In china whilst discussing the most recent cell phones and gadgets the word shanzhai is bandied about to explain fake or counterfeit phones with similar features to those of the mainstream manufacturers.The fake phone market is booming with high end cell phones being cloned and reproduced as quickly whilst the big brands can manage to get thier products to the market. The fake handsets are attractively priced, often undercutting the genuine phone by a huge selection of pounds, but there are obviously potential pitfalls the buyers may encounter.

On the face of it, the phones are given in by reputable shops in shopping malls across China, and are given in sleek well produced packaging which looks OldIronsidesFakes a as effective as the genuine product, some of the phones will soon be have now been carefully copied using logos from Sony Ericsson, Apple, and Nokia, whilst others are rebranded with a phony id similar to that of the telephone they are trying to fake.

The phones with a phony 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 telephone reveals it is a convincing fake handset.

Cutting the Corners

Producing cheap phones requires even cheaper components, many users will quickly discover this, usually the fake mobiles will employ a basic operating-system with limited scope for the consumer to improve even the most basic settings, the limited functionality also becomes apparent with too little support for common applications such as java. The digicam fitted to the fake handsets will often not surpass the customers expectations or of those quoted on the box, often an alleged 5 mega pixel camera will materialise as a 1-2 mega pixel camera, a poor sensor will enhance the disappointment returning small images that won’t scale up when utilized in a pc.

The listing of inadequacy continues, the music players on many of the fake phones only support a limited range of file extensions, mp3 is generally supported but the most frequent file type wma isn’t, resulting in frustration amongst customers as music tracks need to be converted on PC before being transferred onto the phone. The same could be said for the video support the phones offer, dated technology can be used to supply some function, but the conventional quality of 20fps video offered by the fake phone manufacturers will soon be below that of the genuine product. Furthermore, the grade of playback will soon be vastly suffering from the utilization of low power and low quality speakers.

Other drawbacks that may be apparent on these fake or shanzhai handsets is quality of other key features, GPRS, TV reception and gaming. Of the phones tested many could receive GPRS signals, due not to having a radio fitted, the fake phones will sometimes manage to receive TV broadcasts, but usually the picture 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 cell phones, excessive cost of the large manufacturers phones is cited as the key reason for producing the fake phones at low prices. Other critics though argue 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 not enough warranties.

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