Chinese manufacturers are famous for their ability to roll out uncanny knockoffs of successful products, and Apple’s iPhone is no exception. Literally hundreds of iPhone knockoffs have come out of China, ranging from empty shells with the LED Apple logo lit up to exact copies (until the phone stops working and you crack it open to find all the parts are in the wrong place). Here are the best of the wannabes.
Here are our ten favorite wannabe phones:
We had to start the list off with the Prada for two reasons: one, because the name is so closely associated with great design, and two, because the design here is so flagrantly an iPhone it’s hilarious.
Seriously, Prada? How often do you complain about those evil pirates stealing your clothes, and then you turn around and do this? We’re going to buy knockoff handbags without wincing, now.
9. LG Dare
LG, on the other hand, should really know better. So, your big innovation on the iPhone is…to mess up the icons on the screen? Really? That’s your big sales innovation? Sheesh.
The oPhone is the first of many fine Chinese products that will make this list, but it comes first because this is from a respectable manufacturer. Lenovo is what IBM’s computer division used to be before IBM became a trivia question. And, we see they’re carrying on the torch of innovation that led to IBM being taken over by a Chinese company in the first place. We think they just recycled the case from a Palm for this one.
7. The tPhone
Of all the competitors on this list, the tPhone gets the praise for being the most gutsy. They don’t even pretend they’re not ripping off the iPhone, they just get right in there and even steal the Apple logo, flipping it around so that, well, we guess that if you look in the mirror you can pretend you own an iPhone (image: chineseornot.com).
6. The 200 Fashion Mobile Phone
The 200 Fashion, on the other hand, is just kind of sad. It’s like they wanted to do an iPhone knockoff, they were so close, but the touch screen thing just wasn’t affordable, so they kind of stuffed a keypad down at the bottom and called it a day. There’s nothing sadder than piracy that fails.
5. The A88
On the other end of the spectrum is the A88, a knockoff so perfect you won’t even notice it’s a knockoff until you look more closely at the icons on the screen, and try to use the phone (which isn’t exactly a zippy, fun-filled experience) and realize you’ve been had. As counterfeits go, this one is awesome. Also, illegal.
4. The HiPhone
Second place in the fairly convincing knockoff sweepstakes is the HiPhone, which is just like the iPhone, but not quite enough for Apple to sue, because other than looking exactly like it, it’s one letter off. Somehow, we don’t think the Jimmy Hart Version laws really apply to consumer electronics, guys.
3. The C-002
The C-002 missed first place for one reason; that screen is terrible! Even in the few ugly as heck JPEGs we found of this thing, it looked like somebody had run over a monitor from 1995 with a steamroller. Who was this going to fool? The blind? The technophobic? It’s the details that make a forgery, people! I mean, really, if you don’t even care enough to get the details right…
2. Meizu M8
Of all our knockoffs, the Meizu M8 deserves credit for actually bothering to inject some of its own design elements. Instead of just looking completely like an iPhone, it injects a little bit of its own style into the mix. Granted that style makes it look like it’s from the late ’90s, but it’s a start, anyway.
1. CECT P168
Our number one phone gets the top position for a very simple reason. It’s kind of exactly what you imagine when you imagine “iPhone knockoff;” something with the same design that’s just not quite as good as the original.
For us, the hilarious part is the speaker grills drilled into each corner. They kept the speaker grill from the original iPhone design, but added another four. It makes this thing look like it’s made out of Lego. Or that it’s a kid’s toy. But this is apparently a fully functional phone. It’s just kind of ridiculous looking.
Although that pretty much describes all of the phones on this list…