Kogan 55” Agora Smart 3D LED TV
This cheap 55-inch Full HD LED TV runs Android 4.2
- Android interface is a cool innovation
- Good image quality for $sub-$800 price tag
- No 100Hz mode, limited picture control
- Android interface is sometimes a hindrance
- Trackpad/keyboard remote control accessory almost mandatory
Kogan’s Android 4.2 Smart TV is an interesting product, more innovative than anything we’ve seen recently from any of the big brands. It’s not a seamless integration — almost like a giant, touchscreen-less tablet — but there’s a lot of potential. Beyond the Smart interface, this 55-inch TV is not a bad choice for everyday digital TV or the occasional Blu-ray or movie download.
Price$ 789.00 (AUD)
[Update: Check out Kogan's amazing new 55" curved 4K TV here.]
Kogan is not a company you’d usually expect to stand out from the crowd, but its 55-inch Agora Smart 3D LED TV (or KALED553DSMTZA, although we’ll just go with ‘Agora’) is unique in that it’s the first TV available in Australia that runs the Android 4.2 operating system.
The TV, also available as a $599 42-inch model, is impressively priced for the number of features it boasts. It has built-in Wi-Fi, three USB ports, can play 3D video, and uses a slim edge-lit LED, Full HD LCD panel. It looks great on paper, and has a huge amount of potential, even though the Android experience is not as seamless as we’d hoped.
Kogan 55” Agora Smart 3D LED TV: Design and setup
The 55-inch Agora Smart TV from Kogan has a very thin bezel around its 139cm-diagonal screen, finished in a matte dark grey. The bezel is slightly thicker on the lower edge, with a lighter grey two-tone paint job and a central Kogan logo.
[Related: TV of the year award 2016]
The TV’s stand and base connect with a couple of screws, which are self-threading from the base to the neck of the stand — so while it’s a secure connection you won’t want to be dismantling and re-assembling the package often. A standard Kogan remote control is included in the package — we quite like the Kogan remote, which is clearly labelled and colour-coded.
However, if at all possible we’d opt for the optional Kogan wireless keyboard and trackpad accessory, which is an extra $39. Navigating around the Android Smart TV interface is extremely difficult with the standard remote control, to the point of being nearly unusable, so if you intend to use the TV’s innovative features there’s a nearly-mandatory extra cost.
In terms of connectivity, the Kogan 55” Agora is well catered for, with four USB ports, one component and one composite video input. There are three USB ports (one USB 3.0 compatible for faster transfers), which can accept a wide range of accessories including wireless keyboards and mice, Skype web-cameras, and so on. Wi-Fi comes standard, as does an Ethernet wired connection. One of the HDMI ports supports MHL for syncing and charging a compatible smartphone or tablet while playing back video from it.
Being a TV based on the Android 4.2 operating system, which is usually found on smartphones and tablets, the Kogan Agora setup experience is quite like buying a new phone — once you plug it in and turn it on, you’re prompted to connect to your home’s wireless (or wired) home network, upon which the television installs a range of apps for you to use on the TV.
After that’s done, you’re sent to the TV’s default Start screen — a conglomeration of a live TV feed and an Android home screen, complete with icons for apps like YouTube, Twitter, Gmail, a Web browser, and some customisable social media widgets and Web bookmarks.
Kogan 55” Agora Smart 3D LED TV: Picture quality and performance
This is, in TV terms, quite a complex device. Because of this, it’s a little less refined and streamlined than the custom-made Smart TVs of Samsung, LG, Sony or Panasonic. In practice, we found that the Agora took around 30 seconds to turn on from a completely powered-off state, although the standard power-off mode puts the TV into a low-power sleep and lets it power back on within a few seconds.
This is a TV of two halves. There’s the complicated — probably too much so — Android interface, with all the power and all the problems of an equivalent smartphone or tablet, and then there’s the standard TV interface, devoid of any such complexity.
On the standard TV side of things, the Agora does a good job. It switches quickly between its 4 HDMI inputs and various legacy (composite, component) connectors. The picture control settings on offer are mediocre — there’s only the option to switch between a few preset modes and adjust brightness, contrast and sharpness, which will be disappointing for anyone looking to calibrate the TV to suit their viewing conditions.
Despite that, picture quality from the 55” Agora is good when it’s being supplied with high-quality content, like a 720p or 1080p video via Blu-ray or a downloaded TV or movie file. We’d pair this TV up with a Blu-ray player from a big brand like Sony, Samsung or LG to get the best possible feature-set — since these players can access your home network and the Internet on their own, they can stream movies and video and other services with a little more finesse than the Kogan Smart TV interface.
