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Kogan makes a budget 5 inch handset, but will it be good?

By Leigh D. Stark | 12:27 pm 15/01/2013

We’re back from the biggest electronics show of the year from last week, and that means it’s time to look at some of the things we missed while we were reporting, so we’re starting with local brand Kogan and its $150 super sized smartphone.

Launched in the middle of the Consumer Electronics Show and hitting the Kogan online store for $149, the Agora 5 inch dual-core is the first smartphone we’ve seen from the Australian e-tailer in a long time.

It’s not the first smartphone from the company, but it is the first time we’ve seen Kogan try to take on the phablets made popular by the Samsung Galaxy Note series of devices.

Kogan is attempting to compete on price here, marrying a 5 inch display with a dual-core 1GHz chip, 5 megapixel rear camera, Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich,” compatibility across all Australian networks (though 4G connection support is not included), WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, and even support for two SIM cards.

The look of the device is certainly looking squarely at Samsung, with a design that closely resembles that of the Galaxy Note series.

While we can’t say with a degree of certainty if it can be as good as competing smartphones in this size, we have our doubts based on past plays with Kogan devices.

From the specifications, we can see that Kogan is using a similar processor to its lacklustre 10 inch tablet we checked out last year – the dual-core 1GHz A9 processor – paired with 512MB RAM, which isn’t enough for most of the smartphones we saw last year, many of which were matched with 1GB.

Our experience has taught us that more memory on Android means a faster and more reliable experience, so half a gig doesn’t exactly grab our attention, and neither does the screen resolution, which is a paltry 800×480 on the 5 inch size.

Kogan Agora 5 inch on the left, Samsung Galaxy Note on the right. Are we wrong for thinking that Kogan is borrowing the look of the Note here?

Just because the screen is big doesn’t mean the quality is high, and with a big size and a comparatively low resolution, you can expect to see some of the pixelation here.

The battery is rated at 2000mAh, which isn’t bad, and should yield one to two days of life.

It’s worth pointing out that this is the most inexpensive big phone available, but going on specs alone, isn’t likely to be the best, not by a long shot.

If overall size is important to you and you don’t want to pay much, it could be worth looking at Kogan’s 5 inch Agora, but based on what we’re seeing, don’t expect it to compete in quality with other big phones available today.

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