We see Chinese knock off wallets on Amazon all the time, but what about on Chinese sites like Wish, Aliexpress and Alibaba? I bought 7 Chinese knockoffs from Aliexpress and compare them. They include Trayvax, Dango, SECRID, Aviator and Bankr.
(if you want to see all the features and how many cards and cash it can hold, please watch the video)
If you have heard of the shopping site Wish, you might not be familiar with AliExpress or Alibaba. These are two additional type sites that open a window into direct Chinese manufacturing for large production runs or single products that you can buy for yourself. So for fun, I decided to get on AliExpress to see what it offers as Chinese knockoff wallets of well known brands. So I found seven of them, which we will look at against the real thing in this review.
Are knockoff wallets better than the originals? We are about to find out
I did not include the Ridge as I recently did a specific video on all the knockoffs available from Amazon, but if you are interested in a Ridge knockoff on AliExpress, it sells for $10.45.
Our first wallet is the Trayvax Element, which, while the original is priced at $70, the knockoff is $11.45. The weight of the original is 97 grams, but the knockoff is 39 grams. The original has a very thick stainless steel metal insert of which the leather is sewn to, and the leather is a full-grain, vegetable-tan leather and that is what makes it fairly heavy, which is good. In addition, it has got a pole tab as part of its features. The knockoff is not as thick, it has aluminum instead of stainless steel, and the leather is very lightweight. It has similar-looking pole straps, however, this wallet is very easily comparable to the original which is very thick steel, and there is no way it can be bent by hand, it is just higher quality.
Next wallet is the Aviator, we have the classic and the knockoff, and we can immediately see some differences. The original, the Aviator Classic, is priced at $55, while both of the knockoffs are $10.50 each. From a weight perspective, the original Aviator Classic is 39 grams and the knockoffs are 48 grams. Although they are all made of aluminum, the difference is in the top notch which is super big on the knockoff. Even though they have the same number of screws, the placements are slightly off and the thumb push slot is different. All these variations are significantly due to the space taken up for this notch. The original Aviator has a very nice top plate, which helps keep cash in place. It also has the tray and a liner that has the attachments from the screws. Moreover, it has pins that allow adjustment for the number of cards you want to put in. The knockoff, on the other hand, if you take the top slide or plate off, you will find no fabric there, it is very thin and I am sure I could bend it with so much ease, a thing that is not easily achieved with the Aviator. We took the top plate off in the original Aviator tray and got to other tray, which is a machine component, that you can tell by the rigging. The difference is how you get to it, while with the original aviator it slides and the notch on the top provides a way to get your thumb and finger in to get the tray out, with the knockoff, we do not have that option. So how do you get to it? Well, it is not very convenient, but I guess you have to fiddle with it and then you will be able to push the whole thing out. That said, under the bottom of the tray, the adjustment pins are completely exposed on the knockoff. As I mentioned, they are not on the bottom because it has this plate that protects them. Personally, I kind of like this more.
The next wallet, the SECRID – Slim Wallet, and the knockoff that came with a little zipper component. The price of the original SECRID – Slim Wallet is $90, while the knockoff is $3.85. The original weight is 69 grams, and the knockoff is 76 grams, but it does also have a zipper. Both are made from aluminum, both have an aluminum shell and function just the same. The SECRID has been a heavily knocked-off product for quite some time. The differences between these wallets begin with the magnets, which are glued but can be pushed. In a way, that is great because it helps keep it closed but I know that magnets are not great, because they can demagnetize cards. Therefore, I would recommend having them removed. Besides that, I actually like how the knockoff handles cards and cash better. On the SECRID, this plastic piece seems quite cheap to me, I have never really been a fan, it just seems unbecoming of the SECRID name. The lifter mechanisms are virtually the same. From an interior view, they are both the same, but when it comes to the plastic part of it, the only difference comes down to the spring, which is hidden under the lifter on the SECRID and exposed on the knockoff. That difference provides a bit of attention comparison where the SECRID is more of a softer touch and the knockoff is quite strong. Still, I am not sure if that is a preference or not.
