The new Segway is futuristic, stylish, hands-free, self-balancing and it wouldn’t be wrong if I say, the king of hoverboards & electric scooters. Read this detailed review to know what makes it so special.
We all know how over the last few months, hoverboards suddenly came into scene and became the new cool gadgets.
They might be highly coveted or one of the best selling items but this is also true that they have never been considered as entirely safe.
They are potentially explosive and even banned in some parts of the world. But there is no need to be disappointed if you were always intrigued by these devices.
The good news is that one of the most reliable & reputed companies, Ninebot has entered in this space and has recently launched the new Segway miniPro which is far more superior to hoverboards & electric scooters.
It is the first transporter that is UL 2272 certified and meets the high standards of electrical and fire safety set by the world-renowned global safety science company, Underwriter Laboratories.
Moreover, unlike other hoverboards, it is fully capable to handle water and can be safely used in light rain as it holds a waterproof rating of IP54.
So yes, now you can have all the fun and momma is not going to stop you.
Chinese company, Ninebot is the parent company of Segway as it purchased the latter in 2015.
Rest is history for it as the company successfully wiped out all rival hoverboards in U.S. market on the pretext that only Segway holds patent for self-balancing two-wheeled vehicles.
You may be familiar with the original Segway hoverboard launched in 2002.
Yes, it was a hoverboard but the company is clearly distancing its new product from being associated with hoverboards and is selling it as a Bluetooth enabled self balancing hands-free personal transporter that can be controlled via your Android phone.
This makes it even more interesting! The new Segway miniPro is essentially a downsized version of the original transporter.
It’s an electric two wheel scooter that is safer, lighter, smaller and at a very affordable cost, it’s less expensive too.
So, if you had always wanted to purchase one but worried over its price, the new miniPro is going to be easier on your pocket.
Should you order one for yourself? Is it worth the money?
I spent some time exploring this personal transporter, trying to answer this very question and here is what I have to say.
The new Segway looks quite similar to the original transporter.
The body is sturdy, stylish & classy. You will find no cheap components here. Every part is ergonomically designed with carefully selected elements to maximize efficiency.
The first thing I noticed is that it has no handle. The original Segway’s handlebar has been shrunken down to an adjustable vertical shaft or bar that extends from center of the neoprene rubber floorboard to up to knee height. You need to press this knee bar to control direction.
Dimensions & Weight
It measures 21.4 inches in width, 10.3 inches from front to back and 20-30 inches in height depending on the height of its adjustable knee bar which offers greater rider control.
This kind of adaptation is aimed to target a higher age group as teens anyway don’t seem to have much trouble riding hoverboards without knee bar.
The new Segway is packed with high-end features and with this advanced technology, it is definitely not meant just for kids.
It is clearly much larger than any other hoverboard model but weighing just 28 pounds (thanks to its carbon fiber & specialized alloy construction), it is extremely light weight and can be carried along.
The knee bar is removable so it is easy to store too.
LED lights & Colors
The Segway electric scooter is equipped with LED headlights and taillights that are visible up to about 15 feet away so you can conveniently use it at any time of the day.
Currently, it is available in only white and black colors (black being my personal favorite) but based on demand, we can expect more color options.
Interestingly, the color of taillights can be changed and you get 16 million taillight color variations to choose from so this should make up a bit for the limited model colors.
The dashboard is located in front, on the lower side of the central body. It shows a power button and indicators for speed limit, battery power level, Bluetooth connection and alarm activation.
You can also view the dashboard’s data or customize the settings through its app. The MiniPRO app is available in both Android (4.3 & higher) and iOS (7 & higher) versions and it can pair your Smartphone with the scooter via Bluetooth.
The Bluetooth icon on the front dashboard blinks when Bluetooth is activated and the two can be paired.
The major point of distinction between the new Segway and other hoverboards is security.
So, the company is very particular about users’ safety and almost forces to follow all safety related instructions by sending out constant beeps if you don’t.
Ninebot recommends that you install this free app on your phone, pair it with the vehicle and go through the initial product walk-through before you ride it.
If you do not do so, you will continuously receive beep messages until you finally install it on your Smartphone. So, better you do this first.
To pair, simply turn on the transporter, find it in your Bluetooth device list and hit Connect.
Similarly, there is a display time of 5 seconds for each screen in the app and if you skip the screens, trying to proceed without reading the guide, you will again receive beep messages.
The guide is a bit long and offers more of obvious advice such as maintaining safe speed levels, not letting more than one person ride at a time, not letting very small children ride the device but you should read it once, especially if you are new with transporters.
Yes, one important information I found here which is worth noting is that you must not ride it when the temperature is below 23 degrees Fahrenheit as excess cold can freeze the machinery and affect operation.
There is also an interesting anti-theft feature here.
