Travel tech: Kogan's new dual-SIM $149 Android smartphone

By David Flynn, January 11 2013
Travel tech: Kogan's new dual-SIM $149 Android smartphone

Mobile phones with room for two SIM cards instead of just one have long made sense for business travellers who often head overseas.

There's no need to choose between keeping your Aussie SIM card to receive calls but risking being gouged for calls and data, or dropping in a local pre-paid SIM card for best value calls & data but missing calls to your regular mobile number.

Which is why the new Agora smartphone from direct tech seller Kogan blipped on our radar when it launched this week.

Sure, the $149 price tag – yes, that's $149 direct, no contracts or carrier lock-in – is also eye-catching, especially if you want a low-cost smartphone for your travels.

And there's no scrimping on the spec sheet with a 5" touchscreen, dual-core 1GHz processor and front and back cameras (a fairly standard combo of 5MP and 0.3MP).

But for many travellers the drawcard will be the dual slots for your Australian and overseas SIM cards and the fact that both can be used at the same time, thanks to Android's adroit handling of twin SIM cards.

You can also set a default card to be used for data and outgoing calls so you don't accidentally rack up a massive roaming bill.

The only trick is that you'll need to do some SIM swapping at the airport, because only one of the Agora's two SIM slots is for 3G – the other is for 2G.

So while your Aussie SIM card would sit in the 3G slot on home soil, once you touch down overseas you'd move this into the 2G slot and insert your local pre-paid SIM into the 3G bay.

You'll still be able to make and take calls and text messages over 2G, of course, so there's no drama there.

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David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

11 Mar 2012

Total posts 180

After going through the spec list, here is my take:
It's not worth it. Really. $149 for a low res 180g smart phone isn't exactly something to write home about.

Maybe if it was LTE/3G quiped with a higher res screen, it would be worth it then (could go up to $249 in this case). 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1377

PicklesPlus has recently been auctioning some Alcatel 918Ds that have been selling under $50.

Lighter weight but lower specced (only 600 mhz)

edy4eva - I challenge you to find a better price on a 1ghz phone. Certainly wont come close from Apple.


04 Nov 2010

Total posts 670

I'd jump at a dual SIM smartphone from Samsung or HTC but not sure I feel as comfortable with something from Kogan. Then again if it's only $149 we are talking about, the risk factor is pretty low! Even in Australia it might be interesting to have two SIM cards, I wonder how many people still have Work and Personal numbers? Or maybe your 2G SIM card could be for voice & text and the 3G one might be a really top plan for data?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1377

Know a few dual phone carriers but I dont think they'd like a dual SIM....

Dual SIM great for o/s travelling, put your Australian SIM in the 2G slot, turn off data, buy a prepaid 3G in foreign country for main access.

Some Android models also enable SIP (Internet) calling over 3G which can make calls even cheaper.

Skywards Gold

21 Apr 2011

Total posts 53

If you normally use a high spec phone in Aus I doubt you want to downgrade when you travel. Especially if it has a good camera (iPhone 5 plug)..

I get nano sims almost everwhere I travel (list so far is Orange in the UK and France, Vodafone in India, Etisalat in UAE and 3 in HK) and then pop the aussie sim (using an adaptor) into and an old supper small Nokia which has battery life to last the week.

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