Welcome to the 2014 Aspera R5 review. Aspera is currently an unknown brand in the sea of Android OS based mobile phones. It is a niche brandcatering for the rugged end of the mobile spectrum and probably will remain so until it generates more publicity. We didn’t find out very much the company The retail pricing for the Aspera R5 is under $400 AUD which is good but could be better (bargain hard I suppose). There aren’t many stores that stock them, so to help you out – we can say that Harvery Norman and Big W seem to have a few on the shelves.
In terms of construction the Aspera R5 model looks and feels like one of the best rugged phone currently available. The R5 is built with heavy duty plastic and high-visibility yellow highlights – it looks the the part. We did not experience any issues with the way it was put together or any flaws around the environmental seals. The R5 didn’t feel particularly heavy despite its specifications and the size was just about right for this type of phone.
In terms of hardware the Aspera R5 is essentially a mid range phone but with a decent and better than expected quad-core CPU and dual SIM capability. The screen resolution is a bit under-par for a mid range and looks a little washed out thanks to the scratch resistant protective screen overlay. It is missing 4G capabilities so don’t expect fast DSL like web browsing and you’ll be happy. There are plenty of other ‘mid-range’ phones with the same hardware specs.
Like most Android OS based phones in 2014 we can’t say much more that hasn’t already been said about how it works. We can only review the way its been built and any additional functionality. In this regard the Aspera R5 is one of the best rugged and cool looking smartphones you can currently buy since it features Dual SIM and that lovely tough exterior case. That said an ‘Otter box’ case on a compatible smartphone many be the better alternative if you can’t bear to downgrade from a higher end phone!
In terms of Aspera R5 competitors or alternatives only the Telstra DAVE comes close and at the same price. The DAVE differs from the R5 by having a 4G chip but lower tech CPU and only one SIM tray. The R5 is only 3G but has a better CPU, 2 SIMs and has better construction materials and looks – not by much though. Unless 4G is essential and you can’t get the DAVE to work on your service providers network than the R5 is worth getting. Otherwise the DAVE is probably the better choice only because it has 4G capability.
- Aspera R5
Quad-band GSM 850/900/1800/1900
Dual-band 3G 850/2100 (depend on country)
Rugged – Touch screen
- L139.7 x W76 x D17.6 mm
- Weight 240 grams
4 inch 480 X 854 pixels
- Video Camera
480p high definition 30FPS main video camera
VGA video phone
1.2 Ghz Quad core
Separate Graphic CPU
Up to 4Gig for user
Up to 32Gig micro-SD expansion
IP67 water and dust resistant
A-GPS, Proximeter, Accelerometer
- Li-Po 2800 mAh battery
Up to 600 hours Standby
Up to 9.5 hours Talk Time
- Price history
Under $400 AUD August 2014 (Outright)