Kogan's Agora netbook lacks real innovation - but at least there's Linux

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Kogan's Agora netbook lacks real innovation - but at least there's Linux

Kogan is mostly famous for cheap, online-only AV products - notably televisions. Kogan's Agora is a crowdsourced netbook: it's produced in a factory in China to the specifications that Kogan's website visitors most wanted. Even so, it doesn't feel new or innovative.

Take the specifications, for example. The 10.1in 1024 x 600 display, 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 are standard netbook fare, and combined with the expected 160GB hard drives, Intel GMA 950 graphics and 802.11b/g Wi-Fi it's all a bit ho-hum.

Kogan is one of the few netbooks that still comes supplied with Linux onboard - you can opt for it with the BenQ joybook, and a few others, but it's uncommon. It uses gOS, a Google-heavy Ubuntu port that's reminiscent of Mac OS X. Many of the included apps live in the Google Cloud.

The six-cell battery provides a comfortable angle for use - it's a step up from the bulging 6-cell batteries of the MSI models on test this month.

The keyboard provides reasonable key size, but responsiveness is less than ideal. It felt cheap and uncomfortable for long periods compared to other models this month.

The build quality is comparable to the early Eee PC - it feels as though Kogan has based their entire model around these early designs, in fact - and bends more than we'd like both for screen and chassis.

We also experienced some wireless dropouts during use, and for a netbook that has its head so firmly in the clouds, it poses a definite problem.

Having said all that, the one place where Kogan is leaps and bounds ahead of the competition is price. Given that netbooks started as a cheap alternative to laptops, only Kogan, out of the models here, really lives up to that ideal.

Kogan Agora Netbook
4 6
Verdict
As one of Australia's few locally designed netbooks, the Kogan Agora lives up to some lofty netbook ideals, but it’s sadly ho-hum in too many aspects to be seen as a real netbook contender.
Battery life
Features & Design
Value for money
Overall
Specs
$399
• Price: 399 • CPU model/brand: Intel Atom • CPU speed: 1.6Ghz • Memory capacity: 1GB 533MHz • Hard drive capacity: 160GB • Graphics type: GMA 950 • Screen size: 10.1" • Screen resolution: 1024 x 600 • Weight: 1.3kg • Dimensions WDH: 265 x 185 x 31mm • Battery type (cells): 4400mAh • Ethernet: Yes • Wi-Fi: Yes • Bluetooth ports: Yes • Manufacturer: Kogan • Supplier: Kogan
This review appeared in the November, 2009 issue of PC & Tech Authority Magazine
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