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Kogan Agora 7

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Anyone familiar with the Ozzie purveyors of bargain tech will expect impressive headlines for it’s Android tablet and the Agora doesn’t disappoint. For £120 you get a 1GHz Cortex A8 chip, 512MB of RAM, Android 2.3, a capacitive screen, mini-HDMI output and a 2mp web cam.

The Agora also comes-with-Google so you’ve no worries on the app front and 4GB of storage. My review unit only registered 120MB of free system storage so you will need shift as many of your apps as possible into that 4GB.

The all-black Agora is made entirely of plastic but is very solid as well as warmer and more comfortable to hold than the metal-backed opposition while the chrome back/home button to the right of the screen is a handy navigational aid. Less successful is Kogan’s abandonment of physical volume buttons which some applications need and I happen to like.

The capacitive panel and UI work a treat and while not quite as fluid as the BeBook, it’s not too far off. Battery life is more adequate than good lasting a full day but no more. With the Agora, Kogan has pretty much redefined what you can expect from an Android tablet costing around a ton. Good on ya, cobber.

Kogan Agora 7

Reg Rating 85%
Price £119
More info Kogan

Next Gen3 Media Tablet

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Thanks to the BBC, Next’s original 7in Android tablet became a lightning rod for all that was wrong with the first generation of budget Android tablets. However, Next’s latest effort looks like an altogether more serious box of tricks, even if it does cost twice the price.

To start with it packs a 10.1in 1024 x 600 capacitive screen, an 800MHz ARMv7 chip with 512MB of RAM and Android 2.2. You also get 3GB of file and a genuine 256MB of app storage, a Mini-HDMI port plus all the Google apps and Market access. It’s a smart-looking device too – designed in the UK, made in China – rather resembling the Archos 101 with its bevelled edges and grey plastic shell.

Don’t get too excited by the Sim card slot at the top – look carefully and you will see it’s blanked off. In use, the Next struggled to play Flash video and the UI isn't as fluid as it is in the Kogan and BeBook, but 1080p H.264, QuickTime and MKV video files all played perfectly as did Angry Birds and the glossy screen is very colourful. The tinny single loudspeaker is at bit of let down though.

The Next has a mini USB host port – a mini USB-USB adapter cable is included too – yet the interface didn't work. Moreover, the Micro SD card slot didn't work either, alas. Thankfully, the main micro USB-PC connection did. Somebody also should have proof-read the back of the box and the Next web site product page – the packaging says the screen is WXGA in resolution and Next’s web site says it runs Android 2.1!

Next Gen3 10 Inch Media Tablet

Reg Rating 70%
Price £225
More info Next

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