If you’re in the know and you’re happy signing up for long-term plans or have the cash to buy a top of the line smartphone outright you probably don’t need to look at the lower end of the market. However, if you’re just looking to get your first smartphone or want a cheap way to get a new handset outright the Kogan Agora might just be what you’re looking for.
It’s $149 and that’s one of the cheapest smartphones you’ll find anywhere on the market and in picture comparisons and looking side by side it’s hard not to mistake it for being the almost twin sibling to the Samsung Galaxy Note. If you were able to hold the Agora in one hand and the Note in another you’d realise it’s just not the same.
The Kogan Agora is a heavier, slightly more bulky and seemingly a more plastic ridden and when you turn them on you’ll realise the screen on the Note is far superior than the Agora.
The screen is my biggest negative about the Agora, it just doesn’t seem bright enough for my liking. Why is that? I’m spoilt. I get to play with the latest phones from a whole host of manufacturers so I am literally used to stunning screens with super high resolutions.
The Agora isn’t meant to compete with the $800 and $900 phones on the market, it’s purpose is to provide a low-cost outright purchase option in the Smartphone world. It’s running Android 4 which is just fine for the average user, and has all the core features of any other smartphone.
So what are you missing out on?
Speed: The Kogan Agora features a dual-core processor which gets the job done, but it has just 512MB of RAM. That’s not going to give you app performance like that on high-end phones, but do you care? Likely not. This phone will browse the web well, will be great for email, and you’ll be able to play almost all the top games and use apps your friends recommend. They perhaps won’t launch as fast on the Agora that’s all.
Quality: There is something cheap about the feeling of the Agora, both in weight and build quality. The screen seems remarkably small compared to the whole device – not something we see in higher end phones these days.
Screen: As mentioned the screen isn’t as bright as it could be, nor does it have the higher resolution possible in many phones today.
Putting that aside – what are the benefits?
Dual SIM Cards: This thing allows you to put two SIM cards in it. Why? Some people have a work and private phone, now you can have both those numbers in one phone. Or you could have an overseas SIM and your own while travelling. One SIM slot allows 3G, the other 2G. You can choose the default SIM to use for phone calls and data use. It’s very cool – but I don’t see a huge number of people using both slots.
It is a smartphone: Moving from an older ‘dumb phone’ you’ll be looking for an introduction to the smartphone world. As I’ve said, for web, email and apps, this will do the job. A huge majority of people are using phone and text still as the primary function of a phone, to join the huge shift worldwide to smartphones and get access to the web and email, plus perhaps Facebook and Twitter you’re going to get just what you need from the Agora smartphone
Price: It’s $149 people! You simply won’t find better bang for your buck in any smartphone.
It’s not for me, but for many people this is just what is needed to get an introduction into the world of smartphones. Buy the Kogan Agora, then get yourself a low-cost pre-paid mobile plan. When you realise you’re loving what is possible on smartphones then perhaps look at upgrading down the track to something with a better screen and a bit more grunt.
Trev is a Technology Commentator, Dad, Speaker and Rev Head.
He produces and hosts two popular podcasts, EFTM and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He also appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the resident Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show each day and appears regularly on A Current Affair.
Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave.