Sunday, 1 August 2010

Would you like to buy an iPhone?

One of the things you hear in a market, is requests to buy rolexes or phones. Now, I was fully aware that when someone asks if I want to buy an iPhone, I am unlikely to actually be buying an iPhone. The guy started at around 700-800 RMB and as I kept walking away and returning, he went down to 450 RMB. Now that is approximately 97 NZD, which is what I paid for my bare bones Nokia. So buying a dual sim card cell phone with touch screen and a variety of interesting features for that same price, was worth doing just to see what I got.

The box shows a picture of an iPhone. Ooh, a cell phone with maps functionality..

2010-08-01 - Sciphone - 01 - Box

The bits and pieces inside the box. A USB cable, a custom headphone cable which also acts as an antenna for the radio functionality, a spare battery, the phone and a simple manual.

2010-08-01 - Sciphone - 02 - Components

The back case is certainly promising. 32 GB and an Apple logo. Both lies! The memory in the phone is actually around 512 KB and the phone is certainly not an iPhone.

2010-08-01 - Sciphone - 03 - Back case

Taking the back case off, which is not hard given it practically falls off, reveals the innards. A mini-SD slot, which can take a card with space of up to 8 GB I believe. Two slots for sim cards, both of which I have tested. And the model of the phone, which is a SciPhone i9+++. Quad band support is not bad, so this should work for both of Telecom and Vodafone/2degrees back in New Zealand.

2010-08-01 - Sciphone - 04 - Innards

The locked screen shows the state of each sim card. And has a slidable widget thing which allows it to be unlocked.

2010-08-01 - Sciphone - 05 - Locked screen

Once unlocked, the main menu is shown. But no maps! However, there is a Java button for what it is worth. I haven't tried out any applets. Maybe I could get Chron-o-meter working on it. If I recall correctly, it needs an SD card to give it extra memory. The phone has a tilt sensor or whatever it is called, so if I turn it sideways the menu screen will go horizontal. Holding a finger down on a button results in the ability to move that buttons position. You can drag the screen left or right, to access additional menu screens there.

2010-08-01 - Sciphone - 06 - Menu vertical

One of the many option screens. In this case showing the many multimedia related options. I need to buy a mini SD card before I can try them. Or stop being lazy, in the case of the radio.

2010-08-01 - Sciphone - 07 - Multimedia

The radio screen. When you first enter it, a popup displays requesting that the ear phones be connected so that an antenna is available.

2010-08-01 - Sciphone - 08 - Radio

The batteries that comes with the phone are pretty lacklustre. Apparently, people buy more effective Nokia batteries and use those instead. And you also need to buy a mini SD card to make the phone more effective. The phone would actually be pretty good for the price, if I cobbled together a way so that the back cover stayed affixed. However, not having done any of these things, and because it is not as light as my current Nokia, I keep it in the cupboard for now.

When I hooked up the phone to my laptop via the USB cable that comes with it, the phone displayed a new menu. This gave the option of accessing it as a USB storage device, a webcam or something else I cannot remember. Given this is a knock off of an iPhone, I can't help but be impressed by the amount of functionality that makes it up. If they only polished the last 5%, it would be quite a bargain and well worth buying. Oh, and it has a stylus slotted into the side.. erm.

This was an interesting "buy a knock-off at a market" experience, at least. Maybe I'll fix up the phone and give it to someone as a gift. Or put it up on TradeMe, when I get back to New Zealand.

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