, the people in the market for this price point of smartphone aren’t likely to be frustrated by a lack of 4G.

While it has a quad-core processor, it’s not exactly the best quad-core on the market, so head to head as I’ve said earlier it’s not challenging the big branded quad-core smartphones, but it will provide a performance boost on many other low to mid priced phones out there.

The Ugly

Kogan’s team have done well to source a design as good as this and to pack in the features they have.  I can’t tell you this is an ugly device, in fact quite the opposite it’s not bad looking at all.

In terms of the design, the screen size is the same as the Samsung Galaxy S4 yet the device itself is bigger, in every aspect.  It’s not a deal breaker by any means, but the large border around the edge of the screen does somehow take away from the modern device look and feel.

Overall

Without any doubt this is a compelling option for anyone looking to buy a phone outright and get all the features of modern smartphones today, the design is good, quality is good, and performance too is good.  Put the Agora Quad-core up against some other low-cost smartphones and you’ll probably find it’s your best option in a very crowded market.

I’m giving it 4 stars because it should only be compared to the other low-cost phones in the market, not alongside iPhones or Samsung Galaxy devices.  Alongside it’s true competitors this is a 4 star phone by any measure.

Of course as with all things Kogan, it’s available Online – now

Full Specs

Audio

Loudspeaker Yes
Microphone Yes

Body

Dimensions  14.4 x 7.4 x 1.1cm
Weight  153g

Camera

Flash  Yes
Front  2.0MP
Rear  8.0MP

Connectivity

2G Network (MHz)  850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
3G Network (MHz)  850 / 1900 / 2100
Bluetooth  4.0
Data Transfer Profiles HSDPA, HSUPA
GPS Yes
SIM Type Mini SIM
USB Hi-Speed (USB 2.0)
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, 2.4GHz

Display

Resolution 1280 x 720
Size 5.0″
Type IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen

General

Form Factor Candy bar
OS Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean)

Inputs

Card Slot Micro SD, 32GB max.
Power Yes, USB

Outputs

Audio 3.5mm TRS

Performance

Battery 2000mAh
CPU Quad-core 1.2GHz
GPU PowerVR SGX544
RAM 1GB

Sensors

Accelerometer Yes
Ambient Light Yes
Proximity Yes

Storage

External via Micro SD
Internal 4GB

http://www.kogan.com/uk/

 

Be Sociable, Share!

The following two tabs change content below.
avatar

Dave Thornton

Senior Editor

Senior Editor
Been involved in technology for many years, more than I care to remember. Live in Dundee, Scotland. I like Android, Windows Phone OS, BlackBerry OS and iOS, and love writing about all things techie. Currently have a Honor 6+, Elephone P6000, Nexus 5, Chrombook C720, HTC One M7, Nokia Lumina 625, Microsoft Lumia 435, Blackberry Q10, HTC Hero and iPad mini