Real vs. Fake: The Infamous Case of the Quickly Copied Fidget Cube

The Fidget Cube
A great documentary by Wired to learn about Shenzhen if you’re curious.
Taken from my Instagram:
Weird 12 sided version that I saw (and is now also on Amazon)

Unboxing of the real Fidget Cube

Side by side comparisons of the real Fidget Cube vs. the fake

The Differences

  • Visually, they’re very similar. The fake is slightly bigger, its metal ball is uncolored, and the joystick sticks out a bit further. The real one’s spin wheel has a logo on it.
  • For the real Fidget Cube: the build quality is slightly sturdier, its joystick is more flush and easier to use, and the spin dial has notches to it when the fake’s is completely smooth. Not sure which I prefer for that feature.
  • The fake one’s clicker buttons depress further and have a more satisfying click feeling, so I prefer that feature over the real one’s.
  • The rest is virtually the same.

Price comparison

  1. Fake: In China, they’re about $2. On Amazon in the US, the range seems to be $4 to $12 with shipping. Let’s use a middle of the range $8 for this post.
  2. Real: As a Kickstarter backer, I got it for $22 with shipping. On their website today, you can get it for $25 with shipping.
  3. For comparison’s sake, let’s assume the prices of how much you’d pay right now within the US to get it: $8 for the fake vs. $25 for the real.
  4. The question: Is the real one worth 3x more than the fake?
  1. Surface area: The number of features and details a product has.
  2. Depth: How much those features and details can be improved.
  3. Paint: The branding that wraps together and communicates the product’s features, values, and story.
  1. Have an idea that’s too complex to copy: If you have a “hard tech” product like the goTenna, it’ll take too much money and time to copy so chances of copycats are low. Having associated software, like an app or operating system, also helps (so basically any Internet of Things product like the Nest thermostat or Fitbit). It’s the reason you’ll never see any true iPhone knockoffs. The outside may look like an iPhone, but the software can only be a reskinned version of Android and not truly iOS.
  2. Have a considerably better product: Spend so much time getting the details right that it’s not worth it for others to copy you. Startup folk often like to say your product has to be “10x better” than the competition.
  3. Good branding: People will still buy Apple or Nike because they believe in the brand and know their real products will still be the best quality while also serving as a status symbol.
  4. File patents and trademarks in places that do respect intellectual property like the US and Europe: By doing this, you ensure that at least the copycats can’t be sold there. Fidget Cube claims to have a patent pending, so once that goes through the copycats will probably be taken off Amazon.




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