I provide honest ratings and reviews on tech, toys, and consumer home goods that I've purchased and used. Reviews are based on hands-on testing and personal observations. All opinions and comments are my own.

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Friday, February 2, 2018

Swagtron T8 Hoverboard Review

Swagtron T8 Hoverboard Review

Buy it at Amazon: Swagtron T8 Hoverboard [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Great for beginners/first-timers, max weight too low for some adults, moderate speed, easy to use.

You'll receive the hoverboard, AC power adapter, and an instruction manual. The manual has a lot of safety do's and don'ts so it's worth a read to familiarize yourself with how this particular unit works: the manual is illustrated and uses proper English grammar, spelling, and punctuation. The hoverboard is a single unit with a pivot joint in the middle so each half articulates independently about 10 degrees. The board measures 25"L x 6"W x 6"H. The body of the hoverboard is metal and since it has a lead-acid battery, the weight is fairly heavy at 26 lbs. The wheels on the hoverboard are solid rubber and compact. They feature brushed aluminum hub caps and are suitable for indoor and outdoor use.

On each rubberized footpad is a raised sensor switch that you have to step on for the hoverboard to detect you. In the middle is the logo printed on the metal housing. On the front edge you have the charging port, status LED, and power button. The charging port is protected by a small rubber door and uses a proprietary 2 prong connector, so if you lose the power adapter you'll have to get a replacement from the manufacturer. This board has a self-balancing feature that is 'on' by default. After you turn the unit on, it will balance itself to remain upright. If using this mode, it's best to stay on relatively flat and stable smooth surfaces during your ride. Self-balancing can be turned off by quickly pressing the power button once during startup. Out of the box, I did need to reset the balance calibration since the board appeared to be stabilizing weirdly. It's easy though and you just have to hold down the power button for a few extra seconds after balancing with a bubble level and turning the unit on.

Getting on the hoverboard for the first time wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. While I did feel a little shaky my first time, I felt reasonably safe and never once fell off the board. To move, you have to lean slightly forward/back, left, or right (for turning). In general it's not so much leaning as it is tiny shifts in your weight in any direction and after a few minutes controlling the board felt natural and straightforward. The minimum weight of the rider is 44 lbs and the max weight limit is 200 lbs, so for some adults this board may not be able to support their weight. There are also other restrictions like using it only in weather between 32°F and 104°F and avoiding overly rough terrain and sticking to relatively flat surfaces.

I've used the board indoors and outdoors and as long as you have smooth, even surfaces to ride on like concrete, cement, hardwood etc. the board performs really well and feels very smooth. On natural terrain like dirt, grass, and gravel the board had more difficulty picking up speed, navigating the uneven surfaces, and made me feel like I had less control. Uneven or wavy asphalt also gave me a bit of trouble. Although the hoverboard can go up to 7 mph, I haven't yet gotten anywhere close to that speed. While a 30 degree incline may sound like it's pretty steep, it's actually a pretty gentle slope so be aware that the hoverboard will struggle to travel up even a slight hill. On a full charge, the hoverboard has a range of about 5.5 miles, and it take 4-5 hours to charge the battery fully. Thankfully, the lead-acid battery, like those found in your car, are less likely to explode or catch fire, but you still don't want to leave the unit charging unattended or overnight.

Overall, the hoverboard is pretty fun and not at all hard to get a hang of. Since I haven't been traveling very fast on it yet, I can't vouch for it as a transportation device. Especially since it might be a little bit of a challenge to find locations where you can use it with perfectly suitable terrain but smooth paved walkways, bike trails, and parking lots seem to be good venues for having a bit of fun on one of these. The one problem with it being used for commuting though is that it's pretty heavy, so you'll need to plan for how you'll be able to park or carry it around when you're not riding it.

Buy it at Amazon: Swagtron T8 Hoverboard [Affiliate Link]
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