Goophone made our day when it unveiled an iPhone 5 Android-based clone even before Apple got to introduce its new handheld, and then when it threatened to sue Cupertino, but ever since early September it got awfully quiet on the Chinese knock-off front.
Still, we knew that Shanzhai never sleeps, so it was only a matter of time until someone else again tried to replicate the iPhone 5’s design. And this time after actually getting to see the final design.
Meet the Zophone i5, a $200 clone that could make even Dolly the sheep jealous. The Chinese 4-incher not only Xeroxes iPhone 5’s dimensions, but even sports the same 1,136 x 640 pixels resolution, which goes to show you that there was actually a lot of thought put into making this doppelganger.
Zophone couldn’t of course make its i5 run on Apple’s iOS, so it went for the (better) alternative of Android. Unfortunately, the clone is not very up to date in terms of software, so it only runs a skinned version of 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
The hardware configuration is itself not ideal for a high-end smartphone, but, at only $200, you pretty much get what you pay for. That is a dual-core 1.2 GHz Mediatek MT6577 CPU, 1 GB of RAM, 4 GB of on-board memory, a rear-facing 8 MP shooter, a VGA front-facing cam, microSD support, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1, and a 1,400 mAh battery.
The manufacturer’s dedication in coming up with an ultra-faithful replica of the iPhone 5 even extended to details that we never thought we’d see cloned, including Siri and the Lightning connector. And while we definitely appreciate Zophone’s commitment and “professionalism”, we can’t help but think the i5 would have been so much better with Jelly Bean, Google’s voice assistant and a traditional connector.
Oh, well, you can’t have it all, can you? The i5 lacks Android 4.1, while the iPhone 5 lacks a sensible price, a solid OS, an inspired design, hardware from this century and a number of other things that I'd rather not detail any further.
Before wrapping up, I should tell you to not hold your breath for ever seeing the Zophone i5 go on sale outside China. Then again, you might as well fly to Asia, grab the phone, do some sightseeing, fly back to wherever you live, and still manage to save some money compared with what Apple is asking for the new iPhone. Anyone ready to embark on such a journey?