iPhone 4 Knockoff Review

June 30th, 2010 in , , , ,

iphone-4-knockoff-review

You are looking at China’s iPhone 4 wannabe. It’s the new king in the knockoff market, built to look like a real iPhone 4 while doing its best — with features like a front-facing camera with flash, removable battery, and that outrageous imitation of the industrial design, no one would say that this knockoff is not cool. We got one in Shenzhen and here we have all the details about it in our full review, so read on to find out!

While Apple is selling the iPhone 4 like hotcakes, the knockoff makers join in the game with their iPhone 4 knockoff, allowing people to snag one of these in China right now for just $700 Chinese Yuan (about $100). When we got our eyes and hands on this iPhone 4 wannabe, it’s clear that the features in this knockoff are drastically different from the original…

Hardware

Perhaps the most attractive part with this iPhone 4 knockoff is the awesome imitation of the industrial design from the real iPhone 4. The knockoff makers seem to have completely emulate the iPhone 4’s hardware design with the highest quality materials they have, and here they bring us a striking look and feel.

Industrial design

At first sight, I almost mistaken it as the real one. The appearance of this iPhone 4 knockoff looks so similar as the new industrial design of iPhone 4, and it’s real thin. The finish is perfect, but it’s not as solid as the original. The moment I hold the phone on my palm, it feels plasticky, but I can feel that it’s made up of durable materials, slightly better than the real iPhone 3GS. You get a stainless steel band which wraps around the sides, top, and bottom of the phone, just like the real iPhone 4, but it does not act as an antenna. For the display, it’s 3.5 inch in size but we’re not sure what’s the exact resolution of the screen. Of course it’s not a retina display and we think the overall quality of the screen is fairly acceptable.

The iPhone 4 wannabe is 10.3 mm thin, which is just 1 mm thicker than the real iPhone 4. On the left side of the phone, you get three buttons. With the two round buttons, you can adjust the volume and navigate options up & down. For the third button, it acts as a shutter button for you to take pictures, and you can also press it to launch the camera app right away.

There’s a power / sleep button and 2.5 mm non-standard headphone jack located up at the top of the phone. Along the bottom is a speaker, and a connector port for you to charge the device, or sync with your computer. I need to tell you that the speaker sounds really great, having the same quality as the one on iPad.

The backside of the phone is made from plastic, not like the ultra-strong glass on the original. For the rear camera, the manufacturer claimed that it’s a five megapixel camera, but we found out that it’s only 0.3 megapixel, and there’s a LED flash beside it, plus an Apple logo.

On the back of the phone, it said it was 64GB, but we checked the internal memory and found out that it’s only 64MB. This is quite funny.

Before getting any deeper on its features, you need to know how to get started with this phone by watching the video below.

Yup, you can remove the back cover to access the battery, insert the SIM card and micro-SD to expand the 64MB storage in the phone. This is something different with the original.

Cameras

The two cameras on this iPhone 4 knockoff are really basic. With 0.3 megapixel, we took really bad pictures no matter how hard we tried it. However, we are surprised to see one more LED flash located at the front too, and you have on / off / auto settings for the flash. Both of the cameras on the front and back are only suitable for quick snaps, and you get to choose between 5 different kinds of image sizes, (80X60, 160X120, 320X240, 320X480 and 640X480) when capturing a picture. You can also adjust the image quality, white balance and effects. Take a look at the camera shots below which we have taken with the iPhone 4 knockoff.

For the video recording, we were badly disappointed. The recorded video is in MPEG 4 format, but it looks damn crappy for the quality. We’re not sure if the built-in camera is suitable for capturing video, but I can say that it’s a waste of time to record video with this phone. It’s totally a different story with the real iPhone 4. Since the recorded video is so bad, we’re not putting it up here so I hope you would not mind about it.

