$200 iPhone 15 Pro Max Replica Shows Apple as Android’s Top Inspiration, Calls for Change

What you should know

  • The $200 Honor X8b is a cheap alternative to the $1,200 iPhone 15 Pro Max, offering impressive specs for its price range, including a 6.7-inch OLED display, a Snapdragon 680 SoC, 8GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage.
  • The Honor X8b also features a 108MP primary camera, a 4,500mAh battery with 33W fast charging, and a “Magic Capsule”, which is Honor’s own version of Apple‘s Dynamic Island.
  • While the Honor X8b is an impressive device for its price, the author argues that Android phone-makers copying the iPhone may be a short-term solution but could be detrimental in the long run.
  • The author suggests that Android should focus on being a more practical and innovative alternative to the iPhone, rather than trying to emulate it.

Full Story

The Honor X8b, a $200 phone, is a cheap imitation of the $1,200 iPhone 15 Pro Max. Some might say it’s a carbon copy. But hey, I don’t hate it. Not one bit. Why? Because it’s a good knock-off. And that’s an important distinction.

The Honor X8b is currently only available in Malaysia and Saudi Arabia. It’s an incredible value for money, focusing heavily on design. It’s got a 6.7-inch OLED display with a pill-shaped cutout, a 120Hz refresh rate, 2000 nits of peak brightness, and super thin bezels. Sounds familiar? It’s because it matches the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s screen.

It runs on the budget Snapdragon 680 SoC, which is roughly 6x slower than the iPhone 15 Pro’s A17 Bionic. But it’s in line with other phones in this price range. It comes with 8GB of RAM and a whopping 512GB of storage by default. The iPhone 15 Pro starts at 256GB of storage.

I have to say, “capsule” might’ve been a better name for the iPhone’s Dynamic Island. But Apple doesn’t do “safe” names. The Honor X8b has a 108MP primary camera with a large 1/6-inch inch sensor, a 5MP ultra-wide camera, and a 50MP selfie shooter. It packs a 4,500mAh battery with 33W fast charging. That’s a larger battery and faster charging speeds compared to the iPhone 15 Pro Max. And, it has a “Magic Capsule” – Honor’s own twist on Apple’s Dynamic Island.

We’ve seen phones that try to copy the iPhone before. Many knock-off devices from brands with names I can’t even remember. But one phone that comes to mind is the Xiaomi Pocophone F1. It was deliberately designed to look like the novel iPhone X. But Xiaomi’s flagship-killer packed flagship specs and a great camera. It didn’t need to look like the iPhone X. It would’ve looked far better without a massive, useless notch.

The Honor X8b, on the other hand, is a $200 Android phone that’s trying to impress with a design and specs that punch way above its price point. And that’s why I really, really like it. The Honor X8b starts at $200 for 512GB of storage, with a display, design, and battery as impressive as those of the iPhone 15 Pro Max. The equivalent variant of Apple’s flagship starts at… $1,400 in the US, and $1,700 in Europe. That’s seven Honor X8b’s. Seven!

The back of the Honor X8b brings some individuality with a faux leather finish and a neatly arranged camera island. This is one of the cleanest looking $200 phones I’ve seen in a while. I would’ve bought an Honor X8b in a heartbeat… if it was available globally. I’d love to see if I can use it as my regular phone. Or maybe give a couple Honor X8b’s to family members as a gift I can afford!

Android phones should stop copying the iPhone ASAP – at least if they want to make a better phone than Apple’s. Carl Pei recently tried porting iMessage onto the Nothing Phone 2. But let’s not get carried away. While I love what Honor’s done with its version of the iPhone 15 Pro Max, I think copying the iPhone might be a good idea in the short-term but a terrible one in the long-run for Android phone-makers.

Attracting Apple’s incredibly loyal user base is very hard. In fact, it’s nearly impossible in certain regions of the world, like in the US, where Apple rules 50-60% of the market, and nearly 90% of the younger demographic. Therefore, some Android phone-makers will be trying to steal a fraction of Cupertino’s business by any means possible.

But here’s a tricky question. What is the right way to go about attracting people who are considering buying an iPhone? My theory is that Android phone-makers might be going about it the wrong way. Some believe that “to beat the iPhone, you must be the iPhone”, but is this true?

Xiaomi continues to use iOS as the primary inspiration for its new Hyper OS skin based on Android 14. Samsung’s new Galaxy S24 Ultra will have a titanium frame like the iPhone 15 Pro. And Nothing takes inspiration from Apple’s focus on design before everything else. As things stand, Android phone-makers try to attract Apple users by using several different methods of emulation.

Nothing’s idea to bring iMessage on the Nothing Phone 2 was a blunt, desperate attempt to attract those who don’t mind using an Android phone but need iMessage. Xiaomi’s new Hyper OS is clearly designed to look and function like the iPhone’s iOS. Then you have the “bezel race”. Every new flagship phone seems to be competing with the iPhone when it comes to the size of their display borders.

And of course, we have phones like the Honor X8b and Tecno Spark 20 – honest iPhone design rip-offs with their own Dynamic Islands, flat frames, and iPhone-like camera cutouts. Android phone-makers who copy the iPhone design underestimate people’s taste and ability to choose a phone that looks different.

My favorite phone designs look nothing like the iPhone. The Pixel 6 Pro, Pixel 8 Pro, Oppo Find X6 Pro, Galaxy Z Flip 5, OnePlus Open, Huawei P40 Pro… I can keep going. None of my favorite Android phones/designs look like an iPhone, and that’s the best thing about them! If I could make my iPhone 15 Pro Max look like the Pixel 6 Pro or Oppo Find X6 Pro, I’d change Apple’s tired design in a heartbeat.

If you want your Android phone to look and work like an iPhone, then you should buy an iPhone. Android should go back to doing what it does best, which is being a bolder, more practical alternative to the iPhone. If you find yourself looking for too many iOS/iPhone features and design elements in an Android phone, you probably want an iPhone, and you should just go ahead and… buy one.

Being like the iPhone isn’t really what makes Android great. I’m more than glad when Android phones copy some of Apple’s useful, practical features like Face ID, MagSafe, and the gesture navigation system. But most things that make me choose an Android phone over an iPhone are features that make Android better than the iPhone – not the same as the iPhone.

So, what’s the way to “beat the iPhone”? I don’t know. If I did, I would’ve been Samsung’s CEO. But if you ask me, the way to challenge the iPhone is to take what’s not so great about it, and make this the selling point of your own, original Android phone. For example, the one feature I wish my iPhone 15 Pro Max had would be the ability to fold in half. Android’s always been about being a more practical, clever alternative to the iPhone. Not a half-baked iPhone. So, let’s do more of that?

Derrick Flynn
Derrick Flynnhttps://www.phonesinsights.com
With over four years of experience in tech journalism, Derrick has honed his skills and knowledge to become a vital part of the PhonesInsights team. His intuitive reviews and insightful commentary on the latest smartphones and wearable technology consistently provide our readers with valuable information.


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