Kogan’s much-in-demand sub-$200 Ice Cream Sandwich Agora tablet won’t be shipping to customers for quite a few weeks, but we got our hands on a pre-production review unit of the $199 16GB model. How does it stack up at first glance?
We’ll be running much more detailed reviews on Gizmodo and Lifehacker when we’ve lived with the device for a bit, but right now the initial reaction is: it’s a decent buy in the space it competes with, but it doesn’t have the design touches or performance you’ll get in more expensive recent models (Android or otherwise).
In other words, you get what you pay for — but that’s not a terrible thing when Ice Cream Sandwich is on offer. It certainly does seem better than the similar recent (but more expensive and crappier) Millennius Emperor.
Five Things To Like
- It’s not a lightweight at 615 grams, but that’s still a weight plenty of people will be happy to lug around (the original iPad weighed in at 100 grams more than that). It’s also impressively thin.
- It’s a pure Ice Cream Sandwich interface: no vendor additions or other annoyances which wins Kogan big ticks. ICS is mostly a well-designed environment for tablets, so we’re all in favour of that.
- The built-in SD card slot and other plugs are all easy to access and on one side.
- The browser supports a nice little piece of wizardry that expands a radial menu underneath your finger when you swipe from the left or right bezel and lets you control the navigation.
- Ultimately, we like the price. For $199, you’re getting a solid (but not earth-shattering) piece of technology.
Five Things To Loathe
- The output from the built-in 3MP camera is, to put it bluntly, shocking. Only to be used in dire emergencies (which is a shame for panoramic shots, which ICS handles very well).
- The flip-side of having all the ports and inputs is that they have explanatory labels written on the bottom of the tablet, and the odds seem good that the lettering will rub away pretty quickly.
- Navigation niceties aside, we had lots of issues with using the browser; it frequently failed to respond and crashed more than once when attempting to play video.
- The built-in keyboard sound effect is very annoying. (You can disable it, but it’s a well-buried option, though that’s Android’s fault rather than Kogan’s.)
- The chassis shows fingerprints like there is no tomorrow. You’ll want to travel with a cleaning cloth.
Click on any picture below for a larger version.