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Christmas Gift Guide

No prizes

Tell 'em the price son

One to the challenger

Satisfaction guaranteed?

Stuck?

iPad Micro maybe?

White versus silver

Lies, damned lies

iPed

Expanding baseline

Right wing

On top

Google versus Apple

Usain Bolt and the tortoise

My eyes, my eyes!

Resistance is futile

Doogsl with glasses

Joy

No joy

Play him out Keyboard Cat

More than meets the eye

Same, same, but different

Same, same, but different, part II

Same, same, but different, part III

Whee!

How close can a team of anonymous designers and engineers get to a real iPad for one-sixth the price? We take an in-depth look at both an M-003 knock-off and the real deal.

It doesn't take an Einstein, a rocket scientist or even a degree from Bovine University to realise that the unit on the left is the wannabe iPad, while the one on the right is the real deal.

But, before we go any further, let's take it back to the start...

Caption by / Photo by Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia

The fake iPad was purchased for 750RMB (AU$120) from an electronics market in Shanghai and even from the box alone it's pretty easy to discern which is which.

Caption by / Photo by Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia

One facet in which the fake trumps the Jobs-endorsed product is in the box design. With its hinged lid, the fake iPad's box is easy to open. The top of the real iPad's box, on the other hand, must be shaken and wiggled free from the bottom half — a task that must be done fairly carefully when you're dealing with AU$600-plus of easily broken glass and electronics.

Caption by / Photo by Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia

What? No white power adapter!? Tell 'em I want my 750RMB back!

Caption by / Photo by Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia

Don't expect much help from the fake iPad's manual. Not unless, that is, you have a passable command of written Chinese.

Caption by / Photo by Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia

The fake has a 7.9-inch (20cm) screen, while the Cupertino-designed model has a 9.7-inch (24.6cm) display.

Caption by / Photo by Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia

If you've always craved and desired a white iPad, bagging a fake one may be a good idea.

Caption by / Photo by Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia

Despite its rather bold 64GB claim, the fake iPad actually only has between 1 and 1.5GB of usable storage space.

Caption by / Photo by Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia

The developers of the fake iPad don't mind branding their product as an "iPad", but feel the need to rename the iPod application to iPed on the box. No, we don't get it either.

Caption by / Photo by Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia

Apple's never been fond of giving its iPod, iPhone and iPad owners much in the way of device expansion, unless it's via the company's proprietary connector.

The fake's bottom edge features (from left to right) a power connector, microSD card slot, its own proprietary jack for computer connectivity, a 3.5mm headphone port and a USB port for flash drives.

Caption by / Photo by Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia

The right-hand side of Apple's iPad (top) features a volume rocker and a switch to enable automatic screen rotation. The fake iPad (bottom) has a volume rocker and the unit's power switch.

Caption by / Photo by Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia

On the top edge of the real iPad (top) is the unit's 3.5mm headphone jack and power switch; these are located elsewhere on the not-so-original version.

Caption by / Photo by Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia

The fake unit runs Google's Android operating system — version 1.6, if you're really curious — while, of course, the real thing uses iOS version 3.2.1.

Caption by / Photo by Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia

What can't be borne out by this photo gallery is how incredibly underpowered the fake iPad is compared to the real deal. From a cold start the fake item takes a minute and a half to boot up, by which time you could have started up and shut down a real iPad three times.

For more information on how the fake iPad launched us into a deep state of lugubriousness, check out our full review of the M-003.

Caption by / Photo by Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia

As you well know already, the real iPad features a pleasant to behold 9.7-inch glass-topped capacitive screen that boasts a resolution of 1024x768. The plastic screen on the fake version is warped around the edges, only has a resolution of 800x600 and is nowhere near as bright nor as vivid as the real item's.

Caption by / Photo by Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia

The fake iPad's resistive touchscreen requires quite a firm prod for clicks to register and the unit was often confounded as to whether we wanted to click, swipe or hurl it into a sturdy brick wall.

Caption by / Photo by Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia

Because of the touchscreen's recalcitrance, the keys on the virtual keyboard aren't quite big enough. With a bit of care we were able to type "doogsl with glasses" instead of "dogs with glasses" — the keyboard's most common mistake was confusing our attempts to mash backspace with our desire for the letter L.

Caption by / Photo by Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia

Given how poorly the fake iPad handles single touch, we're glad it doesn't support multi-touch.

Caption by / Photo by Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia

Videos are fine, with a few provisos. You must be a big fan of blocks and artefacts, and you must absolutely love the supplied sample video — we were unable to successfully play any other videos.

Caption by / Photo by Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia

Despite the presence of a YouTube app, the device refused to play any of the site's videos; this is one device even Keyboard Cat can't get to.

Caption by / Photo by Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia

It might look like a Home button to you and me, and for the purposes of the lock screen it is. Everywhere else, though, it functions as a back button instead. To go home, there's an on-screen button located in the top-left corner. Odd.

Caption by / Photo by Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia

The fake iPad ships with what looks to be an Apple connector. It, in fact, is a proprietary design all of its own and doesn't work with a real iPad (above) or vice versa.

Caption by / Photo by Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia

That being the case, the fake iPad doesn't quite fit onto Apple's iPad charging stand.

Caption by / Photo by Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia

Nor does it work with the iPad keyboard.

Caption by / Photo by Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia

In case you're wondering, after the fake iPad slid down the keyboard it didn't impale itself on the waiting metal spike. Shame.

Caption by / Photo by Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia
Updated:
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