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Posted on February 19th, 2010 by Steve Cassidy

What you get when you buy a £25 iPhone down the pub

“I’ve got an iPhone I want you to check out,” is not a request I hear very often.

I’m a happy user of both the original iPhone and the 3G successor – though, I confess, not an obsessive collector of App Store trinkets or hot tracks from the iTunes Store. Perhaps that’s why it took me a while to figure out exactly what I was looking at, when I paid a visit to my friend and glanced at the knock-off iPhone below.

Fake iPhone

Holding this up beside my iPhone 3G, it is seriously difficult to tell the two devices apart. The back panel of the mysterious phone very clearly labels it as a 32Gb iPhone, complete with Apple logo. My contact claimed to have bought this “down the pub for £25″ in an iPhone 3GS Apple box, and I would say that the exterior case is a millimetre perfect copy, with three basic distinguishing areas: the headphone socket, the power button, and the mute slider. It was the mute slider that convinced me of the phone’s “knock-off” status.

On all the iPhones I’ve ever seen, this rotates within the case to mute the ringer. On the mysterious knock-off, the object in that position doesn’t rotate, it’s a push-button, and it works the camera. What really brings you up short is the software. When has an iPhone had an “iPod” button that looks like that? What’s a “Java” and “WLAN” App button doing on the screen? And how about that Internet Explorer icon? It’s like you’re handling an artefact from an alternate history, dropped in via a spacetime wormhole. It has dual SIM handling, too, and came with a bizarre auxiliary battery festooned with warnings about not pressing a button mounted on the front of the top-up device (so why’s it there at all?).

Fake iPhone

I suspect this is actually a SciPhone. If you search on YouTube for “fake iphone china” you’ll find a wide variety of devices which share 90% of the surface look-and-feel of an iPhone. Most of them have extra speaker grilles or etched icons at the base of the screen to avoid treading on Apple’s toes, but the variations are minimal. However, on the SciPhone the back panel can be also be removed giving you access to the SIMs and the battery.

The final nail in the coffin was an app we found five screens in, which even allowing for “cultural differences” Apple would never allow through the approvals process. The app in questions showed a lissom Asian lady lying on a bed who wriggles and moans suggestively when you rub your finger over her.

No matter how close the imitation – and I’d say that the knock-off iPhone is good enough to fool those who haven’t used the real deal – this little outburst of puerile titillation is a dead giveaway for fake status. Not to mention the fact that all the menus, settings, ringtones and software don’t work the way the Apple support sites say they should!

Fake iPhone app

What leaves me speechless is that the SciPhone must represent more work and more value – and more capability – than its £25 asking price, just in terms of cost of development and production. Just about the only way to be stupider than incurring Apple’s wrath with a forgery, is to grossly undervalue the technology you use as part of that forgery. It’s a bit like making a forged pound coin by melting down gold sovereigns: but I rather suspect we won’t get to the bottom of where this bizarre hybrid comes from, how it reached the UK, or who’s sticking fake backplates on it.

Just be ready for your less-than-streetwise mates to turn up with them in the pub, from time to time.

Posted in: Rant

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76 Responses to “ What you get when you buy a £25 iPhone down the pub ”

  1. atomz Says:
    February 19th, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    Incredible value at £25.

    How did things like performance compare? And was it compatible with iTunes and Apps?

     
  2. Paul Says:
    February 19th, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    I know this is completely irrelevant to the article, however the Captcha system is presenting me with “erectile states”! What are the chances? :-)

     
  3. Steve Cassidy Says:
    February 19th, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    atomz, I got my hands on it for basically 2 15 minute contacts. I don’t read Chinese script well enough to determine the underlying OS, but I think it’s fair to assume that it’s not compatible with very much that we are likely to encounter here in the UK.

     
  4. Olatunji Olanrewaju Says:
    February 19th, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Were can i get this iPHONE

     
  5. Matt Says:
    February 19th, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    you can purchase similar on dealextreme.com

    http://www.dealextreme.com/products.dx/category.511

     
  6. atomz Says:
    February 19th, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    @Steve
    Yes, fair assumption. Am still amazed that someone’s able to produce something with as many features for £25 and, like you, wonder what’s the point.

