Kogan Agora 10" Android tablet

Kogan's Agora tablet is cheap, but frustrating and sluggish to use

  • Review
  • Specs
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  • User Reviews (9)
  • Buy Now 2
Kogan Agora
  • Kogan Agora
  • Kogan Agora
  • Kogan Agora
  • Expert Rating

    2.50 / 5
  • User Rating

    0.50 / 5 (of 9 Reviews)

Pros

  • Cheap price
  • Decent screen
  • Lots of ports

Cons

  • Slow and sluggish
  • Limited performance
  • Mediocre battery life

Bottom Line

It might sound tough to be so critical of the Kogan Agora tablet given its low price, but there should be a fine line between cheap and functional. The Agora disappointingly tends to fall into the former category when it comes to the user experience. If you can't stretch your budget even slightly further and absolutely want an Android tablet, the Kogan Agora will do the job. It just won't do it very well.

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Australian manufacturer and retailer Kogan calls its Agora 10in Android tablet the "best value tablet PC in the world". While there is no doubting its competitive price tag, using the Kogan Agora is largely a frustrating and sluggish experience that we find difficult to recommend.

Surprisingly lightweight

When you first pick up the Kogan Agora, you will be hard pressed to tell that it retails for under $200. It looks somewhat similar to an iPad from the front, with only the lack of a home button, a slightly thicker bezel, and a different front-camera position giving it away. Both the bezel and the screen are far glossier than the iPad though, with fingerprints a constant menace.

Kogan lists a weight of 601g on the Agora's specification sheet, but it actually feels lighter than it is. The weight seems evenly distributed and the tablet is relatively comfortable to hold, especially with two hands. It's fine for single-handed use, too, though we found the edges of the bezel are a little sharp and can dig uncomfortably into your fingers. The back of the Agora tablet is finished in a matte black aluminium colour, which does well to hide fingerprints.

Though we can see the merits of identifying each and every port and button on the Kogan Agora tablet, we dislike the printed labelling on the back of the device that cheapens the overall look and feel. There's plenty of ports and buttons on the Agora starting with a back button and volume controls on the top, and a reset button (which needs to be pushed with the tip of a pen, or a paperclip) on the back.

Kogan's branding is prominent on the back of the Agora tablet and all ports are labelled.

The right side of the Agora tablet is busy — there's a standard 3.5mm headphone jack, a micro-USB port, a microSD card slot, a micro-USB host port, a mini-HDMI port, a DC charger input and a power button.

There's nothing remarkable about the Kogan Agora's 10.1in screen but it's not a real weak point of this device. Viewing angles are reasonable, colour reproduction is passable and text is clear enough to read, even if it isn't as crisp as we'd have liked. The resolution of 1024x768 is hardly groundbreaking but at this price it's really tough to complain. The biggest issue with the Agora's display is that it isn't very bright, even at its highest setting. It's also ridiculously poor in direct sunlight and the panel is very reflective, often making the screen hard to see. The surface of the display feels a little sticky when swiping or scrolling and there's no automatic brightness setting, either.

The screen isn't particularly bright but considering its price tag, the display is arguably one of the better features of the Agora.

Where it all goes wrong

So far, so good, right? Unfortunately, despite running a new version of Google's Android operating system, using the Kogan Agora tablet is a largely painful experience. It's tough to be critical at this price, but the Agora is best summed up in one word: slow.

The Kogan Agora is capable of everything it promises. You can browse the Web, download apps through Google's Play Store, access services like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter and play games like Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja. The problem is, while it is capable of doing these things, it does them slowly. Very slowly.

The Agora runs Google's Ice Cream Sandwich version of Android with the familiar, stock UI.

The most noticeable slowdown is when using the Kogan Agora's default browser, which takes an age to load pages and then sputters along as you try and pinch the screen to zoom in or scroll down a page. While that is a big enough issue in itself, the lag in everyday tasks is more frustrating. Scrolling through home screens, swiping open the lock screen, opening and closing apps, changing settings and even typing using the on-screen keyboard are all frustratingly slow and laggy. The settings menu and the Google Play Store frequently crashed during our testing. We also found Wi-Fi performance poor, with the Agora only managing a single bar of signal in our office where most other devices manage four bars.

As you would expect, multitasking is also fraught with lag. The Kogan Agora can really only be used for one task at a time. For example, if you're downloading or updating an app and want to open another app at the same time, the Agora simply doesn't cope. Don't expect to play games on the Agora either. While lighter titles like Fruit Ninja and Angry Birds are compatible, the low frame rate and erratic performance makes for an unhappy experience. More taxing games, like Real Football 2012, simply don't work with the Agora at all and present you with the following message: "Your device is not compatible with this game. Please request a refund."

Despite a less than stellar user experience, there's a few things we like about the Agora's software. The on-screen volume buttons in the menu bar are a nice touch, given most of Ice Cream Sandwich's navigational buttons are on screen. We also like the lock screen shortcuts that appear when you tap the unlock slide button. These can't be manually edited but the Agora will display your most commonly used apps, which is pretty handy. Annoyingly, a shortcut to the home screen appears even though sliding to the padlock icon will achieve the same result. The Kogan Agora tablet also comes with a few useful pre-loaded apps, the most notable being the Aldiko book reader, Bluetooth file transfer, Documents To Go and a File Manager.

The Kogan Agora has plenty of ports on the right side, including a microSD card slot and HDMI-out port.

