Siz­ing up a bargain

Ko­gan de­liv­ers the Agora, and there’s plenty to like, writes Jen­nifer Dud­ley-ni­chol­son

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Gadgets -

At $149, the Agora would make a tempt­ing propo­si­tion to most Google-lov­ing scrooges. It’s the same price as some old-school, flip phones and, as Ko­gan points out, about 20 per cent as costly as a lead­ing smart­phone.

De­spite its low price, it comes with rea­son­able features. Its 5-inch screen makes apps big enough to see with­out a strug­gle and its 480x800 res­o­lu­tion, while hardly cut­ting-edge, is read­able.

The phone uses Google An­droid Ice Cream Sand­wich soft­ware (4.04), giv­ing the hand­set ac­cess to most of the lat­est features and apps, plus five home­screens to fill with wid­gets and short­cuts.

Per­haps the most im­pres­sive fea­ture, though, is the ad­di­tion of two SIM card slots. Users can slip two full-sized SIMs into this phone, side-by-side, and choose which ser­vice they would rather use from the drop-down menu. It’s a trav­eller’s dream and one you’re un­likely to see from car­ri­eris­sued hand­sets.

You can’t buy a $149 phone with­out mak­ing trade-offs, how­ever. This phone uses a dual-core 1GHz chip and

The Agora would make a tempt­ing propo­si­tion

512MB RAM, and Quad­rant places its power on a par with the Mo­torola Atrix from two years ago, and just above the orig­i­nal Sam­sung Galaxy Nexus. In prac­tice, its screen can be a bit sticky, apps ap­pear af­ter a de­lay and man­ag­ing open apps is im­por­tant.

The phone’s rear 5-megapixel cam­era is also unim­pres­sive, with white bal­ance and close fo­cus prov­ing tricky. In­door pho­tos with this cam­era have a washed-out, blue ap­pear­ance, while close­ups are hard to master.

The Agora’s screen is also a fin­ger­print mag­net that can be tough to see from an an­gle, its home but­ton re­quires a stiff push and the rear cover is poorly made. The panel’s tex­ture and shape is a lot like that of Sam­sung’s orig­i­nal Galaxy Note, but it doesn’t sit flat against the phone and seems ill-fit­ted. Do not take this phone in the rain.

De­spite draw­backs, the Ko­gan Agora is a worth­while ad­di­tion to Google’s phone li­brary. It de­liv­ers a dual-SIM op­tion for the price of a ba­sic MP3 player and, for that rea­son alone is a sure bet to find fans.

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