Kogan Agora ICS tablet review

How does Ice Cream Sandwich taste in a bargain tablet?

Kogan Agora 10 inch ICS
Kogan Agora 10 inch ICS tablet

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From a purely spec perspective, the 1024 x 768 IPS display seems like a fantastic addition to a AUD$200 tablet. Switched on though, the screen seems dull unless you've dialled the brightness up to maximum.

On the upside, viewing angles are good, images are sharp and colours are pretty accurate.Unsurprisingly, the resolution doesn't come close to the high-end Retina Display of the iPad though, so while images are sharp, you can still see some jaggedness if you get up nice and close.

The screen may support 10-point multitouch on paper, but in practice it feels sluggish and unresponsive. Truth be told, that could have a lot to do with the ARMv7 processor running things, but the end result is like a hungover soldier, following commands at its own pace instead of when you shout your orders at it.


Kogan is renowned for its passion of Google products, so it's no surprise that it has opted for the most vanilla of vanilla Ice Cream Sandwich builds. Fortunately, vanilla is delicious, so using it feels natural and tasty.

The lock screen offers a simple combination of time, important messages (like "Connect your charger" when the juice is running low), a battery and Wi-Fi indicator and the ICS unlock mechanism, which lets you quickly access open applications depending on which way you swipe the lock.

Unlocked, the customisable home screen maintains the dedicated soft buttons of Home, Back, Open Apps, Volume controls and Menu across the bottom, while access to your app collection is located in the top right of the screen. The top left features a shortcut to Google search, either through typing or using your voice.

The tablet's 1GHz ARMv7 processor appears to be the device's Achilles heel. Despite the 1GHz clock speed, the 1GB of RAM and the 400MHz GPU, the Agora is sluggish.

There's a very clear delay in responsiveness in almost everything you do on this tablet, from typing on the keyboard to swiping between home pages. It can literally take seconds for the typing on screen to catch up to what your fingers are doing on the on-screen keyboard.

Opening apps takes half a second to start. Frame rates in games like Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja can only be described as poor, seriously impeding any enjoyment of the games. Which is itself perhaps the most disappointing aspect given the price point sort of lends itself as a gaming tablet.

High definition video is refreshingly watchable, given the disappointments on the gaming front, although it does depend on your video player. With plenty of detail, the screen isn't perfect with fast motion, but doesn't judder too much, while images are crisp and clear.

Having spent the past decade editing some of Australia's leading technology publications, Nick's passion for the latest gadgetry is matched only by his love of watching Australia beat England in the rugby.