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Sunday, 13 September 2009

Dad Has Got A New Phone

An "iPhone", no less.

The first time I saw it, I laughed my ass out. It was a made-in-China knock-off. You know the kind of Prada which looks classy 5 metres away but hilariously cheap when you spend more than 5 seconds looking at it? This was something like that.

So I'm writing a "review" for it. Haha.

1. Unboxing

The phone came in a stylish black box, much like the genuine Apple iPhone. Even its box design is a direct carry-over. Head over to GSMarena to check out the real thing.

The box set comes with the A610 "iPhone", a spare battery, one set of handsfree, one external battery charger (along with adapter), and a USB cable.

2. Phone Design

The physical design, of course, is a mirror of the Apple iPhone. Some key differences include
a) a smaller 3.2" touchscreen (no idea resistive or capacitive)
b) lack of additional sensors such as proximity and ambient light sensors
c) an ugly loudspeaker grill, spoiling the smooth surface of the "iPhone"
d) a TV antenna, located at the bottom right corner. Why is it pointing down?

My Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1 looks like this with its battery cover removed.

Click to view high-resolution image.

The A610 "iPhone" looks like this with its battery cover removed.

Click to view high-resolution image.

The words Changjiang made me laugh again.

You'll notice two SIM card slots, flanking a microSD slot. The microSD is blocked by the battery, so it isn't hot-swappable. I tried inserting my microSD - it fitted perfectly physically, but the A610 "iPhone" didn't seem to detect it at all. Is that microSD expansion slot even real?

After that I began doubting whether it was a dual-SIM phone at all. Perhaps it was even a null-SIM (I tested it without a SIM card).

3. Batteries (yes, two)

Two batteries are provided in the package, one labelled in Chinese and another in English.

Both of them show the same specifications, though, with an output voltage of 3.7V and charging voltage of 4.2V, in-line with typical Li-Ion batteries.

What shocked me is their capacity. My X1 boasts an incredibly huge (both in terms of physical and capacity sizes) battery of 1500mAh, occupying almost the entire back panel.

The A610 "iPhone" battery, covering 50% of the back panel, physically half my battery's size, however, boasts a 3600mAh battery.

Hello...? This kinda capacity only applies to laptop batteries so far. I'm absolutely sure that X1 battery has mobile phones' biggest capacity when it was released last year, earning its nickname Hercules.

Click to view high-resolution image.

When placed side by side, the A610 battery really seemed like a big joke to me. One big, finely made battery, covered with a plastic wrapping, on which printed big letters of its manufacturer, accompanied with various ID numbers, date of manufacture and two genuine holographic stickers. And another small battery wrapped carelessly in black paper, showing no manufacturer's information at all but a capacity of more than twice the former.

What the hell.

I have no idea how long the batteries last on the A610 "iPhone". But with another "3600mAh" spare battery, you should at least have a false sense of security.

If that kind of capacity turns out to be real, please do not place the spare battery in your pocket or risk burning your butts off.

Click to view high-resolution image.

The A610 comes with an external charger, useful for charging your spare.

4. Interface and Functions

I personally think they made a good job copying the physical appearances of the iPhone. You'll have to agree with me after seeing its software side for just two seconds.

OK so they got the "unlocking slider" right, although the default wallpaper (even though of an attractive girl) is far from stylish.

Unlock the slider, and you'll find the similarities diminishing.

The icons aren't nice. The font is ugly. Nice gradients are nowhere to be seen. There's only one page of the homescreen. No extra icons can be added or customised or modified or anything. Nothing can be installed because it is not a smartphone. Safari can nowhere be found.

Tap on any icon, and it gets worse.

Tap on the phone icon, you get this. Ugly, but still usable.

Menus look like this.

This is so not iPhone.

Well, at least it sports a 3.2" screen, bigger than my X1. Perhaps the on screen keyboard is nice. So I tapped on the messaging icon.

But I was so wrong. Because this is what I got.

The icons are so puny, they're actually smaller than the typed text! The very insensitive screen made text entry even worse.

The camera is downright lousy (0.3 megapixels, at most). White balance is inaccurate. No autofocus is on board. Start up is slow. Details are low.

Then there's no 3G support. No Wifi. To be fair, none of these technologies are available in China. However, the phone totally lost my interest at this stage and I don't even care if it has Bluetooth at all.

You'll notice, however, that the A610 "iPhone" sports a TV receiver. Signal wasn't that strong, though. I managed to get some noisy pictures accompanied with no audio at all, unless you count all the white noise.

One ridiculous thing is there isn't any way to turn off the phone at all. However long you hold the power button down, all it does is turn off (or on) the screen. The only way to turn it off is to remove its battery. Thank goodness they made the batteries user changeable, leaving us an option to turn the blasted thing off.

5. Verdict

The Changjiang A610 "iPhone" is physically a good imitation of the real thing. It even comes with several advantages iPhone users can only dream of, including a TV receiver, dual-SIM card slots, microSD expansion slot, and user changeable batteries of a capacity so big it's (literally) unbelievable.

And all this at a price tag of RM600 too (estimated, asking dad for its price tag is like asking him how much money he was conned), 25% of the real thing.

So yeah, go for it. Just make sure you don't show it off to anybody younger than the age of 50. And don't forget to keep the enormous battery some place safe.


  1. ... why did u dad buy a pirated i phone?
    we all know some of the pirated stuff are horriggible

  2. wah you up so late. i can't sleep haha. since i have to wake up in like one hour anyway, might as well do something.

    aiya my dad is computer blind. totally the opposite of me. so imagine my surprise when he bought a touch-screen phone. aish. i would have recommended Nokia 3310 for him lol. no idea why he chose that one. i try not to talk about that in front of him haha

  3. Hi. i just saw this. HAHA! I have the very similar phone and the features were all right! Actually I've been smiling while reading through your post. I have been using this phone for a long time now and it's still functional :) And hey, there is a way to turn it off! Long press the top button and the slide to shut down. :)))) Even though it's fake, I so love this phone cause it's cute and always mistaken to be a real iphone :D

  4. Well that's all. Haha. I was entertained to relate to your post because I have my own A610- the one very similar to your dad's. Regards! :)

  5. Well that's all. Haha. I was entertained to relate to your post because I have my own A610- the one very similar to your dad's. Regards! :)


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