Fakes, which are elegantly called “analogues” or “copies,” have cluttered the market. And it’s one thing when sellers openly call fake AirPods fake AirPods, and quite another when they sell them under the guise of the original. Apparently, this is where the talk about the terrible sound quality comes from (although in real AirPods it’s not so super) “apple” headphones, signal loss and other strange things. We bought fake AirPods, AirPods Pro and a couple of other accessories, after which we undertook to compare everything with the original Apple accessories and were surprised.
Shopping at a kiosk in one of the major markets in Pakistan drew about Rs 580: AirPods of the second generation with a case for wireless charging cost about Rs 145, AirPods Pro – 340, about Rs 96 we paid for several USB Type-C / Lightning cables and a quick charge cube with an output to USB Type-C – it is now being put into boxes with the iPhone 11 Pro . Such a set of original accessories would draw about Rs 2400: AirPods Pro alone cost about 1451 in Pakistsan. But what if there is no difference?
There was no doubt that there are many differences between real and fake headphones, so we started the comparison with a charger – in appearance it is generally one to one like the original. Here you need to be very careful: the difference is literally on the level of sensations, and even constantly dealing with original accessories, you can inadvertently make a mistake and not reveal a fake.
In appearance, the original and fake cubes are exactly the same, and the difference in the gaps must be studied under a microscope. To the touch – a nice glossy plastic, matte “core” also does not give out fakes. The inscriptions are very similar, the cube itself is in a protective film, which again seems original. And even the teeth of the plug are not placed in parallel, but with a little house to each other, in order to better stay in the socket of the outlet:
But it’s worth looking at the USB Type-C connector, as everything becomes clear: it is literally skewed, and now it immediately catches the eye.
Further, more: between the pins of the plug there is a seam that is almost invisible, but well felt with fingers or a fingernail. By the way, there is another indirect sign by which it is possible to determine a fake. The fourth digit in the long serial number (bottom line on the charger) is the year of manufacture of a particular product instance. In our case, the original has a nine (C4H9), that is, 2019. The fake has a figure of eight, but it can be any other number: in 2012, for example, Apple hasn’t released such charges yet, therefore, the number 2 can’t be on the original either.
On the original charge, it is also there, but much smoother – at first it seems that there is no seam at all. To admit, the cube inspired: before the experiment, it seemed that we would instantly distinguish the original from the fake, but it turned out that everything was much more complicated and the difference was real in the smallest details. Even the seller of one of the Apple stores, who compared the original and fake cubes, admitted that he did not immediately notice the catch, but still the USB Type-C curve gave a fake. The charging speed of a smartphone from a non-original device turned out to be relatively comparable with the complete cube from the iPhone 11 Pro: in 15 minutes, the same model of the smartphone received 21% of energy using the original Lightning / USB Type-C cable, and native charging gave 27%. But with fake wires, the situation was much worse, but more on that below.
Signs of the original:
- The USB Type-C connector is straight.
- There are two separate protective stickers on the cube.
- Details are fitted flush.
- The seam between the pins of the plug is not felt with a finger.
There might be surprises with the cables, at first glance, but the fakes we got were pretty rude. Firstly, the original wire must be inscribed in light gray font “Designed by Apple in California. Assembled in China ”(or Vietnam, where they are also available), followed by a serial number.
On one fake this inscription was not at all, and on the other, let’s say, it would be better if it was not there either. Someone didn’t have much luck with English: “Dosigned by Applo in CaliforniaA in China.”
Nevertheless, this fake in quality of execution is closer to the original cable: this also applies to the thickness and fitting of parts. And even the insides of the USB Type-C connector are white, not black, like the full noun.
Unless with the color of the Lightning contacts, the problem came out: in the original they are silver, while in fakes they are made in gold. An important point: the older Lightning / USB A cable (in the boxes of all iPhones except 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max) has golden contacts, but the new Lightning / USB Type-C has silver contacts. Fake manufacturers apparently still use old stocks with golden contacts, so visually it is very easy to determine if the original is in front of us or not. In addition, the real cable around Lightning will never have plastic burrs, sagging or seams.
There is another difference from the original, but it is already implicit: if you bend the wire, the fakes immediately break, and the real cable is twisted more roundly. In the long run, this will affect durability: the original, especially with careful handling, is more durable.
But most of all we were surprised when we stretched three cables: it turns out that the concept of a meter is relative. The length of the original is 106 centimeters, fakes are 100.6 and 97 centimeters.
The most important thing is how they charge. If the original wire with the fake cube in 15 minutes “fed” the iPhone 11 Pro by 21%, then the fakes for the same time gave the smartphone only 11% and 12% when using the same charger.
Signs of the original:
- Silver Lightning pin (Lightning / USB Type-C cable only).
- The inside of the USB Type-C is white.
- Mandatory presence of the inscription “Designed by Apple in California. Assembled in China “(naturally, without errors).
- At a kink, the cable is more elastic – it bends with an arc, and not at an acute angle.
