Aldi launches £80 smartphone to pick up with your weekly shop

The thrifty folks at Aldi are known for selling quality food at bargain-basement prices, but what about tech?

The budget supermarket has just announced that it is launching a smartphone for those whose pennies are truly pinched; but while it's certainly cheap at £79.99 we're not sure we'll be sliding one next to the bread and milk in our basket.

The low-cost smartphone is being manufactured exclusively for Aldi by the Chinese manufacturer Medion and is set to hit shelves on 7 August under the glitzy moniker "Medion Life E4001."

Read more: Aldi 7in budget tablet sells out within 48 hours

The problem, however, is the specs. The 4in screen has a painfully low resolution of just 480 x800 pixels set alongside a 2-megapixel rear-facing camera. Android 4.0 Ice Cream sandwich is being dragged from its dusty crypt where it was laid to rest two generations ago to work with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of storage.

Compare that to the Moto G, which costs just £20 more than the Medion Life. You get a 4.5in display with 720 x 1280 resolution, a not-too-shabby Snapdragon 400 quad-core processor (1.2 GHz), very shiny version of Android 4.4 KitKat, 8GB of storage and a 5-megapixel camera.

The problem is clear – in the competitive smartphone space being cheap is no longer enough. Quality handsets are being produced at the low end of the market that still manage to offer mid to high-range specs, but Aldi doesn't seem to have got the memo.

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For around the same price you can pick up a Nokia Lumia 520 or Lumia 630 that both offer better features and newer Windows operating systems. There's also the afore-mentioned Moto G, the Moto E or the 4G-enabled EE Kestrel.

In short, while we're sure Aldi will shift some Medion Life handsets, we find it hard to believe that anyone who knows the market will be racing to pick one up.

Still, another name on the high-street can only be a good thing. It adds another flavour of competition and disruption into a market that has been historically dominated by heavyweights like Samsung and Apple.

If Aldi can beef up the specs and tempt some more impressive emerging manufacturers, its low-cost focus could make it a palatable destination for budget smartphone seekers indeed.