At the beginning the china phones merely were copies of Samsung, Apple or Nokia. With technological progress the chinese manufacturers however developed to building their own self-created smartphones with their own design. But the so-called clones have not disappeared completely, yet. For the following review we managed to find a cheeky copy of Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus that was created with the korean device as a “model” – with a precision that even includes the manufacturer’s logo. We are focussing on the question whether it is a technologically mature product or only a cheap copy.
About the purchase
The big and reputable online shops in China don’t dare to sell real clones. Even though the protection of trademarks is not taken as seriously in China as it is in Europe, it surely would cause trouble with Samsung or Apple if they were selling such products. So if you want to buy a Samsung Galaxy S8 Clone you have two options: either you buy it at a small online shop that dares to offer these devices, or you travel to China yourself and buy one there in person. You have to keep in mind that in both cases the device has to cross European borders. Since we are no experts in terms of law, we cannot say for sure if there will be any troubles and therefore we don’t give a buying recommendation. We bought our device in person in Shenzhen at an electronics market and payed about 80$ for it.
Samsung & iPhone clones in general
We examined various Samsung S8 Clones that all are produced at or around Shenzhen, China, and all house a Mediatek processor. Some have a Samsung logo and some don’t have any logo at all. On the internet you can also find Samsung clones by the manufacturer HDC. All of these Samsung clones only differ marginally. We suspect that there are only one or two manufacturers that spread all those copies. This is why we guess that this review can also be applied on HDC smartphones like the HDC S8 Edge/Plus. The sole difference is that clones sold in China, like our device, have a Samsung logo whereas it was removed on the HDC devices.
Design and build quality
Galaxy S8’s bezel-free design is a tough challenge for the Chinese copy-cats. But having a look at our Galaxy S8 Clone we see that they really did their best. With the display turned off you can barely see any bezels. Only when turning it on you notice that at the bottom and the top there are 6.5mm of bezel each. This is because the Clone has a 16:9 display instead of the original’s 18.5:9. The 2mm bezels at the sides are surprisingly slim, however. Apart from that the device and the real Samsung S8 look just alike. Place and form of earpiece, front and back camera, fingerprint scanner and Samsung brand are 100% like the original’s. On the top there is a SIM tray for SIM/microSD card and at the bottom there is a real USB type-C port and a 3.5mm audio jack. With its dimensions of 158*76*8mm the Galaxy S8 Plus Clone is slightly bigger and with 195g also noticeably heavier than the original. Therefore you can’t use protection covers by Samsung.
All in all the build quality is good, however, it can’t keep up with the original. The rear is only made of plastic and is therefore sensitive to scratches. The same is for the display, which of course is not especially hardened. Apart from these niggles, it is a nicely built product that cannot easily be identified as a copy.
Scope of delivery
The Galaxy S8 Clone is delivered in a box that looks just like the original’s. It contains accessories that were copied from Samsung with the same precision.
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus has an enormous 6.2-inch Display with a 2K resolution of 2960×1440 pixels. The Clone does neither reach this display size nor the resolution. Since the display is not bezel-less, it “only” has a size of 5.6 inches. The resolution is 1280*720 pixels. Therefore, we have a common HD display. With a pixel density of 262 pixels per inch it is possible to detect single pixels when looking closely. At first glance, however, the display is sufficiently sharp. Even considering other aspects it becomes clear that they did not use a cheap display. Brightness is on average for recent China phones for about 100$. Color representation is good and colors are displayed balancedly. In contrast to the original Galaxy S8, of course it does not house a SuperAMOLED display. Contrasts are on the usual level of a common IPS display and therefore black is not displayed as black but rather as a dark grey. Viewing angles, however, are great.
Another surprise is the touch screen. It can register up to 5 points of contact simultaneously and works fast and precisely. We would have expected a cheap 2 point touch screen. The display glass is not specially hardened and therefore should not be carried in the pocket together with keys or similar things. At least it is a curved 2.5D glass that is slightly curved at the edges and that feels pleasant when using it. So the display was able to convince us in general. The sole disadvantage is that the surface catches finger marks very fast, so you have to swipe it clean avery once in a while.
