Why you should stay away from the Escobar Fold 2 i.e. the rebranded Fold
One thing I love about flexible display technology is that there are no corners to be cut. Manufacturers have to either fully commit to this concept, or they’ll quickly become irrelevant in the space. You can’t half-bake a flexible device and expect it to do well, which means that the flexible smartphone market has been, for the most part, free of gimmicks, even though failed but honest attempts might exist.
With that in mind, when I first heard about a foldable device called the Escobar Fold 1 for just $349, I thought it was probably being held together by duct tape. And to be honest, since the Escobar Fold 1 was essentially a rebranded Royole FlexPai, it might as well have been.
I’m being a little bit facetious, but in truth, I never gave the original Escobar Fold 1 much though because I didn’t imagine enthusiasts would rush to buy a rebranded version of an already-underwhelming device. But some tech enthusiasts, particularly YouTubers, have ordered the Escobar Fold 1 for reviewing purposes, only to be later ‘upgraded’ for free to the Escobar Fold 2 before they could ever get the first model shipped in their mailboxes. And this is where things get more interesting for us fans of the Samsung brand.
The Escobar Fold 2 is a shameless unofficial Galaxy Fold rebrand
The Escobar Fold 1 never came to be, but the Escobar Fold 2 appears to have gotten a bit more attention from the media. In part, this is because the Escobar Fold 2 is essentially a shameless Galaxy Fold rebrand. It’s shameless, but the Galaxy Fold is still miles away better than the Royole FlexPai. Another reason for this newfound time in the spotlight is that the Escobar Fold 2 actually did ship to a few customers, although suspiciously enough, most happen to be reviewers, influencers and the like. How convenient…
So how can this be possible? How can the Escobar Fold 2, which is essentially a rebranded Samsung Galaxy Fold, cost a fraction of the product’s original price? How can it be sold for just $399, or roughly $130 less than the bill of materials for the Galaxy S20 Ultra?
At first, I thought that maybe the Fold 2 is the original Galaxy Fold that’s been recalled. I thought that maybe this company which is affiliated with the Colombian drug lord somehow got a hold of some of the recalled Galaxy Fold units and decided to sell them at a much lower price.
That, however, is not the case. As seen in photos and videos floating around the web, both the Escobar Fold 2 and Galaxy Fold are essentially the same. They both have the ‘T’ shaped dust caps, and the Escobar Fold 2 has the same redesigned bits and pieces as Samsung’s final version of the Fold.
Sure, the Escobar Fold 2 has a rather offputting gold wrap hiding the Samsung branding – obviously, this device is not the result of an official collab – and a mugshot of Pablo Escobar for a wallpaper, but it would still be a pretty good deal at $399! The wrap can be removed to reveal the original design, and the wallpaper can be changed. Sounds like a pretty good deal, no?
It’s a trap! Well, more like a scam
In reality, only a fraction of the people who have ordered the Escobar Fold 1/2 seems to have received the Fold 2 in the mail. And conveniently enough, those who did get the product in the mail happen to be social media influencers, tech reviewers, etc. People who have lots of followers and who could potentially convince even more people to buy into this product.
But beware! If you don’t possess these characteristics and you decide to order the Escobar Fold 2 as a regular customer, chances of you ever receiving your device in the mail seem to be virtually zero.
This is how this whole scheme seems to be working: build some hype around ‘your’ product which is actually someone else’s at an impossible discount, rake in those orders, and honor only those orders that seem to pose a higher chance of further promoting your product and painting it in a positive light. In fact, tech YouTuber MKBHD confirmed in a recent video that the company was willing to ship an Escobar Fold 2 review unit to him in exchange for a video, which he didn’t agree on. Likewise, the company only seems to have gained an interest in honoring MKBHD’s backlog order after realizing that he has a massive YouTube following.
If something seems too good to be true then it probably is too good to be true
So to wrap this up, every bit of clue and suspicious behavior so far indicates that the Escobar Fold 2 is the result of a scam. Foldable devices are still difficult to come by, and for an enthusiast looking to get into this technology early on, the Escobar Fold 2 might sound like a great deal. That’s the whole angle. The demand for foldables is much higher than there is supply, and this newfound mobile company seems to hope that at least some people are desperate enough to risk a few hundred dollars for an early entry into the foldable scene.
But those who have received the Escobar Fold 2 have done so largely because they are vocal industry insiders or social media influencers. If you’re just a regular customer looking to acquire the Galaxy Fold for a fraction of a price, you’ll probably give your money away in support of what appears to be a sort of Ponzi scheme. Just don’t do it.
Check out the video below if you’re interested in MKBHD’s personal experience with the Escobar Fold 2, or if you want to learn more about how the company is seemingly using celebrity faces to promote their product without their consent. Or hit the play button if you just want a closer look at this rebranded Galaxy Fold. After all, you might never get the opportunity to see it in real life even if you’ve ordered one.