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Should you buy an Aldi Bauhn TV or soundbar?

Bargain – or buyer beware? Our TV expert dissects Aldi's past record on tech ahead of this weekend's Special Buy sales.

aldi_bauhn_tvs_soundbar_and_jbl_headphones
Last updated: 20 July 2021

Need to know

  • Aldi is selling TVs, soundbars and noise-cancelling headphones as Special Buy sales this weekend
  • We've tested previous models of Aldi Bauhn TVs and speakers in our labs and they haven't performed well
  • Our experts test TVs, heaphones and speakers from popular brands including LG, Sony, Bose, Samsung, Hisense, TCL and more

It's TV and tech time again in the Aldi sales. On Saturday 24 July, Aldi is selling a 40-inch high-definition Android TV for $329, a huge 82-inch 4K Ultra HD Smart TV for $1299 (online only) and a 2.1 Dolby Atmos soundbar with 60-watt wireless subwoofer for $249 as part of its Special Buys sale.

All are products from Aldi's house label Bauhn, come with a one-year warranty and are significantly cheaper than similarly-specced models from other brands. 

The 82-inch 4K TV is powered by WebOS, which means it comes preinstalled with streaming apps such as YouTube and Netflix, and has added features such as the ability to record live TV, as well as HDMI connection with ARC support, making it easier to hook up a soundbar. It's available for online purchase with delivery to selected postcodes in NSW, Vic and Qld (convenient for those of us in lockdown), with a delivery fee of $99.99. 

Also up for grabs are the JBL Live 650BTNC noise-cancelling headphones (RRP $279.95), on sale for a competitive $79.95 (they are currently selling at various other major tech retailers for $195 or more). 

At such low prices, these might certainly be tempting deals, but how do these Aldi bargains really rate for quality and are they worth buying?

Spoiler alert! Bauhn's track record on tech doesn't paint a pretty picture

Our TV experts haven't reviewed these exact models yet (stay tuned), as Aldi products pop up at short notice and usually sell out quickly. But we have tested previous Aldi TVs and soundbars in our labs and – spoiler alert! – Bauhn's track record on tech doesn't paint a pretty picture.

We spoke to our in-house TV expert Denis Gallagher about their patchy performance and what you need to know before queuing up outside Aldi at sunrise.

Bauhn to be bad?

There's no arguing Aldi do some products really well. Cheap ski gear and grocery staples, for sure. Electronics, not so much. 

Our experts have lab-tested a range of Bauhn TVs and soundbars over recent years, and one thing's been consistent – they've all received pretty average scores. Unfortunately, in this case, it seems you get what you pay for. 

"Previous test results have ranged from mediocre to poor, so there's a lot of room for improvement," says Denis.

Last year's 65-inch Special Buy – priced at $699 – boasted a decent range of features, but fell flat in our lab tests with a CHOICE Expert Rating of just 64% overall. It currently ranks in the bottom four models we've tested, alongside mediocre performers from Linsar and Ffalcon.

aldi bauhn tv 65inch

Aldi's recent 65-inch 4K TV, priced at $699.

"It scored OK for standard definition viewing, but got progressively worse when watching high and ultra high definition 4K content," says Denis. 

"There were also occasional issues with motion blur and inaccurate colours in 4K, and some distracting backlight patterns when watching sport. The internal sound quality was also muddy and rumbly."

Previous Bauhn boxes haven't fared any better, with the 48-inch edition earning a CHOICE Expert Rating of 62% and a 58-inch model  sliding even lower at 59%. 

"So far we haven't really seen a Bauhn TV that's performed well," says Denis. 

"Of course, that can change with new models – we've seen that with other brands – but despite the undeniably low price, shoppers should be careful when considering these bargain models based on what we've seen. Especially if you really love your movies or shows and want a great TV experience."  

We do review other low-price TVs – check out our full review.

aldi bauhn soundbar and subwoofer

Bauhn's recent $129 soundbar rated poorly in our lab tests.

Soundbar performance even poorer

Aldi's own-brand TVs may struggle, but we've found their soundbars fare even worse when tested.

"The last Bauhn soundbar we reviewed was the worst in the test group by a long shot, scoring 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."

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These JBL noise-cancelling headphones are on sale at Aldi this weekend for $79.99.

What about the noise-cancelling headphones?

Finally, some better news for bargain hunters! The JBL Live 650BTNC noise-cancelling headphones are on sale at Aldi this weekend for $79.99, which is almost a whopping $200 off the recommended retail price. 

Keep in mind that these headphones came out around 2019 so the fact they are an older model is likely how Aldi is able to sell them this cheaply. However, other major retailers are still selling them at a much higher price, such as The Good Guys (currently on sale for $195) and Harvey Norman (currently on sale for $148). But are they a good buy? 

CHOICE testing expert, Peter Zalzuny says: "The sound quality on these headphones is good, and they have a claimed battery life of 20hrs with noise cancelling turned on, which is also a plus."

In our full review, we note that they only get a 'pass' in the comfort score, which means they may not be comfortable to wear for long periods of time, such as if you're in a Zoom meeting all day. And they're not the most durable headphones so they need to be treated with some care. 

"Based on the sound quality results in our test, I think the RRP is a bit too high on this pair, but they're definitely worth considering for $79," says Peter.

You should also keep in mind that as these headphones are an older model, it may be harder to buy replacement parts and possibly get them serviced or replaced if they break. To find out more, read our detailed scoring and full review of the JBL Live 650BTNC noise-cancelling headphones.

Special Buys tips

Stocks of all Special Buys are limited, and popular products can sell out quickly. You can check stock availability for Special Buys on the Aldi website. A limited amount of products are also now available to buy online – with delivery costing an additional fee. If you're heading to purchase instore, ensure you check the weight and size of the item you're buying so you can transport it home. 

We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact-checking at CHOICE