     
  7. Steve Cassidy Says:
    February 19th, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    Olatunji… it’s not an iPhone. It’s a fake. It’s not made by Apple and it may or may not work. We are not recommending you buy it. We expect people who have bought it, to have a very hard time making it work. Do not take this as a recommendation to buy it.

     
  8. Steve Cassidy Says:
    February 19th, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    @atomz… I don’t think the original production cost is anything like 25 quid. I am not especially sure that what I was told is what was neccessarily paid – the whole affair needs a lot more verification. All that one can really depend on is that this thing physically exists. Oh, and performance of the menus at least was comparable. I couldn’t go much further than that though…

     
  9. David Staples Says:
    February 19th, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    “It’s like you’re handling an artefact from an alternate history, dropped in via a spacetime wormhole”

    Yes, the “value for money” dimension.

    In this reality, Steve Jobs is a deputy manager in a Howard Johnsons and never got the chance to foister his overpriced tat on the world.

     
  10. Mike DePaulo Says:
    February 19th, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    Actually, “SciPhones” do try to differentiate themselves from the iphone, and are known for better quality than their competitors.
    Here’s a wikipedia page from a week ago stating that:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=CECT_(mobile_phone_brand)&oldid=339813442

     
  11. Picky Says:
    February 19th, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    I think the bigger concern might be why would they do this for the price, if there wasn’t something else in it for them?

    I wonder how much data is sent back to the maker of the phone?

     
  12. ixkorr oxkarr Says:
    February 19th, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    er, dumb question from me:

    was the SciPhone actually able to make PHONE CALLS? if so, which service provider did it use?

     
  13. Urza9814 Says:
    February 19th, 2010 at 10:52 pm

    @#12:

    It says in the article it has dual SIM slots, so I would imagine it’s able to make phone calls – and it would use whatever provider you put a SIM card in for.

     
  14. John Jackson Says:
    February 19th, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    Where can I get this version of iphone?

     
  15. boogabooga Says:
    February 19th, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    @Olatunji Olanrewaju. Dear sir, recently I have come into posession of a fortune left to me by my late uncle Tumble Dry of Cost of Ivory. Please, help me distribute this fortune in Nigeria since I am afflicted by a state of affairs of unknown nature. Email me for details to yusodum@eethurtz.com

     
  16. RemiPG Says:
    February 19th, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    Stolen?

     
  17. Yusodum Says:
    February 19th, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    @boogabooga
    Well played, sir.

     
  18. Darren Kopp Says:
    February 19th, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    Bet it’ll run flash before the iphone does though.

     
  19. asdf Says:
    February 19th, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    Which service provider did it use? Has the iphone really turned your knowledge off that much? It uses whichever service provider you want, because you can slip in any sim card you want in there, you know, like how it used to be.

    I find the write-up to be a little caught up on itself too, why bother wondering why they would underprice the technology, isn’t it a better question to ask, if this can be produced so cheaply, why would you accept an expensive ‘real’ one, which besides locks you in to a specific service provider. At least with the ‘fake’ one, you get to pick your own sim card. Seems like a lot more value for money to me.

     
  20. Per Edman Says:
    February 19th, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    I’ve seen the Ciphone/Hiphone/Sciphone line available for order online at this swedish page: CECT.SE (leaving that without a link so as not to boost its google rank unnecessarily).

    I’ve considered buying one, if for nothing else to p*ss off my employer’s employer, if you know what I mean.

     
  21. Doug Says:
    February 19th, 2010 at 11:17 pm

    Jeez people, think about this for a second… It’s an obviously fake, but strangely functional, always-connected device with a camera and a microphone and location tracking (via cell towers or GPS) being peddled by shady characters at a WAY too good to be true price. That’s a fairly scary prospect, frankly…

     
  22. Per Edman Says:
    February 19th, 2010 at 11:18 pm

    I especially like the translation of its features: “succinct appearance/JAVA2.0/gravity inducer/sliding unlock”

    Mmmh, gravity inducer.

