Need to know
- Aldi is selling two TVs and a soundbar-subwoofer set from its house brand Bauhn, as part of its famous Special Buys sale.
- CHOICE hasn't reviewed these models yet, but previous ones got poor to average scores in our lab tests.
- Our lab experts test TVs from popular brands including LG, Sony, Samsung, Hisense, TCL and more.
Get ready to rumble! In a move set to see shoppers queuing up from sunrise, this Saturday Aldi is selling a super-cheap 65-inch ultra high definition TV for $699, a 40-inch full high definition model for $319, and a TV soundbar and subwoofer set for $129.
At those prices, it's a tempting deal for any TV tragic looking for a new set-up. But how do Bauhn's bargains rate for quality and are they worth lining up for?
How do Bauhn's bargains rate for quality and are they worth lining up for?
We haven't reviewed these exact models yet, as they pop up with a week's notice and sell out even quicker. But we have tested similar Bauhn TVs and a separate soundbar in the past.
So we asked our in-house TV expert Denis Gallagher to analyse Aldi's new deals and share his thoughts on Bauhn's previous track record in our tests.
What's to like about Aldi Bauhn TVs and soundbars
They're cheap. A 65-inch 4K TV from another brand can cost more than a thousand dollars, often two, so Aldi's $699 model is definitely a steal.
At $319, the 40-inch unit is less of a head-turner given that other brands such as Akai, Hisense and Chiq offer similar sizes in and around that price, but it's still very competitive.
At just $129, the soundbar-subwoofer combo also offers a very attractive price in a product category that can easily range into hundreds and thousands of dollars.
Smart TV features
Both TVs offer a suite of 'smart' features to improve your viewing experience, including Netflix and YouTube buttons on the remote and Google Voice Assistant, which lets you tell the TV to change channels, search for shows and more. The 40-inch model also lets you record live TV.
"If your old TV is more than a couple of years old, you'll no doubt be impressed with the range of smart TV features on offer here," says our expert Denis.
Solid soundbar specs
Denis says there's a lot to like about the soundbar's range of features too.
"The ARC support (audio return channel) is a great thing to have, as you can simply plug in all your devices to the TV HDMI input, connect the HDMI cable from the soundbar into the TV's HDMI Arc, and everything should play nicely.
"There's no Wi-Fi connection here, but Bluetooth means the soundbar can double as a smart device music player, which is pretty handy."
4K TV resolution
While the 40-inch model offers a high-definition picture (at 1920 by 1080 pixels), the 65-inch unit delivers in 4K ultra high definition (3840 by 2160 pixels). The larger 4K resolution can make for spectacular viewing, but Denis is quick to point out that 4K itself is not an automatic guarantee of excellent picture quality, as some advertising will have you believe.
Aldi's 65-inch 4K TV is priced at $699.
"It's a richer, more detailed picture, but in general, TVs still need to have good enough processors to deal with the 4K content without breaking up or exhibiting blur in a fast-moving scene, and some cheaper models can struggle," he says.
He also says that while there's a buzz around 4K right now, it's important to remember that most people will still be watching a lot of TV and movies in standard definition (SD) and high definition (HD).
"All of the content on free-to-air channels and many shows on Netflix and other streaming services are still in SD and HD," he says. "A TV can handle those formats very differently, which is why we test and score them separately."
Both TVs and the soundbar-subwoofer set come with a year-long warranty, which is consistent with other TV brands. On top of that, the 65-inch model offers extra peace of mind with a '60 day satisfaction guarantee' return policy.
What's not to like?
Bauhn TVs and soundbars have a bad test record
We haven't tested these specific models yet, but our experts have reviewed earlier Bauhn models (now discontinued) and sadly the results aren't pretty.
"Previous test ratings have ranged from average to poor, so there's a lot of room for improvement," says Denis.
"Previously, their 48-inch TV scored just 62% overall," he recalls. "It did well for 4K viewing, but scored just OK for HD and even lower for SD, which was disappointing. It also rated very poorly for its electronic TV program guide and sound quality, which sounded muffled and tinny."
Previous test ratings have ranged from average to poor, so there's a lot of room for improvementDenis Gallagher, CHOICE tech expert
A 58-inch TV scored even worse with a 59% CHOICE Expert Rating. "It tested pretty badly, scoring under 50% for SD and HD viewing, and didn't offer 4K resolution," says Denis. "The sound quality was notably better though."
CHOICE does review other low-price TVs - check out our test results.
The Bauhn soundbar and subwoofer is selling for $129.
Soundbars tested even more poorly
"The last Bauhn soundbar we reviewed was the worst in the test group by a long shot, scoring well under 50%," says Denis.
"Its scores for stereo and multi-channel listening were some of the poorest I've ever seen in a test. It was the cheapest model in the test, but with scores like that, I couldn't recommend it."
See our full review of soundbars tested in our labs.
Android TV operating systems can be clunky
The 65-inch model uses the Android TV operating system, which Denis says has proven awkward to use on other units in the past.
"CHOICE testing has found performance of Android TVs to be variable, as the operating system can sometimes be slow and not as intuitive as other brands like LG and Samsung," he says. "Sony's version of Android is more polished and the best of the Android TVs as far as look and feel."
No delivery – and TVs are heavy
Aldi don't deliver, so you have to brave the crowds and head in-store to score a TV. Your car will also need to be big enough to fit it in safely.
Of course, Aldi bargains are only good if you can get your hands on them, as shoppers who queue up on Special Buy Saturdays know all too well. If you're worried about missing out, here's a hack for you.
The day before the sale, go to the Aldi Australia Facebook page, open up a message to the page and type 'Get started'. The chat box will automatically bring up several Special Buys sales dates. You can then select the product, type in your postcode, and it will tell you which stores within a 20km radius have the item in stock.