Attack of the clones – How to spot a Xiaomi fake!

Xiaomi is one of the leading phone manufacturers in China and this has drawn the attentions on the counterfeiters, who will happily try any trick they can to part you from your hard cash. Xiaomi phones have quickly become a luxury icon, with limited stocks available around the globe, with restricted stock in certain markets selling out with seconds.

So what is it?

I recently purchased a Xiaomi phone from Aliexpress.com which was referred to as being a 1:1 clone, purporting to be an exact replica of the real Xiaomi Mi3. To clarify this, there is no such thing as a perfect replica. These phones are just cheaply made imposters, that have been hacked and programmed to lie about the details of the inner workings. This particular phone was setup to be an Nvidia Tegra 4 Mi3 TD phone which are quite hard to come by and would be the perfect match for mobile VR use due to the ultra low decoder latency.

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What did I get?

I certainly did not get the 2GB Tegra 4 based phone I was after, in reality what was sent to me was a very cheap MediaTek MK6589 with 512MB RAM.

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How easy is to identify?

This is where the trouble start, there are various apps that can “identify” what the internals are, but they seem to rely on Android OS reporting this information accurately. I tested CPUZ, 3D Mark, and Aunututu, mostly these gave me a false impression, only the MediaTek Uncle Tools could give me a real indication to what was going on.

 

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Still insists its Tegra4

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With 1/4 of RAM

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Only 1/10th speed of the real thing!

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Finally the actual Specs

 

But it’s still like the real thing right?

No, what you end up with is a very cheap phone, the phone vibration feels like the motor came out of a Christmas cracker and any games are launched just simple crash, kind of ironic given that it was meant to be designed for gaming in the first place.

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