Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Crime Iphone Apple

What You Get When You Buy a $40 iPhone In a Bar 211

Barence writes "How good — or bad — are fake iPhones? PC Pro blogger Steve Cassidy has a friend who paid £25 ($40) for an 'iPhone' in a bar, and he's got the photos and full lowdown of what's inside this not-so smartphone. The phone looks convincing enough from the outside, with a genuine-looking backplate, but things start to go wrong when you switch it on. 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."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

What You Get When You Buy a $40 iPhone In a Bar

Comments Filter:
  • by phoenix321 ( 734987 ) * on Friday February 19, 2010 @06:49PM (#31205476)

    I can speak from experience that Chinese no-name dual-SIM touchscreen phones are way better than their price point and reputation would suggest.

    600RMB (~60 EUR) would get you a touchscreen phone from ChangHong with integrated stylus and character recognition (Chinese and Latin, but it's error prone), high resolution display (480*x?), two SIMs, music player, straight mini USB interface, driverless USB mass storage interface, 8GB integrated, up to 32gb via SDHC micro and a 2.5Mpixel camera. And the phone can be set to English (with some Engrish in the mix of course). Bluetooth yes, but no 3G, no WiFi.

    It looks like this (I don't know if that is the model I played with, it looks only vaguely similar) []

    An interesting feature is text-to-speech for names stored in the address book: it actually read the name of a caller in understandable English. Caller not in the adressbook with CLIP enabled had their numbers spelled aloud. In Chinese only of course :)

    One feature I was very content with is the battery time: it has a 4000mAh battery - NiMH, not Li-Ion but still. A solid two weeks of battery power with medium amounts of talking time in between is more than impressive. Within the 600 RMB package was a second identical battery, a charging station, a 5V USB charger that could be substituted with any other 5V USB charger that exists. That way, you could always keep one battery charged and switch as soon as the other battery got low. Memory effect shmemory effect - you'll get a brandnew original battery for 5 EUR, so it's no problem charging the thing whenever you need to. Maybe Li-Ion is overrated and the situation where a memory effect would be noticeable isn't that common. I mean, who recharges their phone daily?

    Measured in value-per-dollar, this thing was great. Downsides and eventual deal-breakers were some Engrish remains in the menu but the worst was some menus that were in Chinese only, no translation available. The games for example, but also some SMS sub-menus.

    When (not if!) ChangHong gets around to translate the firmware with all submenus and iron out the last kinks, this will devastate the lower end cellphone market.

  • by ehrichweiss ( 706417 ) * on Friday February 19, 2010 @07:02PM (#31205606)
    Note, [] is the correct URL, that extra "/" at the end seems to make wikipedia sad.
  • by johnny6vasquez ( 688226 ) on Friday February 19, 2010 @07:21PM (#31205814)

    I initially bought one of these as a joke.

    At first I hated it, but it really grew on me. Having an unlocked iPhone form-factor phone, that I can transfer anything I want to it, pictures, music, movies, all over usb, is really nice. I took it traveling and really liked having two batteries, especially after I started reading books on it. Say what you want about the new eBook readers, but I love having a backlit screen that can fit in my pocket, fit hundreds of books on microSD cards, and has a backup battery. I could read clearly at night in bed or waiting for the subway in poorly lit areas.

    It's really funny to watch an iPhone user try to use my phone, because even though it looks nearly the same, the screen handles way differently, needing more of a tap than a slide.

    I wouldn't buy one of these for running apps on, I would just use it for an eBook reader and phone. That's all I wanted out of it and it exceeded my initial expectations.

    This is the one I have: []

    If all you want is a unlocked phone and eBook reader with awesome battery life, give it a try. But the article is right that it can't compare to an iPhone. The user interface sucks compared to Apple's product, especially when you move into the submenus.

  • by gmack ( 197796 ) <<gmack> <at> <>> on Friday February 19, 2010 @08:32PM (#31206430) Homepage Journal

    I doubt that very much. The dual sim tells me it's not at all Apple electronics and most likely made by SCI. Sci makes cheap knockoffs using an OS they skin to make the front screen look like whatever OS they are mimicking. Slap an Apple look alike case and home screen and it's an iphone. Slap a t mobile g1 case on it and it's Android.

