How to Spot Cheap Copycat Tech Brands Online
Buying a product online comes with a risk not associated with buying from traditional stores, how can you be sure you’re getting an authentic product? Here are a few quick tips for spotting counterfeit tech products, but there’s a caveat there, too. Sometimes the counterfeits are actually pretty good.
1. Same product under multiple names.
If you’ve ever browsed around on Amazon or eBay and saw the same product from several different manufacturers, you may have wondered to yourself why that’s the case. The simplest answer is that a factory somewhere in China is cranking out the product and selling it to other retail companies who then brand and market the product as their own. Check out this 3.5mm speaker accessory compared to this one. They’re the same product with different branding from different companies.
You may think rebranding something as small as a 3.5mm jack speaker is as far as it goes, but even smartphones and tablets are getting that treatment now. Amazon’s promotes BLU smartphones in its Prime Exclusive section, but BLU smartphones are just re-branded Chinese tech.
You can spot these rebrandings using names like Coolpad, Doogee, Gionee, and Elephone.
2. Design copied from a popular product.
Most knock-off products try to copy the design of a popular product to pass it off as being the same thing. Take this Onda tablet, for example. It is designed to mimic the iPad Air but instead offers users the option to dual boot into Android and Windows.
Not all products with copied designs are bad, however. OnePlus is a popular smartphone maker that is a subsidiary of BTK, a company that also owns the Chinese smartphone brand Oppo. All of the current OnePlus smartphone designs are taken from an Oppo phone and rebranded for use in the international market.
Another typical example of this trend is Chinese manufacturers taking the form factor of a popular product to make something else entirely. This type of copycat can be seen in the many handheld game emulator devices that are being sold on Amazon and modeled after popular Nintendo or PlayStation handhelds.
For example, the GPD XD Plus is currently available on Amazon and looks exactly like a Nintendo 3DS XL, down to the placement of the buttons and the lack of a second screen. However, the device is loaded with a custom Android ROM that allows emulators for NES, SNES, Genesis, N64, and many other emulators for retro gaming to-go in your pocket.
3. Products are usually much cheaper.
A good way to identify knock-offs is the price associated with them on their seller page. This type of copycatting can commonly be seen in fitness trackers that mimic the design of popular (and expensive) wearables like Fitbit.
Take this no-name Kybeco Fitness Tracker that is available under multiple different names on Amazon. The design is ripped straight from the Fitbit Charge HR 2, and it costs about 60% less than the Charge HR 2. The Kybeco can be had for as little as $31 while the Fitbit Charge HR 2 starts at $149.95.
Sometimes imitations can work in your favor, learn about how to Find the Best Airpod Clones for technophiles on a budget.