Xiaomi is a popular brand in China and most of their products are fiercely copied, their powerbanks are one of the most duplicated and some factories do a great job of copying them, well almost. If you have no idea how to tell a fake from an original then this article will teach you how to tell if your Xiaomi is genuine.
The stuff we ordered
We decided to test 2 different models and grabbed the originals from our warehouse and the other’s from another online retailer who market themselves as having the best original gear including Xiaomi. The gear we grabbed from them;
- Xiaomi 10,400 mAh for 32 RMB (About $6)
- Xiaomi 16,000 mAh for 45 RMB (About $9)
So the first indication should be the price, Xiaomi official site don’t sell their power banks below $10 so it is unlikely any powerbank under this price will be original. Price alone is not a strong enough indicator though, you need to look at the actual features and then make the call. Our full physical comparison follows.
You might know before even opening the box!
Xiaomi powerbanks have an official certificate (sticker) on the side of the box and both fakes we had do not, this is one easy way to see originality before you begin to look at the actual unit..
With this certificate you can scratch the panel and reveal the serial number and then you can go online to the Xiaomi website and verify your purchase.
Linking in to this feature is also the user manual, one whole section about verifying is missing from the fakes.
A second indicator is in the manual; an original Chinese Xiaomi powerbank manual is Chinese, so if your manual is in English and you bought from a Chinese retailer then its likely a fake.
Looking at the outside differences
In most cases, you should be able to tell the originality by visually checking the powerbank to spot the few places where the knockoffs can’t quite match the originals.
The originals are on the left and have a matte finish and the “MI” is much darker. The fakes on the right are very shiny and have a lightly printed logo.
The lights are not only brighter on the knockofs but they also light up the plastic around the light holes in the case.
The fake on top has bright LED’s that light up the plastic case, the original has subtle white light that is confined to the holes.
The bottom text.
For whatever reason Xiaomi thought it was cool to make their labels really light and almost unreadable. The labels are darker on the fakes and it is something you think the factories could easily replicate, apparently not.
The website of this fake on the right (if you can see it) says xiaomi.com but the original and official site is mi.com. This photo also shows up close the difference in the finish of the aluminum case, the nice smooth look of the original on the left requires a more sophisticated machining process that the shiny fake industry is yet to replicate.
Ripping it apart: The inner details.
The differences really come alive once the covers are removed, the fakes;
- All seem to use white plastic and the original uses black.
- Use clips instead of glue for the top plastic cover.
- Have no screws to hold the plastic frame to the metal frame.
- The metal case has no internal rails.
- Lack the advanced circuitry and efficient power conversion components.
- Use non branded batteries.
- Have no thermal safety protection.
We have the comparison side by side photos below.
The main board of the original on the left and fake on the right. Note the temperature protection fuse that is wired to the two middle batteries of the original, the fake has no temperature safety sensor.
The back of the 10,400mah’s. The white fake case covers both the top IC board and the batteries.
Once the top cover is removed you can see the colour and shape differences of the inner mould. The black two on the left are original Xiaomi.
It’s all about safety.
The lack of some safety features and poor quality batteries are two real risks in sticking with fakes, they usually have a cheaper price tag but as you have seen they also lack the advanced charging and output circuits that Xiaomi are famous for.
Overall with a fake you get
- Reduced power efficiency, so your powerbank drains faster.
- Less protection during charging and using.
- Lower quality and potentially dangerous batteries.
- A weaker construction.
Limitations to this report.
Don’t underestimate the fake market, factories are always evolving and pumping out fakes that slowly get closer to the original. Because of this I can’t guarantee all fakes have the differences I describe. The outsides are likely to be updated to closer match the original however the main reason fakes are bad, the insides, are unlikely to be copied as the cost to do so would push up the price.
As always, shop smart and be sure to check the differences before you buy, if you can. We guarantee ours are original. What does that mean? Well, its never an exact guarantee in China, on the off chance a fake has slipped through our warehouse testing our gurantee means you will be refunded or resent another. Happy shopping and be sure to inspect your powerbank if you have one already as now you’re an expert at spotting fakes. Our Xiaomi’s are original and available here. We also have a video of Xiaomi Vs. Fake.