Having seen these hoverboard-like devices increase in popularity, I have always been curious about the actual purpose they serve. Are they easy to ride? How are they controlled? Are they really safe? How fast can they go? A number of questions popped into my mind, and I passed by them without too much excitement. I was fortunate enough to be sent one to review and report my own thoughts on. I was curious for sure, but never did I expect to be so very impressed!
The self balancing wheel ships in a very attractive box, and would make for an ideal gift. Included in the box is the scooter itself, a wall mains plug charger, warranty card and instructions.
The first thing I noticed about the scooter was the sheer weight. It is deceptively heavy, weighing in at just over 10kg. This only adds to the robustness and fantastic build quality. The scooter had some charge in it, so I used it right out of the box without requiring any prior charging. However, charging time is around 2 hours for a complete battery. The charging port is located under the unit and covered by a rubber dust plug/ The instructions state that the scooter can travel up to 20km on a single charge, although I have not tried this out (yet!).
The finish and quality are of a very high standard. Featuring a gloss white strong polycarbonate exterior and rubber wheels, the unit feels very robust. In the past week I have been using it, it has stood up to a few knocks and bumps very well (which are inevitable with this kind of device). There are three small LED indicated lights located on the top of the unit on either side. A green light indicates that the scooter is charged, a yellow light means that there is 50% power remaining, and red light means that there is less than 20% of charge left.
WHAT DOES IT DO?
The self balancing wheel is basically a 21st century scooter/hover board, that the user stands on. The scooter then detects slight movements in your feet/body weight, and moves the scooter in the relevant direction. The scooter can reach speeds of up to 10 km/hr. User weight for this product is advised to be between 20kg (minimum) and 120kg (maximum). There are some speakers built in to the unit itself, and you can pair your smart phone via bluetooth to play music through them. The sound quality was very acceptable and painting was quick and easy.
EASE OF USE
I was very sceptical about how I could possibly balance myself on two wheels. Getting of for the first time with some degree of apprehension, I was in for a welcome surprise! Once standing on the platform, I immediately felt very comfortable. To start up you simply press the on/off button which starts up the device with a chime. The front blue LED lights come on, too. There is only a small degree of balance required. Moving off for the first time was also very easy, and almost like second nature.
The platform features two foot pads, one for each foot. They are designed to pick-up very subtle changes in foot positions and body weight. The device contains internal gyroscopes which create a self-balancing platform. Leaning very slightly forward will propel the scooter forward, and back will take it back. Putting pressure on either foot will result in a turn in that direction. It actually is a lot simpler than writing it down, and once upon it you will more than likely feel very comfortable. To someone observing you, they will not even notice you are moving your body, that is how slight the changes are that the scooter senses. In a matter of minutes I was rolling around the house, stopping and changing direction. I would suggest that the scooter is very intuitive, and is one of those gadgets you need to try to appreciate how easy it is to use.
The scooter does require a smooth and evan surface (although can climb some minor inclines). I found going over minor bumps around the house to be a little hazardous, and felt that the scooter performs much better when the surface is flat. Whilst riding, the front blue LED lights flash, depending on the intensity of your movements. They are very bright and an excellent feature which will make you a little more visible to other. Admittedly, I did have a few near misses with this when I took it to the park. I would agree with the other reviewer on this and also definitely suggest wearing a helmet, as there is a learning curve and some may take longer to gain the confidence to balance themselves.
My impressions over the past week with the scooter have been overwhelmingly positive. Having never used one of these devices before, I am very impressed and can definitely recommend it to anyone in the market for one, or if you are looking for a very cool Christmas gift for a gadget enthusiast this season. At just over £400 (the current price on Amazon) this is an expensive gadget. But in it’s favour, it is a very fin device that works exceptionally well and feels like a premium product. If you are in the market for a smart balance wheel, you cannot go far wrong with this model. 5/5