Aldi's $279 Bauhn Sphere review: Disappointing
Big problems spoil Aldi's latest smartphone
- 1.3GHz quad-core CPU
- 9mm thin
- 720p screen
- Poor sunlight legibility
- Little application storage
- Outdated applications and bloatware
- Touch sensor is limited
Price$ 279.00 (AUD)
The Sphere makes no attempt to hide its inexpensive price. The smartphone looks like a slab of black plastic, interrupted by tacky chrome insets and an intriguing finger sensor. Its saving grace is that it is cheap at $279, but we’re not convinced the price is low enough.
Upfront is a 5in, 1280x720 resolution screen, which works out to have a density of 294 pixels-per-inch. These good numbers are spoiled by a screen that attracts fingerprints and suffers from extremely poor sunlight legibility.
Scroll through the specs of the Bauhn Sphere and you’ll be impressed. It starts with a 1.3GHz quad-core CPU, throws in 2GB of RAM and packs 32GB of internal storage. There’s even space for a 32GB microSD memory card.
It’s about here we spot our first red flag with the Bauhn Sphere. Although the smartphone comes with 27GB of free storage, only 1GB is reserved for applications. Once you download 20 or so applications, you won’t be able to update them or download new ones. Not being able to keep your smartphone updated robs you of third-party features and functionality. This, ultimately, is a deal-breaker.
The Sphere runs a version of Android 4.4 KitKat that has been hardly touched, save for a dozen or so third-party applications. These include various news on demand services, catch up TV services and a duo of Aldi’s own applications. Shipping with these apps is no problem, though not being able to uninstall unwanted apps hampers the experience.
There’s a sense of refinement missing from the Bauhn Sphere. Similarly specced rivals handle the near-vanilla software as though it’s silk. The Sphere keeps up most of the time, but every now and then it slips up with stutter.
Other inconsistencies thwart the experience. One of the capacitive buttons wears the multitasking icon, and yet it works as the dated ‘settings’ option. Another gripe is that this smartphone ships with the older Photo gallery and music player. Who wants a new phone marred by old software?
It appears Bauhn has stuck with the older applications as they support the gimmick of a touch sensor. The touch sensor borders the base of the rear camera and houses an LED light at its core. Swiping down triggers a red light, while swiping upwards switches it to blue.
The touch sensor makes it possible to swipe through gallery photos and music. It also doubles as a shutter key for those using the rear camera to take selfies.
Relying on the touch sensor means you won’t have to obstruct the screen when sifting through photos. The downside is it has been poorly implemented, with the only real support for swiping forward, and not backwards. You’ll end up resorting to the screen in any case.
Photos captured with the rear 8 megapixel camera underwhelm. The slow shutter leaves ghosting in some photos, while some feathering and image noise rids them of detail. The camera outperforms the ZTE V969, but it is far behind the Nokia Lumia 635 and Motorola Moto G.
Prying open the back cover of the Sphere reveals an 1800 milliamp-hour battery and slots for two SIM cards. The micro-SIM slot works with 3G networks, while the full-sized SIM will run exclusively on 2G networks.
The Bauhn Sphere is a poorly designed smartphone. On paper it reads like an attractive proposition, but living with the phone will reveal not enough thought, time and money has gone into its development.
Anyone considering the Bauhn Sphere should take a long look at its rivals first. The Motorola Moto G costs $10 less, is better built, has more refined software, packs two 3G SIM slots and offers superior hardware. Nokia’s Lumia 635 has the Sphere beat on the same points, except its single SIM is compatible with 4G Internet. Another smartphone worthy of consideration is the Kogan Agora 4G.Read more: Changes coming to Aldi Mobile plans and network
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Panasonic Ultra HD OLED TV Review
- 2 Oppo A77 smartphone: Full in-depth review
- 3 Huawei GR5 phone: Full, in-depth review
- 4 Ring Video Doorbell review
- 5 Sony Bravia 2017 TVs: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Panasonic launches new Windows powered Toughpad
- Oppo release limited Barcelona FC version of R11 flagship
- 3SIXT Reveals iPhone X Offering
- ALDI Mobile Ups Stakes in the Telco Industry
- Tech21 Unveils New Phone Protection for Apple iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X
PCW Evaluation Team
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.
It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.
The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.
- LG G6 Plus: Full, in-depth review
- First Look: The Evil Within 2
- Huawei Y5 (2017)
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSocial Media Executive / Specialist (Facebook) - Online PokerNSW
- FTIntegration Specialist - TIBCOOther
- FTBusiness Delivery Project Manager, Digital, AdvertisingOther
- FTAutomation Test Analyst - Selenium/ToscaOther
- FTSenior Business AnalystOther
- TPPrincipal Business AnalystQLD
- TPAEM DeveloperVIC
- TPFront End DeveloperQLD
- CCDevOps ConsultantQLD
- FTProject CoordinatorOther
- CCSenior Project Manager - InfrastructureVIC
- FTTechnical Support SpecialistACT
- FTIntegration Manager - (Oracle Fusion Middle ware)ACT
- FTCRM Siebel DeveloperVIC
- FTSAP BW/BI DeveloperVIC
- CCJunior-Mid level .Net/Front-End DeveloperQLD
- FTTelco Core Network Support EngineerOther
- FTINCIDENT MANAGEROther
- FTTechnical Delivery ManagerNSW
- FTTECHNICAL INFRASTRUCTURE LEADOther
- FTWindows Rollout / Desktop Support AnalystOther
- FTSoftware Engineer - Leading TelcoOther
- CC.NET DeveloperNSW
- FTEnterprise Software/Product Sales ManagerVIC