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Review: Kogan Agora 8-inch Tablet

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October 31, 2011

The Kogan Agora 8-inch Tablet

The Kogan Agora 8-inch Tablet

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I've just spent a day with a pre-production unit of Kogan's new 8-inch Agora tablet and while it's fair to say there's an element of "you get what you pay for" at work here, that's not to say the Agora is bad. The 1 GHz tablet is definitely an indication of just what kind of technology can be had for a fairly minimal outlay these days, but don't expect the same kind of user experience you'd get when investing more money on a better specced unit.

Like its 10-inch stablemate, the Agora 8-inch Tablet is powered by a 1 GHz Cortex A8 processor, 512 MB of RAM and comes running Android version 2.3 (Gingerbread) with access to the Android Market. There's 4 GB of onboard flash memory, which can be expanded by up to an additional 32 GB via micro SD card, along with a 2-megapixel front-facing camera, microphone, 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi, and internal G-Sensor.

In portrait mode, the illuminated menu, home and back softkeys are located under the display, with the micro SD card slot, AC power input port, micro USB port, 3.5 mm headphone jack and mini HDMI output port on the underside. Meanwhile, the volume rocker and power button can be found on the upper right-hand side of the device. Notably, the micro USB port can't be used to charge the device and the AC charge cable connector is the same size as the nearby headphone port - we're not sure if some damage can be done here but thankfully we didn't have any juice flowing when we mistakenly placed the AC cable into the headphone port.

The Kogan Agora's display is dull in comparison to the iPad

As with most tablets, the first thing you'll notice about the Agora is its 4:3 ratio capacitive touchscreen that sports 800 x 600 pixel resolution. It's probably a bit unfair to compare it against the more expensive iPad, but since that's all I had at hand that's what I'm going to do. Putting the two side by side highlighted the deficiencies of the Kogan unit. Even at full brightness the display was decidedly dim, and colors - most noticeably white - were dull. Sure, it's something many people would probably get used to or may not even notice without a direct comparison, but if a bright, eye-popping display is important to you it might be worth looking elsewhere.

Limitations were also noticeable on the performance front. Opening more than a few tabs in the browser causes a noticeable slowdown, while even screen scrolling in Angry Birds sees noticeable stuttering - not anything that hampers gameplay mind you, but it's indicative of the lack of processing grunt under the hood. The number of crashes that saw the unit reboot in the middle of often simple tasks - entering the setting screen, for example - was yet another indication of this.

The lack of a physical lock button means you'll have to go into the settings to lock the screen rotation. This is something you'll likely do early on as the screen flips between portrait and landscape orientation at the drop of a hat - or slight dip of a corner, anyway.

It's not brushed aluminum, but it's more than acceptable

The unit's 3,600 mAh battery held out for the day and a bit the tablet was in my possession. So while I can't confirm the figures quoted by Kogan, the claimed 48-hour standby time and three hours of general use battery life sound about right.

On the build front the Kogan tablet wasn't too bad for a budget offering. While the plastic is obviously not on a par with a unit cut from a solid block of aluminum, it felt solid enough in the hand without being overly heavy. At 20.6 x 15.7 x 1.4 cm (8.11 x 6.18 x 0.55 in) and weighing 725 g (25.6 oz) it's not exactly slimline, but might squeeze its way into a (slightly oversized) jacket packet.

So to sum up, the Kogan Agora 8-inch Tablet is pretty much what you'd expect for a tablet at this price point. Basically, if you're in the market for a budget priced tablet to keep the kids entertained on a long car trip or something to check the occasional email and spot of Web browsing then it will do the trick nicely. But if you've already experienced a more powerful unit or want the latest and greatest device to impress others with its dazzling display and zippy performance then you're going to have to lay down a few more dollars.

The Kogan Agora 8-inch Tablet is due to ship on November 11. Having started at the LivePrice of AUD149 (approx. US$159), it is now nearing its standard price of AUD229 (approx. US$245).

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.   All articles by Darren Quick
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5 Comments

Blackberry Playbook is by far the bext tablet on the market. Yes ok, let's hear Apple Fanboys cry buts its the God honest truth after having tried both out. I own a Mac so please at least take a look at it. For the price, the Playbook cannot be beat.

Rocky Stefano
31st October, 2011 @ 04:45 am PDT

I wonder why is all the staff decided to come out on Nov 11th>??

Kirill Belousov
31st October, 2011 @ 05:46 am PDT

HP touchpad 32 gig $150.00 have mine LOVE IT

Bill Bennett
31st October, 2011 @ 07:36 pm PDT

Thanks for the recommendation Rocky.

For Mac users, the iPad is still the best choice by a significant margin.

Reason 1: Apps.

We recently found an app that my son has just gone gaga over. We just effectively got a new iPad. Also FlexPlayer let's you dump movie files right onto it (AVIs, anything) and watch them anywhere.

There are a lot of tablets out there but there but only one that does everything well.

I don't even need a reason 2.

Neil
10th November, 2011 @ 01:23 am PST

hello guys, i strongly recommend not to buy this tablet. this is similar tablet like chinies version. OS look like fake. resolution is not good. famous apps are not available. skype facebook flash and lots of android apps does not work.. force close is the major problem. youtube does not work smoothly. a lots of problem even though it is cheap. customer support do not solve the problems.

Amir Akram
23rd April, 2012 @ 05:05 pm PDT
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