Kogan Agora Smartphone Hands-On: Being Cheap Has Never Felt So Good

By Luke Hopewell - Gizmodo Au on at

Kogan used the annual CES trade show to make a bit of noise last week, arriving in Sin City to drop his latest smartphone offering: the Kogan Agora. At £119, this thing is probably the best deal you're likely to get on any Android smartphone for some time.

First things first: this isn't the first outing for the Agora smartphone from Kogan. Way back in 2009, Kogan tried to launch an Agora smartphone but ran into what he calls "last minute problems" that forced him to walk away from the product. Now that he's launched his own mobile network in Australia, it seems only right for the outspoken Kogan to give the Agora another go.

Kogan Agora Phone

So how is this new Agora?

The Agora (Greek word for "marketplace") is a modestly specced Android smartphone, packing in a 1GHz dual-core Cortex A9 processor, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of on-board storage, and a 5-megapixel camera. The screen measures 5-inches on the diagonal with a resolution of 800×480. It also has dual-SIM capabilities. The device doesn't support 4G, instead one slot is 2G and one slot is 3G. The Agora is running Android 4.0.4 out of the box though. Ruslan Kogan told us that he's not sure about future updates to Jelly Bean and onwards, but is still in negotiations with the as yet undisclosed manufacturer.

We went hands-on with the Agora in Vegas, and initially, we were very impressed.

Kogan Agora Phone

The stock version of Android will be a welcome addition for many, and it thankfully doesn't slow down the device like a third-party skin might. The specs are great considering the price, and the Agora actually looks like the first-generation Galaxy Note.

Dual-SIM compatibility is also a really nice addition; there aren't many phones on the market with dual-SIM capabilities right now. The drawback here is that one of the slots is 3G and one is 2G, with no 4G in sight. You'll have to decide which one you want your data from so that you can prioritise.

Also, while we're on drawbacks, it's worth noting that the camera isn't stellar, the device is quite heavy, and the screen leaves a bit to be desired when it comes to viewing angles. But for £119 though, are you really going to complain?

The Agora is available for pre-order now and it ships in February for £119.


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