Aspera AS8 review

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6.3Expert Score
Aspera AS8: Impressive for the price, but…

The Aspera AS8 boasts impressive features and dual SIM in a device under $150. But it sacrifices a bit too much in performance to be worth it.

Design
7.5
Performance
5
Pros
  • Fingerprint reader works
  • Replaceable battery
  • Costs under $150
Cons
  • Seriously laggy
  • Average camera
  • Regular dropped frames while scrolling

The first mobile phone to launch in Australia cost $4,250, or the equivalent of about $12,500 in today’s money.

Which makes the Aspera AS8 even more remarkable because it offers similar functionality to many contemporary smartphones, yet costs under $150.

It doesn’t perform well at all, though. It’s laggy, the display drops frames constantly, and the camera is average at best.

But it costs $149

While the performance means that the Aspera AS8 can’t receive a high score in this review, I truly want to stress that for $150, this phone is remarkable value.

Aspera AS8 review: Design

When I pulled the AS8 out of the box the first time, I was surprised by how light it felt. Then I remembered the phone has a removable 4,000mAh battery, which wasn’t installed.

Taking the back cover off the phone isn’t overly difficult. I definitely worried about the plastic snapping while I did it, though.

Also inside the back cover are the dual SIM card slots and space for the MicroSD card.

Close up of the cameras and SIM card slots inside the AS8

The 6.3-inch display on the front is surprisingly solid for this device. Watching YouTube is easy and clear while the video is streaming, though there’s clear stuttering between videos and apps.

There is a tiny notch at the top of the screen for the front facing 5MP camera, but otherwise the front of the phone is unremarkable.

Another key design feature of the AS8 is the fingerprint reader on the back of the device.

Again, it’s somewhat remarkable that you can get a smartphone with a fingerprint reader for under $150. But you should know that it is slow. You’ll feel the vibration reasonably quickly, it takes longer for the phone to actually respond.

You get a 3.5 mm headphone jack at the bottom too, and a cheap pair of corded earbuds in the box. Needless to say, they don’t sound fantastic.

Aspera AS8 review: Performance

The back of the AS8 removed

When the Aspera AS8 is doing a task, it typically does it well enough. Watching YouTube is fine. Browsing the web is fine. Taking a photo is mostly fine.

It’s when you try to swap between those apps or functions that the AS8 really struggles.

Even logging in to the device for the first time was a battle. I tried to migrate my data from the Oppo A98 5G to accelerate the review process, but instead the Aspera flat-lined, and I had to restart the phone to get past the loading screen. I gave up on attempting to migrate my data.

Normally at this point in a phone review, I’d pull out some comparative benchmarks to highlight roughly how well the processor and GPU perform, but the AS8 wouldn’t let me download GeekBench to actually do that.

So I’m left saying that for almost everything I asked the AS8 to do, it did it… eventually. 

Mostly the delay between request and execution was a couple of seconds, but occasionally, I could count to 10 before it started doing the task I asked of it. 

This was especially frustrating when taking a photo. I counted to five after trying to take a shot before it responded. 

Looking at the cameras on the rear of the AS8

Battery life

For a super-cheap phone with obvious performance limitations, I found the battery surprisingly reasonable.

It got me through the better part of a day of use, with intensive acts like streaming video and taking photos combined with simple web browsing and email.

It doesn’t come close to anything like what you get with a flagship device like the Galaxy Z Fold 5, but why would it? This is aimed at a very different market to the foldable.

Camera performance

The Aspera AS8 features a 8MP and a 0.8MP dual camera array on the back of the phone and a 5MP selfie camera.

Like the rest of this phone, the camera won’t win any awards for its performance. Images look a tad washed out, and in difficult lighting conditions expect the image to be too dark or too bright.

With the delays in action as well, you may not end up capturing the shot you wanted to. On more than one occasion, my face had changed for the actual photo because I thought the phone had finished taking the shot.

But bringing this back to the context of a $150 device, the photos are definitely usable. In most cases, anyway. Sometimes, if the lighting is right, and you don’t move too much, you can even get a nice photo. 

Aspera AS8 review: Verdict

Typically, when I try to score a product from the review, I leave cost out of it. Money can mean different things to different people.

But there’s no getting around the fact that while the Aspera AS8 is not a great phone compared to today’s flagships, or even mid-range devices like the Galaxy A54, it’s a pretty remarkable offering for $150.

That said, it is frustrating to use. Having to wait for up to 10 seconds for an app to load, or missing a photo because the camera hasn’t responded, makes it really hard to recommend this phone.

If your budget is only in that $150 range, you may have better luck getting a refurbished phone

Otherwise, this is really only something I’d suggest as an emergency backup, a 1st device for a child without any interest in tech, or a burner.

Buy the Aspera AS8 online

AU $19.93
+ Delivery *
AU $19.98
+ Delivery *
AU $19.98
+ Delivery *
AU $139.00
AU $149.00
+ Delivery *
Mobileciti.com.au
AU $149.58
+ Delivery *
Mydeal.com.au
AU $150.97
+ Delivery *
Mydeal.com.au
* Delivery cost shown at checkout.
Product disclosure

Aspera provided the product for this review.

Get a new SIM for your Aspera AS8

Author

  • Nick Broughall

    Nick is the founder and editor of BTTR. He is an award winning product reviewer, who has spent the last 20 years writing, editing and publishing technology and consumer content for brands like Finder, Gizmodo and TechRadar.

    View all posts
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