iPhone 5 Knockoffs in China Being Sold for $70

Want an iPhone 5 right now? Head to a phone shop in China, because someone there will sell you one. The device may even look how the rumored next-gen phone is supposed to look, but just don’t expect it to work like one.

Chinese news site Hexun recently did some undercover work at a local phone shop in China to expose the new “fake iPhone 5” black market. Posing as a customer, their reporter asked whether the store had received the latest model of the iPhone, you know, the one that was supposed to be “cheaper.” Taking the hint, the store’s sales clerk reached underneath the counter to present not one but two iPhone 5s, complete with Apple logos on their backs but labeled on the front as the Q5 and the i5. The sales clerk quickly admitted that the phones were merely “high imitations” of the iPhone 5 and not the real deal.

Commenting on the quality of the fakes, the reporter noted that many of the superficial design elements were spot on, like perfect imitations of the iPhone’s buttons, ports, and frame. But the knockoffs also get many of the important details wrong. For example, the Q5 phone runs an unfamiliar JAVA-based OS, has only 8 GB of memory despite advertising itself as having 32 GB, and generally has a sluggish response to finger input.

The fakes also use a resistive touchscreen—official iPhones use capacitive touchscreens—the difference being that resistive screens are cheaper to manufacture but don’t support multitouch.

iPhone 5 Chinese knockoff

iPhone 5 Chinese knockoff, rotated to show the phone right-side up.

The cost of these fake iPhone 5s? A mere 450 yuan, or $70 in US dollars. The sales clerk noted that the cost of these types of phones were mostly determined by the type of touchscreen, with the more-expensive-to-manufacture capacitive screen usually adding around $20 to the price.

Sales of the knockoffs are slow, the clerk admits, with the shop only selling one or two a day. The reason being, the clerk claims, is because the phones just came out in August and customers do not know about them yet.

*Update* Added a video showing off one of the supposed Chinese iPhone 5 knockoffs.


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