tl;dr Don’t use promo-newa.com, they are scammers that sell fake flash.
Longer version: For the ColorHug project we buy a lot of the custom parts direct from China at a fraction of the price available to us in the UK, even with import tax considered. It would be impossible to produce such a low cost device and still make enough money to make it worth giving up our evenings and weekends. This often means sending thousands of dollars to sketchy-looking companies willing to take on small (to them!) custom orders of a few thousand parts.
So far we’ve been very lucky, until last week. I ordered 1000 customized 1GB flash drives to use as a LiveUSB image rather than using a LiveCD. I checked out the company as usual, and ordered a sample. The sample came back good quality, with 1GB of fast flash. Payment in full was sent, which isn’t unusual for my other suppliers in China.
Fast forward a few weeks. 1000 USB drives arrived, which look great. Great, until you start using them with GNOME MultiWriter, which kept throwing validation warnings. Using the awesome F3 and a few remove-insert cylces later, the
f3probe tool told me the flash chip was fake, reporting the capacity to be 1GB, when it was actually 96Mb looped around 10 times.
Taking the drives apart you could also see the chip itself was different from the sample, and the plastic molding and metal retaining tray was a lower quality. I contacted the seller, who said he would speak to the factory later that day. The seller got back to me today, and told me that the factory has produced “B quality drives” and basically, that I got what I paid for. For another 1600USD they would send me the 1GB ICs, which I would have to switch in the USB units. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.
I suppose people can use the tiny flash drives to get the
.icc profile off the LiveCD image, which was always a stumbling block for some people, but basically the drives are worthless to me as LiveUSB devices. I’m still undecided whether to include them in the ColorHug box; i.e. is a free 96Mb drive better than them all going into landfill?
As this is China, I understand all my money is gone. The company listing is gone from Alibaba, so there’s not a lot I can do there. So other people can hopefully avoid this same mistake, I’ve listed all the details here, which hopefully will become googleable:
Promo-Newa Electronic Limited(Shenzhen) Wei and Ping Group Limited(Hongkong) Office: Building A, HuaQiang Garden, North HuaQiang Road, Futian district, Shenzhen China, 0755-3631 4600 Factory: Building 4, DengXinKeng Industrial Zone, JiHua Road,LongGang District, Shenzhen, China Registered Address: 15/B—15/F Cheuk Nang Plaza 250 Hennessy Road, HongKong Email: email@example.com Skype: promonewa