     
  23. Geoff Says:
    February 19th, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    Okay, so this is a bad iPhone knockoff. So are there any good iPhone knock offs?

     
  24. Nemo Says:
    February 19th, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    Incredible value for the price. Also it’s not a Sciphone, the ones with Apple logos are Ciphones, which are inferior.

     
  25. J’raxis 270145 Says:
    February 19th, 2010 at 11:37 pm

    I’m sure the crooks are making money off of it; if not, why bother? The hardware itself could be stolen or bought from a fence for cheap; the fake back plates to make it look like an Apple device might cost a pound or two. So £25 is probably plenty profitable.

     
  26. asd Says:
    February 19th, 2010 at 11:44 pm

    its no wonder to get the price as low as £25 when you are using cheapest parts suitable and dont double the price for the apple logo.
    also chinese have nothing to fear from apple, copyright doesn’t reach there
    also take note that £25 could have been second hand price when it was gotten from local bar. any case, for that money i would buy it just to take it apart and use it in some electronics project

     
  27. asd Says:
    February 19th, 2010 at 11:47 pm

    The hardware itself could be stolen or bought from a fence for cheap; the fake back plates to make it look like an Apple device might cost a pound or two. So £25 is probably plenty profitable

    <– yeah sure, please go steal few thousand microproccessors, wlan chips etcetctec and oh, dont forget that you cant steal the pcb-s you have to order them.
    stealing electronics components is nonsense, you can never match your partlist

     
  28. fulgore Says:
    February 20th, 2010 at 12:05 am

    Or it is a magnificent plot to make people use them while they gather all your info.

     
  29. cheesewaffles Says:
    February 20th, 2010 at 12:40 am

    My nipples hurt.

     
  30. SomeDude... Says:
    February 20th, 2010 at 12:55 am

    “Or it is a magnificent plot to make people use them while they gather all your info.”
    What about google?

     
  31. cak Says:
    February 20th, 2010 at 12:56 am

    Have you ever heard of a jailbroken phone, that is why you can’t judge on software alone. It is very easy to change the icons on a jailbroken phone, as well as having any app you want on it.

    And it is unlikely you can buy there new for $40. I guess if you went to a pub and someone sold you a real iphone for $60 you would be wondering how Apple can sell them so cheap??
    So much stupid in one article.

     
  32. dizzy Says:
    February 20th, 2010 at 1:06 am

    What makes you think an iPhone costs more than 10 quid to produce?

     
  33. Darkmerc Says:
    February 20th, 2010 at 1:34 am

    I own a g1 (htc hero) with a microphone and camera and gps that google is probably constantly monitoring here in the US lol. So I don’t see that as much of a concern. Cellphone towers aren’t as secure as most people think they are. HTC phones are produced in china. The only major problem I could see is cheap hardware malfunctioning. Or cheap chinese batteries with no shut off when they run too low and blow up. O wait didn’t REAL iphones blow up with cheap chinese batteries. So really the only thing wrong with slow processor(maybe), low disk space (maybe), and a not as good operating system. But that’s what every cheap phone has. So really it’s the same as all cheap phones. And everything can be used against you. So unless your going to not use any technology and live in the woods stop being ignorant.

     
  34. Graeme Says:
    February 20th, 2010 at 2:06 am

    I actually had a phone very similar to that – bought if off ebay about 2 years ago. Cost me about $50 CDN.

    Performance wise etc it actually did a great job – but where it really crapped out, and showed that I got what I paid for, was the touch screen technology. Even the “sliding the block to unlock” the phone was a chore. Still it worked really well, and the battery power on it was great.

     
  35. jlin Says:
    February 20th, 2010 at 2:55 am

    The question is not that they are devaluing the effort that went into it. The horrifying question is what if 25 pounds were all that’s necessary to pay a factory worker in China to make it, write the software for it, and ship it all the way over to the UK – the sum total of all that work (including a healthy 25% MARKUP that greases the pockets of custom officials, bankers, and lawyers) – is 25 pounds.

