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Kogan Agora review

Niall Magennis

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Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

7

Pros

  • Low price tag
  • Decent battery life
  • Good call quality

Cons

  • Screen is pretty mediocre
  • Poor camera
  • Iffy Wi-Fi reception

Key Features

  • 5-inch touchscreen display
  • 5MP camera
  • Android 4.0.4 OS
  • 4GB internal storage
  • Manufacturer: Kogan
  • Review Price: £119.00

Introduction

Kogan is a brand that’s big down under, but has a similar profile in the UK to that of a minor member of the TOWIE cast. The company flogs low-cost electronics kit direct to consumers via its website to keep its costs low, and while it mostly concentrates on selling budget TVs, it has recently turned its attention to smartphones and tablets too. Here in the UK, Kogan hopes to make a splash with its Agora Android phone, with the main selling points being its massive 5-inch screen, support for dual SIMs and knockdown price of just £120. Does this make it a genuine under-the-radar bargain – or just another cheap filler product for a low-rent TV shopping channel? Let's take a closer look and find out.

Kogan Agora - Design

The Agora's 5-inch screen makes it a bit of a jumbo handset and no mistake. It's wide at 8cm, although to be fair that's pretty much par for the course with the latest generation of big-screened mobiles. The Agora's bezel isn’t really any wider than that of the competition. At 10mm deep it's impressively slim for a 5-inch handset.

Overall it's not a bad looking mobile, with the dark blue chrome trim that circles the edges of the phone neatly complementing the traditional glossy black coating used on the screen bezel.

The ports are sensibly placed too, with the headphone jack at the top and microUSB port at the bottom. Kogan has moved the power/lock button to the right-hand side, which is a good location for it given the sheer height of the handset. If it was on the top of the phone it'd just be too much of a stretch to get at when you're using it singled handed.

Similar to Samsung's Android phones, the Agora has a physical home button beneath the screen that is flanked by the Back and Option touch buttons. It lacks a dedicated search button, but then so do most of the Android handsets on the market today.

Snap off the battery cover on the rear and you get access to the handset's dual SIM card sots as well as the microSD card. You can just about get cards into these slots without removing the battery, but if you want to take them out again you will have to take the battery out as well.

Kogan Agora - Screen

The main talking point around the Agora is obviously its massive screen. You usually only see 5-inch displays on flagship phones such as the Sony Xperia Z and Samsung Galaxy S4. The big difference here, of course, is that the Agora only costs a fraction of what those handsets cost, so surely there has to be a catch? Sadly there is, and while the Agora's screen is undoubtedly massive its resolution is also decidedly pedestrian.

Forget about the 1920x1080p resolution you get on the Xperia Z – the Agora's display is limited to just 800x480 pixels. It's not terrible, but it's no different to what you now see on smaller screened handsets such as the 3.5-inch ZTE Blade III, so by going for the larger display you're not actually increasing the amount of text or number of icons that you can fit on the screen in one go, instead you're really just magnifying what you see on smaller Android displays.

The quality of the display isn't amazing either. It has a slight dirty screen effect that you often see on cheaper mobiles where you can sort of see a crystallised pattern floating over the surface of the display that sparkles a bit as you move the phone around in your hand. It's a tad distracting and something you just don’t have to deal with on high-quality screens. It looks fairly bright when used indoors and colours are reasonably strong too. However it washes out quite a lot outdoors under sunlight and it's also pretty reflective too, so can be a little bit difficult to read as you're wandering around outside.

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toboev

April 5, 2013, 7:33 am

could we see some like for like comparison shots of this phone next to the Galaxy Note 1 please. They look near identical, cosmetically.

EvilMonster

April 5, 2013, 12:58 pm

I've had this for a month now and am quite happy with it. Reasonably quick, and I don't get the WiFi issues mentioned here.
As an ageing gent ;-) with slowly failing eyes, I actually bought it for the big Low Res (by todays standards) screen as I can see the larger text in emergencies without my glasses!
It's a perfectly sevicable phone and looks more expensive than it is.

Kerrie T

April 14, 2013, 3:16 am

Would not recommend buying this phone. As soon as it came out of the box the screen had a bubble effect when touched. Kogan do not sell a case for the phone, which you need as the phone is very flimsy. The phone lasted about 2 and half weeks from purchase. The screen totally stopped working. Sent back on warranty and was told I have to pay them $38 postage to get the phone back and said the fault was user damage. The phone was unfixable. They said they were being very generous about waiving the technician fees.

John Ogilvie

June 12, 2013, 6:44 am

I'm very happy with my Kogan Agora smartphone and the Kogan network that I've chosen to go with. I'm going to get one for my wife now as well. It's actually better than I thought it would be. I like the screen because it's not highly polished like some are these days and are too subject to reflection. It's quick enough and I'm used to using an iPad on our home Wifi so this compares OK. I bought the 5 year warranty so I'm comfortable. The dedicated case is good enough but the binding around the edge started to come off after a week.

kalyani netalam

October 14, 2013, 6:23 am

please don't decide to buy agoramobile
its battery is too worst
I'm not happy with this mobile

Cathy

December 20, 2013, 2:55 am

I bought a Kogan Agora mobile phone earlier this year,
and it worked a treat for a week then wouldn’t allow me to receive or make calls.
With my employment being in the health sector, communication is vital.

I sent the phone back to Kogan, to the credit of Kogan, they
e-mailed me and told me what had to be done in order for a refund, instead I
thought I’d get another one, only to find after a few months it did the same
thing, again with communication being a vital part of my employment, my
decision was to purchase a proven product, which is exactly what I did, it did
cost a great deal more, however, I haven’t had a communication problem since.

The old adage “YOU GET
WHAT YOU PAY FOR” rings true where this product is concerned.

If your personal / professional life relies on reliable
communication, my advise is “DON’T TOUCH
THIS COMMUNICATIONS PRODUCT WITH A BARGE POLE” somewhere along the line you will unfortunately regret it.

So, what happened to my second Agora, I can tell you that I
never sent it back, I placed in the drive way and drove the 4x4 Landcruiser over it … “OH WHAT A FEELING”

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