iPhoney nano found, tested in Asia
Not the gadget you were expecting...
While its anyone's guess how the Mini's OS was bodged together, said bodging clearly didn't extend as far as a decent rip-off of the iPhone's Safari browser since all the Mini comes with is a pretty basic WAP browser which is more or less useless.
The exact capabilities and specifications of the Mini are a bit of a mystery due to the instructions being entirely in Chinese. The only file type we managed to load and play was MP3, though whether our failure to get H.264 or AVI video files to play was down to a lack of codec support or a resolution issue remains an open question.
The maximum resolution the camera could be cranked up to seemed to be 640 x 480 though it will also shoot video at 176 x 144 and store in Motion JPEG format. Of course, you can't shoot video at all with the real thing, at least not without third-party software, so we can't beat the Mini up too badly on that score.
Not the virtual keyboard we know and love
Of course, it's not all a one-way street and the Mini has a few advantages over its legitimate counterpart. Firstly, it has room for two SIM cards and a Micro SD card slot. Secondly, you can remove the plastic back panel and swap out the 1380mAh battery.
Cost? In Thailand, the Mini can be picked up for between 6500 and 7000 Thai baht - around £130/$187 in real money.
Dual SIMs and Micro SD support though...
OK, it's a blatant and not wholly convincing knock off, but the iPhone Mini is not totally without merit. It's very small and light, the larger-than-average battery gives a decent life between charges, the dual SIM and Micro SD slot are handy touches, and the touchscreen UI – while admittedly not a patch on the real thing - is really no worse that what you can find on many Samsung or HTC touchscreen devices.
If it was a real Apple device we might even consider queueing up in the rain on Regent Street just to own one. ®
At last! An iPhone with a user-replaceable battery!