    This item most likely was made by factories right next to the official subcontractors of Apple, maybe even directly by the worker who made YOUR real iPhone who works overtime to feed her kids. – Think about that – and see the real world of Chinese manufacturing for what it is. Apple makes an insane amount of margins from each iPhone – just look at what you can buy for 25 pounds. I think it’s pretty good value for the money – for the factory owners in China.

     
  36. Justin Says:
    February 20th, 2010 at 2:57 am

    Curious. We didn’t get to see the insides, the guts, the glory!

    I’d love to see the inside and the features it has compared to the iPhone. Who knows, some of us may want to look cool, but have something more functional.

     
  37. Stevie Works Says:
    February 20th, 2010 at 6:08 am

    If it really spelled “32 Gb” on the back of it it’s a dead giveaway. 32 Gigabits would only be an eight of the 32 Gigabytes that the Apple iPhone offers.

     
  38. niels Says:
    February 20th, 2010 at 8:00 am

    Surprised to see so many assume that it’s a lot of work or expensive to produce these copies.

    Until you’ve been in Shenzhen (where I live) you probably can’t imagine how many copied phones there are in China. There are more shops that sell fakes-only than there are ones that sell real-only, and many shops will offer you both – especially on high end models like iPhone, N95, etc.

    The hardware and OS of each copied model is probably 95% the same, with some theming and modifications to match the original. It’s a toolkit geared towards copying. This generic set of hardware/software has been sold way more times than Apple or even Nokia can ever sell a single model of phone. The fact that the hardware is sold in these incredible numbers make the hardware cost extremely low.

    It’s perhaps a very western thought to assume that some of the “less good” copies are either failed ones or that some changes were made “not to upset Apple”. Nobody here cares about not upsetting Apple, really.

    In many cases these changes are there because they think it will sell better. Chinese who buy copied phones aren’t looking to pretend to have a real one (because everyone knows they don’t), or to buy some kind of novelty like a tourist would do. They’re looking for something “like” an iPhone, possibly better.

    Many of the copied phones will have features that the originals don’t, e.g.: dual-sim capability, CMMB (domestic digital TV standard), solar-charging, etc. Features that many Chinese love to have.

    Anyway, things will get very interesting once these copy factories start cranking out copies based on Android. (And I don’t mean oPhone OS.) As we’ve seen with Japan, South Korea and Taiwan based manufacturers before, suddenly the copiers became the leaders. I can’t wait.

     
  39. Phil Says:
    February 20th, 2010 at 11:34 am

    Why only £25? Let’s see – every last bit of the software was written by a company that doesn’t mind defrauding Apple and trying to fool people. How much do they get from selling any personal information extractable from use of the phone to the Russian mafia? All their web browser has to do is log and then send off all data associated with e.g. banking transactions made with “secure” HTTPS – but since they wrote the browser and since it’s closed source, you have no idea what key and screen and other data logging it’s doing

     
  40. Steve Cassidy Says:
    February 20th, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    Actually, before you chaps get any more over-excited: I was told it cost £25. I don’t have any independent verification that this is the case. It might have been £125 – that’s what’s so hard to figure out about it, without following the trail of buyers & sellers back anywhere. I must say I hadn’t thought about the data-logger/hack possibilities of a fully developed moody smartphone: I suspect the logic that buyers should be working on is “is it worth £100-£200 not to get my data stolen and go through all that hassle?”… the emotions fascinate me too. Clearly people feel that being caught as a mug is undesirable: so is it better or worse to be a mug by paying Apple, or a mug by paying a loose federation of crooks whose interests certainly do not stop at the money they get for the bit of kit?

     
  41. Steve Cassidy Says:
    February 20th, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    oha nd just a quick sweep-up here: @SteveWorks – look at the picture. It says what it says. @Justin: see my earlier comment – I had two short opportunities with the thing, one with Lumix in hand, one without. Since there’s a fighting chance my contact will go and deliver it to the vendor, quite possibly anally, means that we currently know what we know. I’ve put a cash offer in front of him for it so we can take it apart, but there is a distinct flavour of ‘Lock, Stock…” to this transaction. @Cak: I have indeed heard of jailbreaking, but I haven’t yet seen jailbroken phones with icon skins like these. And to everyone who thinks there’s no useful difference between this and an iPhone or equivalent quality device: get a clue, can’t you.