The app allows you to lock your scooter and if anyone tries to move it while it’s in locked mode, you would instantly receive a notification.
Your phone would vibrate and also the scooter would shake & raise an alarm.
If someone even tries to ride the transporter, it will remain shaky and not balance so basically, that’s of no use.
However, if the Bluetooth connection is severed, someone can steal it easily. Note that the alarm feature is available only when the new Segway is ON and connected to Smartphone via Bluetooth.
So, this is one loophole you will need to take care of.
Since the app allows you to operate your device remotely, you can see its direction, speed, battery life, LED light color, temperature and other stats in real time and change them if needed.
Yes, this means that even if there is no rider on the transporter, you can still run it, maybe just to deliver some stuff in other room or maybe just like that.
It’s fun either ways.
The maximum Bluetooth range is 10-15 meters so there are plenty of things you can do.
Personalized Riding Style
This electric two wheel scooter actually kills boredom in life and there seems to be no extent to which it can be customized.
You can even make it learn your own riding style and then operate accordingly by activating the ‘black technology’ algorithm in the app.
Now this is a really impressive work of artificial intelligence!
Now the most important thing is performance- how this super transporter actually works on road. But before we come to that, let’s take a quick look at its main features & specifications.
|Features & Specifications|
|Dimensions||20 x 21.4 x 10.3 inches|
|Top speed||10 mph|
|Typical range||14 miles|
|Max climbing angle||15 degrees|
|Max obstacle depth||0.4 in|
|Operating temperature||14 to104 degrees Fahrenheit|
|Storage temperature||-4 to113 degrees Fahrenheit|
|Max Power||800 x 2 W|
|Max Charging Voltage||59.6 VDC|
|Nominal Battery Capacity||310 Wh|
|Charge time||4 hours|
Impressed with the aesthetics of this scooter, I immediately wanted to try it. I stepped on it, pressed the power button and the transporter instantly started balancing itself.
The fact that it is a bit higher off the ground than a regular hoverboard, makes it more convenient.
I have ridden similar transporters in past and this one turned out to be easiest to mount and ride.
Trust me, even if you don’t have much experience with such devices, it wouldn’t take hours of practice to master it.
I can say so because I offered ride to a friend who had never stepped foot on a hoverboard before and was not even ready to try it initially for the fear of falling but she did try and was able to balance & safely ride it in a matter of few minutes.
Thank you Samantha for your sportiness!
The new Segway is very intuitive and automatically stabilizes your weight when you step on it.
It maintains a perfectly balanced upright position even when you step off it, provided that it is powered up and unlocked. It’s more apt to call it a robot than a self balancing vehicle.
Moreover, it constantly gives instructions on how to ride. It started with telling me to step on to one platform side with one foot, wait for beep and then step on to the other.
You can completely rely on its advanced technology.
Here are some important observations:
Steering & Balance
Okay, another major function is steering.
When riding hoverboards, one steers with feet but here, the case is different.
Topped with a pair of cushioned knee pads, there is a steering column in the center and you just need to press your knees on to the pads and then gently push one knee towards the steering column to be able to steer it in the direction you want.
I am in the habit of steering with feet so it took me some time to get used to the new ways.
You might need to adjust the column’s height to position the pads right between your knees. The pads have high quality PU foam and add to comfort as well as flexibility while maneuvering. Who wouldn’t love such a comfortable two wheel balancing scooter that requires almost no skills!
The headlights and taillights respond to body movements and tell others when it moves left, right, forward or backwards and I didn’t really have to worry when passing through crowded places.
You just need to make subtle nudges to ride it. There are precision sensors in the transporter which capture body movements and maintain balance.
Responsiveness & Speed
The new Segway is extremely responsive. The more you lean, the faster it runs. Moreover, it instantly picks up speed and precisely stops the moment you want to halt.
Talking of on-road performance, let me also add that its frame is not made with the regular aluminum alloy but with ultra-light magnesium alloy of aircraft-grade which ensures higher flexibility, shock absorption and speed.
For the first kilometer which is considered as apprentice mode, it didn’t allow me to gear beyond a maximum speed of 4.3 mph which is good from the safety point of view but yes, it irritated me a bit. The moment I attempted to ride faster, it would beep and slow me down.
Otherwise, the new Segway is very quiet, even on high speeds.
After passing the apprentice mode, there is no restriction and I rode at an average speed of 6 mph.
I could easily accelerate it to 6 mph in just 4 seconds. The top speed of the vehicle is 10 mph by the way and it feels way too fast when you are on the scooter. Yes, it’s slower than a bicycle but much quicker than walking.
I know speed lovers are going to complain but do not try to gear it beyond 10 mph. If you do so, the scooter would immediately slam a break and slow you down to a much lower speed. This sudden jerk may cause unbalance too.
