1. The Phone’s Look And Design
Famous phones from brand names will often have many researches and testers whose primary concern is the appearance and feeling of a phone. This research teams devote many hours to testing different appearances and designs in an effort in an attempt to produce a phone with a good look and is within the price range that has been set.
The off brand Chinese phones will usually skip this process. They most commonly will purchase a pre made case mold and then fill that with their own components. These moldings will often be similar internationally famous brands such as Sharp or Apple, and unfortunately this tendency makes many of the phones made in China look like fakes (in fact, that often is exactly what they have in mind when they bought the mold). Why this is so, besides cashing in on more famous brands recognizable looks, is that it costs less to buy and use phone moldings made by other companies than it is to be like the big boys and invest in the research process (not to mention finding reliable partners to mass produce your mold).
2. The Phone’s Installed Chipset
Phones from famous brands use a variety of different chips for the cell phones that they make. Often these chips that are used are done so based on performance given vs cost of purchase. Chipsets with high MHz processing speeds are incredibly useful when a phone needs to run some of the newer apps and functions, so are necessary for most smartphones. Phones marketed to a lower end base can use chipsets that have a lower processing speed, letting the price of the phone be reduced.
The Chinese made no name phones are incredibly likely to be using only the MTK chip. The MTK chips from MediaTek Inc have two generations currently used in most of the phones.
The MTK6225 is generally used for lower end phones, and not only giving a phone normal functions like calling and messaging, also gives the phone the possibility of a touchscreen, WAP internet browsing, and basic media features (like a camera/ video camera, MP4 player, MP3 player, ect).
for higher end phones, there is the second generation MTK6235 which comes with faster MHz processing making lager screens possible, higher res cameras, 2.5G connection using EDGE, and internet connection via Wifi.
MediaTek Inc’s chips are not comparable with chipsets from famous name brands if looked at from potential power and speed, however, to the Chinese no name cell phone makers, they are a boon seeing as they can recreate many last generation phone’s features and cost less to boot (and being easy to obtain).
3. The Phone’s OS (Operating System)
Branded phones very commonly have made an OS that differentiates itself from other phone’s OSs, such as the Blackberry OS or OS X iPhone. When a company wants to save a little money they may purchase the rights to an OS such as Windows Mobile and leave it unaltered, or modify it to suit their own needs.
Chinese off brand phones will most often use the same OS, known as the nucleus OS. For them, this is a very good choice as this OS is known for its light weight architecture for ease of programming, not using too much processing speed (necessary given that the phones are using the MTK chipset), being easy to find and purchase, and still giving the ability to make a phones interface look slick if done right. All this adds up to less time and money spent while the phone is being developed.
4. The Phone’s UI (User Interface)
Branded phones will have custom made user interfaces built off their OS. This is done in order that the phone can have a unique look and feel that separates them from the pack of other cell phones.
No name phones also are able to create many different and unique user interfaces even if they are only using the nucleus OS. However, they often use their creative license not to make a brand new UI that could distinguish them from other UIs, but to recreate a more famous UI from branded phones. This is done either to complement the phone’s molding (which was also taken from a brand phone) or a quick and dirty way to make a slick looking interface that is already proven to be popular. An copied interface most often seen on these phones will be a variation of the icon driven interface that the iPhone made famous.
All in all, the manufacturers of the no name brand phones do have the capability of creating some really interesting and unique devices (in casing and in interface) as famous brand name phones, but since they wish to keep cost down and profits high they will take shortcuts. One piece of advice I offer is that anyone looking to buy “branded” goods from China take very good care. Their catalog may include tons of “Name Brand” phones at surprisingly (almost unbelievably) cheap prices, and it might even look just like a actual model, but that possibility that they are not exists. This is good advice to remember when you buy phones from China that you think are branded.