Kogan joins forces with BenQ for a sub-$250 4G phone

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We ended last week with a phone review, so it only makes sense that we start this week with some phone news, and here it is, as Kogan announces a 5 inch 4G handset for around $230.

The new phone is another entry in Kogan’s long-running “Agora” range of devices, and is simply called the “Agora 4G,” because that’s what it’s designed to connect to: 4G networks.

High-speed mobile connectivity isn’t all it has, with 802.11b/g/n WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, and that stock standard microUSB port you’ve come to expect from any handset that isn’t made by Apple, with all of this sitting under a 5 inch HD IPS LCD screen.

If all of that sounds like inane jargon, just be aware that the screen is 5 inches, running the high-definition resolution of 1280×720 with a screen that can be viewed from most angles thanks to its In-Plane Switching (IPS) LCD technology. That combination of technologies will bring a screen quality of around 294 pixels per inch, 30 lower than that of the iPhone 5S and 5C, which should be sharp enough for most people.

Processor-wise, the Kogan Agora 4G will run a quad-core 1.2GHz chip, Adreno 305 GPU, 1GB RAM, Android 4.4 “KitKat,” and 8GB storage, with room to move if you wanted to upgrade the storage considerably with a microSD slot supporting up to 64GB.

Cameras are included — shock horror, we’re sure — with an 8 megapixel camera on the back and a 1.3 megapixel shooter up front, with the battery likely to hit a day thanks to a 2500mAh capacity.

And since Kogan has a history of competing with price for products, this handset will come with a price below that of most other handsets, which is $229 before shipping.

“I applaud companies like Google releasing devices such as the Nexus 5, which at about $400 is priced better than Samsung’s Galaxy S5 or Apple’s iPhone,” said Ruslan Kogan, owner and CEO of Kogan.

“But all these phones are still too expensive for many people — especially when they’re also being asked to upgrade every year. We’re releasing a quality device that smashes the competition on the price, yet packs all the features consumers expect from a high end smartphone.”

Interestingly, the Agora 4G isn’t made by Kogan, but rather BenQ, a brand which hasn’t been selling mobile phones in this country for ages, but is bringing a handset from overseas to Australia.

While we’ve yet to see an official announcement of a BenQ smartphone locally, this looks like BenQ’s F5, except with the 13 megapixel camera changed to an 8 megapixel model and branded locally by Kogan.

Instead, BenQ’s local people had this to say:

“Kogan has once again been able to achieve a price that most people didn’t think was possible for a device this powerful and beautiful,” said Martin Moelle, Managing Director of BenQ Australia.

“We’re extremely proud to work with Kogan on this market-leading product release.”

As for whether it’s worth it, we’ll let you know as soon as Kogan sends us a model to review. Our immediate concern is that the 1GB RAM is below the 2GB sweet spot which makes Android phones run very well, and if that compromises performance, that could make the $399 Google Nexus 5 — which Kogan points out in his quote — all the more worth it.

We’ll let you know, though, when we see it, and until then, anyone keen to see the Kogan Agora 4G can do so now at the Kogan website.