Last updated: August 2017
Generic electronics are a plague. They infest the internet, and lots of people buy them.
That's a scam product, and, as you can see, almost a thousand have fell for it. Unlike this one, many generic electronic products are actually legitimate concepts.
However, they're hardly done right. I've had experience with many generic electronic products, and I can safely say that they almost always fail in some way. Some might even make it out alive for a long time, but not without their share of issues. If you're lucky, they'll fail right after you receive them, because at least then you're within the 30-day return period. Good luck getting your money back if your order wasn't covered by something like eBay Money Back Guarantee!
It also doesn't matter how simple the device you ordered is. I'm writing this after having a two-port USB port cable fail me. It's just a blasted cable, and they still couldn't get that right.
To make matters worse, generic electronics are also difficult to repair, because they are so cheap, that they tend to be difficult to salvage!
They can also be unsafe. Do you really think it's worth buying a generic laptop battery? What if the battery gets too hot and goes into thermal runaway? Your lap won't forget it! So much for that battery being cheap if it costs you your house! How about generic laptop power supplies? I saw one smoke! The poor laptop connected to it had its USB 2.0 and ExpressCard controllers fry (yet USB 1.1 works).
Genuine, branded parts aren't even all that much more expensive. Sure, perhaps you could get two of some generic thing for the price of one branded one, but why would you want two useless trash heaps instead of one working product? Do you really think your generic product will make it out alive? What even makes you think that? It doesn't matter how much you baby them or torture them, they still suck. Don't buy them, I'm serious. While generic doesn't directly guarantee failure, it does guarantee poor quality, which, in turn, guarantees an early failure of some type, in comparison to if the product had been engineered intelligently, like my Compaq Evo laptop.
Additionally, there are also a lot of companies that like to distribute generic electronic products, slapping their brand name on the listing. Syba, Corn (yeah, I'm serious), and Zeny are some of these. The trick to noticing these is that the product winds up not having the same brand name on them. Don't ask me how I know that about all three of these brands!
Hmm, those brand names are all four letters long, it seems. I know what else is four letters long: words you might say when using (or worse, repairing) the products distributed under these brands in question!
Just don't buy generic electronics. How do you protect yourself, you might ask?
Unfortunately, some of these aren't possible for certain items. These rules are all important, but impossible overrides that.
If you find yourself needing to bend or break any one of these rules, be extremely careful, and only buy from a seller with lots of excellent reputation, with a good return policy. Read reviews for the product in question like nuts, and make sure there's enough of them. Two five-star reviews isn't quite reassuring like two-hundred of them. Also, make sure that the review is actually for the product you're considering buying. Yikes.
And for the love of everything, don't try to kludge or repair the product yourself if it breaks, not in the least. Contact the seller first. Only try to salvage it yourself if the seller tells you to walk the plank.
Lastly, another point to make, is that generic products sometimes aren't even the cheapest option at all, even if it were to perform perfectly. If you're looking to save money on soldering stations, for example, don't buy a generic one with a digital temperature display for $46 over a $30 good-quality name-brand unit with a simple dial. What good is a digital display in the end if the blasted soldering iron keeps popping open all the time? In the end, It Doesn't Matter, and quality is what matters in the end. Discardable is disregardable.
Screw generic electronics.
In late June or early July of 2017, I got curious about generic laptop batteries. What if they weren't as trashy as generic laptop AC adapters? What if generic electronic products actually vary in quality depending on what kind of product it is and who you buy it from? What if you were promised a good warranty?
I went ahead and purchased a Dell Latitude E6410 nine-cell generic "replacement" battery from powerstore2016 of eBay. They promised me a three-year warranty.
Well, I received the battery, and I tried it out. Lo and behold, I get...four hours. Four hours off of a nine-cell. That's less than a six-cell is supposed to give me! Great. So I contact the seller, and what do they tell me?
"Sorry for this issue.But as a 9-cell battery ,normally it could work for about 4hours,because it's just a replacement .Hope you could understand.Wonder if it could work normally except the lasting time ?If yes, how about we refund $4 to you and you could keep the item as backup ?"
"It's just a replacement". Pfft. Since when does "replacement" mean "fewer hours"? I guess I better ask to ship the battery back for a full refund...to be continued.
Well, incoming craziness: I bought two genuine 9-cell E6410 batteries for $25. They were both worn down badly. Thankfully, I got a refund, but what I find interesting is that they didn't seem to show any hopes of lasting much longer than the generic battery when excluding the wear. As I discovered, the generic battery was 6,600mAh, and the genuine is 7,800mAh, so while the genuine has more capacity, you're almost never going to get one that isn't worn to the point that it makes no sense.
In the end, I got a $13.49 nine-cell generic battery, and two free, badly-worn genuine batteries to compare it to.
Overall, my recommendation is this: if you're going to buy any laptop battery, check first for generics with at least one year of specified warranty. If you can't find any (it's a pain), then buy genuine only.