The next is something very interesting, the Dango M1 Maverick and its knockoff. The original price on the M1 Maverick is $129 and the knockoff is $15.75. The original weighs 96 grams and the knockoff 105 grams. This is the closest, most accurate knockoff of the bunch in this review for many reasons. Both wallets are almost the same in every detail, even down to the lining of the leather. That Dango leather has improved over time. It was originally genuine leather and from the sewing, you can tell that it has not been put together in the best way possible but it is manageable. If you would be looking for thinness because the main focus is on this body, you can see that we have the slider. In addition, we have got screw holes for the different accessories that come from Dango. The knockoff has the screw holes as well, in addition to this plate that is held down by the silicon strap, which is integrated just the same way as with the original. Still, there are some slight differences by way of the CNC, like with the thickness, the knockoff is a little bit thicker and the original has some good edge work comparatively. Otherwise, if you are looking and saying, “Wow, what is really the difference?” Furthermore, this knockoff costs substantially less money. Well, let’s see how the cards work. The cards get in with an attractive smoothness, they slide underneath, and with four cards in, they lock nicely into place. The knockoff behaves similarly, they are virtually the same to a point that it gets hard to tell between these two wallets.
We have got another Dango product, the A10 and its knockoff, priced at $79 and $20.45, respectively. The knockoff is not very cheap and there is no significant difference by way of weight. The original weighs 65 grams and the knockoff is 69 grams. Although they are done very well, there is some deficiency. They are both made of aluminum and they are both CNC. The tolerances on the top slider mechanism are really good. In the original, it is of course fitting for the original and should work perfectly. The knockoff slide works just fine as well. The issue comes on the rear component and specifically that it becomes into the receiver mechanism, which is the same principle, just a little different. On the knockoff, it is a little bit longer and not as tight in tolerance as to the side. When we insert four cards into the original, they hit nicely as they slide in nicely, without any conflict between the two guide rails. This is not a difficult exercise with the original as you would expect. With the knockoff, as we try and guide them in, it is not as easy and one of the difficulties is when you try to get even a single card in, it seems to want to jump above that guide rail. It is not as smooth and not as precise CNC as you would hope. But if that is not something that bothers you, well in between these two, you have a pretty good knockoff to work with.
If there is an example of a knockoff that just did not perform well, that would be the apparent knockoff of the Trayvax Contour. The price of the original one is $140, while the knockoff is $20.40, and they respectively weigh 78 grams and 61 grams. They are both CNC by way of the main plate at the bottom. The original one is a brass plate, and a full-grain, vegetable-tan leather on the back. The knockoff is an aluminum plate base and is chrome tanned, genuine leather on the back, which is not bad but not as good as the original. There are some substantial size differences between the two, the knockoff is quite bigger. Furthermore, they took some liberties with the configuration of the knockoff, which you can tell with the eyelet’s contour that is up in the corner, which I have taken issue with in the past because I think it is obtrusive. Furthermore, the grip component on the bottom reveals that they have taken, I think, a few different Trayvax wallets and tried to put them together in this particular knockoff, but they did not do it all that well. The thickness of the metal is about the same between both wallets, not a lot to be concerned about. However, there is something that I did not quite like about the screws on the knockoff because they seemed not to be screwed in properly. But again, as you would expect, the knock offs quality is a little bit different. The adjustment pin is very similar to the adjustment pin on the original, and they try to make it look pretty much the same.
For those who are familiar with the last wallet called Bankr, this wallet we reviewed very early in the channel and they still sell it, and we have got its knockoff. The original is priced at $69 and the knock off at $10.75. The original weighs 72 grams and the knockoff very closely weighs 71 grams. They are both made from aluminum, and what is interesting is that the elastic is contained seamlessly inside both sides of this wallet, which looks good aesthetically for both. The biggest difference though is the recovery if the elastic breaks. With the original, you contact the company and they will provide you with a new one at a reduced price, but you will have to buy another knockoff, but with the price difference, why not?
The receiver end is about the same, they have the notches so the cards can go in nicely. But it does get a little different in the back. The edges on the knockoff are actually sharper and they are not rounded as well as on the Banker, but it is not enough to cut you. It is just a minor thing that I noticed, otherwise, they are very much the same.
This was a very enlightening review for those who think knockoffs are just as good as the originals. That said, if you are still on the fence about spending money on a wallet you are not sure you would like, then, by all means, go pick up a knockoff, try it and see if you like it, and if you do then grab an original, you will not regret it.