Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

Kogan challenges budget smartphones with the $199 4G Agora 8

Much of the focus on smartphones is on the flagship, but what if you don’t have a lot of money to play around with? Kogan’s latest could be for you, as the eTailer takes on Oppo, ZTE, and Motorola.

Remember when the smartphone was expensive? It still can be depending on where you plan to spend, but there’s a lot of flexibility in smartphone choice these days.

So much, actually, that you can easily find feature rich phones for below the $500 mark. That’s an area we tend to call the mid-range, but you can hit even lower than that, and in a nice change, the phones sitting around and below the $300 mark can offer some pretty solid value, to boot.

This week, there’s one more in that arena, as Kogan adds one of its own to the list, carrying a price tag of $199.

It’s another in Kogan’s “Agora” range, and it aims to grab attention with a feature set and price tag designed to take on manufacturers currently fighting it out for the best value around, players including the likes of Oppo, Huawei, Motorola, Alcatel, and even telcos like Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone, with these mobile providers releasing their own locked down phones aimed at offering bang for buck.

Kogan’s approach won’t lock you down, at least not to any telco, even though Kogan does have its own telco, though the new phone doesn’t appear to be connected.

It does, however, appear to be very similar to a phone released by a telco and otherwise made by Alcatel, with the hardware very, very similar to the template used in the Optus X Sleek.

That means you’ll find a MediaTek quad-core MT6737 processor, 2GB RAM, 16GB storage, and support for more over a microSD slot, with all of this sitting underneath a 5 inch 720p screen.

Those specs are identical thus far, and they continue with 13 megapixel rear camera, 5 megapixel front camera, 4G LTE connection, 802.11b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, and a fingerprint sensor.

In fact, with the exception of a tiny different in battery size and a deviation in operating system, you’d be excused for thinking the Kogan Agora 8 and the Optus X Sleek were made by the same people, because they certainly come off that way.

“The latest addition to the Kogan Agora range is beautiful, sleek and loaded with the most important features, comparable to the high end players in the market, but at a fraction of the cost,” said Sergiy Bobrovnychyy, Product Manager at Kogan.

“You’ve never been able to get a phone this good for under $200, until today,” he said.

We’re not quite sure that’s entirely true, especially given the Optus X Sleek has been out for a while for $149, but unlike the Alcatel-made Sleek, this will not be locked to a telco, which is surely a positive.

Kogan’s online store will get it, and our guess is no one else will, so if you’re keen to see what Kogan’s interpretation of a budget Android phone is, you’ll find it there. We’re hoping to get our mitts on it soon, too, so expect a review in the near future.

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