Every 3.5 seconds someone in the US loses their cell phone. That’s 30 billion dollars worth a year. Which is a lot of popcorn. Of course it’s not just losing, but dropping, mugging and more which adds even more to the tally. And what do you do when your precious iPhone is gone? Dig out that rank old handset from 2 years ago and wait for your plan to renew? Well now there’s a rather cool alternative of sorts.
The Blackview Ultra A6 is a new Android smartphone which comes with an iOS setting which converts it into a complete iPhone 6 clone. We can hear the fanboys starting to scream already. But the strange thing about this ultra cheap (around $100) handset is the fact that it’s actually not a bad phone at all, which makes it an absolute bargain if you’re on the lookout for a short or long term replacement for your original. We take a look at the clone and see what makes it so different. Check out our video review below.
The Ultra A6 arrives in a very fancy box, which contains a nice set of accessories and documentation. There’s the first surprise, it may be cheap, but it’s no scrooge when it comes to either features or add-ons. There’s a simple color user guide, power cable and plug, a hard cover case, an OTG cable for connecting up external bits like keyboards or external hard drives and an 8 GB microSD card and SD adapter. Pretty nice.
The specifications of the phone are not too shabby either. It features a 1.3 GHz quad core processor, 1 GB RAM, 8 GB of internal storage and a microSD slot which supports extra space up to 32 GB. The 4.7 inch touchscreen comes in at 1280 x 720 resolution, and it runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat. There’s an FM radio on board, GPS, Dual SIM, Dual Standby, Bluetooth, OTG, 8 megapixel rear camera (extrapolated to 13 mp) and 2 megapixel front, and a replaceable 2200 mAh battery. Oh and it’s 9mm thick and weighs 145gms.
It’s not an A grade specification but it’s definitely pretty good for a budget phone. But that’s only half the story of course.
The real kicker for anyone buying this phone is the fact that it features a little button in the Settings called iOS, which reboots the handset from standard Android mode into full blown iOS iPhone mode in about 20 seconds. Complete with icons, user interface treatment, the lot. Clearly it’s no coincidence that the phone also looks eerily like an iPhone 6, but the whole effect is so good that it was enough to fool a friend who’s an iPhone 6 user completely on first encounter.
This Jekyll and Hyde act is good enough to fool the unwary, but dig deep enough and you’ll still find the old Android engine ticking along in the bowels of the machine. But for general day to day use, you’re almost completely in the hands of the Apple interface, for all the good and the bad. There are a couple of nice touches though, which make the implementation a bit more interesting. For one thing, you can drag and drop icons from screen to screen a la Android, just by click and hold. Nice.
There is also a nice little feature called Back Touch, which gives you one finger scrolling control (up/down and side/side) in apps, by just sliding your finger along the touch panel on the rear of the phone (marked with a blue border above left). It’s rather cool, and a nice way of navigating using one hand where necessary. There’s also an implementation of Smart Wake (i.e. wake from sleep with a gesture) which actually works! Draw a C on the black front screen, and the phone wakes up directly into the dialer, W for Facebook, M for music player etc.
But it’s the iPhone interface that most users are going to want to play with, and as far as we could tell there were no glitches or problems using that as the main interface at all. Sure, you’re missing all the essential core functionality of iOS like Facetime, iTunes and other goodies, but it’s definitely familiar enough that most Apple users would feel right at home in an instant. Certainly no worse than an upgrade of iOS we’re thinking.
The big shock is likely to be the fact that you can remove the rather plasticky rear panel, and insert two SIMs, a microSD card and a new battery at will. Very un-Apple. Speaking of battery, we were also very impressed with the battery management on the device, which quite frankly put some major brands to shame. It was very easy to get a good day’s worth of work out of the 2200 mAh battery, and then some, which is a really nice experience (especially if you’re used to Apple’s rather sparse battery life out in the wild).
We opened the box on this clone expecting it to be just like the others – cheap, tacky and really not worth the bother even for the iPhone gimmick. The last time we looked at fake iPhones was around 7 years ago, and the story was exactly like that. Nice try, but no banana. But this Ultra A6 actually stands out as a very decent budget phone in its own right. It’s got a solid build, feels good in the hand (apart from that rear panel which is a little weird) and works like a dream for a cheapie. It’s not something you’d be embarrassed about getting it out of your pocket.
Yes it’s shockingly cheeky, and yes the folks at Cupertino will definitely not be amused, but we think it’s a real hoot, and rather brave at that. Whether the product manages to survive the possible legal letters after our expose is another matter, but we have to applaud the chutzpah of the developers in doing a clone in such style.
Price: £72.18 / $109.92
OS Version: Android 4.4
CPU: MTK6582 Quad Core
Processor Speed (max): 1.3GHz
Internal Memory: 8GB
External Memory: Support up to 32GB
Display Size: 4.7 Inch TFT OGS
Display Resolution: 1280×720
Touch Screen: Support Capacitive
Multi-touch: Support 5 Point
Frequency: 2G: GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz, 3G: WCDMA 900/2100MHz
Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot (3G Tethering)
Sensors: Proximity, Magnetic field, Accelerometer, Gravity, Gyroscope, Light
Mic and Speaker
Battery Size: 2200mAh
Usage Time: About 2 Hours
Battery Standby: About 72 Hours
Wi-Fi: 802.11 b/g/n
Camera Resolution: 2MP Front/8MP Back (Interpolation 5MP Front / 13MP Back)
Video Resolution: 640×480 Front / 1920×1088 Back
2 (WCDMA/GSM) SIM Card Slot – 1x Micro SIM, 1x Normal SIM
Micro SD Card Slots
3.5 mm Audio Out Port
Main Product Dimensions: 139x67x9 mm (L x W x D)
Main Product Weight: 145g