Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Problems with Kogan Agora 12" Laptop Computer

My initial impressions of the Kogan Agora PRO 12" Ultra Portable Laptop Computer" were favorable. But after spending a weekend with it, I am considering if I should send the unit back and get my money refunded. The major problem with the hardware is that the battery only lasts about 2 hours, much less than the claimed 3.5 hours. This is when undemanding applications, such as the web browsers and with energy saving features, such as shutting down the hard disk and dimming the back-light when the unit is idle. However, more of a problem is the new "Unity" Ubuntu interface.

Unity attempts to provide an interface which make maximum use of the limited space on a netbook screen. However, the Kogan has a relatively large 11.6 inch screen and so does not really need a compact interface. Also the way the interface saves space is to strip off the borders around windows, the titles and menu bars from them. This has not been implemented consistently across the separate applications which make up Linux. The result is I spent a lot of time looking at disembodied parts of a document floating in the middle of something else on the screen.

Some applications have not been properly implemented to use this interface, for example the "Evolution" email package's setup menus do not work correctly: clicking on one icon actives the icon below it and attempting to click on a button instead causes the window to scroll.

It would be understandable if these problems occurred with Linux applications I downloaded myself, but these problems are occurring with the basic set of applications provided with the computer by default. This is a surprise as the software of my previous Kogan 10" netbook worked well.

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