Shanzhai ji gallery: Fake phones from China

About The Author

CNET Editor

Derek loves nothing more than punching a remote location into a GPS, queuing up some music and heading out on a long drive, so it's a good thing he's in charge of CNET Australia's Car Tech channel.

Our erstwhile Shanghai correspondent Brendon Chase wanders into a Shanghai tech market to sort the fake from the real and to see how the fake iPhones stack up to the real thing.

For more information on Shanzhai phones — how they're made, drawbacks, how to identify one and so forth — check out our behind-the-scenes look at the Shanzhai phone market.

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raelene11 posted a comment   

Hi i have a fake i phone 4 and i am trying to download songs of the internet but i am not very successful at current, would you possible be able to help me and advise me on what i might have to do.:)


gpetersz posted a comment   


I have an i999 fake phone. Let's see...

1. 2 megapixels. True, although the package said the same... (no lies about 3-5 mpixels) But I use my camera to take photos, and when there is a need to quickly take a photo (and I don't have my camera with me) then 2 megapixels are just fine.

2. Partially true. I don't have any problem with slideshows and more file types, but that's true that I have to create the exact size for example to use as a background. Not a big problem, I might say...

Wma IS NOT the most common. Who said that? Windows Media Audio as the common format for portable music. Blah! Not a least! I use mp3, and that plays well and clean.

Video plays well (>24 fps). 3gp and mp4 are supported as you say. What many other mobile stuff use.

My phone supports java. ANY games can be run and easily installed. My son has a Samsung S5230. Well Samsung made it a pain in the **** installing games (officially it is NOT possible, only from paying site of Samsung). My i999 swallows games as it should. And plays them finely.

No info. I don't use GPRS, but WiFi works fine and fast.

False. The phone is absolutely useable. There is volume adjust at the side, I suggest use that...

Never experienced something like that. All worked fine.

Never used that. The display (320x240) is too small for reading.

I don't have any TV on my phone (how idiotic it sounds), no data on that.

I guess you are not a native english speaking person (nor am I) because your english is "boor". I can't figure out why you should pull down fake phones.

There are problems with these:

1. Battery only longs for 1.5-2 days. THough the battery is replaceable so I always have a spare with me.
2. Weak camera quality.
3. Warranty is nothing. How should I get any warranty from Hong-Kong for example?

All and all, for $50 I do have a touch-screen, wifi, java-enabled, nice and neat phone. And that's what counts.


Vzed posted a reply   

Interesting artical- thanx...
I bought a chinese fake phone while in peru recently- i don't even know which model it copies, but the functions work 'ok' for low cost, not great. i did some research and found that it has the mediatek 6235 processor, which is 2g mobile and which would normally have the 'nucleus rtos' os i guess, but the os appears like a fake ios.
Anyway- my problem is that i've looked quite a bit for a free 2g capable voip app to install, skype needs 3g, fring may be unavailable, vphone costs-- can anyone help me??? Thanx in advance!


rogue detective posted a comment   

chinese fones are the worst things ever developed from china....


lw posted a comment   

my phone is sensational and two sims are the best


mind_body_soul posted a comment   

Something to consider. Fake phones are illegal in Australia because the must be ACMA compliant. This is to ensure the phone will not go on fire when on charge. If it doesnt have the ACMA logo with the "tick" then you run the serious possibility of setting your home on fire.


Hanzzy posted a comment   

lol spiderman phone, what's next, obama phone?


George posted a comment   


All the faults you mentioned exist in original brand phones as well. In practice they don't work as they are advertised and the guarantee does not work either. Every time my phone has broken because of poor manufacturing quality (i.e. software problems, phone just stops working or phone cracking in normal use), the "big brand service" says it is customers fault and no repairs are being made. Also big companies steal any idea or invention from smaller ones bribing and bending the politicians to set the laws so that they would favor the big companies.

I would really like to see, what laws are being broken by each copy-phone. For that, some grounds should be shown as well. If laws are being broken, there is the real reason not to buy any of these.


d posted a comment   

shanzhai is a chinese term coined only within the last few years. it means fake. and originally it referred just to mobile phones. but now the term's use has expanded so much, it replaces the original word for fake. shanzhai celebrities, shanzhai furniture, etc etc.


palabattle posted a comment   


Recently, there are many brands of China or Singapore Mobile Phones and almost of them are fake mobile phones with cheap price. The article beneath will give some information about the harmful things of China and Singapore fake mobile phone.

Fake Mobile Phone Made In China and Reasons Why We Should Not Use It

iPhone Hocamdao (iPhone Hồ Cẩm Đào), a name given to China fake mobile phone in Vietnam, or many copy brands mobile phone from Samsung, Nokia, LG etc… All of them often have no manufacturing license and warranty. They have no operation system and java support (j2me), many functions on these mobile often hard set up on system and unable to set up more if customer want to. Although these mobile phones have cheap price with many interested functions and good trading, but there are many complex and intricate things that make China fake mobile phone become a big trouble for customers.

