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Kogan Agora - Interface and Usability, Calling and Browser

Niall Magennis

By Niall Magennis
Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score

7/10

Review Price £119.00

Kogan Agora - Interface and Usability

One of the surprising things about the Kogan Agora, given it's low price, is that it packs in a dual-core 1Ghz processor, whereas a lot of today's budget Android phones still rely on single-core chips. Its RAM is a bit limited at 512MB, rather than the 1GB that many mid-range devices now have, although that's pretty standard on a lot of budget mobiles at present.

Kogan Agora 5

Unfortunately the Agora is saddled with the older Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) version of Android rather than the newer Jelly Bean release. Jelly Bean is much smoother to use than ICS thanks to the 'Project Butter' enhancements Google made to the user interface. As a result the Agora does suffer from the same stutters and pauses that afflict pretty much all ICS phones. However, by budget standards it also feels quite nippy and this was was backed up by its reasonably good benchmark results.

For example, in the Linpack test it managed to hit 60.541MFlops compared to the ZTE Blade's 25.092 MFlops, while in Geekbench 2 it scored 886 which is much better than the Blade III's result of 436. It's not massively fast for 3D gaming though, as it only managed to hit 24fps in the GLBenchmark Egyptian Standard test.

Kogan Agora 1

Kogan has made almost no changes to the standard Android UI, so what you get is largely plain vanilla Android, which is no bad thing in our book. There's a scrollable line of quick access buttons in the notifications tab for stuff like turning Wi-Fi on and off, controlling auto-rotation of the screen and turning on Airplane mode. Kogan has also added an Accuweather widget, as well as a File Manager app and an app dedicated to controlling the built-in FM Tuner, but that's pretty much your lot.

Kogan Agora - Contacts, Calling and Browser

Along with the big screen, the other interesting thing about the Agora is the fact that it has two SIM card slots. This means you can keep, say, work and personal SIMs in the phone at the same time and switch between them as you want. There's a dedicated settings menu for controlling the use of the SIMs, so you can choose which to use for voice or data.

Kogan Agora

There are a couple of issues to be aware of though. Only one of the SIM slots is enabled for 3G, so you can’t really split a data allowance between two SIMs without physically swapping them around. Also, if you've only got one SIM card in the phone there seems to be no way to turn off the alert notification that constantly and annoyingly sits in the notifications tab to tell you that one of the SIM slots is empty.

Kogan Agora 3

Apart from the dual SIM functionality, the contacts book is the standard Android one. It's easy to use, with a fast search function and offers the handy ability to combine contacts into groups such as Family, Friends and Coworkers. Photos are also transferred automatically from your Google contacts onto the phone.

We had no problem with call quality during our time with the phone as the earpiece delivers pretty loud and clear audio, while the mic also seemed to do a good job of keeping speech sounding intelligible.

The Agora uses the standard Google browser that's included with the ICS version of Android. It's quick and easy to use, supports tabs so you can quickly jump between different open pages, and is smooth for zooming and scrolling.

In Browsermark V2.0 the Agora clocked up a score of 1499 (higher is better), while it completed Sunspider in 2219.9msms (lower is better). Both of those compare very favourably against ZTE's Blade III, which scored 962 in Browsermark, but was slower in the Sunspider test, only completing it in 2679.8ms.

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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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