The Android interface is simultaneously excellent, and more trouble than it’s worth. A remote control more versatile than the bundled one is mandatory — it does a good enough job for regular TV and movies or basic menu navigation, but with the standard Android menu on offer you’re going to wish you had a proper keyboard really fast.
The advantage of Android is simple, direct, no-complications access to all the Android apps that you know and use (if you’ve got an Android smartphone, at least) — YouTube, Google Play Movies and TV, Google Maps, Twitter, Facebook, and anything else from the Play Store. You can basically use the TV as a giant tablet, connecting directly to the Internet through your home network. If it had a touchscreen, we would like it even more.
And for the most part, everything works smoothly. Most apps are formatted by default for the TV’s 16:9 landscape orientation, and most apps run as smoothly as you’d expect from a relatively recent smartphone. The Smart TV interface doesn’t run at the screen’s native 1080p resolution, with all the apps and menus shown at an up-scaled 720p, which is less intensive on the TV’s internal 900Mhz processor. The TV is generally quick to respond to commands from the remote control, although it can get a bit laggy just after opening apps; load up YouTube and until all the video thumbnails are loaded it’ll take a second to respond.
There is a caveat, though, and it’s that despite the effort put into customising the Android menu (to integrate the live TV screen, and to add widgets for social media), the Kogan Agora feels somewhat unfinished straight out of the box. Once you’ve added and removed the apps that you like and don’t like, it gets better, but without the easy customisation that a touchscreen allows, it’s a somewhat arduous process. Of course, for the average viewer and user, the TV works perfectly fine.
Kogan 55” Agora Smart 3D LED TV: Conclusion
Kogan’s latest Smart TV completely deserves that label. The no-frills Android 4.2 that it runs allows familiar, direct and simple access to a wide range of Android apps, and if you’ve got a capable remote control accessory or the wherewithal to struggle on with the standard clicker, it generally works pretty well.
When you don’t want the Smart features, it’s also a generally good TV, with a decent screen and good image quality. It’s not a perfect TV by any stretch, but if you can devote some time to learning its ins and outs, it’s surprisingly powerful and useful.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Huawei Mate 9
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Acer Swift 7
Lexar® Portable SSD
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Google Daydream VR headset
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Surface Pro 4
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 2 Kogan curved 4K UHD 55-inch LED LCD TV review
- 3 Panasonic Blu-ray recorder PVR set-top box review
- 4 Garmin Fenix Chronos fitness tracker smartwatch review
- 5 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
Latest News Articles
- Hisense displays successors to amazing Series 7 ULED - Series 8 and 9
- Sony shows off its new OLED and LCD TVs, video projector, and Bluetooth speakers
- Sony’s Bravia XBR-A1E OLED could be the first flat-screen TV with sound that doesn’t suck
- Say goodbye to Apple's third-generation Apple TV
- Japan gears up for 8K TV broadcasting
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- LG G6: unboxing, hands on review and detail shots
- Samsung Galaxy A5 2017: unboxing, hands on review and detail shots
- Behind the scenes with Team Walkinshaw at V8 Supercars Melbourne 2017
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- FTField Deployment EngineerNSW
- FTSCOM AdministratorACT
- FTService Desk ConsultantACT
- CCIT SharePoint SpecialistNSW
- FTProgram Learning Capability Manager, Financial ServicesNSW
- TPAutomation Test AnalystSA
- TPTechnical Analyst - 6 Month Contract - Great Rates Of PayNSW
- FTCitrix EngineerNSW
- FTEnterprise ArchitectQLD
- FTKey Account ManagerVIC
- FTArchitect (Technical)NSW
- TPBusiness Analyst - DSITIQLD
- FTFinancial ERP Customer - Solution Consultant / System AccountantNSW
- FTNetwork Services ManagerQLD
- FTMicrosoft Designer / ArchitectVIC
- FTICT Project ManagerNSW
- TPDeployment OfficerQLD
- FTProgram Manager-SAP Transition, SAP FICO ImplementationNSW
- FTICT Business Development Manager - Technical Products/SolutionsQLD
- FTIT Business Process Analyst x 3 - (government background)NSW
- TPSenior Business AnalystNSW
- CCProject LeadNSW
- CCSenior Business Analyst (BPMN or UML & Agile)QLD
- FTService Desk Consultant - Entry Level / GraduateNSW