Just how much computer do you get when you spend AU$200 on a 10.1-inch Android tablet? We put Kogan's latest to the test.
If you were to slip a new Agora tablet out on the train and start surfing the web in front of the rest of the commuters in your cabin, we think you'd be the only person who would know that you paid less than AU$200 for it. Kogan's design is a nice mix of the familiar and the new, so that the Agora tablet feels nice and looks expensive. From the front, you'd be forgiven for mistaking it for an iPad, despite it lacking a "Home" button. From behind, this tablet has a unique look, with a stiff plastic chassis moulded to look like cool, gun-metal aluminium.
At only 600-grams, the Agora is an impressively lightweight 10-inch tablet, and its 12mm depth is easy to hold. There is a sharp-ish edge running around the tablet, which presses into the hands a little, but all in all, the Agora is quite comfortable. Kogan has the volume controls on the top-right of the unit (when the screen is facing the user) and the power button is on the lower part of the right side. This button positioning is a little awkward to find easily, but it's not a major concern after some practice.
The right-side of the Agora is puckered with a vast array of ports and sockets, including a micro-HDMI port, a micro-SD card reader and a 3.5mm headphone socket. Curiously, there are also two micro-USB ports; one for connecting to a PC and one for a USB Host adapter, included in the sales package. There is also a 2-megapixel camera on the back of the tablet and a second 0.3-megapixel camera facing the user.
The numerous ports on the right-side of the tablet.
The screen is a 10.1-inch in-plane switching (IPS) technology LCD display, and compared with the screen on Kogan's previous tablet effort, this display is an achievement at this price. Viewing angles are good, its 1024x768 pixel resolution is sharp-enough and colours are represented well. It isn't a particularly bright display, so you'll find that you need to set it closer to 100% than the battery will appreciate, and the touchscreen doesn't feel entirely responsive, though this factor is also impacted by the power of the CPU.
User experience and performance
As you might have guessed from the images above, the Agora tablet is pure Google Android — there is no Kogan-made user interface layer on top of the Ice Cream Sandwich experience here. For many, this will be a plus; Android fans appreciate Google's work and don't feel a need to have this covered by an extra layer. There's nothing flashy about this presentation, but it is certainly functional.
Our review unit came with a couple of applications pre-installed; Skype, Aldiko ebook reader, MSN instant messaging and Documents-to-Go for creating and editing Microsoft Office documents. There was also a couple of extra Live Wallpapers that are not typically included with Ice Cream Sandwich. Apart from this, it'll be up to you to fill the device with the apps you want to use via the Google Play store.