First of all, camera function of fake mobile from China has only 1.2 – 2 mega pixels although the statistic on its cover stretches that its ability is more than 3 – 5 mega pixels. Also, the real quality of its taken pictures is worse than those of the regular cell phone with the same mega pixel statistic. In addition, the zoom function in camera has problems, the function is showing in the cell phone but uncontrolled; it is just a fake function and useless. Furthermore, the size of the taken pictures is really just about 384 x 256 for maximum size although it shows that the size for pictures is 640 x 480. Finally, there are some more functions for user to correct the quality of pictures but they have no effected.

Secondly, the slide show of pictures on these fake mobile phones has only effective for some type of digital pictures like bmp, gif, jpg and png; but the png and gif are only expressed in these mobile phones with the size 640 x 480. In addition, only every digital picture has slow quality which is about not over 800 x 600 size and limited amount of colors could be able to manifest in these phones. Therefore, some of digital pictures which are made by Photoshop or digital camera are not able to exist in these fake mobile phones. Finally, if the customers want to obtain these digital pictures for their mobile phone, they must be correct the quality of digital pictures before install them into their phone.

Thirdly, the music player function on fake mobile phones has no ability for playing wma files. Wma file is a most common type of digital music on other music player equipments. So it is a big gap for music player on fake mobile phones. Finally, they are able to play some types of digital music like acc, au, mid, mp3 but unable to stick the time while playing music.

Fourthly, the video player function on these mobile phones has bad quality and difficult for users. It is nearly impossible for users who are not good in information technology. The video player only plays 3gp and mp4 video files with the quality are not over 20 frames per second, a slowest quality of digital video. In addition, the video player also plays the video file incorrect time dual to the sound and pictures. Also, it is picky in playing video files which able to play on other mobile phones. Therefore, if the customers want to play the video files on these mobile, they must correct the quality of them before install into their mobile phone; it also take a lot of time to correct the video files on computer. Finally, there are some more functions in video player of fake mobile phones like equalize the bright, contract and auto repeat of video, but they are uncontrolled; there is only auto repeat video player has effective, and the others are ineffective.

Fifthly, games on these fake mobile phones mean nothing in its functions; because the phones don’t support java, so how games could be being on them? Of course these mobile phones are also unable to install games any more. Most of China fake mobile phones are using many model functions, so the games for them must be suitable for its system; that why these fake mobile phones haven’t game for playing because the unable to installed. If there are some of fake mobile phones have some available games on their system, so they could be played; if not, the customers are unable to install games any more.

Sixthly, GPRS connecting couldn’t be installed on these fake cell phones because they originally don’t support GPRS themselves. There are many ads declare that these fake mobile telephone could use GPRS and even there are some functions for installing GPRS on these mobile phones, but when we attempt to install GPRS for these cell phones, it doesn’t effect, nothing can’t be done. As a result, these fake cell phones its self unable to use GPRS anymore; by the way, these cell phones couldn’t access internet either.

Seventhly, the sound on these fake cell phones is very small and boor quality. When using the cell phones in public place, it almost unable to hear its voice because its sound cannot get overthrow noises. Therefore, audio files must be increase the level of sound before install into the cell phone; often the audio files increased 3 or 6 times higher than original sound. But although the audio file is already increased its sound, it also makes a lot of noise or cracked voice during its playing just because the sound is over increased and break its voice structure. In addition, there are some functions in the cell phone to increase the quality of its sound like Classical, Treble, Party, Pop, Rock etc. but they don’t effective. Finally, due to the trouble of its sound, the fake cell phone is hard to make a conversation at public places; so the customers must be but the cell phone next to their ear to hear its voice although they using the hi-free.

Eighthly, the search contact function on these fake cell phones has some trouble too. For example, when user enters the key words for searching, the result often shows the wrong contact although user input right the name of finding contact. Therefore, users sometime must use the original search contact function stay deep in the cell phones to search the contact they want. So it takes a lot of time for using this function.

Ninthly, the eBook reader function on these fake cell phones is boor quality; it only read txt file, a file that content word or number as text script using on computer, and no longer able to read other types of eBook. So it is poorly to transfer other type of eBook into txt file; also all of the formats of text script will gone out if we transfer the eBook into txt file.

Tenthly, television function on cell phones is a key to appeal a lot of customers for using the hi-tech cell phones; but in fake cell phones, this function is very poor quality, it doesn’t catch any basic channels although the signal is in good condition. Even though we but the fake cell phone next to the television station, it also cannot catch any signal too. In addition, even the cell phone its self has an antenna, the signal is obtained and the cell phone able to process the television, but its scene doesn’t in good condition, because it is very shocked and every frame distant in one second.

Finally, the ten events about China fake mobile phone just mentioned above makes a caution about the harmful of fake mobile phone in market today. Fake mobile phones and other fake products from China make a lot of trouble for customers inside and outside our country today, so we should look carefully and pay more attention for our purchasing in market today. This article its self makes a picture about the damaging effect of fake cell phone from China and Singapore to caution customers and help customers to point out the bad side of China fake mobile phone.


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