Late last year a company founded by the little brother of the late Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar started promising to sell a smartphone with a foldable display for a fraction of the price charged by more established companies.

So far Escobar Inc has failed to deliver its first phone… but that hasn’t stopped the company from taking orders for a second, even more unlikely product — a Samsung Galaxy Fold clone priced at $399 (or about $1580 less than Samsung charges for a nearly identical device).

You probably shouldn’t give this company money. In fact, I’m not even going to link to the website (it’s easy to find, but I don’t want to give them the SEO — also the company’s marketing may not be entirely safe for work).

Update: The plot thickens.

On paper, the Escobar Fold 2 smartphone looks like a great deal. It’s a phone with a 7.3 inch, 2152 x 1536 pixel display that folds in half, a secondary 1680 x 720 pixel display on the outside, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, at least 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, and a total of five cameras (one less than the Samsung Galaxy Fold).

The company claims it can offer the phone for cheaper than Samsung because it sourced the hardware from “secondary factories” in China, which are known for cloning popular phone designs (if not the under-the-hood features).

But even if you believe it’s possible to produce a halfway decent Galaxy Fold clone and sell it for about 20-percent of the price Samsung charges, there’s a reddit community filled with people who were burned when they tried to purchase the Escobar Fold 1 smartphone last year.

The company appears to be shipping customers a book and a promise that the customers will receive a Fold 2 instead.

I figure it’s just a matter of time before folks who order a Fold 2 get a new book and a promise of an Escobar Fold 3.

UpdateIt turns out that some folks *are* actually receiving phones. But they’re… pretty much what they look like rather than what was originally promised. These aren’t new devices sourced from Chinese manufacturers. They’re allegedly unsold Samsung Galaxy Fold inventory picked up for cheap, slapped with some Escobar Fold branding, and then shipped out to “1000 lucky people” in February rather than in March.

That said, it’s unclear if this is evidence that Escobar Inc (or Pablo Phones, as the letter included in the packaging describes the company), is on the up and up and will actually be able to ship thousands of phones for $399 each or if this is a marketing ploy.

I’d still proceed with extreme caution… although it does look like there’s at least a chance that if you spend money on an Escobar Fold smartphone, you might actually get… a Samsung phone with Escobar branding.  

via NotebookCheck, PCMag, and reddit (1)(2)

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8 replies on “You probably shouldn’t buy a smartphone from Pablo Escobar’s brother (Updated)”

  1. Totally agree. Apart from NSFW / ‘ehm’ promotional strategy, there are only “red flags” after 2 months… following a precise pattern :

    12/06/2019 PEF1 – skinned Royole Flexpai – announcement. Orders open. Few people post online short hands-on videos… just to tell people that deal is real & they can buy it with no problems. However, in 2 months quite nobody receives anything… apart from someone, who receives instead book + card.

    02/03/2020 PEF2 – skinned Galaxy Fold – announcement. Orders open. 2 people post online short hands-on videos… again to tell people that deal is real & quite to assure people that the device will arrive if you order it…

    All this together with a “nice” outline of incorrect / variable information (I’m putting it mildly) provided by official promoters of such campaign.

    Anyway, I’m still waiting for simple & public answers about 2 basic IMEI checks (GSMA IMEIDB + Samsung Warranty Servers) I’ve suggested to those 2 users + 1 reviewer.

    Just to clarify the origin (real overstock purchase or bought in Swedish store…) of such golden skinned Galaxy Fold devices.

    1. **Update** . 1 one of the 2 ‘users, that posted short hands-on videos, just posted another video on his Youtube channel (LJP Tech) .

      His PEF2 unit seems to be just a ‘golden skinned’ Fold 4G – Region XSG (United Arab Emirates) according to build/PDA F900FXXS2SL8 infos (Antutu details).

      I wrote him (again) to check IMEI in order to verify Model / Manufacture Date / Country… but until now he doesn’t seem so available to provide such infos… = he kept comments (including those of other interested users) for 1 hour, then deleted the whole thread.

      That’s enough to me.

  2. If you go to the website (and really, you shouldn’t), and just read the history page, and seeing what they felt was worthy of note in their companies endeavors….and taking nothing else (and there is TONS of red flags, like the “death to Samsung” video on the main page) into consideration as a red flag…….

    If after reading that, you feel secure in sending these fools money, then you get EVERYTHING (or nothing) thats coming to you and you have ZERO right to cry or be like “oh, its a scam….really?”

    1. Even if it’s real, even if it’s not a night-shift or rejected batch of actual Samsung Fold’s with a paint-job, even if not only the few influencers get a piece to review it, would you buy something from the Escobar family? Do you want to support them with your money?

  3. I guess the main logic here is “I live in a sh*hole country where nobody raises an eyebrow if you get gunned down in the middle of the street, and I have a small army as bodyguards. What are you gonna do about your $299 if I don’t deliver? Come here and knock on my door? Well, Juan here can tear off your arm and beat you to death with it, so how about that?”

    1. One has to imagine what kind of relationship this guy had with his infamous brother. He appears to have no identity outside of his brother’s notoriety. Likely he used his brother’s name and notoriety for personal gain (like Hitler’s brother Bill). He must’ve driven Pablo nuts.

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