Kogan Agora Quad-Core Review: Still The Best Bang For Buck On Android

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and it's no secret that Kogan likes to ape Samsung gear. That's why it didn't surprise us when the new quad-core Kogan Agora smartphone looked just like a Galaxy Nexus when it came out of the box. Thankfully, it's all that the Nexus was and a little bit more. Come and meet the new best bang for buck handset on Android.

What Is It?

The new Kogan Agora gets you phenomenal power under the hood for the price tag.

The new Kogan Agora Quad-Core packs in a 1.2GHz quad-core processor (naturally), 1GB of RAM, a 5-inch HD IPS screen (1280×720), a 2000mAh battery, Android 4.2.2 and an 8MP rear-facing camera.

The new Agora still retains the old Agora’s dual-SIM capabilities as well as the old Agora’s price tag. All this power comes in at just $199. It’s also packing a new rounded design.

What's Good?

That rounded design is really throwing us for a loop. It's a real blast from the past, reminding us of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. The only real difference comes in thickness: the Kogan Agora Quad-Core is actually fatter than the Nexus. That doesn't add much more heft to the device, however. In fact, it makes it easier to wield thanks to a rubberised back.

The Menu, Home and Back keys (in that order) are hard keys strewn along the bottom of the handset which we like, while the headphone jack is on the top of the unit.

The specs under the hood provide a measurably different experience to the last-generation Agora Dual-Core which felt sluggish and boring in parts.

Where that one felt tired and boring, this one feels fresh and youthful, leaping at the chance to show you sexy new animations and graphics.

Another plus is the fact that the new Agora is running stock Android 4.2.2. Modern software with nothing to get in your way in terms of proprietary skins is something to be praised in this day in age.

All in all, the Agora provides you with incredible bang for buck. Again. Kogan has redefined the yardstick for cheap, powerful Android hardware with this one.

What's Bad?

We'd love to tell you just how the new Kogan Agora Quad-Core performs in our benchmarking tests, but every time we try to complete our battery of tests, the phone crashes our app. The last phone that did that was the dreadful Huawei P6. Thankfully we haven't noticed any other apps crashing in our time with the unit.

The only other real complaint we have about the Agora Quad-Core is the connectivity it's packing. Or rather, not packing. It's 2013: is 4G too much to ask for?

Sure, the Agora Quad-Core has dual-SIM slots, but even then only one of those is 3G-enabled for moderately fast data transfer. I'd venture a guess that most people would forgo dual-SIM compatibility in favour of 4G coverage given the way the market is going. Maybe that's just me.

Otherwise, the concerns about the old Agora are back: the audio is rubbish, it doesn't look particularly hardy and you're going to see the pixels on this screen, but it's $199: what do you care, right?

Should You Buy it?

When it came time to decide on the last Kogan Agora smartphone, we said that it was the "mobile embodiment of cheap and cheerful". That still rings true with the new model, if not even more-so now.

It's a phone with the power to compete with the Galaxy S4 mini's of the world at a price that won't break the bank. Why wouldn't you buy this is the real question?

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