No one should be surprised by the fact that the Galaxy S8 Clone houses weaker hardware than the original. For 100$ you just won’t get a high-end hardware, not even in China. The phone’s software, however, was modified in a way that in all benchmarks and analysing tools it pretends to offer a Snapdragon 835 with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. Of course this is not the case. In reality the phone operates with the MT6580 low-budget processor by the Taiwanese manufacturer Mediatek, which is housed by many low-budget phones and intended for basic functions. Facebook and WhatsApp can be used well with Galaxy S8 Clone and surfing the internet is not a problem, too. You have to deal with some waiting time but all in all the devices runs well.
In terms of the smartphone’s gaming performance, of course there is an immense difference between original and fake. Simple games as Temple Run can be used with the phone, however, anything more than that is not possible, due to the performance. The 2GB of RAM on the other hand are a good size that provides enough space for some multitasking. The internal storage, however, only has 8GB of RAM (instead of 64GB). Therefore, there is not much space for Apps and multimedia. Luckily, storage expansion is possible via a MicroSD card and then it can even be used to save Apps. The speed of the memory module is extremely slow with 1.7GB/s (RAM) and 5MB/s writing speed and 48MB/s reading speed.
All in all Samsung S8 Plus Clone’s performance corresponds to a China phone in a price range between 60 and 80$. Using the basic functions is possible, but not much more than that.
Apart from the ridiculously phony design there is one more reason for amusement: Galaxy S8 Plus Clone’s software. They have installed a real Touchwiz Distribution with an up-to-date Android 7 Version. The looks is mostly like the real Galaxy S8’s surface. Google PlayStore is pre-installed and can be used just like that. There were no big problems or bugs in the system.
It gets really funny when using the pre-installed Samsung Apps. It actually offers a Fake Galaxy-Apps store that offers real apps for the download, even though this is not the official App store by Samsung. Still we would not recommend downloading Apps via this questionable store, due to safety reasons. Also, we were surprised that the device comfortably makes its updates via the integrated system App and via Wi-Fi. In the two months that we had our phone in the test it installed a whole 4 updates. The Korean manufacturer should probably take this mentality by the Chinese Samsung-phony as a role model.
Samsung Galaxy S8 Clone houses a 8MP cam on the rear and a 5MP camera on the front side. Here, as it was the case in terms of performance before, the smartphone does fall far behind the original. In good light conditions you can take pictures with sufficient sharpness and color representation. The quality is comparable to a 60$ China phone. On the small display the pictures look still okay, but opening them with you pc or laptop you will soon notice the missing sharpness and a grey bloom on all of the pictures. With only low light the camera fails to take any good pictures.
With its 5 megapixels the front camera is only restrictedly able to take good selfies. Here, too, it lacks sharpness and all in all the camera is more made for video calls than for taking pictures.
Samsung Galaxy S8 Clone offers a hybrid slot, which can’t be found on the original. You can use 2 Nano SIM cards simultaneously in the phone, but you can also use one of the SIM slots for storage expansion via microSD, instead. Samsung Galaxy S8 Clone does not support LTE.
Surfing the internet is no problem at all. Even in terms of calling quality we were surprised by the Clone’s performance. You and your calling partner can understand each other well and even talking hands-free is possible without big interference.
In order to use Wi-Fi there is a 2.4GHz module. Bluetooth is supported with the 4.0 standard. Both functions work well and you have an average reach. In terms of sensors the S8 Clone is considerably worse equipped than the original. It only houses proximity, acceleration and brightness sensor. There is no gyroscope, NFC of e-compass and the heart rate monitor on the rear does not work. However, there is a GPS sensor. Reception is not really good but it is sufficient for an occasional navigation.
The phone’s speakers are typical for a low-budget device. The sound is sufficient, but there is no bass and the sound is rather tinny. Connecting headphones to the 3.5mm audio jack, you get music in an acceptable quality.
According to our tests, the Galaxy S8 Plus Clone has a 2900mAh Battery. This value is according to the device’s runtime. With 5.5 hours in the PCMark battery test, the Clone comes out more lasting than expected. With a daily use of 3 to 4 hours of display-on time you can get through the day. Two days seem out of reach, though.