The screen is really the standout part of the package, offering excellent viewing angles despite the cheap price. That’s something you normally don’t see on a budget device.

While the use of IPS technology makes the viewing angles better, the resolution isn’t really up to par for what other Android tablets use, offering merely a 1024×768 screen that doesn’t feel nearly as sharp or clear as the panels used on the first two generations of Apple iPad.

The Apple iPad (left) is close in size to the Kogan Agora tablet (right).

But it’s in using the Agora that you discover really why the tablet costs so little.

Even with a 1GHz processor inside, the tablet lags incredibly, with slowdowns as you browse the Android Play Store, search through the app menu, and even wait for the tablet to catch up when you hit the home button and look through the home screens.

Typing couldn’t be done quickly on the on screen keyboard, and almost every app we ran suffered from performance issues. Eventually we just became used to the tablet misinterpreting our swipes as selections, as the machine slowed to a crawl.

Enough touching and prodding of apps that we felt had crashed – the web browser, YouTube, Google Mail, for example – and the Agora tablet would tell us the app had crashed, and would we like to wait or force close.

There was even a point where the tablet refused to be resurrected from standby, and we waited as we impatiently hit the power button hoping we hadn’t inadvertently killed the tablet by using it.

Even browsing the app menu was slow.

Surprisingly, a few of the games we tested had no problems, running at a perfectly adequate speed the moment the gameplay started, even if the menus were responding as poorly as everything else. Both “Angry Birds” and “World of Goo” seemed to run normally throughout our testing, while other mainstream apps struggled.

Even if YouTube menu and video selection struggles, while the playback of movies in the app is fine, making it into a semi-decent portable video player.

You will want to bring your own headphones, though, as the speakers are disastrous. Not only is there not enough volume to go around, but there’s also absolutely no bass, resulting in the tinniest audio you’re likely to hear.

And then there’s the thing we’re not sure about, as the Kogan Agora 10 inch features two methods of charging: through microUSB and a smaller port that comes with its own power pack. It’s not really an issue, just something that’s a touch confusing.

The Kogan Agora (left) isn't that much thicker than the iPad 2 (right).

Conclusion

There’s a reason Kogan’s opposition to the iPad starts from $179, and that’s because it’s not very good.