Kogan Agora HD Android phone

The Agora HD smartphone combines a good display with solid performance, making it great value

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  • Specs
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  • User Reviews (7)
  • Buy Now 4
Kogan Agora HD
  • Kogan Agora HD
  • Kogan Agora HD
  • Kogan Agora HD
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5
  • User Rating

    2.00 / 5 (of 7 Reviews)

Pros

  • Great value for money
  • Good display & pleasing performance
  • Relatively stock Android experience

Cons

  • Battery life could be improved
  • Only 4GB of internal memory
  • Erratic ambient light sensor

Bottom Line

The Kogan Agora HD smartphone combines a good display with solid performance and retails for a hugely competitive price. It's only let down by a lack of internal memory and below average battery life, but still comes highly recommended for anyone on a budget.

Would you buy this?

  • Buy now (Selling at 4 stores)

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Kogan's previous Android phone was widely panned as a dud, but the company is back with a new variant, once again claiming to offer outstanding value for money. This time around, the Australian online retailer seems to have learnt its lessons from the past. The Kogan Agora HD smartphone combines a good display with solid performance and retails for a hugely competitive price. It's only let down by a lack of internal memory and below average battery life, but still comes highly recommended for anyone on a budget.

A bland but functional design

The Kogan Agora HD isn't going to win any design awards, but given its budget price tag, that was never the intention. The phone combines glossy, black plastic on the front and sides, and a basic matte black finish on the removable battery cover. This thin battery cover feels flimsy when removed and does creak when pressed in various places, but it's a minor issue. We can't really fault the Agora HD's design otherwise, though keep in mind that this is on the large scale for a smartphone, an industry-wide trend.

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The matte finish on the back provides good grip and makes the Agora HD comfortable to hold.

The matte finish on the back of the Agora HD can attract some grubby fingerprints if your hands aren't clean, but it provides good grip and makes the Agora HD fairly comfortable to hold. The comfort stems from rounded edges that taper inwards from the sides to the back of the handset, a design that's very similar to Samsung's Galaxy S4.

The Kogan Agora HD has most of its ports and controls in the usual places, with the exception of the top-mounted micro-USB port. That location means it won't play nicely with most charging docks, but given the limited amount of accessories that will be available for this phone, it's not a significant issue.

The micro-USB port sits next to a standard 3.5mm headphone jack on the top, while there's a volume rocker on the left, and a power/lock button on the right. The buttons provide good tactility, though could have been positioned a little lower to avoid stretching your fingers when using the Agora HD single-handedly. Three capacitive buttons (menu, home, back) sit below the display on the front and are responsive when pressed, while a small notification LED is cleverly hidden inside the speaker grill above the screen.

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The screen is bright and produces vibrant colours.

The Agora HD's 5in 720p touchscreen is the highlight feature of this device. While the IPS display isn't as truly vibrant as the super AMOLED panel Samsung uses on the Galaxy S4, that phone costs four times as much as Kogan's offering.

The Agora HD's screen is bright, displays relatively crisp text, and produces vibrant colours, a far cry from most budget smartphones we've seen in this price range. Our only real complaint is the automatic brightness setting, which is very erratic and best switched off, and the fact that the glossy surface is tough to keep free of fingerprints. The screen is also prone to glare under fluorescent lighting indoors, and sunlight legibility is below average, but these are minor issues given the low asking price.

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Stock Android, smooth user experience

The user experience will be familiar to anyone who's used an Android phone.

The Kogan Agora HD runs a relatively stock version of Google's 4.2 "Jelly Bean" operating system, so the user experience will be familiar to anyone who's used an Android phone before. There's a few extra touches, headed by an range of new toggles in the notification window. These can't be edited but in addition to the standard suite of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and airplane mode, Kogan has added data connection, data usage, audio profiles, screen timeout and auto rotation toggles.

