Watching out for Knock Offs at International Toy Fair in Hong Kong
The Hong Kong International Toy Fair sprouted this year with numerous knock offs of the Fun-Fly-Stick. The culture making copies of everything, including Blackberry phones and Cartier watches, did not disappoint us this time as well. They copy anything that sells! And this is flattering for Unitech to join the list of companies whose IP rights had been infringed. Unlike Cartier watches that sell ten times less than the price of the original, the knock off of Fun-Fly-Stick is only somewhat cheaper.
We have examined a handful of knock offs to determine how well they perform, to compare to the original product, and simply to understand reasons why those knock offs are cheaper.
The results did not disappoint us. We purchased a random batch of every knock off we could find. Then, we tested the wands and the flying toys which are main components of the product.
The biggest concern for the consumer is the safety of the knock offs. None of the products we picked up for evaluation passed US or European safety testing. None of the boxes had identification with the manufacturer’s address, which probably is because nobody wanted to take responsibility for the product at customs if it ever crosses the US or European borders. The box and brochure artworks were simply scanned box and the brochure of the Fun-Fly-Stick and the printing quality is low with fading colors.
All the knock off wands featured thin plastic on the wand body itself. One of the batches in particular had very-very thin and thus fragile plastic. Some samples were not functional due to faulty motor. Some produced noise that evidenced high tension of the belt and thus were bound to use a lot of battery power, making changing batteries a habit. Some had a belt that was making metronome-like sound with every spin that was a symptom of another frequent problem that had only one way to resolve itself by eventually tearing the belt. Some lost static on the way due to the dirt inside the wand that literally neutralized the static charge. The batch that featured very thin plastic, had consistently only about half of the charge of the average Fun-Fly-Stick. Out of four batches (48 wands total, 12 wands in every batch) of four different knock offs that we tested, only five of the wands produced sufficient static and were able to decently levitate the flyers.
The flyers themselves are a different issue. None of the knock offs had flying toys made out of a thinnest lightweight mylar. Unitech makes the flyers in USA. We could not find a factory in China able to handle metallic film of the required thickness. A flyer is supposed to open up fully and expand into beautiful, 3D shape. All the flyers in knock off products were made out of heavy, thick metalized film that was floating very low above the wand. The strands of the flyers that made of multiple strands, like the sphere shape, were very stiff due to the thickness of the film and failed to open up into beautiful rounded forms. With all the experience that we have gained over the years, we failed to peel off a single Butterfly Shape without tearing it. Those who claim they can make mylar Butterflies in China are misleading you. They simply cannot do it.
Overall conclusion is simple: you get what you are paying for.
San Francisco, California
Fun-Fly-Stick Makes it to Jay Leno Show!
(thanks to ThinkGeek.com)
Jay Leno levitates Sphere with the Fun-Fly-Stick
“Now THIS One is Really Cool!…I’ve been playing… I love this thing…”, says Jay Leno when introducing the FunFlyStick in his Last Minute Christmas Ideas piece of The Jay Leno Show. Watch the entire episode…