Try to remain calm everybody, we’ve got some very big news on a new device that’s just launched in the UK. It’s a smartphone, and it’s made by Aldi.
You look confused. You know Aldi, don’t you? The discount high street supermarket chain? It does a really great budget knockoff of Captain Morgan’s rum? Yeah, that Aldi.
As you might expect, though, a supermarket famed for its low-cost alternatives hasn’t exactly re-invented the wheel here. This handset will not make you want to chuck your Xperia Z2 in the fireplace and rush down to your nearest branch.
It’s called the Medion Life E4001, and it will cost you just £79.99 (SIM-free). What do you get for your £79.99? Not a lot, in essence. It has a 4-inch, 400 x 800 pixel display, a 2MP rear-facing camera (no front-facing), a 1GHZ dual-core processor, 500MB of RAM and 4GB of internal memory expandable via microSD up to 32GB. They also throw in a 4GB microSD card. Oh, and it comes running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Yikes.
Obviously it would be harsh to pass absolute judgement without having handled the device – for all we know it may absolutely fly. But looking over these specs, it seems like Aldi has misunderstood the concept of a ‘budget’ smartphone. Remember, this device costs the same as the exceptional Motorola Moto E. A budget handset has to be more than just cheap, it has to offer value to the consumer. You would think that Aldi of all companies would understand this. People don’t shop at Aldi because it charges rock bottom for dog-food grade meat. People shop there because the food is still palatable, preferable even, whilst retaining a low price tag. The Medion Life E4001 seems to have no such palatability.
In fact, a little bit of digging (by which we mean a cursory YouTube search) reveals that the Medion Life E4001 was first released in Aldi’s native Germany almost exactly one year ago. The exact same handset, with the exact same specs. It seems like perhaps Aldi is trying to pull a fast one on the British consumer. Perhaps it just doesn’t care about the idea enough to bother updating the device. Perhaps it thinks that the consumer won’t care. Either way, Aldi need only take one look at the Tesco Hudl tablet to see that when done right there can be a lot of money, and credibility, to be gained.