Audio profiles is one of two features that you won't find on many other Android phones. The setting allows one of four predefined profiles to be selected, including silent, meeting and outdoor. Only the main "general" profile can be edited, but the ability to quickly toggle silent, vibrate and outdoor (loudest ring) profiles is a nice touch on a budget smartphone. The Agora HD also comes with the ability to set the phone to power on and off at predefined times. The on/off schedule can be set to repeat on a particular day, similar to how a repeat alarm works.

The Agora HD runs a largely stock version of Google's 4.2
The Agora HD runs a largely stock version of Google's 4.2 "Jelly Bean" platform.

Overall performance is impressive considering the price tag.

These two features aside, the Agora HD runs much the same as any standard Android phone. You can browse the Web, download apps through Google's Play Store, access services like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter and play games like Angry Birds and Candy Crush Saga. The icons for some core apps, like gallery, camera, phone, contacts, messaging, and calendar, have been changed for no apparent reason, but this aside, they are all Google's standard applications and work as normal.

The Agora HD's overall performance is impressive considering the price tag. The 1.2GHz quad-core processor, and 1GB of RAM results in a largely lag-free experience, and general use is quick and speedy. Apps open quickly, home screens are smooth to scroll through and although some UI animations can appear a little slow, the Agora HD feels snappy for everyday tasks. The Agora HD can become a little sluggish when updating multiple apps through the Google Play Store, but this is a minor issue.

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The Agora HD runs most graphically intense games without any issues. It handled FIFA 14, Deer Hunter 2014, and Dead Trigger without any significant lag or delay, offering smooth and fast game play. Unfortunately, the most significant drawback of the Agora HD, particularly if you will be using it for gaming, is the paltry 4GB of internal memory. While the device has a microSD card slot to expand the on-board storage, many apps from Google's Play Store can only be installed on the system memory, not an external microSD card.

The Kogan Agora HD comes preloaded with a few extra apps including a backup and restore app that will move personal data and apps to and from a microSD card, a basic file manager, an FM radio, a music player, a handy quick start guide, a sound recorder, a to do list, and a basic video player. A nice touch is the fact that the default messaging app comes with built-in Emoji support.

The lack of internal memory on the Kogan Agora HD is its biggest issue.
The lack of internal memory on the Kogan Agora HD is its biggest issue.

Dual-SIM support, average camera

The Kogan Agora HD supports the 850MHz and 2100MHz 3G network bands in Australia so it's suited primarily for use on the Telstra network. We managed download speeds of up to 13 megabits per second (Mbps) on Telstra's Next G network in North Sydney, with upload speeds averaging 2.7Mbps. The Agora's second SIM card slot only supports 2G networks.

Conveniently, the SIM management option in the main menu allows you to switch SIM card slots on and off, select which SIM supplies data for the phone, and also allows you to edit the name and colour of each SIM slot. The Agora HD's dialler features two call buttons, one for each SIM card slot.

You can edit the name and colour of each SIM card slot, and we managed good download speeds on Telstra's Next G network.
You can edit the name and colour of each SIM card slot, and we managed good download speeds on Telstra's Next G network.

Most camera shots are spoiled by excessive image noise.

The Agora HD comes with an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera, but still photos are default set to a maximum of 6-megapixels with a 16:9 aspect ratio in the camera application. You can change the aspect ratio to 4:3 to take a full 8-megapixel image.

Photos are about what you would expect from a phone at this price range, with most shots spoiled by excessive image noise. The Agora HD performs particularly poorly outdoors, especially in both bright and low light conditions, though it is capable of capturing decent macro shots. A 2-megapixel front-facing camera works well enough for video calls but predictably captures poor quality photos.

The camera application is slightly different to the stock Android one, and offers plenty of different camera modes. Among the highlights include HDR, smile shot, and multi-angle view modes, along with a face beauty mode that captures two images, one normal shot and another that attempts to smooth skin tones. For full HD video, the Agora HD offers a customisable time lapse setting, and features a range of live effects including big eyes, big nose, small mouth, and small eyes.

