Top 12 Tech Knockoffs
Cheap knockoffs aren't limited to Ray-Bans and Rolexes. Read on for a look at an imitation iPad, a pirated Palm Pre, and more low-budget copies of popular tech products--often with features not found in the originals.
These days, tech products can say a lot about a person's style--and as with any fashion accessory, for every hot gadget there's somebody who can copy it. In this slideshow, we've rounded up 12 knockoffs of popular tech products from Apple, HP, Palm, Sony, and more.
These aren't all exact duplicates, though. While we can't make any guarantees about their build quality (or safety), many of these copies have features that the big companies didn't (or couldn't) include in the real thing--a touchscreen, for example, or a larger display. You'll also find some creative takes on familiar product designs, such as an iPhone Nano and a MacBook Air in black.
Note that we cannot endorse these products, so buy them at your own risk. Also, we've tried to include pricing information wherever possible, but many of these devices aren't sold online.
Let's start with a knockoff of a famous gadget that isn't even for sale yet.
Republished with permission from PC World (view original version)
iPad by Teso
Apparently Apple fans weren't the only ones to think that the iPad looks like a giant iPhone. Teso's tablet features a 10-inch multitouch display, an Atom processor, wireless Internet over 3G, and Windows 7, all in a package that mimics the iPhone design to a T. What's more, it will cost only $280--not bad compared with the actual iPad's $499 starting price ($599 for the 3G Internet version).
President Obama Sure Loves His, Uh, 'BlockBerry' Storm 9500
Little-known fact: During all the hubbub about the presidential BlackBerry during the 2008 election, the reporters seem to have gotten it wrong. President Obama apparently rocks the "BlockBerry" Storm 9500, not the BlackBerry Storm 9500--according to this ad, at least. Well, we have our doubts. Aside from the "BlockBerry" name, we doubt that Obama would wear an American flag pin that's backward.
Goojje, The World's Number 1 Search Engine
Why stop at copying hardware designs? Goojje.com may not have everything that Google has (an empire built on a game-changing search engine, and vast amounts of your personal data, for example), but it sure has the look, right down to the daily crazy logos. Fortunately, we're among the top results for Goojje.com's search rankings for "PC World". (Oddly enough, Goojje seems to be something more like a women-oriented social networking site than a search engine.)
The HiPhone Nano, following hot on the heels of the notorious "HiPhone" iPhone knockoff, adds a phone to Apple's iPod Nano design. While it might not be a smartphone, it still looks pretty cool with the two-part swivel design and the signature scroll wheel.
Here's a netbook inspired by the not-a-netbook Sony VAIO P, which costs so much ($900) that it seems to deserve a knockoff. Enter Malata's not-so-sexy PC-98905, a device that offers the same mini-PC design (complete with trackpoint) without the VAIO P's price tag.
Also worthy of mention is the Malata A805, another take on the VAIO P, which adds a touchscreen--and, at $600, leaves an extra $300 in your pocket. (Let's hope that $300 wasn't cut out of the company's safety and build-quality budget. Try this one at your own risk.)
This stunning take on a MacBook Air comes courtesy of Teso, the same company that delivered the iPad knockoff in slide 1. The BlackBook Air, however, doesn't pack the same punch that the MacBook Air does, due to its netbook-standard Atom processor; additionally, the display is slightly smaller (12.1 inches instead of 13 inches). But it certainly looks cool.
Acer Aspire One (Plus Two Inches)
Among all of the netbooks available out there, a decidedly solid-but-not-sexy model like the Acer Aspire One is a rather unlikely product to bootleg. Yet that's exactly what the Suncu 12 does, with one major exception--since rogue electronics makers aren't bound by Microsoft's netbook restrictions, this machine's creators decided to give their take on the Aspire One a 12-inch screen. Wonder what Acer makes of this?
The nod for the most unexpected knockoff goes to the CoolK07, an accurate copy of the Palm Pre (albeit one without the touted WebOS software, naturally). Sure, it looks pretty good at $127, but it leaves us wondering: Is the Palm Pre really popular enough to merit an imitator? We'll keep our eyes peeled for a Pixi Plus imitation.
Not Quite Windows Phone 7 Series
Though this selection is not technically a knockoff, we decided to include the ITG XPPhone as a testament to the creativity of lower-tier electronics manufacturers. The rest of the world might be anticipating Windows Phone 7 Series, but only the XPPhone gives you a full-blown desktop OS on your cell phone. (Whether you'd even want that on your cell phone is a different question.) That'll cost you somewhere between $400 and $650, though. Maybe a netbook would be a better idea.
Looks Like It Means Business
The Phecda P200 is an impeccable imitation of the HP Mini 5101, an excellent netbook that we liked enough to put on our Top 10 Netbooks chart. Clearly its makers nailed the look, from the form to the finish--but, honestly, the Phecda doesn't really hit the business-savvy note that the HP Mini 5101 aims for. A for accuracy, C for creativity.
They Said It Couldn't Be Done
The iMore Webook A600 has a 10.1-inch display, an Atom N270 processor, and Windows XP. It isn't a knockoff of any recognizable netbook model, nor is it a particularly creative take on popular design elements.
What this otherwise unremarkable netbook does have, however, is an internal optical drive--something we really don't see in entry-level netbooks stateside. Some people might be ready to give up DVDs, but it would be nice to at least have the option.
Save Money--Buy Generic
This curious little critter doesn't seem to have much in the way of identifying marks, but it shows up in bunches when you search on eBay for "netbook." It sells for under $100, generally ships from Hong Kong, and runs varying versions of Windows CE on an underpowered VIA processor. You might be tempted by the price point, but don't hold your breath waiting for us to lab-test it.