Around front, we didn’t find a chance to try the camera for video calls since we’re not sure how to do it with this knockoff… The extreme low megapixel is a big problem, but I think it’s okay for simple snapshots, just don’t expect it could do the same as the real iPhones…

Software

As far as I know, the knockoff makers are always doing a good job on the hardware, but it’s totally opposite for the software. This iPhone 4 knockoff packs a “non-smartphone OS” that works just like the Symbian OS that we have seen on mobile phones ten years ago. The software is weak, but includes all kinds of apps including “Safari”, “Mail”, “Games,” “Sound” and, last but not least, FaceTime. Of course it’s not the FaceTime we are seeing on the original, it’s a software called “Imichat” and the manufacturer named it as FaceTime… The included Mail app is just a MMS feature, not email. Well, there are some stuff which doesn’t disappoint me too much, like the fake Safari web browser which really allows me to access web pages through Wi-Fi. Yup, I forgot to tell you that the device is included with Wi-Fi but there’s no 3G, you can take a look at the video below showing the web browsing experience on this phone.

The Internet speed on the phone is quite fast with Wi-Fi, but we have problems on showing Chinese language on some websites. It does not support flash since we can only see blank boxes when accessing YouTube. Facebook and Twitter can be accessed as well but the layouts of the sites look terribly messy on the display of the phone. Next, we tried to play music and video files, and it comes out great and acceptable.

Surprisingly, you can play music in background while handling other apps on the phone. It’s definitely not multitasking, but we are satisfied with it. For the videos, it looks like the device only supports 3GP and MPEG4 formats, the playback seems smooth enough without any lagging. What’s more, we have played around the photo album app on the phone, but it’s not as good as we thought..

You can’t flick through your photos, no zooming in and out with the pinching action, you can only tap the thumbnails to view the pictures… This is not good. It also takes some time for the thumbnails to load before you can tab into it. The image viewer software supports JPEG and GIF image files, and the slideshow function looks good but it’s still not encouraging me to view photos on the phone.

Overall, the software is too weak to use it. It comes with Java too, for playing games and so on… The whole bunch of apps you seeing on the homescreen are some shortcuts which allows you to access the settings of the software without looking here and there. Also, I had a difficult time on touching the icons since the touch function is not working well on the software and maybe the display. Bluetooth is included and the phone just lacks Chinese support in its languages options. So, we think the manufacturer should add a few more options and improvements for this iPhone 4 knockoff…

Battery Life

This is important for many people, and we have some good news to report. The battery life on the iPhone 4 knockoff is not bad, and it exceeds our expectations for longevity during testing. We’ve only had a short time to use the phone, just three days at most, but it managed to survive 18 hours under normal usage with a single charge. Basically, we’re talking calls, playing music and some videos, surfing the web over Wi-Fi for a few minutes, and a little bit gaming. We started from 9:00AM on a Monday morning till 2-3:00AM on Tuesday without plugging in the charger. Well, if you are keeping the Bluetooth on and maximum brightness for the display, I guess the phone needs to be recharged within 10 hours. So, it all depends on how you use the phone, and the handset comes with an extra battery when you are purchasing it.

Wrap-up

Alright, this iPhone 4 knockoff is the best iPhone wannabe on the market right now. It has the beautiful appearance of iPhone 4, but doesn’t look as durable as the real one. There’s nothing to be afraid on this knockoff since it does not contain reception issue or yellow spot on screen… It’s working perfectly okay but you need to have second thoughts on its crappy software. This may stop you from buying the phone but if you just love the industrial design which Steve Jobs described as “beautiful, old Leica camera,” then this is the right phone for you. One thing we don’t like about is the touch screen, it’s not responsive and you definitely need a stylus to control the phone. We are expecting to see more iPhone 4 knockoffs coming in the next few months and we wish this model here, the Air Phone No.4, will be updated with Android and better internals, especially the camera. It’s tough to keep our wallets away from this incredible iPhone 4 knockoff since it’s selling for just $700 yuan (about $100), but there’s never been a better time to get a real iPhone 4.

P.S. It’s only available in black…