A macro photo we captured with the Kogan Agora HD. (click to enlarge)
A macro photo we captured with the Kogan Agora HD. (click to enlarge)

Perhaps the only downside to the Agora HD besides its lack of internal memory is battery life. While less frequent users should be able to achieve a full day of use before requiring a recharge, we struggled to push the 2000mAh battery through a full day, often having to reach for the charger after 14 hours.

The Kogan Agora HD quad-core smartphone is available to order now through Kogan's Web site. In addition to Australia, the Agora HD smartphone is also available in the US and the UK for US$189 and £149, respectively.

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Joe

1

Looks real nice for the price. Though I can't even consider it if it doesn't have pentaband 3G.

PaulB

2

Hi,

According to the Kogan website:

"Tri Band 3G (850, 1900, 2100mHz) and Quad Band 2G (850MHz/900MHz/1800MHz/1900MHz) compatible and network unlocked, this phone will work on all Australian mobile phone networks."

Is this not the case?

I'm planning to order one (with a 2nd battery, flip case, screen protector and 32GB microSDHC card). Kogan also have some portable chargers (or "Power Bank" as they call them) from 2600 to 11,000mAh if extended usage is needed.

I was originally looking at the Aldi Bauhn 5" Android Smartphone which looks very similar to the Kogan Agora HD, but is $100 more ($299).

Cheers. :)

Mike H

3

Good evening reviewers
I purchased the Agora HD Android yesterday and yes the price did play a role in my decision but I did do my research and feel the phone appears to be a vast improvement from any previous version that Kogan offered. Although, I did not own or know of anyone who used the previous model.
I also considered my decision on the review by Good Gear Guide above and compared online reviews on earlier Kogan products and other smartphone brands of similar function and design.
I'm sure the phone would work on any service providers of choice who maintain the 3G network. I also own a Samsung S2 with the 4.1.2 jellybean operating system and the Kogan HD phone has a 4.2 system.

The real evidence in this products performance, advantages and dis-advantages is for reviewers / consumers like me to, use it and review it.
Stay tuned for further reviews on this Kogan product from this writer.

Cheers

ozjane

4

while not a constant user, the battery lasts me for several days with the phone on all the time.

Ed

5

I have the earlier version of this phone and its great! cant wait to upgrade but I have no treason to. This was the first android phone that I have ever purchased and I cant believe that I would need anything more, especially a phone costing twice, three times or four times the price!
I did have to send my first one back as it stopped working, just one note; if you do everything you are instructed to do, like send photo's and spend 2 mins filling a form the returns process was easy and i have had absolutely no problems over the last 9 months!

Andy M

6

I have the first version,and I've had a few issues with it,namely,turning the Sim cards off by itself,if I set the time out to 3 minutes,it would revert back to 15 seconds time out by itself. The battery would heat up,but I expect that was due to being such a weak power unit,one other problem was,if the screen wasn't locked,it would sometimes change the time zone. The new one looks and sounds better,but still up in the air about upgrading.

Mike H

7

Received my Agora HD yesterday and have set up the phone and using it. So far i am pleased with it and have no real issues only to say that it wont sync my email. I will eventually sought it out. I will give it 24 hours and try and sync it again.

Peter

8

I had the same problem with the sim cards,sent it back,got another one and it works fine.That is for model 1.

Ian

9

Connectivity very poor- cant use it where all my old phones worked. Not a previous smart phone user, would not consider this one again. Trying to return it for a reliable replacement or money back . Kogan so far silent on return money back request

Jeff

10

I have been using this phone for about a month and think it represents great value for money. No issues with network connections, takes a good picture and apps run well. I installed a 16G micro SD Card for apps & photos etc. My only gripe is Kogan has run out of cases for this phone, but still i have to say great job Kogan!

