Spotting a Fake: Original Smartphone or Clone?

Spotting a Fake: Original Smartphone or Clone?

Seeing a nice smartphone on sale sounds like a sweet deal, but how could you make sure you’re getting the bang for your buck? There may be a few deals here and there that look too good to be true, so you better watch out for ads that pose as original smartphones when they’re actually selling clones.

While most clones function okay, you won’t be getting your money’s worth as there are quite a few differences that might not be obvious at first glance. So to help you differentiate an original from a cloned smartphone, here are a few important reminders:


Get familiar with the phone advertised.

As with any purchase, research on the product you’re about to buy. A quick Google search will tell you all the features the original would have. Take note of these for comparison: the specific model number, the available colors, the software and hardware, and if there’s warranty included in the product.


Verify the features of the smartphone.

Clones would have features that are just different to that of an original. For example, a clone would have dual sim slots or an analogue TV that just wouldn’t be in the original version. Do be careful and inspect the features advertised as well. For example, if it says it has an 8-megapixel camera, make sure that it does and that the quality is up to par. Clones also differ in it’s memory capacity and OS, so make sure to inspect those as well.


Inspect and compare the appearance.

If you’ve seen an original version, you’d be able to tell upon inspection if the phone is a fake one. Ask the seller if you could inspect and watch out for the following:

  • The weight (most clones are lighter than the original counterpart)
  • Screen size

* Fake Samsung devices usually have smaller screens. As a general rule, there is very little distance between the screen and the edges of the phone in an original Samsung.

  • Location of buttons and battery
  • Quality of printing and finish
  • Quality control stickers
  • Overall quality

*Fake iPhones use standard Philips screws while original ones use pentalobe security screws. A pentalobe screw has five lobes that provide a tamper-proof system for the iPhone.


Verify with test codes.

Original Android devices would have a “test mode” that you can access by typing *#0*# on the keypad. When you do this, you are able to access a list of sensors the phone has which will allow you to verify if there are any missing parts.


Verify the serial number or IMEI number.

When you enter *#06# on the dialer of an original smartphone, you will be able to access your iPhone’s serial number and your Android phone’s IMEI number.

Ready to make a smartphone purchase on OLX? Make sure to keep these in mind during your meet up!

And as always, stay vigilant when transacting on OLX. For more tips, visit the Cybersecurity homebase.