     
  42. Steve Cassidy Says:
    February 20th, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    and I missed one… @asdf: the reason I was asked to come and look at it was because it wouldn’t use the SIM my man had to try it with. Your fantasies about iPhones and the people who have them are your own affair, clearly: the social forces which used to make american youths kill one another for possession of an ‘8-ball jacket” are clearly alive and well…

     
  43. John Says:
    February 20th, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    It goes to show you that once you have a popular product, other companies would copy it and sell it at cheaper price. The reason that the copies can be sold this cheap is because the price does not include R&D cost. This is same for most of the electronic products out there. The cost of manufacturing is cheap once you are in mass production mode, but you have to make your R&D money back which the copies do not require. It’s funny, people always bash how Apple products are expensive. What people failed to realize is that Apple also included the cost of R&D in the price they charge.

     
  44. Darkmerc Says:
    February 20th, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    This has been a large problem here in america as well. Not getting sold a knock off at a pub, however, but that china and other countries don’t have to comply with the intellectual property protection laws that many other nations despite it not being blatantly written down do follow. Like if you tried to create and sell a blatantly fake copy of microsoft windows in most european nations as a corporation you would be investigated and probably fined for the transgression. But in china, north korea, iraq and other countries that don’t really care about copyrights or that they are infringing on another creators patent (dvds, cellphones, etc). There is no way to stop these kind of acts yet and I’d probably be frightened of a truly international patent control board. Each country has to right to enforce the laws they see fit. So there is no way to prevent someone from buying a knock off cellphone from china on ebay and trying to sell it to some poor bloke who is ignorant to the fact that other countries produce whatever they want to. And if there were such protections the consumer would probably suffer more than he’d gain. Also because of our strict proprietary system here in the us a lot of countries outside of the us can’t use trade restricted hardware like certain processor types, controllers, etc. So that is why they have to produce knockoffs as well. Now this obviously impacts us the most when it comes to media that’s why their pusing so hard for game copy protection and drm content. The main problem with that is in the future we won’t actually own even the file and it’ll only play in certain players etc. So if that copy goes out of business you can’t install your game or watch your movie anymore. Built in obselence to make the rich richer and to prevent the average person from actually owning or using anything that’s not tangible the way the user should be able to. Ie I can’t play test drive unlimited because my I used my cd key too many times – even though I paid for it and have a physical copy of the software.

     
  45. Windywoo Says:
    February 21st, 2010 at 1:12 am

    These phones usually run Windows Mobile with a skin to look like whatever OS they are aping. They have resistive screens instead of capacitive and come with styluses. This is one reason they are cheaper. Another is the fact that the hardware is less powerful but enough to run the OS passably.

    The guy who mentioned R&D costs does not have a clue. Apple spend very little on R&D and in any case, the companies making these phones will have had to buy licences for the OS and then taken the time to skin them.

     
  46. hwertz Says:
    February 21st, 2010 at 3:50 am

    I think this would be doable for that kind of money. Maybe.
    There are a few low-end 7″ or so netbooks available in China for about $90. (Note this is 58 british pounds) And reportedly the screen is the main cost on them.
    GSM chip? Very cheap (3G ones are pretty cheap too.) ARM? Very cheap. The screen may be the main expense. But, it’s smaller than the 7″ and so quite a bit cheaper. There’s active development of Linux distros for phone (not just Android but other versions), so it could easily be using one of them. Windywoo could also be right (expecially since it refers to the browser as “Internet Explorer”), Windows CE or Mobile versions are also fairly cheap.

