[Review] Agora 8

Discussion in 'Android Tablet Reviews' started by edtaa, Dec 30, 2011.

  1. edtaa

    edtaa Member

    Nov 25, 2011
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    Tablet / Device:
    Kogan Agora 8
    I got the Agora 8 tablet towards the end of November 2011 – one of the first to be delivered to the UK market and priced at under £130 then. So it's now been in use for about 5 weeks with 2-3 hours use per day. The hardware is as described on the manufacturer's website except for the addition of a 32gb external sd card.

    The screen is quite responsive although not quite as slick as an iPad but at this price it does the job well enough. Screen brightness is quite reasonable too so I have mine set to low to conserve battery and avoid glare. The one problem I have found with the screen is that it seems to get smeared with finger marks very quickly and needs to be cleaned up regularly. I've read elsewhere that these tablets are oversensitive in flipping from landscape to portrait but I have not found that to be a problem at all – the experience is exactly like an iPad.

    The controls on the side of the case work efficiently – on/off, reset, volume. There are three buttons on the front of the device – menu, home, back – which all work fine except that you sometimes find that menu might not be implemented on the app that you are using.

    I've tried out a range of launchers with the device but have not kept any of them as I'm quite happy with the native launcher which does everything you need once you learn how it works. I especially like the long press on the home button which brings up the icons of your recently used apps – a bit like alt tab on windows.


    I have not used the tablet outside of the home so battery life has not been an issue. I have the charger next to my chair so I recharge frequently. It does tend to run down towards the end of an evening of heavy use – about 4 hours or so. I could probably save a lot of energy by turning off Cell standby but I haven't needed to figure out how to do so as yet so I just have the tablet in airplane mode but use the Wifi widget as necessary.

    I don't much use sound and am hard of hearing. The sound is definitely inferior to that of an iPad and the speakers are placed on the back so that they annoy others but don't do much for the user. I haven't used earphones with it.

    Plenty of apps work as expected with the Agora but a few don't. I started a thread on this which I update from time to time - http://www.androidtablets.net/forum/android-tablet-apps/27038-kogan-agora-8-apps-work-dont-work.html - I am happy with the apps that I have and there aren't any major gaps apart possibly from Google maps although this works OK through the browser. The app market works fine on the Agora.

    E-mail, twitter, calendar
    These all work brilliantly on the Agora and if you are a Google user, they work better than on the iPad in my experience. So much easier to set up and sync. I suppose this a feature of other Android devices but it's certainly a good one. I'm a bit of a twitter addict - @teewens – and I love the functionality of Plume.

    Wow! LAN access via ES File Explorer just damn works. A major plus compared to the iPad! Again, this is probably an Android feature - I only have this tablet and an HTC phone to compare. Anyways, it's a doddle to stream from your LAN connected devices. I have a NAS box and it's great to be able to manage the files on there from the tablet.

    I've switched to Dolphin HD and its many wonderful features work fine on the Agora. I do notice that web pages are slightly slower to load than an on the iPad which I guess is down to having Wireless G only.

    The tablet has a reset button which is quite hard to get at - I use a needle. I've done this a couple of times over the five weeks I've had the tablet so no problem there and comparable to the iPad. Software crashes happen from time to time but not so as to be irritating. It's hard to tell if you've had a crash or if you've accidentally pressed the home button. Usually, one touch to restart the app and away you go.

    SD Card
    First question is why you would want one and that revolves around what you can do with it. Store media files is the answer so go for a card size that reflects how much media you plan to store. I've got a 32gb card which I use mainly for music and plan to switch between the Agora and my phone – don't know if that will work. The Agora manual isn't all that helpful with regard to the SD card. I wasn't sure if there was a card already in the slot as the Agora comes with a built in SD card but it turned out that that card is inside the card so you can happily slot in your new card externally. The card mounted immediately but I had to upgrade to the latest version of ES File Explorer to get it recognised.

    Two tablets
    I also have an iPad and a great use for the Agora is playing games with a partner on the other tablet. The Facebook scrabble app is our favourite.

    Other reviews
    The only one that I've found is via Twitter - @doctaron who posted his review on his website - The Kogan Agora tablet: serious piece of kit, or a fool’s folly? · The Surgery
    I disagree with some of his review but his is an Agora 10 and mine an Agora 8 so perhaps that's why but I somehow don't think so. For instance, he didn't like the home button's limited functionality but perhaps he didn't discover the long press? He says his tablet thinks it's a phone and that leads to problem but I found that you could disable this fairly easily.

    I'll give the Agora 5/5. It's a great bit of kit and fantastic value for money. If I hadn't used an iPad before it would have blown my mind.
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  2. pbrauer

    pbrauer Administrator Staff Member

    Sep 24, 2010
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    Edina, MN USA
    Tablet / Device:
    HTC Thunderbolt, ViewSonic GTab, Huawei S7, Gentouch 78
    Very complete review! Thank you very much for the contribution, nicely done.


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