Kogan's 8-Inch Agora Tablet: Hands On

Exclusive: Along with the 10-inch tablet I tested last week, Kogan also launched an 8-inch model for a little less model. Despite the size disparity relative to price, I think it's a better buy. I wasn't exactly thrilled by Kogan's 10-inch tablet, all things considered, but then it's a non-premium product sold at a non-premium price. Most of what's true for the 10-inch tablet is still true for the 8-inch model. It's still just a Wifi-only Gingerbread tablet, not a 3G Honeycomb one. It still feels like mass-produced plastic, not engineered metal in the style of a Galaxy Tab 10.1 or iPad 2. I didn't get enough time to review it entirely; these are merely a collection of observations.

The thing is, having spent a little — but not a lot — of time with the 8-inch, I reckon the compromises it makes are less of a problem.

For a start, the volume control works in a portrait orientation — so up is volume up and so on — whereas the 10-inch reverses that, which only works well in landscape. This is still Gingerbread, though, so portrait is the way the menu is always presented.

As with the 10-inch model, the ports include a DC power in, so you can't charge via USB.

The smaller tablet does bring some technical compromises; while the processor remains the same 1GHz model and internal storage is set at 4GB, the screen resolution dips to 800x600 and the battery shrinks to 3600mAh. It's still also rather twitchy when it comes to screen flipping, although the smaller size makes this easier to bear as it's smaller. I didn't get enough time to properly exhaust the battery, but it's not going to be a true long-life tablet.

The 8-inch and 10-inch side by side.

It may have just been a quirk of the preproduction samples I was sent, but the 8-inch model also felt a little less rough around the edges.It's still very much a value proposition to ponder on; at the time of writing the original Liveprice $149 estimate was up to $155 with an eventual end price of $229. That's not expensive for a basic tablet, but this will never be anything but a very basic tablet. Like the 10-inch tablet, it's not a model I'd spend my own money on, but despite the 10-inch not being that much more expensive, I reckon the 8-inch is the model to buy if you're keen.[Kogan]

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