The Taihe Gemini portable monitor gathered a lot of attention last year for hitting a suite spot between portability, price, and functionality. It had plenty of ports, a built-in kickstand, and a battery that allowed it to run for hours at a time without drawing power from your laptop or other mobile devices.

I was reasonably impressed with the demo unit I reviewed nearly a year ago. There’s just one problem — a lot of people who backed one of the two crowdfunding campaigns never received their portable displays.

Taihe hasn’t issued an update since October, and the company’s website has gone offline, which doesn’t bode well for folks that are still waiting.

Theoretically this is always a risk with crowdfunding campaigns — you’re not so much pre-ordering a product as helping to fund a company that hopes to be able to deliver something if it can raise enough money to meet its projected expenses. But campaigns fail all the time for a variety of reasons — some folks are quick to call “scam,” but it’s just as likely that in some cases inexperienced developers underestimate costs and overestimate their chances of success.

Of course, that’s cold comfort to anyone who has spent hundreds of dollars in hopes of obtaining a product that never arrives.

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  1. I have been burned 3 times on KickStarter, so I am done with Crowdfunding.

    Funny thing is, I back 6 projects on Indiegogo, where I had to pay when I made my pledge and I received every product I backed and they all worked as advertised.

    With KickStarter, I am out 300 hundred dollars.

  2. While I’m always willing to give the benefit of the doubt, I pre-ordered my 4k touch Feb 18, 2019 along with a sleeve, for a total of $324. All attempts to contact the seller via kickstarter went unanswered for the duration of the campaign. Not ONE response, ever. I also attempted to make contact via [email protected] in May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December, as well as via a few other email addresses that showed up along the way. NO responses. Ever.

    So, I really have no way of ever knowing what occurred aside from the occasional posts on the campaign, all of which just said they were ‘improving quality’. A very small handful of backers posted that their units had issues with being used via USB-C, or didn’t come with USB-C, and some even suggested that they were basically getting an off the shelf unit that was quickly re-badged. There were a few glowing reports interspersed, but those seem to now be gone (sadly I have spent the time to scroll all the way back through comments to confirm).

    What’s the truth? I have no way of knowing. But importing a list of buyers into something like mailchimp or icontact isn’t exactly difficult, and given the funding they received there should have been no barrier to maintaining communication with their customer base. So yes, crowdfunding is always a risk and these things come & go. At the end of the day though when it starts to feel like you’re being dragged on past any reasonable attempt of requesting a charge-back, and then all Linked In profiles, websites and accounts associated with these sellers disappear (yes, there were two companies listed on linked in for these guys as well as their individual accounts) then something is surely up.

    I took the risk, and accept that. However there’s no reason to not still avail ourselves of what consumer protections our region/country/etc may offer and to inform others that this wound up being a less than stellar experience.

    1. If your information is correct, Id file for a refund through KS, show them all of the unanswered emails, cite the reason as no communication. I see backers do this all the time and you can verify when they get the refunds so I know they are not lying.

      1. I already filed with KS & my card’s issuer as well (I paid with a CC#). The problem is that they kept putting out tidbits of information, at some point there was even a spreadsheet with shipping info but it switched to some other project (heading name changed and all shipping #’s changed) towards the end of last summer, which increased my suspicions at the time.

    2. pre-ordered

      That’s where you went wrong. You didn’t pre-order anything. There are countless stories of failed crowdfunding projects where the campaigner just disappears and Kickstarter/Indiegogo did nothing about it.

      I’m surprised people even back any campaign outside of those from already established companies who just use crowdfunding more for marketing purposes.

      1. Yea, I got burned by Indiegogo twice at this point with blatant scam projects. Swore myself to never back anything again unless it’s from a reputable company such as GPD.

    1. It’s better in some ways than the generic Aliexpress screens of it’s kind, but worse in other.
      Pros:
      – factory calibrated display. The one I got from Ali was horribly miscalibrated, gayish colors and totally inaccurate.
      – Matte surface
      – Bigger battery than most
      – Full sized HDMI and USB 3 ports
      – Kickstand
      – Pretty sturdy aluminum body

      Cons:
      – Even thou the body itself is sturdy the screen is horribly exposed, I wouldn’t dare to put it in a backpack. I use a notebook-sleeve to carry it, but that adds even more to the bulk. It’s actually more bulky than my 14″ notebook.
      – Thick. It’s about twice as thick than the plastic Aliexpress one. It does have twice the battery thou.
      – No auto-off feature. That one is puzzling and it might have it, just hidden away somewhere in the menu… I keep it connected to my 3 screen setup, right in front of my keyboard as a sort of tablet interface, and when the rest of the screens go to sleep, the Gemini would stay on the blue standby screen until I turn it off. Strangely the Ali screen that uses the same driver board does have auto-off.
      – Relatively expensive. You’ll have to add the shipping and local taxes to the crowfunding price. The generic Ali express one was cheaper by about 30%. Also, it’s really expensive to not get it at all. I mean I was within the first 100 backers and even I only got it in August, so I don’t know how far they got on the list before throwing in the towel, but I totally understand people being pissed for not getting anything for their money.

      TL;DR: If you feel you missed out, you can get practically the same screen from Aliexpress for the same price and nearly identical feature-set, with much better chances at actually shipping.