Little time bombs


THE sale of cheap mobile phones, especially those from China are on the rise.

Needless to say, the manufacturers of these phones are way ahead of internationally renowned mobile phone manufacturers — television, Dual-SIM feature, web browsing, PDA, huge memory capacity, you name it! You can find all these features and sometimes even more in one single phone.

The best part of this all is these phones sell for a mere few hundred ringgit as compared to a model from, let’s say, Sony Ericsson, Nokia or Samsung, that costs more than RM500 and does not have all or either one of these features.

While browsing the stores recently, the Eye was introduced to a phone model which looked very much like that sexy phone produced by Apple. The interface, touch screen and even the packaging were done up so well that at first glance, one would really think the Eye was holding an iPhone. While an iPhone fetches a four-figured price, this nifty little imitation was being pushed into the Eye’s face for just RM350.

“Ini offer price! Banyak bagus phone ini! Dia sama dengan iPhone, tapi ini RM350 saja. Very good offer!”

So the Eye decided to play-along with the sales promotion, “Ahh… let me see. Got warranty or not? This phone made in where one?”

“This one China manufactured one. Nowadays China phone best in the market. Haa… if anything, you just bring back here lah. One year we cover. But if screen haa… no warranty lah. If software or anything else, you just bring here, we settle for you boss. No problem one!”

The Eye fiddled around with the phone a little and checked it out as Mr Salesman explained its features. And Eye must say, for RM350, the phone was pretty impressive.

“Have any of your customers complained about the phone? So far any problems or not?”

“No problem! No problem! This phone very good. If got problem also because sometime software lah. The customer try to install his own software and then not ‘ngam’ with the phone. Otherwise no problem one. Ha… if you buy now haa, we give you free casing also. Here got charger, earphone, everything in this box. Got manual also… boss, RM350 only! Offer now. Got white colour. White colour very nice. If for lady we got pink colour also. But pink colour one small a bit and some feature don’t have. But that one got FM radio also. Can use credit card pay also. No problem one!”

As much as the Eye was intrigued by the technology, the ingenious imitation and ‘value-added’ features on the phone, an image of exploding phones and leaky batteries came to mind. The Eye does not want to lose a ear or have fried brains as a result of using mobile phones that have not undergone quality testing. A friend had once used an imitation battery that heated the entire phone when it was left to charge. His daughter had picked up to answer a call when she dropped the phone because it was just so hot.

Recently the Communications and Multimedia Commission had issued a warning about using cheap imitation phones that did not have Sirim safety and quality certification. The main areas of concern were the radiation levels caused by the frequency and also the quality of the parts used in the manufacture of such phones.

As for the nifty iPhone look-a-like, the Eye gave it a pass. The Eye would rather spend the same amount of money on a certified phone with basic features, than hold a little time bomb to the ear.