In china whilst discussing the latest mobile phones and gadgets the term shanzhai is bandied about to describe fake or counterfeit phones with similar features to license Arizona Fake driver’s those of the mainstream manufacturers. The fake phone market is successful with high end mobile phones being cloned and modelled as quickly as the big brands can get their products to the market. The fake units are well priced, often undercutting the genuine phone by hundreds of pounds, but there are obviously potential pitfalls the buyers may encounter.
On the face today, the phones are supplied in by reputable shops in shopping malls across China, and are supplied in sleek well produced packaging which looks a as good as the genuine product, some of the phones will be have been carefully cloned using logos from Sony Ericsson, Apple, and Nokia, whilst others are rebranded with a fake id similar to that of the phone they are attempting to fake.
The phones with a fake id may take the form of slight alteration to the spelling of brand names, for instance Nokia becomes Nekia, and for the most part, only careful examination of the device reveals it is a convincing fake mobile.
Cutting the Corners
Producing cheap phones requires even cheaper components, many users will soon discover this, usually the fake mobiles will have got a basic computer 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 coffee. The camcorder fitted to the fake units will often not surpass designs expectations or of those offered on the box, often an claimed 5 hugely pixel camera will materialise as a 1-2 hugely pixel camera, an unhealthy sensor will add to the disappointment returning small images that wont scale up when utilized in a pc.
The list of inadequacy continues, the music players on many of the fake phones only support a small array of file extensions, music is generally supported but the most common file type wma is not, leading to frustration amongst customers as music tracks have to be changed on PC before being transferred onto the device. The same can be said for the video support the phones offer, old 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, products you can playback will be vastly affected by using low power and poor quality speakers.
Other drawbacks that may be apparent on these fake or shanzhai units 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 device fitted, the fake phones will sometimes be able to receive TV broadcasts, but usually the image 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 quotation as the main reason for producing the fake phones at low prices. Other critics though state 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 extended warranties.