Kogan 55” Agora Smart 3D LED TV

This cheap 55-inch Full HD LED TV runs Android 4.2

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Kogan 55" Agora Smart 3D LED TV
  • Kogan 55" Agora Smart 3D LED TV
  • Kogan 55" Agora Smart 3D LED TV
  • Kogan 55" Agora Smart 3D LED TV

Pros

  • Android interface is a cool innovation
  • Good image quality for $sub-$800 price tag

Cons

  • No 100Hz mode, limited picture control
  • Android interface is sometimes a hindrance
  • Trackpad/keyboard remote control accessory almost mandatory

Bottom Line

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.

Would you buy this?

  • Buy now (Selling at 5 stores)

  • 55(139cm) FHD LED LCD 3D Smart TV 1299.00
  • 55(139cm) FHD LED LCD 100Hz 3D Smart TV 1394.00
  • 55(140cm) FHD LED LCD 100Hz 3D Smart TV 1394.00
See all prices

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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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MattB

1

The amount of USB ports is incorrect in this article, " four USB ports, one component and one composite video input. There are three USB ports (one USB 3.0 compatible for faster transfers)," Hmmm. proof read??

zoey

2

and 3d quality?

kiem ho

3

Hi there! I about to buy one of these 55" smart Tv
But i just wondering what is the warranty covering
For tv so i can buy it plus i want to purchase more
Warranty. Please describe more desciption about
the warranty include. Thank you.

Reader

4

@kiem Ho The Kogan website that sells this product does show the warranty details. Standard is 1year with options for an extra year (2 years total) or extra 2 years (3 years total)

Dr jamal nasir

5

We need led tv andriod 42" pl kote prce at destination rawalpindi pakistan

Peter

6

BRilliant i recieved my einch weeks ago and love it stillfinding more and more usefull apss as i go

wayne

7

we just bought a Kogan 55inch Full HD smart TV & am grossly disappointed. The picture quality is less than a SD. It is unbelievable bad, even if I run blue ray through it with a top quality HDMI cable. I have put the 50 inch full hd LG back where it was with the same cables etc & the picture is 100 better than the Kogan.

I hope that they honor their 14 satisfaction guarantee

Eden

8

We just got this and are super happy...but only after we got in touch with support, downloaded the firmware upgrade and installed to overcome some issues the TV tuner seemed to be having with staying on certain channels and random system crashes. Havent had an issue since the firmware update.

The SD tv channels are pretty poor but I guess thats to be expected really. Am contemplating hooking up my HD Set top box and seeing if that improves it at all but just to test as we are not big live tv watchers. HD channels where offered seem to be decent enough.
(Australian Free to Air Stations need to provide more HD content!)
Its great to be able to watch anything in 3d....normal tv (sport etc), downloaded movies/shows...normal dvds. This would be my favorite feature by far. Love watching the news in 3d! The simpsons in 3d and shamefully....reality tv in 3d. Looking forward to the winter olympics...should be interesting to see how it handles the sport and movement.
Not the greatest 3d quality but still pretty good considering its converting content not made for 3d on the fly. Also a bonus it uses cinema styled glasses as opposed to the ones that need batteries. Of course quality is the price you pay for that but for me, the normal user, it works perfectly.
3d Bluray dvds play with great quality (to us, as good if not better than the cinema) but with all this said, we have never had a top brand tvs and bluray players to compare too...only mid levels and this certainly does compare well...if not beat them with its android features. (we are also using a Kogan 3d Bluray with wireless and usb etc)
Would be nice to be able to customize it as much as you can an android phone or tablet. Basically, the home screen is how it is...I would prefer less widgets etc A personal thing. I tried installing a customizable launcher but it only caused issues with the TV tuner side of things.
Sounds decent enough however we have hooked it up to a better sound system as we havent had to put up with built in tinny tv speakers for many years now.

Like mentioned, the wireless keyboard with trackpad is a must but with that said, its also pretty annoying at times in regards to its lag and the distance from the TV etc. Would be nice to know of other brands that are compatible. So far any wireless mouse I have tried has worked but no wireless keyboard has worked.

I think that covers the TV.
It was our first dealings with Kogan....came with a few issues re delivery and time it took to get it to us which was a shame. Was enough to put us off them but alas, we went back for the keyboard and can happily say we have since bought even more without any issues at all.

I hope this has been of some help to someone.

Rob

9

I have appreciated the reviews, thanks.

Joseph

10

I bought one and it is a pile of crap! The TV as a TV is good. A smart TV it is not - as previously commented the standard remote is useless, the keyboard you buy is also near useless - overall a bad bad buy! Just buy a plain TV.

