Aspera Nitro 2 review

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7.5Expert Score
Cheap, if not cheerful

The Aspera Nitro 2 smartphone is a low-cost device with performance that matches its price tag.

Design
8
Performance
7
Pros
  • Cheap
  • Fingerprint scanner works
  • Generally responsive for basic tasks
Cons
  • Disappointing photos
  • Not great for gaming
  • No IP rating

I spend a lot of time looking at the high-end of smartphones because typically that’s where the shiny innovations are. But there’s a lot happening in the budget end of the market too.

The Nitro 2 from Aspera packs a huge amount of reasonable tech into a device that costs $179. That’s 1/10th of the price of some modern-day flagships, and given the cost of living crisis we’re going through presently, it makes sense to at least consider what this budget smartphone offers.

There are sacrifices — plenty of them — but if your needs are modest from your smartphone, then the Nitro 2 could be a worthwhile budget option to keep you connected.

The back of the Nitro 2

Design

The Nitro 2 isn’t a bad-looking phone, though it’s not what you would describe as handsome, either. 

It comes in a couple of colours: black and pearl. I tested the pearl variant, and while the front looks like another sheen on black glass, the rear has a nice opalescent sheen that reflects the light.

The pearl colour doesn’t continue through to the camera’s though, which consists of two big black circles at the top of the phone. The plastic casing for the cameras stands out quite harshly against the pearl back cover, cheapening the look of the device.

Then again, this is a cheap device, so it looks in place.

In the middle of the rear of the phone is a fingerprint sensor, whose placement makes it only really suitable for your index finger. 

Both the power and volume rocker sit on the right-hand side, with the SIM tray on the left. On the bottom of the phone you get a USB-C port for charging, and a 3.5 mm headphone jack.

That inclusion means there’s no IP rating, and as you might expect for a product at this price, there’s also no wireless charging.

Display and other features

So what do you get?

Well, let’s start with the 6.6-inch screen with an HD+ resolution (that’s 1600 × 900 pixels, for anyone unsure what the + meant).

The screen offers an 18:9 aspect ratio, making it insanely tall compared to the width. You will not be touching the top of the screen holing it one-handed, but you will get to enjoy movies in a wider aspect ratio.

The phone itself is powered by a 1.6 GHz Octa-core processor, though don’t let that multicore feature fool you. This is not a powerful phone. It couldn’t even run our usual GeekBench 6 benchmarks.

3 GB RAM comes standard, with an additional 3 GB virtual RAM available from the 64 GB ROM on board.

Dual SIM-card slots plus a 5,000 mAh battery mean this is a reasonably specced phone for the price.

The Nitro 2 Camera array and fingerprint sensor

Performance

Normally, this is the part of the review I’d talk about how the CPU and GPU compare to other products from similar price points.

But the Aspera Nitro 2 wouldn’t even download the GeekBench 6 benchmark app. Which means all I can do is tell you how it felt to use the device.

When you first power on the phone, it’s slow to react. I know it’s in a different league, but I powered on the Nitro 2 and the ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro Edition at about the same time to set up the review phones. I had mostly signed in to the ASUS before the Aspera was past the first screen.

Fortunately, that slowness isn’t evident everywhere with the phone. You can browse the web, check your emails and scroll through social media without any real issues.

More intense tasks like gaming can be more problematic, but that’s not what this phone is designed for. If it’s a straightforward game you might be okay, more graphically advanced titles will stutter along.

On the upside, the fingerprint sensor is fast to respond – faster than I was expecting

Camera performance

Unfortunately, the camera is the biggest letdown here. It’s not really a let-down when you come back to the price, but you won’t be happy with most of the photos from this camera.

The 13MP rear camera is better than the 8MP selfie camera, but photos look lifeless and drained of colour.

Naturally, good lighting conditions can help, but you are still going to be better served by spending a bit more for a device like the Samsung Galaxy A35 if decent photos are important to you.

Verdict

This is a budget handset, so it’s not a surprise that it offers a budget performance. 

But that’s okay. If you are looking for an affordable smartphone that doesn’t give up as soon as you ask it to do two things, the Nitro 2 will do the job. Only just, but it will.

If you can spare an extra hundred dollars or so, a device like the OPPO A79 offers a much better performance. Even an extra $50 will get you the Moto G54, which is a much better phone, both in style and performance.

But if your budget is under $200, then the Aspera Nitro 2 is a reasonable device.

Where to buy:

Find the cheapest Aspera Nitro 2 price online

Product disclosure

Aspera supplied the product for this review.

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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