The launch pad at Aspera Mobile has seen some pretty busy scheduling of late. First came the Aspera Mobile AS5 followed in quick succession by the AS8.

We have reviewed the AS8 separately and for the price point and features it offers, it seems to be well received in the market judging by the many “out of stock” notices at retailers. We awarded the AS8 with the DRN Pulse Award in recognition of their achievement in that price point.

Launched as part of the 10th anniversary celebration for Aspera Mobile, the AS5 is a smaller and cheaper breathen to the AS8, coming in at AUD$99.

Aspera Mobile AS5 4G

First impressions

The AS5 is a small phone, coming in at a 5 inch display and a removable 2000 mAh battery.

What also sets the AS5 apart from the competition is the inclusion of facial recognition as a biometric feature.

There is little debate that the AS5 is a very low cost smartphone, with Aspera targeting the younger audience and the budget conscious.

As any parent would know, keeping devices out of the hands of a youngling is a challenge. And we don’t necessarily want to hand over our own devices for them to play with.

The AS5 fits the bill for something small and light, making it easy for the younger audience to handle. To that end having it in black does little to make it stand out.

Aspera Mobile AS5 4G


In Use

Again the AS5 has the standard Android setup to get going which I will skip. As I mentioned in the AS8 review, there was an issue with transferring data from another device where it would not complete and land at the home screen. It is likely to be an Android issue rather than Aspera, I wrote about it in a little more details here.

I put my best fit reviewer onto putting the AS5 through its paces – my five year old daughter. To be honest she was a little disappointed at the colourway, but anything other than pink or purple will elicit the same response regardless.

But on the other hand it’s her first brand new phone so that was certainly a win in her eyes since it’s not a hand me down.

The first test was the transition to the AS5 which made little ripples. Other than having to show her how to bring up her YouTube history and a few goes at learning the positions of the navigation buttons, she was perfectly content to just use the AS5. It’s the simple things.

The FWVGA display gives a resolution of 854×480 pixels, which is plenty good enough to watch Catch! Teenieping on.

As for games, she plays low res match three types or bubble shooter which does not stress the processors. There is enough grunt leftover that I can run an adblocker in the background without affecting performance.

Interestingly, Aspera has opt for 5MP for both front and rear cameras. Neither cameras will win any photography awards but at her age, she loves taking random photos of everything and herself and they are all happily viewed.

AS5 daylightMushrooms anyone? Too soon?AS5 low lightAS5 front camera

On paper the battery at 2000 mAh is on the low end, but when matched with a smaller and lower power screen and less features to drive, the battery life is quite respectable. And to be fair, if it was a bad screen time day and the battery is out, it’s a great time to do something else.


Other Thoughts

Having lived in Australia for most of my life, and being a tech reviewer for almost half of that time, we are indeed privileged to be a target country for flagship devices.

However the broader market in Oceania is not as wealthy on the whole and afford the same opportunities for a premium device. What Aspera makes available in the AS5 and also the AS8 handsets serves a bigger purpose to keep people connected in a cost sustainable fashion.

The AS5 is also quite durable. My daughter as she does at this age, frequently drop things or knock them off tables. Her old phone has chipped corners with the glass which is a safety hazard. But with the AS5 and the thicker bezel, is has survived every assassination attempts to date.

I had some reservations on how well the facial recognition would work, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was fairly responsive. It takes about a second to recognise the face then unlocks the phone. I do really like how Aspera has included this feature as not all children will go with PIN codes, but putting their face in front of a device to unlock is a much simpler ask.

Similar to the AS8, the AS5 also packs in dual physical sim support. Again I have put more detailed thoughts on this over in the AS8 review. In a nutshell I think this is an exceptionally smart move.

It supports expandable memory up to 128GB with a microSD card.

Lastly, the AS5 at launch is running the May 2023 security update. There is no scheduled published on the OS support plan.

AS5 internal



I am going to put this one here then defend it. The AS5 has a micro-USB port over a USB-C one. It gets my heckles up because that means I still need a micro-USB cable on my desk.

But…. it’s a low cost device with a market penetration into other countries where having to fork out to replace your charger and cable can break the bank. So as a tech reviewer I have to make note of it, as a person I’m fully giving it a pass.

I have noticed on a few occasions when the AS5 would not wake up from a power button command. A few times I thought this was due to the battery being flat but it wakes up as soon as I plug the charging cable in, and it would show that there is plenty of charge in the tank. It was probably a case of it a little slow to catch on.



There is a time and place for a low cost device, especially when even hand me down devices are “too premium” for a certain age. Sometimes a cheap brand new device is an easy win. Additionally there are plenty of markets where even a mid range phone is unaffordable.

The Aspera Mobile AS5 represents  an entry level phone that has adequate performance for users to maintain linkages, after all we are social creatures that craves connection to others.

I particularly like the inclusion of facial recognition to encourage better security postures with mobile devices. And on a physical note even at this price point Aspera has included a charging brick and cable.

Last but not least, the customer support center for Aspera Mobile is locally based in Australia for Australians.

The new Aspera Mobile AS5 4G smartphone is available now and can be purchased for just $99 at retailers including Big W, Ritchies IGA, Seasons IGA, Freedom Fuels, Trinity Petroleum, Mobiciti and Personal Digital.

DRN would like to thank Aspera for providing the review unit.



Network frequency : 4G – Bands 1/3/5/7/8/28A+B , 3G – 850/900/2100MHz , 2G – 850/900/1800/1900MHz

Octa-core 1.6GHz processor
Dual 4G SIM cards and 1 Micro SD card
RAM: 2GB + 1GB virtual ram allocated from unused ROM
ROM: 32GB (24.3GB after installation of Android 13 Go Edition)
OS: Android 13 (Go Edition)
Expandable memory by Micro SD card to 128GB maximum (Not included in the box)
Facial recognition

5″ FWVGA TN display
16:9 aspect ratio
SIM one slot – Micro
SIM two slot – Micro
Separate Micro SD card slot

4G and 3G mobile data
Wi-Fi Hotspot
USB tethering
Bluetooth 5.0 LE (Low energy)
Micro USB port for computer connection to transfer files

Battery: 2000mAh Lithium-Ion

Micro USB port for charging and data transfer
3.5mm headphone jack
Removable back cover, replaceable battery
Dimensions: 1146.5*74*10.2mm
Weight: 165g


Rear 5MP Front 5MP
Auto Focus
Zoom x4
Video recording
14 x Scene modes