    A ***LARGE*** portion of the IPhone cost is pure profit. Compared to an IPhone, the knockoff, the little details can save a lot of money (button instead of volume wheel, cheaper case maybe, etc.), there’s probably cheaper touch screens than IPhone uses, and using a slower ARM than IPhone 3GS has would save a lot — a lot of the phone chips already have a 400mhz ARM built in, which would save compared to having a seperate ~600mhz ARM with 3D graphics chip like the IPhone has.

     
  47. Steve Cassidy Says:
    February 21st, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    Windy: no stylus. No Windows either – if you follow the links provided by some commenters here you will find it’s running an RTOS from some guys in the NW of the US. The thing about R&D is frankly, beyond the ability of a humble blog edit box to convey – but you are on the same lines as me, in that you would expect the simple skinning job to render the things worth more than 25 quid.

    @hwertz… this iPhone “volume wheel” thing you describe. Where can I find it?

     
  48. rg Says:
    February 21st, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    i own one. I paid about 25 quid for it on ebay. it definately works. it is unlocked quad band gsm dual sim. it runs some native java progs. quality is good. cost of production? same as any other phone, i think the subassembly comes from Taiwan.

     
  49. incognitii Says:
    February 21st, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    This article might have some relevance as to sources?
    http://www.bunniestudios.com/blog/?p=918

     
  50. Steve Cassidy Says:
    February 21st, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    I can’t see how, Incognitii – it’s a long investigaiton into quasi-forged or substandard micro-SD cards.

     
  51. incognitii Says:
    February 21st, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    @Steve – yes it is, but the ‘ghost shifts’/products/counterfeiting it discloses I think bears directly on the market you have described…?

     
  52. Steve Cassidy Says:
    February 21st, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    Not really; I see no sign that any part of this thing was made by apple or their subcontractors. That’s why I think it’s a case of passing off, not of counterfeiting.

     
  53. Ascavera Says:
    February 22nd, 2010 at 5:01 am

    This thing is so rampant in SE Asia, if you have a friend in mainland china, its pretty simple to get your hands on one.. But the whole idea is worthless, the display is not calibrated well, the font edges are all bad, the touch works better than most phones, but bah, not even close to an iphone.. and well, people can’t really sync into these phones, coz the apps are all in chinese, or some out of the world script.. But it is a discouragement to people who save up for an actual apple product..

     
  54. Roger Says:
    February 22nd, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    I acquired a similar phone from my brother in law, goodness knows where he got it from, probably ebay.

    It was useless, the resistive screen was rubbish and ithad 256 MB of memory, yes that’s MB.

    What makes you think anyone did any legit R & D, the OS was obviously ripped off as well; when you connected via Bluetooth it identified itself as a Nokia.

     
  55. Steve Cassidy Says:
    February 22nd, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    what makes me think that, Roger, is that there’s a trail of web pages that show who bought what from who. I didn’t try to connect via bluetooth so I don’t know what manufacturer ID it might present – and I don’t know what relationship there is between your phone and this one. You are right that there is no automatic need for these guys to pay for anything: which rather begs the question as to why Western companies take the risk with them.

     
  56. Peter Says:
    February 22nd, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    Whilst anyone who buys something like this as an iPhone replacement is clearly nuts, its easy to understand why they might just for the Look of it.

    This raises the issue for me of the potential pitfalls in companies outsourcing the production everything to China (in particular). Let’s not get into a big debate about slave labour, but the Chinese State is demonstrably corrupt. 99% of those “Capitalist” businesses which make Apple’s toys are owned by Party and Red Army apparatchics.

    Anyone who sees China in a transition towards a free market, let alone any kind of liberal democracy is as deluded as the buyers of these “iPhones”

     
  57. Niall Taylor Says:
    February 23rd, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    I have only one question, Steve: where can I get the lissom asian lady, so I can enjoy her wiggling and moaning on my Windows Mobile phone ;-) .

     
  58. Jim Beam Says:
    February 23rd, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    Have you got the guys contacts – I’ll pay you £150 for it?

     
  59. Steve Cassidy Says:
    February 23rd, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    If she was trapped in your phone Niall, then my bet is she would wriggle n moan spontaneously… when are you coming up to town for a japanese, incidentally?

