You don't have to pay $600 for an unlocked smartphone anymore. That much was true before the $179 Moto G won our hearts late last year, but that phone was one of the first examples of a new class of smartphone, the kind of device that could give you a budget phone that didn't feel like a budget phone.
The problem is that there still isn't a whole lot of choice in this segment yet. Heavy hitters like Samsung, HTC, and LG continue to price their flagship devices as they always have, and going for cut-down "mini" versions of the same phones generally only saves you $100 or $150. So if you like larger phones—say, five inches and up—but you didn't have a lot of money to spend, your hands were tied by the options available.
That's one of the reasons why we were intrigued by the Kogan Agora 4G when it was announced earlier this month. It's got a bit of an odd pedigree—it was actually built with BenQ, but it's branded and sold by Australian retailer Kogan—but it's an unlocked phone available in the US that sells for $229. That's more expensive than the $179 Moto G base model, but within spitting distance of the $219 Moto G LTE. It also comes with a five-inch screen, though, and this makes it look and feel more like a Samsung-esque flagship than a nice-but-cheap midrange phone.