Kogan agora netbook review

Operating system

The agora comes pre-installed with gOS, or “good OS” (good operating system) – an open source operating system based on Ubuntu. It is good, however I believe there are better alternatives in the open source space.

The desktop looks pretty, with lots of ‘gadgets’ and a mac-like program launcher at the bottom of the screen. Looking a little deeper though, and ‘beautiful’ turns to ugly – the menus are not that intuitive and look like the web did in 1994 – no style!

Also, the version of Ubuntu that gOS sits on is 8.04, which is 1 year (or 2 versions) old.

I have since installed Ubuntu Netbook Remix (9.04), and find it much more ‘beautiful’ than gOS. UNR is optimised for netbooks – it is tuned for the Atom processor, maximises the available screen real estate, and also maximises windows when you open them to make use of the available space.

I would urge anyone with the agora or agora pro to ditch gOS, forget about windows, and install Ubuntu Netbook Remix. I have documented installing and setting up the wireless adapter and touchpad at http://agoranetbook.kayno.net/, as well as adding common applications.

All dressed up

No doubt you will want either a case or a sleeve/pouch to protect your new agora. I personally wanted a neoprene sleeve for mine, as the netbook inside a sleeve will easily fit inside a backpack.

I tried two different neoprene sleeves, the Targus Slipskin 10.2 neoprene sleeve, and the Case Logics 10″ laptop sleeve.

Whilst I preferred the Case Logics sleeve (it had an extra pocket on the side), my agora pro’s larger battery meant it would not fit. The Targus case is a great fit for the agora pro, and for just $34 it is a great buy if you want to keep your agora safe from bumps and scratches.

Final word

For an extra forty dollars, the upgrade to the agora pro is well worth the money just for the 6 cell battery, and you also get double the memory (2GB) and the $10 USB bluetooth dongle.

All in all, the Kogan agora netbook is well equipped, and at just $539 for the pro version, it is competitively priced for what you get. Replacing gOS with Ubuntu Netbook remix is, in this reviewer’s humble opinion, a must do though.

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9 thoughts on “Kogan agora netbook review”

  1. Hey Kayno, how beefy is it when it’s doing some decent processing (such as rendering graphics, or running some decent PHP/httpd stuff)?

  2. Hi Kathy

    I haven’t put the processor through any pain yet, but as far as rendering videos and web pages, it doesn’t miss a beat.

    For it’s intended purpose – email, surfing, social buzzwording – it has all the power it needs.

  3. Good review. Thank you. Still not super-keen on these yum-cha (off-brand) netbooks, but this one sounds like good value for money. Will be interested in your thoughts on it in 6mths time, after some heavier use and some full battery cycles.

  4. Hi, saw about a discount code you’ve provided someone on whirlpool forums.. Mind sharing that with me? I’m thinking about buying one, and the code would come in very handy..:)


  5. Hi Peter

    The 5% discount code is KGNBUCK

    The Kogan site says the agora pro is currently out of stock but will be shipping again in a week.


  6. Thanks Kayne,
    Have been following for a while now and have limited experience with Ubuntu. With the price, your blog and the code I have decided to take the plunge.


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