Fake busting the Xiaomi powerbank

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!

Certificate
The original certificates on the bottom boxes are totally missing from the top fake boxes.

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.

The missing section of the manual, and English language of the fake.On the left, you have the original book and the details on how to check for originality. On the right, you can see the fake manual is totally missing this section.

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 surface

Fakes vs 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

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 brigth leds that light up the plastic case, the original has subtle white light that is confined to the holes.

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 label is light on the originals, and dark on the fakes.
The original label  on top, and the darker fakes underneath.

The website

The website

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.

Whats fake whats original

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.

Original case on the left has internal rails for the screws, the fakes have no internal structureOriginal case on the left has internal rails for the screws, the fakes have no internal structure.

The main board of the original on the left and fake on the right.

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. Same style as the larger power bank.

The back of the 10,400mah’s. The white fake case covers both the top IC board and the batteries.

The fake case on the left
In the larger powerbank : More of the same with the fake case on the left
Main Boards of the 16,000 mah.
The circuits on the left are also missing a lot of sophisticated chips when compared to the Xiaomi factory produced one on the right.

originals and fakes

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.

Leave a Reply

Notify me of
Gavin

I’ve ordered 3 Xiaomi 10400 mAh Power Bank’s (unfortunately, one never arrived) from Banggood and I can confirm that they are legit and original products. I’ve seen a lot of places where they sell for very cheap, obviously it’s unbelievable. So good post to be aware of!

SunnyBG

Cheers Gavin for the feedback, I hoped the post would be informative and guts about the third one, did the Banggood service team refund or resend it?

Gavin

The Banggood team refunded that order. Not sure where that one is. I’ve ordered a total of 7 items from Banggood. 2 is on the way. Got no complaints! 🙂

Mark

Thats good to hear, I thought about ordering one too.

Tommy

I planning to buy a new powerbank Xiaomi soon,so I am sure now that I will purchased it from banggood.Its useful review for me.Thank banggood. 🙂

SunnyBG

Be sure to check anyway :d

JC

Well…one thing you didn’t mention — does the fake one use genuine batteries? From the model number (LGABE11865), the batteries seem to be LG 3200mAh 18650, but still it doesn’t make any sense to me since LG 3200mAh 18650 batteries are sold at $2/each on Alibaba.

SunnyBG

Based on the outside the batteries are printed with similar marking, however we can not be sure they are genuine, the main weighting is on safety and performance, there is a lack of proper safety on the fakes that means overall there is a higher risk of danger, the conversion ships are also reducing your efficiency. Some of the better fakes use better quality batteries but the advanced circuitry is the part that still is not duplicated, if it was then there would be little difference in the originals and fakes and fakes would be just as good.

:)

Thanks for the information! I’ll be sure to put it to good use once my order arrives. 🙂

Stu
I guess I have to say it. It seems rather ironic that we see a “Fake” warning on something associated with China, the clone center of the world. I’ve purchased many things over many years which have turned out to be “fakes made in China” Duracell Batteries, an electric drill and even a cutting disk. How can a company complain about copyright when they openly sell pirated software? (check out the Flight Sims). If any Chinese company is suffering because of these “Fakes” then complain loudly to your government and get some order in the copyright laws, something which is… Read more »