     
  60. Bill Says:
    February 25th, 2010 at 12:52 am

    You used to be able to buy these phones on Amazon but you don’t see many now. They are usually available at computer fairs around the country selling for about £100.00 and most are a bit rubbish, though saying that if you want a dual sim phone that looks like an iPhone with a tv tuner that actually works on it’s own antenna you can’t go wrong, many people buy them for the kids cos the reall thing is far too expensive unless you are a drug dealer, pimp, MP or pro footballer. The genuine Sciphone on the other hand has had some very good reviews from cell phone reviewers in the USA and you can track down the factory just using Google I think you can buy direct from them, I thought about it but didn’t trust dealing with the far east. But don’t knock the quality of all Chinese products after all your iMacs, iPhones, iPads etc are made there.

     
  61. Steve Jobs Says:
    February 25th, 2010 at 12:58 am

    Most Iphones are made in Shenzhen (30 mins from Hong Kong)Naturally they copied it and all over HK you can buy fakes of different qualities from 20$ to 80$. They look the same but obviously dont have the same functionality. Here in Asia all the kids have them (Fakes that is)No one (Most) cannot afford the real deal as it is (when you really look at it) a very very expensive product.

     
  62. Steve Cassidy Says:
    February 25th, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    @Bill; I’ve been to those fairs and what I took these photos of isn’t what I have seen sold with the big car aerials stuck on the side of them. This is a much closer copy. I have to take issue with your demographic of the iPhone user base too: all the drug dealers, pimps, MPs and Pro footballers I meet seem to favour the Nokia 6310…

     
  63. patchy Says:
    February 26th, 2010 at 9:52 am

    are there any mac air knock offs? i’d like to see the alternate market benchmark the true value of this overpriced and underperforming apple stuff.

     
  64. Steve Cassidy Says:
    February 26th, 2010 at 10:58 am

    Not seen one Patchy; I suspect it really does cost that much to make something that thin. And I don’t think MBA’s underperform – for their market they are tolerable: and for old gits like me with poor eyesight, they are easier to read than any Netbook…

     
  65. Harrow Says:
    February 26th, 2010 at 11:20 am

    It is quite amazing to see the quality of fake products on the market… none of them have the same polish or equal UI – but they do 90% of the job, with 20% of the price tag.

     
  66. mezcal Says:
    March 2nd, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    I live in Thailand. At Panthip in Bangkok you can buy lots of copied phones and mp3 players. Some look just like the real thing, but obviously are rather different, especially when it comes to the software and UI.
    Last year I bought an Ipod nano, latest model.As an mp3 player it works fine. It did have an mp4 player, but I never managed to upload a movie… it cost me about 40$.
    I had a look at the iphones too (about 150$)…looks good from the outside, but again, the UI just seems cheap and frustrating.
    NB: not all copies had the same software.
    I must say I was tempted, but then reason prevailed. For 300$ I can get a nice HTC touch…original

     
  67. Mike H Exmouth Says:
    March 16th, 2010 at 11:27 pm

    What would be worrying about using this phone is the SAR rating of it, not having to go through the usual safety checks would surely cut a great deal off the cost but at what cost to the user of the phone I ask. Is it worth it
    ?

     
  68. Xplosive Says:
    March 17th, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    It seems that everyone’s forgot the fact that the REAL iPhone is actually made in China itself (regardless of its Californian design, etc.)…this scenario’s not different to every other product made in China (from Nike shoes to electronics with big brand names on them…), if they can manufacture the real thing for western companies be sure someone down the street from the factory’s got the blue prints to make fake ones. We all know China is the master at cloning products and making fakes…it’s part of an economic and political plan to choke the sales of the real thing in western countries and weaken their economies…real talk!

     
  69. Steve Cassidy Says:
    March 17th, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    You are mixing up cause and effect. There doesn’t have to be a “plan” in place for the disruptive effect to occur – that’s the wonder of capitalism. Nor does there have to be a tie-up between the real Apple factories (actually Foxconn, as I recall) and anybody else, for that other person to decide on a bit of fakery. Shoes, clothes, etc are a lot easier to copy than a smartphone!

