While the entire world of Apple fanboys are looking for any clues as to what the next must-have Apple iPhone will look like, the Chinese counterfeiters are already spawning fake devices based on those “iPhone 5″ case designs that have recently been circulating on the web. These “evil” counterfeiters have produced the “iPhone 5″ before Apple officially release it, and surprisingly, there’s one particular device, sports a taped edge design that was revealed by those case leaks. It is advertised as an “iPhone 5″ in mainland China, and Jesus Diaz of tech site Gizmodo has already confirmed he believes this to be the next design, with so much conviction he’s publicly stated he’ll wax his entire body and go vegetarian for a month if it isn’t. Well, we heard his words, and we decided to get some hands-on experience on this alleged iPhone 5 clone, to check out if it really sports the design of the iPhone 5. Here’s our full review, so read on to find out!
Before digging deep into our review, you may want to watch the shots below, introducing the highlights of this iPhone 5 clone.
This alleged iPhone 5 clone could hint at the design of the next iPhone. But we believe it’s not the design of the iPhone 5, it could be the design of Apple’s next “entry-level” iPhone. Perhaps the most notable change with the new iPhone knockoff is the drastic design overhaul — the knockoff makers seem to have completely rethought its strategy on how the phone should look and feel, and the results are nothing if not striking. We like the design. Its like a iPhone 3GS meets an iPhone 4.
At first sight, it reminds us the iPhone 3G and 3GS. It has the curved, plasticky, silver-bezeled look of the 3G and 3GS, and somehow we really like the smooth curves. When we look from other angles, it looks almost like an iPhone 4, but we don’t think it could be compared to a “beautiful, old Leica camera”. The knockoff makers have turned the casing and face of the device into something decidedly more detailed and sophisticated, and with great simplicity. As we have said, it sports that tapered edge design that was revealed by those iPhone 5 case leaks. Or it could be designed based on leaked specs within the industry.
This iPhone 5 wannabe is made up with hard plastic material adding up the appearance quality. The knockoff makers have added little details, modifying the silent button from slide-able to click-able. So there are 3 click-able buttons on the side.
With the new iPhone knockoff, the Chinese counterfeiters have kept most of the elements in the same general places as last time. The mute switch is not moved to the opposite side as seen on the case designs.
Shiny metal is used to wrap around the sides, top, and bottom of this iPhone 5 wannabe. We are no longer seeing iPhone 4’s stainless steel band on this phone. So, no more antennagate!
The backside of the phone is not made from ultra-strong glass like what we are seeing on the iPhone 4. It is replaced by decidedly cheaper-looking glossy black or white plastic. It’s not surprising, since the knockoff makers always use cheap plastic for “cost reduction”. The glossy back case attracts fingerprints to an unprecedented degree, but the black version is much worse, despite the fact that we otherwise prefer the color.
We still see a metal-ringed rear camera and LED flash on the backside of the phone. Looking at the “Apple” logo, we are very disappointed. The logo is very fake, it feels like a sticker, and it doesn’t shine. We even noticed that the logo is slowly coming off and getting smudgy. We first thought the knockoff makers etched the logos in the back with laser, but we now think they use other “technology” to cut cost. Damn.
Two screws are found on the unit’s bottom alongside the Dock Connector port, speaker and microphone.
The face of the device is NOT made up of extremely strong glass. It is just a plastic screen, it’s definitely not comparable in strength to sapphire crystal. It cracks, shatters when you sit on it.
A small slit for the earpiece and the front-facing camera are embedded in the plastic glass above the 3.6-inch display, with the familiar home button towards the bottom.
The home button feels less clickier than on our real iPhones. We always need to press it two times to get a response.
Overall, the iPhone 5 clone looks nice, but feels bad when you grab it. Its design has a few flaws here and there, but if Apple’s official iPhone 5 is similar in shape and in thickness, I’ll be one happy customer.
It comes in 3 colors!
White is cool!
Red is gorgeous!
