Kogan Agora HD Mini 3G Android tablet
Online retailer Kogan has released a 3G Android tablet for less than $200. But is the Agora HD Mini a case of cheap-and-cheerful or just plain cheap?
- 3G connectivity
- High resolution cameras
- Cheap construction
- Very poor screen
- Dated software
The Agora HD Mini is poorly constructed and delivers an outdated version of Android on a primitive screen. However, equipped with 3G connectivity and priced at $199, it radically undercuts its rivals and practically caters to an audience unopposed. For those in need of a cheap 3G tablet, then the Agora HD Mini merits consideration.
Price$ 199.00 (AUD)
Kogan's Agora HD Mini is, to date, the cheapest Android tablet to feature 3G connectivity we’ve come across. Even with its $199 price, it still manages to feature a quad-core processor, high-resolution cameras and a strong range of connectivity options. Is the Agora HD Mini a case of exceptional value for money, or does it have a crippling shortfall?
Unboxing the Kogan Agora HD Mini isn’t much of a ceremony. Inside the banal white box is the 7.85in tablet. It has an aluminum case, but the otherwise premium material does little to help with the HD Mini’s appearance.
Pick it up and you'll realise the Agora HD Mini suffers from being poorly constructed. The entire unit creeks whenever you reposition your grip. During our testing, we leaned it upright to watch some videos, where it fell off our desk and onto the carpet. The fall caused the not-meant-to-be-removed panel to snap open on both sides and exposed some of the internal components.
The glass is a filthy fingerprint magnet
There are other design shortcomings. The glass on the front panel is a filthy fingerprint magnet and the screen is clearly inferior to the typical Gorilla Glass modelled by its rivals. Pressing your finger down in the middle of the screen causes it to flex beyond the point of comfort.
In a press release, Kogan claims the Agora HD Mini has a resolution of 1024x768 pixels, but our internal testing — which we double checked — revealed it has a lower screen resolution of 976x768. Either way, the resolution won’t faithfully display HD content and, because of the low-resolution screen, it’s easy to spot individual pixels.
Colour articulation isn’t exactly what you’d call faithful. Blacks shine bright and the gamut is limited, but even with all of its shortfalls, watching a movie on the HD Mini is doable.
Power at a price
The Agora HD Mini manages to feature contemporary hardware in spite of its low price. Inside is a quad-core 1.2GHz CPU, 1GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage, with the option of expanding storage through microSD memory cards.
This hardware powers an almost stock Android 4.2 Jelly Bean operating system (OS). It’s a couple of generations behind the latest Android 4.4 KitKat OS, and ongoing software updates could be few and far between. Having said that, Android 4.2 is a complete operating system that benefits from vast application support and the kind of supreme functionality that comes from years of development.
Interestingly it has retained the Android dialler
The overall result is a fairly quick tablet. It transitions from one screen to the next with a sense of urgency, and it rarely ever falters. The experience could have been significantly better if the HD Mini had a higher resolution screen. Without it, the tablet maintains its cheap feel.
Interestingly Kogan Agora has retained the Android dialler, and since the HD Mini can take a SIM card, it is possible to use the device for phone calls. We recommend using a hands-free or Bluetooth for voice calls, otherwise the loudspeaker is automatically enabled.
A league of its own
The HD Mini gains a competitive advantage by offering compatibility with 3G (HSDPA) networks. No other tablet to our knowledge features cellular connectivity within range of its $199 price. Google’s Nexus 7 with 3G starts at $429, while Apple’s iPad Mini with 3G starts at $639. When compared to its rivals, the value of the Agora HD Mini becomes a lot more obvious.
The Agora HD Mini also features Wi-Fi 802.11n and Bluetooth 4.0. Bordering its top is a range of uncovered ports, including a microSD slot, a microUSIM slot, a Micro-USB charger and a 3.5mm auxiliary port.