Leonie

11

I have bought lots of Kogan products and in the past have had nothing but great customer service until now. Do not buy a 55' Kogan Smart TV or you may be burned like us. We received our delivery and straight away it was clear the picture quality was substandard. We contacted Kogan immediately and was told to send in a photo as proof - which we did. It then took over a week for them to contact us back (there is no phone number to contact them on you just have to wait for a return email) even though I put HELP in the subject line on numerous occasions and getting very frustrated when you don't get a response. When they finally got back we then has to send a video of the picture quality which we did. We returned the product last week to be told the refund will take up to 21 days after the technician. We have already been without a TV for one month now and we are still expected to wait another possible 2 weeks. They hold all the cards as they have your money and the TV and now you have to wait while their technicians inspect that there is a problem. IF they deem there is no problem then they want to charge us the delivery fee for the Tv being returned to them. ALL I CAN SAY IS THAT IT HAS BEEN A VERY FRUSTRATING AND TIME CONSUMING EXERCISE. We are now waiting patiently on their response. In the meantime I have unsubscribed from their web specials and have vowed to never buy anything from them again and I have told them this. I will hopefully stop anybody else from going through what we have been through - go to Harvey Norman or similar and you can just pack it up and return it yourself without any frustration.

Andrew C

12

Great TV for the money!

Ordered 1pm Thursday. Received in Newcastle that Tuesday. 3 working days, not bad :)

The Kogan 55” Smart 3D TV was received in working, undamaged condition. It was chocked with poly foam blocks and placed within a tray at the bottom, which allowed the box (double-boxed) to be removed with the TV remaining upright.

Assembly of the stand (base to upright) proved to be a hassle. Went through three phillips screwdrivers until we had the right size head that would allowed the screws to tightened without slip. The screws took a bit of effort. Once the base was ready, attachment of the stand to the back of the TV was simple enough. The stand is functional, although the upright is made of plastic, it seems solid enough.

When connecting the TV we found that the power lead is fixed. There is no Optical Digital (TosLink) output for sound. There is SPDIF (coaxial) output for sound. The SPDIF apparently passes 5.1 surround from source, but we’ve yet to try that.
There are four HDMI ports (3 back + 1 side), which is nice since the specs on the Kogan site only outline three HDMI.
The Composite connection (AV) shares the same L+R audio as the Component (YPbPr) connection, which may limit any use of either connection in the event you require both for audio.

Initial power on led to a degree of blindness. The white Kogan screen with all of its 100% LED backlight of glory, with over aggressive contrast, could light up a space station from earth.
The TV’s default picture profiles are simply atrocious. They offer high backlight, high contrast, high colour and high sharpness; all too high. Adjusting the set, using our patterns with the Xbox One on HDMI2 proved to be interesting. With the TV’s aspect ratio set to Dot-by-Dot, the TV allowed full range on contrast test and looked really good. However, we weren't able to tweak colour using the colour adjustment. Colour seems to be fixed. My guess is that the TV sees the XB1 as a PC (DVI?) device?... need to play more.
Using the same TV settings, as found with Xbox One calibration, resulted in poor quality for the FetchTV STB display. As mentioned already, the XB1 seems to be treated differently. We have yet to try adjustment of the picture using a USB drive loaded with calibration patterns. The PC was seen, but media was not accessible using DLNA over wifi during testing (PC was at fault?). We calibrated the picture settings while watching a few different shows. We changed the settings (in order); Backlight, Brightness, Contrast, Color and Sharpness. I also set the Noise Reduction to High. The quality isn’t as good as a $3,000 Samsung, but it is very much value for money.

* We haven’t tried any 3D movies yet

UK_Aus

13

Hi,

Can some tell me how to change Home Page apps or widgets please? I meant remove existing and add new. Just want to remove few things like Email and Facebook and add things like Weather and a Clock etc.

Thanks

Kylie

14

I love this TV!!! We have purchased many items from kogan.com.au & have not had any REAL issues with anything (items include the 55" Agora Smart TV with remote wireless keyboard, 42" TV, Kogan Agora smart phone & the Sony Xperia smart phone, 3x TV wall brackets & even some awesome tea cups!!). We did have a small issue with the wireless keyboard but after a very quick response from their customer service, we bought a 1m extension cable & the dongle worked fine.
We have to "reset" the 55" Agora Smart TV every once in a while by turning it off on the right side of the TV as opposed to just simply pressing OFF on the remote -I am assuming this is because of the SMART technology but it hasn't caused a real issue.
Kogan product prices are unbelievable & their delivery is well above average. I would recommend any product to people who are looking for a great deal at a fantastic price!

Paul

15

Just bought it. Picture quality is ok, not amazing. The sound it a bit tinny, compared to my 8 year old Samsung plasma. Needs speakers.
My problem is I am trying to connect to my PC to watch a movie i downloaded. When I go to "homeshare" i search for IP, and find it. It then says enter username and password, but when i go to press the centre button, I am not given any option to type anything, it just moves the cursor around. Has anyone else had this problem? How else can i access my PC?

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