After having learnt of fake “genuine” Samsung Galaxy SIII replacement batteries after my last two purchase attempts, I used the knowledge I already gained to try and buy another battery which looks more promising. Third time lucky, I thought. I tracked down a battery with a different package, and the seller’s pictures seem to show a datamatrix barcode which has the right format. As it turns out, the pictures are for illustration only and the product I received was slightly different.
The first worrying sign was the “seals” had already popped open just by removing the package from an outer envelope. The packaging itself looks similar to the second fake, but notice how it has the word battery which differs. Likewise, a hologram is also supplied to convince you it is genuine.
The plastic clamshell packaging is a little “translucent” rather than clear in places, which implies low quality plastic. The die cut window through the cardboard inside is a little irregularly shaped – you’ll see it if you click the right image.
This time, I took a close examination of the seal itself, which contains a suspicious looking logo and a spelling mistake – the word presence is misspelt, aside from the fact the printing seems to have bled somewhat.
At this stage, I felt rather suspicious. Another reason was that the rear of the clamshell seemed to have its battery holding bay pressed in such a way to accommodate batteries of several different sizes – it sounds like a “feature” which would be more useful to clone battery makers.
The plastic bag also appeared to be in a poor condition, as if it were unsealed in the past by someone else. Is this a new battery or a return? I don’t know. Unfortunately, NFC does not work on this battery either, thus this one is another fake! Luckily, after contacting the seller, a resolution was reached in the form of a full refund. As a result, my money will go on another journey to try and find a genuine battery – this time, not on eBay.
Lets compare and teardown the battery. The left battery is my genuine supplied battery, the right one is the “so called genuine” but fake battery.
- Label seam isn’t quite perfect – the clone’s seam doesn’t join up perfectly.
- Matte texture on the label on the genuine, smoother texture on the clone. No NFC antenna pattern visible through the top label.
- Font is a little taller and the space is missing between “Cell made in Korea” and “Assembled in China”. The original of mine was assembled in Vietnam.
- The Chinese character string doesn’t have the letters SDI in it – it’s curious since the mobile battery department of Samsung is known as Samsung SDI.
- The don’t dispose in municipal waste logo is a bit thinner and slightly different in the clone.
- The rear has the word manual written in such a way as to look like manua| instead.
- The datamatrix barcode encodes garbage 670505393213N033120182162 instead of the original’s GH43-03699A+EB-L1G6LLU+C6NTX04261. They tried to increase the density by increasing the amount of characters encoded, but the symbols are difficult to decode as the printing for each data-matrix cell seems rectangular rather than square.
- The manufacture date looks a bit thin compared to the rest of the text.
It’s another good fake, but it’s also different compared to the others. This one seems to have a clear difference in the silvering when it comes to the two stripes which extend to the text area which is visible when viewed at an angle.
Tearing apart the battery by peeling back the label reveals no NFC antenna as I expected, but also a text code on the printed label of CMS-HV515161A NFC(EU-KV)-a which may be a clue to who is responsible for this clone. The cell is completely anonymous on the front …
… and on the back.
The top battery protection board is isolated from the cell with foam bits, and the tabs are glued in on each corner.
The battery protection board is very similar in terms of components, but is also different in terms of design and screen printed codes.
The CH-I9250-I9300A code indicates the model number, but the CH lettering may also imply the company involved. The same MOSFET and protection IC are used as in the first fake. The PCB has space for another MOSFET, maybe for one with a different pin-out.
The quality and safety of the battery are definitely called into question when I inspected its shape – it looks like it may have been dropped or crushed in the corner at one point in time (compare left corner with right corner).
Again, another disappointing result. It’s sad to see just how likely one is to purchase a fake, even with the “experience” and knowledge of buying two prior. I would have to advise anybody looking for a genuine battery to avoid eBay listings even if they claim it is 100% genuine because it’s almost certainly not.
That being said, I do enjoy the opportunity to teardown and analyze these fakes and compare the differences. It looks like there are many companies with the same idea, and many suppliers. It’s ethically upsetting, but it’s also fascinating to see the lengths they go to and how close they can get.
The next one is coming from a more major online store – if this one isn’t genuine, I’d be even more disappointed.