Kris

11

I'm looking for a dual sim phone as like many people I'm tired of carrying two phones everywhere. Does this phone allow the 2 sims to operate at once for incoming calls or does one need to be off at all times, switching in between?

Trevor

12

Hi all excellent phone for price.. Everything works well. Gps is spot on and dual sim . How great .

Ian

13

What about DLNA???

Mike H

14

Have now had the Agora HD a little over a month now and no issues i can speak of. Pleased with the phone for the price i paid.

Lance

15

I was attracted by the price and the dual sim feature so I bought the HD phone (model 2 with 1G memory). However, I have two ongoing issues with the battery and power. First, the power drops dramatically when I turned off and on the phone (I have to do it when I get on and off the plane). When I switch off the phone, it was about 60% battery power or so. When I put on again, it dropped to about 15% and asked me to connect to a charger! Secondly, It takes a long time to charge when compared with my other phone such as samsung. It simply can't get fully charged even left over night for over 10 hours! I bought a spare battery and returned the original battery. It was subsequently sent back to me with no explanation and the situation remains. BTW, I tried to charge it from my computer USB and also tried the samsung charger. Not much difference in both cases although the computer USB port takes even longer. So, I am having a spare battery with no use as I can;'t charge it separately.... I don't think I can recommend this to anyone unless the battery and power issues are resolved... Having said the above, I have to admit it is a reasonable phone with the Android OS. Nevertheless, I am losing my confidence as I can't use a phone without reliable power and charging system!

Mick Wu

16

Hi - can any body tell me how to view pictures from the sd card in the phones gallery? It says no thumbnailed can be found :/

Thanks

Eileen P

17

Absolutely thrilled with my Chrissy Pressy! But, (must be me) can't understand in simple terms (have checked out the manual) how to back up the contacts list .... any help here please? Thanks

Charles Bee

18

Love this phone BUT... Installed Kogan 32 Gig SD card, but Storage still tells me it is running out of space and has shut down my email. Can I get around this or do I return this phone for another?
Can anyone help with this please? It is bothering me no end now.

dmk

19

this review is deceptive in the discussion related to the SD card backup and restore functions to allow the movement of apps and data to the sd card. The app doesn't "move" the app, it just in effect creates a stupid zip file (just taking up more space) on the SD card while the phone will remain out of memory.
There appears NO WAY to move apps to the SD card and use them. Kogan is also deceptive in upselling what is a useless 32 gig sd card (that you won't be able to use for anything). It does appear you can do some sort of rooting activity and possible install some apps to allow moving to SD, but in general - all mentioned of SD storage is deceptive - it just doesn't work.
There is even an option to use the SD card as default - it doesn't work.

Love the phone for what it is, but would strongly suggest getting a nexus, or even a used S3

Charma

20

Hi there my friend has this phone and am just trying to figure out how to upload videos from gallery to Facebook the photos work fine but can't figure out how to load videos if somebody could email me and let me know if this is possible would be greatly appriciated my email is charma_4_lyf84@hotmail.com

Charles Bee

21

DMK is right! Don't bother unless the SD situation is resolved - (For us and Everyone.)
In it's present state - it is NO Agora. Lack of Capacity makes it a DUD. I also bought a 32Gig SD card, but the Apps will not operate from it - thus the miniscule capacity of the phone is overfull in minutes. I like to use Flipboard and EverNote. With a couple of other SMALL programs, both will not load. Constant "you are out of memory" messages are infuriating. Contacting Kogan is also VERY difficult. This is a GREAT phone - UTTERLY spoiled for basic Nexus type computing. What a waste of money when I could have bought a Nexus 5. Fix this Agora or Kogan is a failure.

Charles Bee

22

I should try to be fair, and offer the Agora people the opportunity to fix this situation. If they do, then I will POST a very honest report and retraction. I do not expect they can rectify the trouble with my Agora Quad-core 5" android phone. If you can right the wrong here, then I will support you strongly, as I found the general operation and the phone to be V Pleasing!. As it stands.. It is Useless. I would think 10 days should be enough time to set things right. No contact and I will bin this phone and write it up (widely) as a very bad experience. Then go and buy a more functional android phone.

