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These 5 Apple knockoffs and look-alikes are actually worth buying

You can have the look of an Apple gadget without the huge price tag.

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One of these costs about $130 more than the other.

Rick Broida/CNET

There's a reason why Apple tech is so popular. The company's computers and mobile devices are incredibly powerful. But they're also trendy, in part, because they're so beautiful to look at.

No, seriously. Take one look at the clean, simple design of a solid aluminum MacBook Pro and try to tell me that it isn't beautiful. It's impossible! Can't be done! It's too pretty!

Naturally, this kind of beauty comes at a high cost. But if you're interested in the aesthetic look of Apple's best (and you're less interested in cutting-edge performance), you can get attractive-looking, Apple-inspired tech at a fraction of the cost. Here are some of the most Apple-like accessories, Androids and PCs we've ever seen.

Note that CNET may get a share of the revenue if you buy anything featured on our site.

There's a lot to love about the current range of Apple iPhones: They're gorgeous devices with blazing-fast processors, awesome depth-sensing cameras and Face ID. But there's something not to love about them, too: their prices, which start at $749 and run all the way up to $1,500 for the current-year Face ID models. 

There is a much more affordable alternative, however, that's clearly inspired by the iPhone's design: the roughly $330 Xiaomi Mi 8 (right). It's got a look-alike notch in its AMOLED screen and a look-alike stacked dual 12-megapixel camera setup on the back. It even offers facial recognition.

The Android-based Xiaomi Mi 8 isn't perfect, and there's a more powerful version available (the Mi 9) with a 48-megapixel main camera and 2019's Snapdragon 855 chip (versus the Mi 8's older Snapdragon 845). But that new phone doesn't have the same look-alike feel, and it runs roughly twice the price.

Anker/Amazon

It won't talk to you. But this Bluetooth smart speaker certainly harkens to a HomePod in its rounded edges. Even better: You don't need to keep this one plugged in, as it comes with up to 10 hours of battery-powered, wire-free playtime. And oh: This one's waterproof, too.

We haven't yet gotten our hands on this particular model to review, but we like Anker products in general. No, this won't sound nearly as great as the HomePod. But considering the 89% savings -- $32 versus $300 -- we're OK with that. (And hey -- if you're freaked out about smart speakers listening in on your conversations, maybe a dumb one isn't so bad.)

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Apple Watch is an amazing device -- it features a wide array of sensors, integrates seamlessly with your iPhone and… well, let's admit it, it's a sexy-looking status symbol, too. But it's an expensive status symbol: The fourth-generation Apple Watch starts at $399 at the Apple Store. It's marked down a bit at Amazon and elsewhere, but even the Series 3 sale price starts at $199.  

If you're looking for a similar smartwatch that won't break the bank, you should check out the $80 Amazfit Bip. I know, it's got an absolutely ridiculous name. And, yes, I know: When you get too close to it, the bezeling doesn't really come close to that of the Apple Watch. But we're talking reasonable facsimiles here. 

And according to CNET's own Scott Stein, this "complete fitness smartwatch that's a remarkable bargain" has a great set of features, too: This Apple look-alike offers weeks-long battery life (your Apple Watch will need to be charged nightly), GPS, water-resistance and an always-on display.

It's not a fully polished device like the Apple Watch. Some won't like the plastic design, limited watch faces and lack of apps. But if you just want the look of an Apple Watch with its basic features, the Amazfit Bip is a great option that'll save you a ton.

Rick Broida/CNET

Apple's AirPod wireless earbuds are iconic. Their design is immediately recognizable. And the earbuds have a great set of features: They pair with your phone automatically, have well-balanced sound and last for upwards of 24 hours on a single charge. They're also pretty expensive, starting at about $159.

If you're looking to save major scratch but you still want to keep that AirPod aesthetic, there's a small handful of devices available. CNET's own Rick Broida says the $29 AirSounds (pictured above, alongside Apple's AirPods) "sounded pretty darn good," and can invoke Siri with a double press of its power button. If you squint, you won't be able to tell the difference between the two brands.

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The AirSounds get the job done on the cheap, but a better-sounding option is the Soundcore Anker Liberty Air. They look a lot like the Apple AirPods, but feature a noise-isolating design with soft silicone tips, a charging case and bass performance that is better than the AirPods in CNET's testing. And at around $80, they're half the price of Apple's buds.


Huawei via Amazon

Apple computers have long had a reputation for being solid, powerful devices with outsized prices. And though the new-for-2019 models have great new features -- the 2019 MacBook Air now has Apple's True Tone display and the 13-inch MacBook Pro now has a touchbar -- you can't buy either of them for under a grand.

But if you just want the look -- and the cachet -- of the MacBook on the cheap, feast your peepers on the $899 Huawei MateBook D. Yeah, we know: The brand is currently caught up in both legal and trade-deal wrangling between the Trump administration and China. And while we haven't tested this specific model, we have been very impressed by its step-up siblings. This one's got an Intel Core i5, 256GB of storage and even a decent Nvidia MX150 GPU, but you can find lesser configs for $700 or less. The catch? Yes, it runs Windows 10. Keep in mind, though, that back to school deals have the newest MacBook Air models selling for around the same price.