     
  70. Xplosive Says:
    March 17th, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    I agree, it’s easier to copy shoes, clothes, etc. but the concept is the same. Manufacturing fakes is far easier than coming up with new ideas (at least without treading on someone’s copyrights, etc. which in China’s case don’t even matter as they are not bound by the same copyright restrictions). But it’s highly unlikely that anyone would go to that length just for the sake of fakery (or even exposing how much the real thing really costs, etc.). Financial gains are one way of looking at it, but given how little these fake copies cost to purchase there could be more to it. I’m sure you have heard about the Foxconn employee who was tasked with shipping prototype iPhones, etc….where that missing prototype ended up is anyone’s guess…

     
  71. Che Says:
    April 16th, 2010 at 5:24 am

    Guys, you’re all a bit naive. It costs 25 quid because it’s made in China. How much do you think labour costs there? And why all the questions about whether it works. Of course it works – where do you think real iPods/Phones are made exactly? This is Chinese strategy – take something that works and add functionality… it might not end up ‘better’. But then again, it might. If you guys had broader horizons than Magaluf then you’d have a more intelligent conversation.

     
  72. Steve Cassidy Says:
    April 16th, 2010 at 11:43 am

    Che, Che, Che… The extra functionality comes from a software platform written in… the US, not China. There is no “of course” to whether it works at all, because many knock-offs are built to merely imitate function – something “the chinese” (now there’s a generalisation if ever I saw one!) have already exploited very ably with fake flash drives & micro-SD cards that misreport how much storage they offer, fake batteries that deliver the right volts but from batteries a tenth the capacity of the real thing… the list is considerable. Maybe if you stayed off the cigars and spent less time on the back of that motorcycle, you couls aspire to the lofty heights of The Magaluf Perspective.

     
  73. Nobody Says:
    April 24th, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    I investigate intellectual property theft, counterfeiting, and stolen/diverted products all the time. I’ve spent countless hours in the Shenzhen electronic markets looking at everything from knock-offs to genuine parts being sold there… and by “genuine” I mean parts that failed some small functional test but are still ostensibly usable but sub-par.

    When you steal technology and use crap parts that fail quality-control but still “work”… it’s possible to turn out a phone like this at a price that seems like an amazing deal.

    I’ve got an evidence locker *filled* with examples of these crap phones. The vast majority of them die within weeks of purchasing them. They’re filled with “NG” (failed) parts that may work for a few days, but can’t stand up to regular use.

    Almost universally, the RAM, NVRAM, SD cards, etc. in them are ALL counterfeit and completely unreliable. Even the “legit” parts in them are units that failed QC and were stolen before destruction.

    You could find yourself in a world of hurt for bringing one of these phones back through customs. “I didn’t know it was counterfeit” isn’t an excuse law enforcement recognizes.

    If you do buy one, realize you’re buying a novelty item — not something you should expect to work for more than a few days. You can also expect that every last bit of software on the device is compromised and will send your personal data back to someone in China you’d rather not have receiving it.

    Caveat emptor.

     
  74. Steve Cassidy Says:
    April 25th, 2010 at 10:56 am

    That’s definitely a candidate for the Horse’s Mouth award. Thing is, you haven’t left a trace, so my next question would have been “can I come and take a picture of your evidence locker?”… but you’ll have to get in touch with me if you are happy for that to happen!

     
  75. application development Says:
    June 2nd, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    What a funny review!):) I`ve never ever read the review of any fake device! Cool idea, and thanks to your friend for providing such a delicious material to write about.
    Frankly speakng at 1st sight I didn`t noticed anything strange on the picture, but when you told about those icons — oh, did I laugh! Are they Chinese or whoever — but what creative guys! They even put IE on this device. That`s absolutly awsome! And what I think — it`s really not so bad for £25 :)

     
  76. john myers Says:
    October 21st, 2013 at 10:53 am

    since when iphone 3G had a dual sim?

     

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