Are original accessories worth it?

There are plenty of accessories out there, but some of them are quite expensive. Chinese OEM manufacturers often duplicate these and sell them online, with no hesitation from stealing other companies’ designs. Question is, are they good copies?

Stealing designs from other companies is despicable. Sometimes there’s no way around it, because designs are very generic to begin with, but other times it’s just blatant copying. That is also the case with the two styli above, where one is the ~$25 Just mobile AluPen while the other is a $6.60 ripoff. Aside from some tool marks on the ripoff’s longer tip and no rubber center visible on the back of the ripoff, they look pretty identical.

The similarities end there though. The ripoff stylus might look the same and be as comfortable as the original because of it, but it’s barely able to do its job as a stylus. You need to apply a lot more pressure to the pen to make it work, as the rubber tip is hard and obviously has much worse electrical abilities than the original, causing it to require a larger surface in contact with the screen to work. The rubber also doesn’t glide across the screen well at all, leaving you to drag it as if you were using an eraser on paper. This causes it to feel more like using an old resistive stylus where you have to apply a mot more force to make it work, yet without anywhere near the accuracy of such a stylus. The AluPen is a pleasure to write with as even the slightest contact with the screen will register, but using the ripoff stylus is more like using a chisel to carve something. I was however able to pull out the entire rubber tip and replace it with the one from my no-longer-in-use Griffin stylus, but since that one was also lesser quality than the AluPen it wasn’t much of an improvement.

While this is just an example of counterfeit accessories, the same normally goes for pretty much anything else out there as well. I’ve seen cheap capacitive styli that don’t even work at all, cases that don’t fit, and screen protectors that don’t align, stick or even have the right numbers printed for which protective film you should remove first. That being said, it is possible to get away with some cheap accessories this way, but it’s not recommended. Yes, the original items are more expensive, and from a purely objective point of view they’re probably not worth as much more, but besides getting better quality you’ll also be supporting the people who came up with the product in the first place. Bottom line, you get what you pay for.

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Andreas Ødegård

Andreas Ødegård is more interested in aftermarket (and user created) software and hardware than chasing the latest gadgets. His day job as a teacher keeps him interested in education tech and takes up most of his time.