Saturday, 01 June 2024 18:36

The Aspera Nitro 2 smartphone packs a punch for only $179

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With modern flagship smartphones now hitting crazy prices you might think your chances for an affordable brand new phone are slim. Well, Aspera has you covered with its new Aspera Nitro 2 that's only $179. Now that's crazy, but for all the right reasons this time.

Aspera has a reputation for releasing low-cost smartphones, and the new Aspera Nitro 2 keeps the pace up. And, with clever innovation and design choices, Aspera brings the goods where you need them, and cuts the parts you don't, to provide excellent value for money.

This includes a large 6.6" HD+ display for web browsing, messaging, and video and photo viewing. It includes a 5000mAh battery to last you through the whole day. It provides Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi, and 4G for connectivity. It runs Android 13 - and a bit more on this below - so you know you can run Facebook, Chrome, Google Maps, Google Photos, Snapchat, and all kinds of major applications you're used to with ease. It'll also keep your passwords and other data and settings all safe and secure with Google synchronisation. You can authenticate securely with biometrics too, with a fingerprint sensor and facial recognition.

So, despite being only $179 it genuinely is a smartphone you can trust and enjoy. Yet, impressively it goes beyond being a "regular" smartphone with such special features as dual 4G SIM capabilities so you can use both your own personal SIM and a company SIM, for example, at once. Or, maybe an Australian SIM and an international SIM when travelling. You can expand the built-in storage with microSD cards up to 128GB.

The Aspera Nitro 2 comes with an octa-core 1.6GHz processor and 3GB of RAM, plus 64GB ROM. The phone thus has some limits; popular battle royale game Fortnite requires a minimum of 4GB RAM, while Blizzard's collectible card game Hearthstone says it only needs 3GB but prefers 4GB. Thus let's be clear; it's not a gaming phone, but iTWire's tests still showed a good range of mobile games ran fine, especially with visual settings toned down where the option to do so existed.

However, even though the hardware is, as you'd expect, budget-level specs, Aspera has chosen to use Android Go as the operating system, specially designed by Google to run fast and smoothly on lower-spec processors and RAM. Apps can start up to 30% faster with Android Go over Android on entry-level phones, uses less memory thus allowing you to run more apps at once, and takes less storage for itself.

Android Go still contains a wealth of smart features, such as text-to-speech, translation, NFC, contactless payments, and more. The Google Play store contains special cut-down versions of popular apps so they run efficiently on your device. Facebook Lite loads in half the time as regular Facebook, for example.

In iTWire's testing, the Aspera Nitro 2 with Android 13 Go was snappy. I hadn't previously experienced Android Go because it was designed largely with developing countries in mind to provide efficient software and smartphone operation on entry-level hardware. It's not common to see this in use here in Australia, but it looks to be a smart choice by Aspera to give the Nitro 2 affordable without dramatically reducing its performance, and thus the user experience.

While it may not be a phone you use for live streaming your day on TikTok 24/7, or shooting your friends and enemies in Modern Warfare and Fortnite, or performing complex video and photo editing, it's undeniably a phone you can pick up and use - to make calls, to read and send emails and text messages, to keep in touch with your circle of contacts on social media, to read documents, look at photos, watch YouTube, and all kinds of common daily tasks. It can be a great smartphone for those who might need a phone for safety and light use, but don't really want to spend a lot of money.

The screen, while big, has a lower resolution of 1600x720. You thus won't enjoy full high-definition video, and certainly not 4K, but again, it's a $179 phone. It does what it does well and has made clear steps to push the limits of its hardware to give you greater value.

The cameras are 8 megapixels on the front and 13 on the back. This is more than you'd expect for the price, though iTWire found they delivered better results when you have plenty of light than in lower-light conditions.

Ultimately, for anyone looking for a sub-$200 phone, it's a good, smart choice. In that market you know you're not on the leading edge. It's a phone that gives you peace of mind and safety by letting you be contactable when you want to be, while also offering the benefits of smartphone features.

Check it out on Aspera's website.

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David M Williams

David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. David subsequently worked as a UNIX Systems Manager, Asia-Pacific technical specialist for an international software company, Business Analyst, IT Manager, and other roles. David has been the Chief Information Officer for national public companies since 2007, delivering IT knowledge and business acumen, seeking to transform the industries within which he works. David is also involved in the user group community, the Australian Computer Society technical advisory boards, and education.

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