Flexible, but appalling camera

The Kogan Agora's microSD card slot combined with the HDMI-out port makes it quite a flexible tablet. You also get two micro-USB ports, the second allowing the connection of a USB host device like a portable hard drive or a USB stick. We had success transferring files to the Agora with a USB stick, but our portable Seagate hard drive didn't connect.

The Kogan Agora tablet comes with two cameras, a 2-megapixel rear camera and a VGA front camera for video calls. The less said about both the better. The rear camera takes truly appalling photos and is among the worst cameras we've ever seen on a tablet or smartphone. Thankfully, we've never seen any real use for the rear camera on a tablet, so this isn't a huge deal, especially given what you are paying for the Agora.The VGA front camera works for video calling apps like Skype and Tango, but the sluggish nature of the tablet means video is choppy and often unusable.

One of the better photos we managed to take with the Agora tablet.

Annoyingly, the Kogan Agora tablet won't charge through the micro-USB connection and needs to be charged using a supplied DC adapter. Speaking of charging, you'll be doing that quite a lot. Kogan claims the Agora tablet has a battery life of up to eight hours, but we could only manage a best figure of just over three and a half hours. Keep in mind that you should manage slightly more if you keep the brightness turned down.

The Kogan Agora 10in tablet is available in 8GB and 16GB models and is priced at $179 and $199, respectively.

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Chris

1

I bought one for my son for Christmas it failed mid January and I cant get any action from Kogan despite emailing them 4 times they say they are busy and are on it. Its now the middle of Feb and its still here not happy and yes it is crap..

Abid

2

I have the same problems you have mentioned above, Wireless is very bad, the internet speed i get with Kogan tablet is 0.5mbps but on my laptop is 35mbps!!!
They decided to arrange for a return after few emails and screenshots, but once they passed 45 days protection period from Paypal, they came back explaining the same screenshots again!!!

This product is not good enough to be sold to consumers. should be taken off shelves asap.

gavin Field

3

I recently bought the 8GB tablet and am extremely happy with it. The specs on this page are out of date as this tablet has 4.1.1 Jelly Bean. I got it mostly to use as an e-reader and to watch videos and it performs very well indeed. I haven't tried the camera which I don't care about and the wi-fi is super quick. Overall I am very happy with this which is my first ever tablet.

Gerry Reed

4

I just had my 8" 16GB Agora tablet delivered today.
It was brilliant and fast for about 30 Mins use; then totally locked up.
Even using a paperclip to reset the CPU has no effect, other than re-launching the KOGAN logo, followed by the ANDROID logo and then another blank screen.
I am a retired Electronics Engineer, having spent a large time of my working life with computers from CPM, DOS, WINDOWS and upwards.
This is a totally unsatisfactory product, and should be withdrawn immediately.

Pip Arthur

5

I first ordered this in January and when I received it Early Feb it only worked for 2 hours and crashed. I waited until the 2nd April for a replacement which only worked for 4 hours and then stopped again. This is a total waste of money.

Rocky

6

Thid id s crap product. Slow as a snail. Wireless is at snails pace unless you are standing right over the router !

Updater

7

Please ignore this review and comments (it's not sold anymore) now as Kogan now sell a 4.1 jelly dual core version which is not reviewed here.

Carl

8

I purchased one and you get what you pay for. I'm giving it to my 6 year daughter as a toy and buying the i pad air 64gb. Too slow and battery drains very fast. I regret buying it second hand from ebay.

hossein.heydari

9

hi
You are granted representation in Iran
The company is willing to take on behalf of
It would be an honor to have agreed to be partof

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steve

0.0

1

Pros
nothing
Cons
everything - including aftersales
• • •

brought this and then found couldnt get play store or 99% of apps to work complete and utter junk kogan make nasty useless low end ranges for suckers like me.
so dont be be go and invest in a samsung or something better than this junk

Abid

0.0

2

Pros
Price
Cons
All of it plus customer services
• • •

Bought after reading a review, apparently was written by an idiot..
I am glad that Ross Catanzariti have pointed out all the terrible things this tablet has with being fair to other stuff.
I have the same problems all of you guys have mentioned above, Wireless is very bad, the internet speed i get with Kogan tablet is 0.5mbps but on my laptop is 35mbps!!!
Although, all I needed it for is to read a book in bed or browse a web site, that does not work as it should, slowness and crashes..
Customer service is terrible, keep asking for invoice number!!!, I have been asked to provide this nearly on every single email.
They admitted the faults once and decided to arrange for a return but they asked for an invoice number again, then different person replied back explaining the same screenshots again, saying that I must be running many programs in the background, which I was not, i was actually running the standard basic programs that run on start plus Yahoo email and the task manager, and that used nearly half of the available RAM..I now believe that once they passed the 45 days protection period from Paypal, they are just stopped caring about returns and they came back probebly sending one of the copy/paste responses they have which will apply to all of your cases!!!

They are not getting away with this...I do not waste money..and this product is not good enough to be sold to consumers. should be taken off shelves asap.

Dave

1.0

3

Pros
Nothing
Cons
Everything
• • •

I've had my Kogan tablet for about 6 months now and threw it in a cupboard a couple of months ago in frustration. It is just so slow doing anythng that I just gave up. The browsing is so slow and crashes often even with firefox. I was waiting for an update to come out in the hope that it may help speed it up. But I haven't found anything out there yet. I dont like Apple products but will now give them some serious thought as my wifes ipad2 has been great.

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