For nearly a year I’ve had a tiny laptop with a 7 inch touchscreen display and sluggish performance sitting on my desk. Peakago sent me a demo unit of their mini-laptop before launching a crowdfunding campaign in late 2019… but told me to hold off on posting a review until they could send me a model with a faster processor.

That upgraded review unit never arrived. And nobody who spent $269 or more to buy a Peakago has received anything from the company yet either.

Peakago initially said that it would begin shipping mini-laptops in March, but the company posted an update to its Indiegogo page in March saying that there would be an “adjustment” due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since then the company has gone radio silent and hundreds of comments from disappointed backers of the campaign have gone unanswered. I also haven’t received any responses from emails to my contact at the company since January, and the Peakago website appears to be dead. The last time I checked, it was showing a Shopify placeholder message.

At this point it seems highly unlikely that anyone who paid for a Peakago will ever receive one, despite the company having sent demo units to a handful of bloggers and YouTubers late last year.

It’s always worth keeping in mind that backing a crowdfunding campaign is not the same thing as purchasing a product from a store – there’s always some risk involved, and often your money is supposed to help a company turn a prototype into a real, shipping product.

But Peakago presented itself as a company that had already made that transition. According to a timeline posted to Indiegogo, “pilot production” was supposed to begin in September 2019, the crowdfunding campaign was scheduled for November of the same year, and the little laptop was slated to ship a a few months after the end of the campaign in December.

Obviously that never happened.

Honestly, backers aren’t missing all that much (except their money). While I never did give the Peakago prototype a full review, I can say that while the form factor is nice (if not exactly unique), the demo unit the company sent me is slow as molasses. It takes longer to boot than most devices in this category, isn’t much good for multitasking, and generally feels kind of painful to use.

That’s not surprising for a Windows 10 device laptop with a 2-watt Intel Atom x5-Z8350 processor and eMMC storage, but the Peakago prototype felt even slower than Windows tablets I’ve tested that featured similar specs.

While the little laptop was positioned as a cheaper alternative to similar devices from companies like GPD and One Netbook, I wouldn’t really recommend anyone spend money on a Peakago today even if they could.

As for folks who already sent their money, it doesn’t seem like Indiegogo offers much recourse, but some commenters say they’ve had success getting their credit card companies to respond to chargeback claim.

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16 Comments

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  1. Since Peakago does not respond to our refund request, Indiegogo as a representative should implement a wallet with the value equal to our contribution to be able to buy other products from other campaigns

  2. This is the first time and last time for me to back any crowdfunding campaign.
    I am very disappointed!
    Anyway, thanks for Brad Linder to write an article about this news!

  3. This is now the subject of a formal police investigation – the Peakago campaign seems to have been only a scam, possibly so that the originators could recover the costs of the initial prototype run they mailed to bloggers and youtubers. Based on deliberately false and misleading claims from Peakago about their design and manufacturing involvement and also their claimed specification exceeding any of the OEM offerings of this model of hardware – we have asked for criminal fraud to be investigated and possibly extending this to Indiegogo given their involvement and deliberate mishandling of the campaign even according to their own “rules”. Hopefully they may be banned from China as a result.

  4. This doesn’t surprise me. Most crowdfunding campaigns I’ve seen never materialize into anything.

  5. same thing happened to the people who backed the runcible smartphone. That Snake Aubrey andersen fled without a word to his backers and took their cash with them.

  6. Thank you for shining a light on this – too often we backers feel like our frustrations are unheard. Between this and the failed Vinpok Split campaign, I have pretty much lost faith in IGG projects. While GPD delivered both devices I backed of theirs, each had battery failures – one replaced for free after many, many, many months of waiting, and one which deformed the chassis yet they want $70 to replace. The only decent experience I’ve had on IGG is with the Planet Computers Cosmo and Gemini (and, I’m expecting, the Astro Slide!). Over the same time period on Kickstarter, I’ve received all but one of the projects I’ve backed, and that one has been delayed but seems about to ship. IGG seems to be for projects who are too dodgy or inexperienced to make it on Kickstarter. 🙁

    1. it’s a cesspool, you’ll never see anything coming with them …. they don’t even care to answer you

  7. If the Peakago folks made an honest attempt and failed, then that’s one of the expected outcomes that backers should have been prepared for and accept that their money is gone.

    If Peakago is an intentional fraud and just pocketed the money, then IGG should do something. However, I doubt IGG will investigate. They don’t seem to care.

    This is why I don’t participate in crowd funding sites. You’re likely to be screwed unless it’s just being used by an established company leveraging crowd funding more for marketing purposes.

    1. That is kind of a problem. At the start, crowdfunding was a high-risk and low-reward way of backing projects of people committed to making new things. Later people started looking at crowdfunding as if it was the same thing as a preorder. With a preorder from a place like Amazon, they refund the money if the product misses the shipment date. The Chinese markets are a little more difficult. They try to do an exchange or store credit, but they tend to issue a refund if I go through the trouble.

    2. It’s when project developers drop off the grid (or just give the same vague reply over and over) that it feels like fraud. As “investors” (which is what IGG and KS backers are but without the benefits) they deserve clear direct answers with some level of transparency.

      And honestly that’s when as a backer/investor you have the right to ask for your money back because your “partner”, the person you invested in, is not keeping up their part of keeping you in the loop. If they were forthright and said something like “sorry, one of our suppliers went bankrupt beefcake of Covid and we’ll now have difficulty completing the project because we had already paid them and lost that money….” then backers would have no valid reason to complain or ask for their money back (they still would but that’s another story).

  8. Well, at least you’ve got a physical piece for the Museum of Vaporware.
    The Museum of Vaporware is something that may or may not exist, but we’ve probably got enough examples of stuff that should go in it to justify it’s existence by this point.

  9. Another IndieGoGo sponsored fraud, what a surprise. IGG has done little to protect backers, while the campaign owners seemly have no responsibility. I recommend never backing anything on IGG, ever.