Apple’s top-end headphone model pleases everyone except the price: here is a chic (for “plugs”, of course) active noise reduction, convenient gesture control, a pleasant “transparency” mode, good battery life – but the cost is biting. A fake cost us much less.
Even with sealed boxes, it’s easy to see where what. Firstly, the original will definitely have a tongue with an arrow – you need to pull it to remove the polyethylene. There is nothing like that with fake AirPods Pro. Secondly, the seams on the original polyethylene are thin and even, the film itself does not wrinkle, as if it were soldered over a lighter. The bottom part also shows serious differences: the fit of the lid and box on these headphones is much more accurate, the gaps are minimal. There is one more nuance: the color of the original cardboard is “warm”, slightly yellowish, and in fake the shade is closer to gray.
The covers themselves are not very different in appearance, and it seems that outwardly, without picking them up, you won’t feel the difference at all. And here we notice an amazing thing: there is nothing in the place of the diode – there is just a hole in which the tip of a toothpick or needle will easily enter. The original has no such disgrace.
Already when the cover was tilted, there were a lot of differences. The first moment: the lid opens at a different angle. In real AirPods Pro, it swings open by more than 90 degrees and more or less firmly maintains this state – if you put the cover in the open form on the table, the cover will not slam. In the case of a fake, the lid opens 90 degrees and constantly closes when it is not needed, literally from the blow of the wind. There is also a nuance with fitting the lid itself: it goes a little to the sides and in the original, but there is less movement than in fake AirPods Pro, and in general there is no feeling of slackness – the cover of the fake case can be easily shifted diagonally, unlike the original.
If you remove the rubber seals that are inserted into your ears, then all questions regarding how to distinguish the original from the fake, immediately disappear. Just look:
More interestingly, the original headphones do not fit in a fake case, as well as vice versa: fake AirPods Pro do not fit into an authentic case.
The biggest surprise for us is that the fake connects to the iPhone in the same way as the original. Previously, a true sign of a fake was a classic connection via Bluetooth settings, while real AirPods connected to a smartphone via a pop-up menu, it was enough to bring the case with the headphones to the iPhone and open the lid. But now fakes can also turn the same trick: animation pops up, the user is asked to do the initial setup, insert the earphone into the ear, and so on. In general, do not fall for this method of connection, fake AirPods Pro can easily be confusing. But there is a thing that thanks to Apple is impossible to fake.
Only real AirPods will be displayed in the “About this device” settings section: there is an AirPods item that indicates the manufacturer, model number, its serial number, firmware version and hardware version.
Another point that surfaced when comparing the original with a fake is that the original AirPods Pro, when connected for the first time, offers to configure Siri activation, but there is no such option in fakes:
As for the sound, from the first seconds after turning on absolutely any composition, you can distinguish the original from a fake. Firstly, the sound of the fake is terribly flat and wheezing. Secondly, switching between active noise reduction and “transparency” modes does not change anything at all. In fact, there is no active noise suppression in the fake: the sounds of the environment filter only rubber nozzles, while the real ones honestly cut off external stimuli.
Signs of the original:
- Label on the packaging film.
- Display headphones in the settings section “About this device” (this is the most reliable way).
- Request Siri settings.
- The lid of the case holds tight and almost does not wobble.
- The button on the case is pressed quietly without a loud click.
With the regular version of the headphones, everything is about the same as with the Pro-model. The case cover of real headphones also turned out to be stronger, it does not walk with a shaker. There is another difference, which is most noticeable in direct comparison: the different colors of the LEDs – in the original, it is darker and duller, but in the fake it beats in the eye like metropolitan traffic lights at night.
But the headphones themselves can hardly be distinguished: at some point it seemed that we had already mixed everything up. But here the smallest details like technical information on the headphones have already been helped out (the font is different). And of course, charging fake headphones from the original case will not work. It’s enough to insert AirPods in your ears so that questions about originality disappear: the fake has an unpleasant ringing in the background – very quiet, but annoying, as if the mosquito has already aimed at the vein. Sound is complete darkness, about how to put a music column in a metal barrel. The compositions are deaf, the instruments lack brightness and purity of sound, heavy guitar parts simply merge into an indistinguishable mess. It is clear that ordinary AirPods sound far from their price tag, but they are definitely better than fakes.
Signs of the original:
- The cover of the cover is not loose.
- The click of a button is silent, without a loud click.
- Display in the settings section “About this device”.
- Request Siri settings.
- Label with an arrow on the package.
The comparison showed that the fakes are very close to the original, and some things can be noticed only with a direct comparison. To make matters worse, even in such cases it is not always obvious at first glance where the fake is. You need to be extremely careful with accessories: there are differences, but you need to compare them step by step with the original. In the case of headphones, there is an ironic sign of the original: only real AirPods (which are ordinary, that Pro) are displayed in the “About this device” settings section. And of course, the sound quality is generally incomparable, it is impossible to make a mistake here. The general rule on how to distinguish a fake from the original: look at the manufacturing features. Apple products in terms of performance are almost flawless: no nicks, uneven connectors, plastic flows, slack panels, a sense of cheapness. Fakes cannot boast such high quality.