I bought a fake phone, what next?

Great! You fell for that iPhone or Android smartphone with wonderful specs going for a mouth-watering price only to discover that you’ve bought a clone / fake. It happens even to the best of us. Clones are getting more common so it was only a matter of time before you came across one.

What is a fake or clone smartphone?

A copycat and fake are two different things. A copycat simply copies many or most features of another phone whereas a clone advertises or claims to have certain features which it doesn’t really have. Fakes mostly target popular brands so as to leverage on their popularity and defraud unsuspecting customers looking for deals on these brands.

How do I spot a clone?

First off, if the price is too good to be true, it probably is. If you’re ordering online then the seller would likely use pictures of the original device to throw you off. In such a case, genuine-looking reviews are what to look out for. You also want to lookup how long the seller has been on the platform and the store rating.

If you’re buying the device physically then you could compare the outward design to pictures of the original. Power up the device to confirm the specs using diagnostic apps like Hardware Info (Android) and iTunes / Apple store  / Siri for iPhones.

If you’re not allowed to power up the device then ensure you’re purchasing from a store with a physical location, not a seller on the move.

What can I do now that I’ve realized its fake?

Try to return it if you can. If not, you’re stuck with it then. You’re probably thinking of upgrading the software to be at par with the original but that’s not feasible in most cases. Why?

First off, lets say the phone promised you Android 11, 4GB RAM, 64 GB Internal storage and a recent Qualcomm / Mediatek chipset only for you to see Android 4.4,  512MB RAM, 8 GB storage and an old Spreadtrum (Unisoc) chipset, where do you even begin?

Its very unlikely you will get an Over The Air  (OTA) update. With most fakes, you’ll be lucky to even find a stock rom let alone a custom rom. Its always a good idea to make a copy of the firmware before you attempt any modification to the OS should you decide to.

Is all hope lost?

I wouldn’t say so but you clearly won’t be using the phone for what you’d hoped  There’s be several limitations to deal with. RAM, Internal, Chipset, 3G / 4G / 5G signal, battery etc.

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