Kogan Agora Android phone (preview)

With a price of just $149, the Kogan Agora dual-SIM Android phone appears to be a very good value proposition

Four years after promising then failing to launch two Android smartphones, Kogan is trying a second time. The Australian online electronics store has announced the impending launch of a low-cost, dual-SIM Android phone called the Agora.

Unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the Kogan Agora will retail for $149 when it begins shipping to Australia in February. Consumers may remember the Agora name from 2009 — it's the year Kogan promised to launch two Android phones, then costing $299 and $399, respectively. However, the phones were firstly delayed by months and then never launched.

Kogan is promising the latest Agora device will ship to Australian customers in mid-February. With a price of just $149 (plus $20 for delivery) it's a very good value proposition. The standout feature is a large 5in screen and a dual-SIM card slot, but that money also gets you a 5-megapixel camera, 4GB of internal memory as well as a microSD card for additional storage.

It's worth noting that the 5in screen has a display resolution of 800x480, which is significantly lower than most smartphone screens of this size. However, it's hard to complain given the low price.

The Agora weighs a hefty 180g and measures 9.8mm thick.
The Agora weighs a hefty 180g and measures 9.8mm thick.

There are always other compromises at this low end of the smartphone market, however, and the Kogan Agora isn't any different. The 5in screen means it's far from a small phone and with a hefty weight of 180g, it's far from the lightest device on the market, either. We suspect most users will accept the heavier weight of the Agora as a tradeoff, but it's still something to consider if you're a first time smartphone buyer.

The Kogan Agora is a dual-SIM smartphone, but only one SIM card slot is compatible with Australian 3G networks, so the second SIM card slot is only 2G compatible. The phone does not support the latest 4G networks offered in Australia by Telstra and Optus, but that's hardly an issue when taking into account the low asking price.

The Kogan Agora is powered by a 1GHz dual-core processor, has 512MB of RAM and comes with a 2000mAh battery and all are reasonable specifications for the price. However, Kogan has not published any talk time or standby time specifications on the product listing page of its Web site. We'll be keen to see if the Agora can manage a full day of use before needing a recharge.

The Agora as it appears on Kogan's Web site.
The Agora as it appears on Kogan's Web site.

The Kogan Agora smartphone will initially ship with the Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) operating system, but there's no word if or when the phone will be updated to the latest version, Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean).

Kogan has confirmed the Agora will ship with a free Kogan mobile starter kit. The company officially launched its own pre-paid mobile phone service, Kogan Mobile, in December last year. The network uses part of Telstra's wholesale 3G network to provide low cost mobile coverage.

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Kogan will sell you a grey import iPhone 5 cheaper than Apple

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Ross Catanzariti

Ross Catanzariti

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