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.
But, before we go any further, let's take it back to the start...
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.
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.
What? No white power adapter!? Tell 'em I want my 750RMB back!
Don't expect much help from the fake iPad's manual. Not unless, that is, you have a passable command of written Chinese.
If you've always craved and desired a white iPad, bagging a fake one may be a good idea.
Despite its rather bold 64GB claim, the fake iPad actually only has between 1 and 1.5GB of usable storage space.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
That being the case, the fake iPad doesn't quite fit onto Apple's iPad charging stand.
Nor does it work with the iPad keyboard.