When I pulled out the bright red, stylish AG#Hashtag smartphone at my friends’ party in Meyersdal Eco Estate, south of Johannesburg, curious partygoers mistook it for a Samsung Galaxy phone. By Gugu Lourie
The bright red colour, which gives the phone a funky edge, attracted more attention especially from ladies, who were quick to declare their love at first sight for the device.
The more discerning asked whether I had put a striking red cover on a Samsung phone to give it a bright, beautiful look.
I couldn’t help letting the curious and interested know about the true nature of my AG#Hashtag smartphone.
“The device has been specifically designed by South African hip hop star Cassper Nyovest to reflect the walk and talk of the hip hop lifestyle,” I proudly said. “This phone is a very first batch of devices taken straight off the production line and am one of the first to lay hands on one.”
I quickly turn the phone over to show them the name of the brand: AG. There were gushes of delight.
AG Mobile is a South African firm founded 10 years ago by Anthony Goodman and has grown it to provide feature phones and smartphones in most parts of southern Africa.
AG Mobile recently expanded into Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy.
Impressed the ladies took to the brand like ducks in water. They had no issues with the brand, instead they wanted to know when the AG#Hashtag smartphone would be available in the shops.
I told them the AG#Hashtag smartphone will be in the shops on Tuesday, the 10th of May.
The phone is exclusively available to MTN on pre-registration, priced at R3699 for cash and R229/month on a 24 month My MTNChoice contract. Customers who pre-order and purchase a device on contract or pre-paid will receive a limited edition Cassper autographed back cover for their AG#Hashtag.
Cassper Nyovest, whose real name is Refiloe Maele Phoolo, is a popular South African hip hop artist.
A few of them tried out the handset and without being prompted one lady who said her name was Kedibone, said: “This device is an outstanding phone, nogal”.
She added: “I love it and won’t mind buying it for my little brother as a present. The good thing is that it also comes preloaded with a Cassper’s wallpapers and app that showcase his life story”.
You can view his Facebook, Twitter and CaspperGram pages directly from the app.
“My brother will love this and the fact that he can listen to Cassper’s songs on Soundcloud and follow news about his hip hop star on the phone is a plus.
“This is likely to be a great selling point for the phone to Cassper’s followers.”
Clearly the AG#Hashtag 4G LTE is an attractive and affordable smartphone.
It has a definitively traditional but unique design and materials. Its removable plastic cover is similar to the Samsung Galaxy – before the South Korean firm introduced the Galaxy S6.
But it does not have an imitating glass finish.
The device could certainly inspire youthful Cassper’s fans who will be able to enjoy the
benefits of smartphones at affordable prices.
The AG#Hashtag is much larger than The Ghost, which was the flagship phone for AG Mobile. To read more about The Ghost read here: The Ghost: an elegant smartphone for Mzansi and Africa.
That said the AG#Hashtag proved in the small sample of friends that it is strikingly beautiful smartphone.
It features cutting edge technology with LTE for internet access on steroids.
The AG#Hashtag has a 5.5 Corning Gorilla glass screen for HD viewing and a 16GB internal storage, which might be too little for some users, but it can be upgraded through a microSD card with maximum capacity of 128GB.
The 5.5 inch screen makes browsing the web and connecting to social media a real pleasure.
My little boy enjoyed downloading and playing games on phone especially the HD viewing made it an awesome experience.
During my test run, the battery power lasted the whole day and I also found out that the phone has “battery boost” enabling faster charging. The battery boost is powered by MediaTek.
The AG#Hashtag also boasts an Intelligent Power Save Mode, which saves power with a simple home screen and access to a limited number of apps.
The rear 13-megapixel camera is not bad at all as most images taken were clear, but colours were little saturated.
I think, given other options on the market, AG Mobile needs to improve the performance of the AG#Hashtag camera, especially in darker areas. Nevertheless, the camera comes with an auto-focus and flash, auto HDR and panorama, quick capture, 4x digital zoom, and burst mode.
The AG#Hashtag comes preloaded with numerous apps including Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, FM Radio, Instagram, WeChat, Backup and Restore. It also comes with Google Mobile services and apps such as Chrome, Drive, Google, Google+, Gmail, Google Settings, YouTube, Hangouts, Maps, Movie Studio, Play Store, Play Newsstand and Voice Search, etc.
The 1.5GHz Octa-Core processor enables AG#Hashtag to download apps and access the Internet at unrivalled processing power in the palm of your hands everywhere you go.
I downloaded three games for my son – Batman, MaxSteel, Batman vs Superman – in just a few minutes.
I also found the call quality on the AG#Hashtag is very good.
All in all local AG#Hashtag is lekker – not only has it grabbed my interest; it also caught the eye of the ladies at my friend’s party.
The AG#Hashtag managed to ape the Samsung Galaxy phone look and feel, but its design and colour red makes it a cool phone.
The AG#Hashtag offers great value, with good features and a great design with a bright red colour. The price tag is not bad taking into consideration that is a locally made phone. It is better than AG Mobile’s flagship, The Ghost.
The screen is perfect and the performance of the AG#Hashtag is spot-on at this price point.
I am also proud of this original design manufacturer, AG Mobile, is improving its designs to compete with manufactures from China, South Korea or the US.
It is also great that AG Mobile is partnering with local stars to market its phones.
That said, I wish the designers at AG Mobile had added Wi-Fi Calling on the device taking into consideration that Wi-Fi hotspots are now fashionable in South Africa.