Tech Review: The Aspera AS5 provides some impressive bang for your buck

To celebrate its 10th anniversary, Australian-owned company Aspera Mobile has launched the AS5, a new entry-level 4G handset with an impressive amount of features at just A$99. Yes, you read that right. It’s admittedly a great price for a phone that includes some nifty features like facial recognition and dual-sim compatibility, all while running on the latest Android 13 Go Edition. While certain aspects like the 5MP rear camera and older FWVGA TN display might drive some towards a higher-end model, it’s nice to see a cheaper handset that provides some bang for our buck in 2023.

Design & Screen

The AS5 is certainly a smaller phone when compared to most smartphones on the market, providing a 5-inch display, with bezels on both the top and bottom for the speakers, selfie camera and navigation buttons. The all-black colourway and slim design are minimal and sleek, with a plastic backing that rarely attracts any noticeable fingerprints or smudges.

The right side of the device also includes both the lock and volume control buttons and a 3.5mm headphone jack on the top right, which feel well-placed in relation to the smaller size of the handset. While there’s not really much more to expand upon in terms of its overall design, it does enough to get the job done.

The 5-inch FWVGA (854 x 480) display feels fine for most everyday tasks, but unfortunately lacks decent viewing angles and brightness, making it a little tricky to stream content consistently. While the overall brightness and resolution feel par for the course in terms of value, the display loses much of its vibrancy when you’re looking at it from a wider angle. But even during my lighter YouTube sessions, the resolution provided a clear image and colours generally felt robust and natural.


The Aspera AS5 packs in an Octa-Core 1.6GHz CPU, along with 2GB RAM, 32GB of storage, to 1GB of VRAM. Thankfully, the storage is expandable via MicroSD (up to 128GB). The chipset is certainly up to most tasks, but I wouldn’t be using this particular option for any type of gaming on the go. That being said, apps generally open on command without any hitches or slowdowns, while the 2GB of RAM and 1GB of VRAM do a decent job of moving things along, even when I had more than 5-6 apps in the background at any given time.

The AS5 also comes with Android 13’s Go Edition, which is basically a lighter version of the standard Android 13, made for entry-level handsets. While this version certainly aids performance, it is worth keeping in mind that these Android 13 Go Edition apps are developed in different ways to work on such hardware, and might look or function a little differently to their standard Android 13 counterparts.

Facial recognition is also included, and while it took a second or two in order to work at times, rarely missed a scan or locked me out due to poor lighting or scanning angles. For the most part, I even forgot I initially entered a security pin in addition to my face scan, as I rarely had to use it. The AS5 also comes with a removable 2,000 mAh battery and micro-USB charging. While micro-USB is on the way out, it still does enough to give this handset a full charge in just over 2 hours. That being said, you’ll more than likely get a full day out of the AS5 when it comes to battery life.

Bluetooth 5.0 will also allow the AS5 to connect to wireless devices like speakers and car systems. Users can also take advantage of dual-sim functionality, which comes in handy while travelling, along with Wi-Fi hotspot compatibility, sharing any 3G or 4G network along with VoLTE (Voice over LTE) for better audio quality during calls.

The only glaring issue I had with this experience during daily use was the speaker. The single speaker up top simply does little to enhance the audio in any way and feels tinny and shallow in most situations. Loudspeaker calls perform adequately, but given all other forms of media pump out through this single speaker, it leaves much more to be desired.


The 5MP front and rear cameras do a decent job of capturing both people and objects in a somewhat natural way, but I wouldn’t necessarily rely on them for regular photography. The front camera admittedly provides some decent shots, in which the lack of any AI or post-processing gives the skin and textures a natural look.

The rear camera, while similar in terms of performance, doesn’t really hold up in low-light situations or at close range. While it provides up to 4X zoom, there’s a significant amount of noise in the image that unfortunately suffers from the other end of the AI spectrum, where the lack of it only hurts the experience. The AS5 actually does provide alternate shooting modes like portrait and pro modes, but there’s also little to change the end result in any meaningful way.

Verdict & Value

The Aspera AS5 handset provides some of the most impressive value for money at just A$99. The inclusion of facial recognition, 4G compatibility and the newer Android 13 Go Edition software helps this feel relevant and useful for most everyday users looking for a basic handset that ticks the essential boxes. While the camera and sound quality let the experience down at times, the AS5 packs in as much as it possibly can for this affordable price.


Highlights: An impressive amount of features on offer
Lowlights: Speaker and camera quality hold the overall experience back
Manufacturer: Aspera
Price: A$99
Available: Now

Review based on unit supplied by Aspera.

Matthew Arcari

Matthew Arcari is the games and technology editor at The AU Review. You can find him on Twitter at @sirchunkee, or at the Dagobah System, chilling with Luke and Yoda.