    I actually own one. I needed a cheap phone fast and their G1 knockoff was cheaper than even low end phones around here. It wasn't bad for the price but I wish they wouldn't bother skinning it to look like other phones.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 19, 2010 @08:56PM (#31206614)

    They are standard fare from DealExtreme []. I don't know why this is even news.

    Actually some of the phones they have look pretty decent. I wouldn't mind getting my hands on one of the watch phones that they sell.

  • by orlanz ( 882574 ) on Friday February 19, 2010 @09:10PM (#31206700)

    Its called the 3rd shift. You have Chinese factories that just keep the assembly line running for a third unoffical shift. The local assembler, nor the US company really cares enough to stop them. Not to mention the incentives from the under the table dealings.

    Why doesn't the US company stop them? Cause the markets that they really care about and make profit in (US and Europe) have heavy enough disincentives to make bootlegging insignificant in comparison to the costs of further stopping them. Plus, the majority of the bootlegging sector can't or won't afford your product anyway. They aren't a customer to begin with, so why stop them from subsidizing your purchasing costs to the 3 shift vendor.

    Now when politics hits the fan or someone gets greedy under the table, all Ell breaks loose.... for a week and then freezes over again. As to address gmack's post further down, most mass produced hardware is like lego blocks. You just need a smart enough individual in electrical engineering to put things together in the right order (trust me, that's not a scarcity in most of the world). So its not too hard to put an extra solid disk chip, sim reader, flash light, or even add a FM component when you are already the assembler who has access to the _expensive_ specs, the assemblers, AND the manufactures behind them. Not to mention, most hardware will automatically support the additional stuff as its already built in, but for high, profitable yield ratios, those features are disabled or not used (See AMD Phenom II X series for an excellent example). This is why the third shift stuff is such a hit or miss, its doesn't have proper QC to minimize the defects. If they did, it would be VERY expensive... more so than the original.

  • by Skater ( 41976 ) on Friday February 19, 2010 @09:22PM (#31206768) Homepage Journal

    Yeah, but what would the service cost without the phone? If AT&T split out the "phone subsidy" from the monthly price so you could see what it was, I think you'd discover that most of that $1800 is actually what you'd be paying anyway for the service. And it's not like the competing cell phone companies here have very different rate plans - they seem about equivalent to me, last time I checked a couple weeks ago.

    For example, let's use T-Mobile, and pretend they offer the iPhone. They discount the price $10/month if you're not subsidizing a phone, I've heard. So the subsidy fee is actually $10*24 months = $240. The other part of the $(monthly fee*24 months) is the service that actually makes the phone useful as a phone/web browser/text message device. You would have to pay that (or a similar amount) at any carrier, regardless of the phone.

    I'm not sure why Slashdot has so much trouble understanding this. Slashdotters seem to think that cellular networks, phone networks, and internet bandwidth are free to install and maintain, and that $1800 several people quoted is entirely going to pay for the phone. Last time I checked, $240+$99 or whatever is still far less than the unsubsidized price of $599. (Actually, the subsidy is really less than that in today's dollars, because the monthly fee is worth less and less over time.)

    If your real beef is with the two year contract then don't get one. No one is holding a gun to your head and forcing you to sign a contract or buy an iPhone. It's their product, they can offer it on their terms; if you don't like it, you don't have to accept it. And, frankly, two years isn't really that much time. Wait until you buy a house and are "locked in" for 15 or 30 years (Heard over on Housedot: "There are fees to sell a house! OMG! It's a tarp!").

  • by Toonol ( 1057698 ) on Saturday February 20, 2010 @03:01AM (#31208390)
    My experience with Chinese knockoff products is that they're half the quality, more versatile, and ten percent the price. Often a better overall deal than the original.

The last thing one knows in constructing a work is what to put first. -- Blaise Pascal