Powering the Agora HD Mini is a large 4500 milliamp-hour battery. On paper, we’re impressed by its capacity. After a full charge we managed to watch a two hour movie (on maximum brightness), browse the Web, make use of social networks, take photos and videos, and even make a phone call. Unfortunately we did experience one mishap.
During our testing we rebooted the device as part of the process to enable a SIM card. We captured screenshots of the battery’s performance — which still reported 60 per cent remaining — before turning it off. When we immediately restarted the tablet, the battery had dropped to just 15 per cent. This was a one-off occurrence and the possible result of hardware failing to communicate with software.
The Agora HD Mini scores points by including high-resolution cameras. The front is graced by a 4.9MP camera, while the back features an 8MP camera. Impressively, both cameras can record videos at 1920x1080 resolution.
...it leaves a lot to be desired
These specifications are much more attractive on paper than they are in real life. Both the front and rear cameras struggle to articulate colours accurately. More often than not, bright colours are rendered in dull hues. Furthermore, the captured photos were quite noisy, which means if you were to view the image at its original size, it would be blurry. Images taken in low-lighting suffered most as the rear camera would increase the brightness at the expense of clarity.
Taking photos with a tablet is already a chore. The large form factor makes holding the tablet and capturing a photo difficult. The HD Mini suffers more than most with its slow autofocus and heavy 389g body.
We think most people will appreciate the front-facing camera if they make video calls over Skype and other VoIP applications. Although not the clearest camera, its high resolution will prove advantageous.
The Kogan Agora HD Mini is poorly constructed and delivers an outdated version of Android on a primitive screen. In terms of creating an enjoyable user experience, it leaves a lot to be desired. However, equipped with 3G connectivity and priced at $199, it radically undercuts its rivals and practically caters to an audience unopposed.
For those in need of a cheap 3G tablet, then the Kogan Agora HD Mini merits consideration, but if you’re content with Wi-Fi alone, then the Google- and Asus-made Nexus 7 delivers a better overall experience starting from just $229.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Smart LED Bulb LB130
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Lexar® Portable SSD
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Huawei Mate 9
Google Daydream VR headset
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Acer Swift 7
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Surface Pro 4
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- 2 ZTE Axon 7 review: Is ZTE dumping old stock on Australia?
- 3 Oppo R9s smartphone full review
- 4 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 5 Huawei Nova Plus smartphone review
Latest News Articles
- Everything we think we know about Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S3
- Lenovo's ThinkPad P71 will work with HTC, Oculus VR headsets
- Lenovo's Yoga A12 Android 2-in-1 has futuristic touch panel keyboard
- In PC comeback, ARM will battle Intel in Chromebooks and Windows 10
- Dell: Mainstream laptops with wireless charging are still years away
GGG Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- Time to ditch Foxtel and the iQ3: How to replace Foxtel packages with cheaper alternatives
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- TPChange AnalystQLD
- CCSenior Storage System Engineer -NetApp & TSMNSW
- CCSharepoint Business AnalystACT
- CCSenior Storage System Engineer - NetApp SpecialistNSW
- CCPMO Analyst - Financial ServicesNSW
- TPIT Project ManagerNSW
- FTDynamics AX Functional Consultant (Manufacturing and Trade & Logistics Modules)ACT
- CCTechnical Consultant - ITSM/HP Service ManagerNSW
- CCIT Procurement OfficerNSW
- TPDigital Strategist - Newcastle BasedNSW
- TPWinforms DevelopersWA
- FTSAP BOBJ ConsultantACT
- TPDrupal Developer - Immediate startQLD
- CCFront End DeveloperNSW
- CCLevel 1/2 SAP Support AnalystACT
- TPVB6 DeveloperVIC
- TPICT Contracts Compliance ManagerWA
- TPSAP Helpdesk SupportACT
- FTDeveloper/ ProgrammerSA
- FTProject ManagerNSW
- TPProject Support OfficerQLD
- TPProject Technical LeadQLD
- CCADABAS Natural DeveloperNSW
- CCSenior Life 400 DeveloperNSW
- FTDevops EngineerVIC