Note: We have recently received reports of a third counterfeit, which looks much more like a genuine Mobius. If mSetup identifies a camera as fake, then it is not genuine, even if it is a newer style counterfeit that more closely resembles a genuine Mobius.
The popularity and success of the Mobius ActionCam, has unfortunately attracted the attention of counterfeiters. Recently, someone contacted us after purchasing a Mobius off of eBay, and asked the questions: "Did I purchase a fake Mobius? If so, how can I tell if my Mobius is fake?"
As of the time of this writing, it almost seems that sites like eBay have more listings for counterfeit Mobius cameras, than genuine ones. We recently did a test purchase of an obviously counterfeit camera, so that we could put together a guide on how to tell if a Mobius camera is real or fake. Certainly, the best way to ensure that you receive a genuine camera, is to purchase from an authorized reseller such as Buymobius.com, whether it be here, or through one of our other sales channels, such as eBay or Amazon. Otherwise, the best way to determine if it is counterfeit is by comparing the camera purchased, with the pictures of counterfeit cameras below.
Unlike genuine Mobius cameras, counterfeit cameras have a much smaller, and lower quality, lens. Based on video taken with the counterfeit, we are of the opinion that the hardware is only capable of 480p, and that the video is upscaled to 720p and 1080p. Video taken in the 720p mode is far worse than SD video, at least with the counterfeit we received.
The counterfeit cameras will often have a yellow 'QC Pass' sticker on the front, although some counterfeits have a white sticker, which upon first glance, more closely resembles the Mobius sticker. Further, the counterfeit cameras will also have a round hole for the led, instead of the plastic oval window found on a genuine Mobius. Additionally, the counterfeits won't ship with a hex wrench, as there is no way to adjust the lens focus. The lens is glued into place, and we doubt it will stay in focus. It is very easy to twist the lens in and out of focus, and could be done inadvertently.
The video out cable for the counterfeits tend not to have an audio out connection, and typically ship in the packaging shown below. One way to identify a counterfeit is to look at the video time stamp - a counterfeit has a large yellow time stamp in the bottom right of the frame, unlike the genuine Mobius, which has a much smaller stamp, in the bottom left hand corner. Also, the counterfeits record in .AVI by default, whereas the Mobius will record in .MOV by default.
Physically, the counterfeits have about the same external dimensions, excluding the lens. However, counterfeit cameras weigh in at around 1.20 oz (33.50 g), in part because they use a much smaller battery. Genuine wide angle Mobius cameras currently use an 820 mAh battery, and weigh in around 1.60 oz (45.50 g).
As to operating the camera, the basic procedures are similar. However, to turn on/off the counterfeit, a long press is required, in contrast to a genuine Mobius, which just requires a short press of the power button. We have thus far been unable to figure out how to set the time stamp, or how to get a configuration file.
Note the differences between the genuine Mobius, and the counterfeit Mobius, in the above picture. The genuine Mobius has a larger, higher quality glass lens, as opposed to the counterfeit, which has a smaller, and lower quality lens. Additionally, the genuine Mobius camera has an oval plastic window for the LED, whereas the counterfeit Mobius camera just has a round hole. Additionally, the counterfeit Mobius camera has a yellow 'QC' sticker on the front, which was presumably placed upside down in the name of quality. However, some counterfeits are now shipping with a crude white quality sticker on the front.
Not the example above doesn't have the yellow 'QC' sticker, but instead has a white 'Quality Assurance' sticker, which is similar, but different than the sticker on a genuine Mobius camera.
The above photo gives another view of the differences in the lenses, and LED window. Additionally, notice that the details on the genuine Mobius camera's buttons are wider than the counterfeit. Also notice that the memory card is flush to the genuine Mobius camera's case, whereas the memory card sticks out of the counterfeit Mobius camera.
Note the following differences in the picture above.
- The genuine Mobius has a battery connector. The counterfeit Mobius has the battery wires soldered directly to the PCB. Note that one of these wires has broken off of the board.
- The genuine Mobius has a lens set screw, which allows the focus to be adjusted. The counterfeit Mobius lens is glued into place, and can't be easily refocused.
- The counterfeit Mobius relies on glue and melted plastic to hold it together.
- The counterfeit Mobius uses a much smaller, and lower quality, battery.
- This particular counterfeit Mobius was missing two of the three screws that hold the PCB in place. If you look closely, you'll see one of the screws is actually loose in the case.
A genuine Mobius camera uses a video cable that has 4 connections, including an audio out. The counterfeit Mobius camera uses a video cable with just 3 connections, omitting the audio out.
In addition to the exterior differences, the time stamps differ in appearance. A genuine Mobius ActionCam has a small, white, time stamp in the lower left corner of the frame. The counterfeit Mobius cameras have a much larger yellow time stamp in the lower right corner of the frame when recording in 1080p. However, keep in mind that some counterfeit Mobius cameras ship with the time stamp disabled, to make it more difficult to identify it as counterfeit.
Note the differences in the file systems above between the genuine and counterfeit Mobius.
- The genuine Mobius will record in .MOV by default. The default folder is '100HDDVR', and the default file name is 'REC_XXXX.MOV'.
- The counterfeit Mobius will record in .AVI by default. The default file folder is '100DSCIM', and the default file name is 'PICTXXXX.AVI'.
A counterfeit Mobius will not work with mSetup. The screenshot in the above left was taken while a genuine Mobius was connected. Note that it is identified as 'Mobius ActionCam', and the firmware revision is displayed to the right. The screenshot in the above right was taken while the counterfeit Mobius was connected. Note that it is identified only as 'Syntek', displays VID=05E1 PID=0801, and is also identified as a non-supported device. If using mSetup version 22.214.171.124 or newer, the camera will also be described as counterfeit when clicking on 'Device not supported. Click for more information.'
The counterfeit Mobius cameras are currently known to ship in two types of product packaging. Genuine Mobius cameras DO NOT ship in the above packaging. If you receive a camera in the above packaging, it is counterfeit.
Counterfeit Instructions Type 1 Above
Counterfeit Mobius instructions above. Note that genuine Mobius cameras do not ship with such an instruction manual. Instead, the manufacturer's instructions are available for download. However, some sellers will include an instruction manual due to legal requirements, such as those in the European Union. Such instructions, though, will be different than those pictured above.
What to do if you receive a counterfeit
First and foremost, request a refund. This may be done by creating a return request online. When creating the return request, make sure to select counterfeit/fake as the reason for the return. If that option is unavailable, then select item not as described for the return reason. Both eBay and Amazon will require the seller to pay return shipping, due to the reason for the return. The seller will either have to provide a prepaid mailing label, or refund you for your cost of return shipment. If the seller does not provide a return label or reimburse for return shipping, ask eBay to step in, or file an A-z claim if purchased from Amazon.
Also, make certain to leave negative feedback for the transaction to let others know that the camera was not genuine. Additionally, we encourage people to share this page via e-mail or their preferred social media, so that others may be warned of fake cameras.
Finally, don't waste your time with counterfeit Mobius cameras. Purchase a genuine Mobius today from a trusted seller.