Kogan's Agora Ice Cream Sandwich Tablet: Photo Gallery And First Impressions

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. The built-in SD card slot and other plugs are all easy to access and on one side.
  4. 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.
  5. Ultimately, we like the price. For $199, you're getting a solid (but not earth-shattering) piece of technology.

Five Things To Loathe

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.)
  5. 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.



    "but not earth-shattering"... Leave that to Nokia ;)

      They've already done it, try throwing a Brick a t the floor for "earth-shattering".

    I was considering buying this because its cheap and thought it would have good performance and features for its price, but after reading this review I'll probably hold off and give my $$$ to Microsoft... Surface RT.

    Good for kids on a roadtrip by the look of it.

      I agree.. I hope that they order some more soon..

    Can't wait to see the full review...looks pretty good for the price

    Those things to loathe aren't really that bad to be honest.
    1. Using a tablet camera is stupid anyway. Thats what a real camera or even a phone camera is for.
    2. A child of more than 2 years old can identify when you can't put a square peg into a round hole. Anyone with the faintest clue about technology will know what each port is.
    3. Is a bit more worrying. Hopefully an update or alternative browser can fix.
    4. True its probably annoying, but at least it can be turned off.
    5. Plenty of high end tabs and phones have the same problem.

    For $199, could be an absolute bargain...

      I agree, these cons are pretty trivial. Fingerprints and lettering aren't a problem if you've got a cover for it. It's not hard at all to turn off the keyboard sound in ICS.

      Also, I wouldn't even bother with the default browser. the Chrome Beta for Android is the best mobile browser I've used, just use that instead.

      I would say this would be perfect for me. I only really use my iPad for reading on the train and browsing in bed and on the bog. So sick of using shitty iTunes to manage my books and comics. I'd really like to try out a non-iOS tablet, and 2 hundy won't sting too much if it turns out to be shit.

    What browser did you use in the review, Android Browser, a custom Kogan browser or Google Chrome for Android? Web browsing is pretty important so it'd be good to know if it was really bad at it.

      Sounds like the stock browser, given the mention of the radial menu accessible from the sides (which is optional). Chrome Beta is far more stable on my Nexus S running ICS.

    You get what you pay for. These days the Toshiba and Lenovo tablets are selling for $250-$350 so why not add a few more dollars to your piggy bank and get something that wont be so shamefully embarrassing to show and to use?

      a hundred bucks is a hundred bucks. A quick google didn't find a 10" Toshiba tablet less than $299,

    @Jason, the browser crashing is a minor thing and easily fixed by using Chrome or FireFox for Android, problem solved. ;)

    Dophin Browser HD in Google Play is the best browser, just use that one instead.
    the best thing is you have access to Google play and you could download alot of apps to do what you want.

    So where IS the option to turn off the keyclick buried? I can't find it.

    ok – just for those that have the boot loop try doing this: http://www.futeko.com/navpage/support.php#ekena90
    use the eken a90 steps to recover (same device rebranded)

    worked for me! – still unhappy with kogan

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