We’ve seen a lot of pretty accurate knock-offs in our time, but the latest offering, straight out of China is an impressive iPhone 6 clone called the Sophone i6.
In recent year’s China has become a hotspot for some pretty spectacular KIRF (Keeping It Real Fake) devices, like the GooPhone One that aped HTC’s original One (M7) before it had even launched. Today however, we’re looking at a wholly different Android (yes, Android) device – the Sophone i6, arguably an impressive feat of engineering in its own right, but even more so when it emulates the new iPhone 6’s smooth curves and thin profile so well.
The design itself features a metal unibody that could well be aluminium, we’re not sure. Its proportions are marginally larger than the real deal, but not by much, boasting 7.5mm thickness (the iPhone 6 is 6.9mm thick) and a lighter overall bodyweight at 125 grams. The reduction likely comes as a result of the less powerful internal hardware. That said it doesn’t appear to be a complete shambles on the inside.
The only real similarity between the Sophone i6 and the iPhone 6 are the battery capacities, as both sport an 1810mAh cell – let’s assume the latter will be the more efficient and reliable of the two though. There’s a 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek chip at its heart and 2GB of RAM, so it should feel relatively smooth in general use. Storage is a stiflingly small at 4GB, but there’s removable storage expandability by up to 32GB and interestingly it comes with dual-SIM capabilities – one SIM slot serving traditional miniSIM cards and the other taking on Apple’s preferred nanoSIM.
The hands-on video published by FastCardTech, who sell the handset also shows what looks to be a genuine reversible Lightning connector on the phone’s underside. Wireless connectivity falls to Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi b/g, GPS and there’s an FM radio, but the lack of NFC or 4G functionality is another big differentiator with Apple’s new flagship. Selfie fans will appreciate the 4.9-megapixel front-facing camera but don’t expect the 13-megapixel snapper on the rear to sport those fancy new Focus Pixels we keep hearing about.
Clearly time was taken to create a convincing double in the Sophone i6, but when it comes to the user experience, the team clearly slipped up. The 4.7-inch qHD IPS LCD displays a skinned version of Android 4.3 Jelly Bean running what they call an iOS 7 UI, but in truth it shows us what would have happened if Apple had stayed on the fence about Jony Ive’s radical visual design. By default the homescreens show iconography similar to Scott Forstall’s Skeuomorphic iPhone 5 interface, whilst areas like Command Centre and the dialler adopt the fresher aesthetic of iOS 7. It all makes for a bit of a mess.
As the pictures and video show, this knockoff is indeed an impressive attempt at emulating Apple’s new star player and for those who aren’t bothered by the smartphone maker’s authenticity, the Sophone i6 could make for an enjoyable alternative. Would you buy one? After all, it is only $140.
Image credits: FastCardTech.com