Bec

23

Does this phone have hotspot anyone

Kace

24

Can this phone use outside aus and accept other countrieskace' SIM card?

Vishal

25

Hi everyone,

My first ever smartphone was an iPhone 3G, which then got upgraded to iPhone 4 & then iPhone 4S. A couple of years back I made switch to Samsung Galaxy S3 to start using the android operating system as I wanted to experience more flexibility (flash player support being the main reason back then, however new androids don't have inbuilt flash players in them) as well as a bigger display screen. When I cracked my Galaxy S3's screen, I gave it to a friend of mine & just for experience sack I bought Kogan Agora HD+ smartphone about 6 months ago, low price tag being the obvious & ONLY temptation for that move.

6 months later, my honest review about the phone is that it is undoubtedly an amazing value for money device. Despite of the higher end smartphones use in the years before, this low end smartphone din't disappoint so much by comparison. Ofcourse it doesn't take sharper photos like an Apple or Samsung camera, it also doesn't have as high quality display, the touchscreen function is also inferior to high end smartphones but bottomline is for less than half the price tag, it certainly is an amazing smartphone. Infact, IMO this phone has about 75% performance compared to high end smartphones but less than 50% price tag so you can do the rest of the math now.

In terms of network connectivity, again, it might not have such superior connection (especially with 3G compatibility) but it does the job right. I've used Optus, Vodafone & Telstra sim cards on this phone & all of them have worked without any problems.

Dual SIM feature is actually a priceless bonus which other high end smartphones don't even have in them! You can have both SIMs active simultaneously. Very easy to use the dual SIM mode. You can set one SIM as primary & the other as secondary for outgoing calls, texts etc. But anybody can call you on any one of those numbers or even text you & you'll receive it all in the same device. The phone will display which number has received the incoming call or text, it's not confusing at all once you start using it.

Final verdict: If you don't want to spend much money on your smartphone, seriously, no need to worry, just get this phone. As I said, I've been using it for 6 months now & it's still going strong. When you want to waste more money in future, you can get yourself a high end phone. But I've reached such level of maturity now that I feel it's all just waste of money to buy a $600 or $900 smartphone as one year later they'll release a newer model & you'll start itching to waste more money on the newer model again anyway. That is exactly what I had been doing since last 5 years & look at me now, all settled down with a basic smartphone, which if I lose or damage, I would feel so much less stressed while replacing it. hope, I've helped most of your questions :)

kris

26

phone keeps dropping out of service.shoeing invalid sim when it does.is this a fault with phone

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Emma

5.0

1

Pros
everything
Cons
lack of protective covers
• • •

Brought my phone about 18mths ago.
Love love love it.
I haven't had any problems with it at all.
My husband went looking for a phone that wasn't to expensive but easy to use for me.
Took me a little while to get use to it but love it.
I don't think I would ever go back to a normal ( iPhone, Samsung ect ) phone again.
The only thing I would complain about is the lack of protective covers for it.
BUT seeing as I don't let kids play with my phone its still in perfect condition.
Thank you Kogan :)

Muted

1.0

2

Pros
Not the Agora HD+ Phone
Cons
Screen and charging issues
• • •

Bought 2 both failed within 4 months, long turnaround waiting for them to be replaced or repaired.

Ted

0.0

3

Pros
Not Kogan Agora Anroid HD 5"
Cons
Agora Smartphone 5" HD Android
• • •

Agora Smartphone 5" HD. I had this mobile for 2 weeks and it started crashing.
(A dead Android appeared on screen with Chinese writing) I rebooted the phone, same thing happened twice more over the following 2 weeks.! So unreliable! I returned it to Kogan.
My advice, if you want reliability, buy an established brand, Not Kogan.

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