It’s not just the face of the phone that’s undergone a transformation — the iPhone 5 clone is all… different inside as well. Don’t expect it to come with an A5 chip. It is powered by MTK6235 chipset, includes 24MB of flash storage, 64MB of RAM, and we are not sure what the clock speed of the processor is, we’re guessing it’s something below 600MHz. The phone feels laggy, and we have lots of complaints on it. The responsiveness of the phone just sucks. Other features include WiFi radio and Bluetooth.
It supports GSM / EDGE 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900.
The stock battery is 1000 mAh. And you get one more extra in the box.
It can host dual full size SIM cards.
And there’s a micro SD card slot.
iPhone 5 Clone vs. iPhone 4
The iPhone 5 clone is noticeably thinner than the iPhone 4 at .29 inches compared to .37 inches, and it weighs lighter than the iPhone 4 at 3.8 ounces (108 grams) compared to 4.8 ounces (137 grams). So, it’s lighter and thinner than the iPhone 4.
Interestingly, the iPhone 4 looks like a brick when it is put side-by-side with the iPhone 5 wannabe.
Home button is definitely different.
And the Apple logo on the iPhone 5 clone looks very fake.
The tapered edge design looks sexier than the flat design of iPhone 4.
It may be hard to differentiate which one is the real thing.
The cameras on the phone are crappier than we imagined. The phone sports a 1.3-megapixel rear camera and a 0.3-megapixel front camera.
The above image is captured using the rear camera at indoor environment. It is really difficult for us to take sharp and clear photos using the built-in camera, all of our shots looked really bad. With the flash on, we still don’t see improvements on our pics. We managed to take slightly better pics at outdoor environment, but we are still not satisfied with the shots.
There’s an option for a 5x digital zoom, and basic on / off / auto / settings for the flash. There’s white balance setting too. For the video part, we were definitely disappointed. We do not know how to explain, just watch the video below, that was shot and edited completely in-phone.
Even though the phone has dual cameras like the real iPhone, it only capture low quality photos and video.
The phone does not come with iOS 5… It just boasts a really crappy JAVA based operating system with the theme of iOS. The “laggy” UI is irritating, and we are frustrated on using it.
What we like? The Java games. Angry Birds is available in Java, and we spent almost an hour shooting birds! And we are able to play around with folders. Dragging the icons around and storing them into folders is the most magical thing we could do on this iPhone 5 clone. Onscreen keyboard is working well, but we just hate to use our fingernails or stylus to touch the screen. Anyway, everything could be better if the knockoff makers install Android OS into the phone.
Just like the real iPhone, you get cases to protect the phone. A case is included when you purchase this iPhone 5 knockoff, and if you want more, that will cost you 10 yuan ($1.50) for each. Pretty cheap!
And you get stylus!
When we were purchasing the phone, the Chinese vendor told us that the phone provides 5 hours of call time and 90 hours of standby juice. Well, we’ve only had a short time to use the phone, but in the week or so one of our colleagues has been carrying the device as his main phone. He managed to squeeze 10 hours of life out of a single charge using the phone as we normally would. He is talking calls, some gaming (Angry Birds) and sending text messages. He went from 9:00AM on a Friday morning till 7:00PM on the same day. And he terribly need to change back to his real iPhone when the iPhone 5 wannabe went dead.
Ok, this phone is “greatly” advertised as an “iPhone 5″ in China and lots of Chinese citizens are purchasing it from the Chinese online store Taobao. What we heard from the manufacturer of this iPhone 5 clone is that there’s a huge demand for it. It is selling very well in Shenzhen and is currently the best selling iPhone knockoff in mainland China. We are impressed by the speed of their “iPhone 5″ release, but we think Apple will begin to crack down on the Chinese counterfeiters who sell this iPhone 5 clone to customers. When we are using the phone, it doesn’t seem to have any of the iPhone 5 rumored details like a metal backing, wider screen, wider home button, and a more tapered profile. Although it comes with a horrible software, we still love its design — the fusion of iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4. We think the phone might be based on the design concepts which were circulating on the web. It could be very close to the real thing, but Apple’s iPhone 5 would definitely look more gorgeous. There’s no way Apple’s next iPhone would look like this, but if the iPhone 3GS and the iPhone 4 had a baby, this is how it would look like. And we think the new entry-level iPhone would look something like this.