Aldi's $279 Bauhn Sphere: Hands-on

Our first impressions of AldiMobile's hero phone

Changes are coming to AldiMobile. Data savvy plans come into effect on 3 November and Internet speeds are being increased. Coinciding with these changes is the launch of a smartphone armed with a 5in screen and a quad-core CPU.

Read the full review here

There’s something about the Sphere that makes its finish feel like furniture from Ikea. Its as though Bauhn has refined the manufacturing process to the point the Sphere’s inexpensive build is attractive. The smartphone is thin at 9mm and unobtrusive at 148 grams. Soft capacitive keys border its base, and its smooth rear cover is only interrupted by a protruding camera.

This smartphone is full of bare-boned components that perform well. Take the software, for instance. It is a stock version of Android 4.4 KitKat dressed only by a few third-party apps, such as BBC News, CNN and a duo Aldi’s own. These 12 apps reside permanently on the Sphere as they cannot be uninstalled.

The display of the Sphere drapes a 1280x720 resolution over 5-inches for 294 pixels-per-inch. This puts the Sphere in dangerous territory as it sits on par with and Kogan’s Agora 4G.

“Mediocre” is the word we’d use to describe the Sphere’s screen quality. Bright colours and a decent enough resolution are let down by a coating that invites fingerprints and reflections. These gripes are to be expected from a smartphone in its pricepoint.

Read more: Changes coming to Aldi Mobile plans and network

Lurching somewhere beneath the 5in display are decent specs. There’s a 1.3GHz quad-core CPU from MediaTek, 2GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. The numbers add up to an impressive user experience with the Sphere sifting through its vanilla software with urgency.

Pry open the rubberised back cover and you’ll spot a removable 1800 milliamp-hour battery, an expandable microSD card slot — which has a 32GB limit — and a clumsy dual-SIM arrangement. A diagram reveals the Sphere takes one full-sized and another micro-SIM, with the full SIM working on 3G and the micro-SIM supporting 2G alone.

Sitting elevated on the back of the Sphere is an 8 megapixel camera and a single-LED flash. Beneath the camera is a capacitive button that works as a shutter key. Simply tap the button and you can take a ‘selfie’ with ease. A red LED light, situated in the centre of the key, blinks moments before the photo is taken.

Read the full review here

Bauhn’s second-gen Sphere comes with plenty of features and enough tech to take on the best smartphones competing at the low-end of the market. Most people could live with it everyday, and at $279, we expect many will.

Holding this smartphone back is a savage low-end market, with the Sphere rivalling , Nokia’s $279 Lumia 635 and Kogan’s $229 Agora 4G.

Read: Changes are coming to AldiMobile plans and network

Good Gear Guide will reveal how the Sphere stacks up to the competition in our upcoming full review. Stay tuned.

Update, 3.24pm: Added information on SIM modems.

Read more: Aldi's $279 Bauhn Sphere review: Disappointing

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags AndroidBauhnALDImobileMotorola Moto G4.4 KitKatKogan Agora 4GNokia Lumia 635Sphere

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Tony Ibrahim

Tony Ibrahim

Good Gear Guide

@slicktonyi

Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Skywatcher Dobsonian 8″ Collapsible Telescope

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Whodunnit™ Duo-Scope MFL-007 Microscope Kit

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Logitech Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?