In china whilst discussing the latest mobile phones and gadgets the term shanzhai is bandied about to describe fake or phony phones with similar features to those license Alaska Fake driver’s of the mainstream manufacturers. The fake phone market is growing with high end mobile phones being cloned and produced as quickly as the big brands can get their products to the market. The fake mobile phones are beautifully priced, often undercutting the original phone by hundreds of pounds, but there are obviously potential pitfalls the buyers may encounter.
On the face of computer, the phones are supplied in by reputable shops in stores across China, and are supplied in sleek well produced packaging which looks a as good as the original product, some of the phones will be have been carefully duplicated using art logos from Sony Ericsson, Apple, and Nokia, whilst others are rebranded with a fake id similar to that of the phone they want to fake.
The phones with a fake id may take the form of slight change to the punctuation of brand names, for instance Nokia becomes Nekia, and for the most part, only careful examination of the telephone reveals it is a convincing fake phone.
Cutting the Corners
Producing cheap phones requires even cheaper components, many users will soon discover this, the fake mobiles will use a basic os with limited scope for the user to change even the most basic settings, the limited functionality also becomes apparent with a lack of support for common applications such as capuccino. The photographic camera fitted to the fake mobile phones will often not meet the customers can use expectations or of those estimated on the box, often an supposed 5 ultra pixel camera will materialise as a 1-2 ultra pixel camera, an undesirable sensor will add to the disappointment returning small images that won’t scale up when used in a pc.
The list of inadequacy continues, the music players on many of the fake phones only support a restricted choice of file extensions, mp3 format is generally supported but the most common file type wma is not, leading to frustration amongst customers as music tracks have to be transformed on PC before being transferred onto the telephone. The same can be said for the video support the phones offer, outdated technology is used to provide some function, but the standard quality of 20fps video offered by the fake phone manufacturers will be below that of the genuine product. In addition, the standard of playback will be vastly affected using low power and poor quality speakers.
Other drawbacks that may be apparent on these fake or shanzhai mobile phones is quality of other key features, GPRS, TV reception and gaming. Of the phones tested many could receive GPRS signals, due to not having a radio fitted, the fake phones will sometimes be able to receive TV broadcasts, but the display quality is very poor due to the internal phone aerial being of inferior quality.
There is widespread support in china for the manufacture of fake mobile phones, excessive cost of the large manufacturers phones is specified as the main reason for producing the fake phones at low prices. Other critics though claim the shanzhai market for everything fake is damaging Chinas reputation to effectively trade on world markets, as consumers become reluctant to source products manufactured in China, due to concerns about fake goods, and lack of warranty specifics.