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Is ALDI’s $349 iPhone worth buying?



ALDI will sell an iPhone 5s this Wednesday for just $349, but is it worth rushing to the supermarket to pick one up?

As it does from time to time, supermarket chain ALDI will offer up a limited time special deal on a phone handset starting this Wednesday. Where this deal differs is that it will be offering up an iPhone for the first time; typically, ALDI's phone deals have revolved around low cost, low-spec Android handsets.

Specifically, from 23 August 2017, ALDI will sell an iPhone 5S 16GB for $349 outright in its supermarkets. It will be an unlocked handset, so you could use it with any carrier, although naturally ALDI would be happiest if you matched it with an ALDImobile SIM card.

This is a low entry price for an iOS device, which on the surface may seem very tempting, but it's worth weighing up the pros and cons of this particular deal before you rush out with your cash on Wednesday morning. As always, there's no absolute "right" or "wrong" position because everyone's needs are slightly different. Here are some things to think about if the deal tempts you:

ALDI iPhone deal: Upsides

  • It's very affordable. You can't buy an iPhone from Apple, or indeed any authorised reseller, for this price.
  • Wide app ecosystem. Apple's enjoyed the command position in terms of app development for years now, and that means you're buying into a mature app ecosystem.
  • It will get iOS 11. The iPhone 5s isn't the newest handset by a long shot, but it's still on Apple's list of devices that will see the iOS 11 upgrade.

ALDI iPhone deal: Downsides

  • It's refurbished, not new. ALDI is selling refurbished iPhones, and that means they're second-hand models that have been polished up and, in some cases, repaired. ALDI will offer a 12-month warranty for the phones, but that will invariably mean leaving the phone with ALDI (or posting it to a service centre somewhere). Apple is unlikely to be interested in looking at them at all.
  • It's an older iPhone. While the iPhone 5s will see iOS 11, its older architecture means that not every feature of that OS will run smoothly (or in some cases at all) on the handset.
  • Limited stock. Predictably, as with all of its specials, ALDI isn't offering the iPhone 5s long term. If your local store runs out, it runs out.
  • Limited storage. Apple doesn't offer a 16GB iPhone new anymore, and that's a welcome change. You don't need too many apps, photos, songs or videos to fill up a phone with only 16GB on board.
  • You might be able to get a new iPhone SE for around the same price. Apple's official price on the iPhone SE is higher than this, but we've seen similar kinds of prices from direct importers for the iPhone SE of late. That's essentially the same internal hardware as the iPhone 5S. Also, if you're not particularly inclined towards iOS, $349 can buy you a decent, if not great, Android alternative.

Need an ALDImobile plan to go with your new iPhone 5s? Here are the full details of its current SIM-only prepaid offerings:

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