Ride quality on uneven terrains
The company claims that the dual motor engine of this vehicle can traverse 15 degree slopes and its 3.5”chassis &10.5”pneumatic, air-filled tires with refined tread provide military grade shock resistance.
Note that the solid, smaller-sized tires that you see in ordinary hoverboards perform poorly when riding through bumps and cracks on road.
I was still a bit skeptical that the new Segway will actually perform this good in all kinds of terrain. I chose a little bumpy hilly slope for testing, maintained low speed for caution and came out amazed with the results. I even passed through a beach.
It went perfectly smooth through all kinds of terrain, including hilly slopes & wet beach sand and I enjoyed my ride thoroughly.
Actual Battery Life upon use
Its 310-watt lithium-ion battery allows one to travel up to 14 miles on a single charge, which is brilliant in itself, but I would have loved to travel farther. I was having such a great time.
The scooter arrives fully charged and its charge time is just four hours so do charge it in full before you go out on your ride. The faster you ride, the faster the battery depletes.
Note that terrain, weight, speed all impact the battery life.
Having ridden the new Segway at an average speed of 6 mph with close to maximum weight limit, I was able to get a range of about 13.5 miles before the battery required charging.
When taking a break, lay the miniPro down on ground. When it’s down for more than 30 seconds or alternatively, when idle for more than 10 minutes, it powers itself down.
Also, when the battery goes down below 30% (indicated by 2 bars), the transporter automatically slows down to save power. If it’s less than 10% (1 bar), you can’t push the device beyond 4 mph.
You can’t swap out the battery for longer rides and it will have to be only replaced by a Segway authorized service provider. This service costs $30 and the new battery should cost around $300.
And if by this time, you are wondering how long the battery will last before it will need to be replaced, there is no information available on this my friend.
After knowing all its features & performance, it becomes all the more clear why the company is emphasizing that the miniPro is an advanced personal transporter and not hoverboard. Let’s take a recap of what makes it stand out.
|Segway miniPro||Ordinary hoverboards|
|Electrical & fire safety certification||
|Knee control bar||Yes||No|
The idea of having a stylish & safe personal transporter is very alluring but is it practical too? Let’s find out.
First, the miniPro can accommodate riders weighing from 85 pounds to up to 220 pounds which seems limiting as some hoverboards can carry a weight of up to 300 pounds.
Let me add that it stabilizes weight better than most hoverboards but yet, this two wheel upright scooter may not be a perfect companion for shopping if you know that your bags are likely to be heavy.
Though the transporter is light and most people can carry it by one hand, you will be exerting a lot of energy if you manually carry it to long distances.
It’s good to see that there is also a steering guide bar at the top of the vertical column which allows you to pull the scooter like a rolling luggage but still it’s a lot of work.
Prohibition & codes
Though the product targets adults too, you can definitely not replace your office commute with it. Some companies may not encourage it and some municipalities don’t even prohibit these vehicles on sidewalks or roads though they fall under the category of EPAMD – Electric Personal Assistive Mobility Device – and should be allowed anywhere a wheelchair is allowed.
It is unlikely that it will be easily allowed in flights too, unless you explain them that it is UL certified.
Okay, it’s understandable that transportation authority regulations vary in different parts of the world. But imagine if it rains mid-way or you have to carry your transporter in lift to your cabin. Doesn’t feel right, no?
The new Segway seems ideal for short evening outings for fun. It’s great if you get one to ride to nearby coffee shop or park or to meet friends or even if you are a photographer who loves to leisurely shoot around the town.
It is designed for indoors as well as outdoors and can be a very good transportation option for people who have mobility limitations but do not necessarily require a wheelchair. For example, if someone is suffering with knee problems or polio, he can ride it even through gravel, sand and places where a wheelchair doesn’t go.
I just wonder why the applicable riders’ upper age limit is restricted to 60 years. Given the technology behind this product, I am sure this could have also served and benefitted people beyond 60 years.
There is plenty of support material available both online and offline.
When you purchase the Segway electric scooter, you get all user guides, safety studies, details about warranties and list of dealers.
Even online, you will find enough safety videos on YouTube. Great as training tutorials!
The Customer service team is friendly and easily approachable.
The company also gives a warranty period of one year for the main frame and of 180 days for the charger & battery. Expect a repair turnaround time of 7-10 working days.
The new Segway was recently released on June 29, 2016 and if you had pre-ordered it, it must have already arrived within the first few days of July.
As of now, it is available for sale only in Canada, Mexico and U.S. markets though we hope it reaches out other markets soon.
You can easily buy it from Amazon where it is priced at a whopping discount. Keep in mind that the original price is quite a few hundred bucks higher!
The company targets an age-group of 16-60 year olds but I am not sure if you would like to hand over something so expensive to your kids.
It’s pricey of course but then if you consider that commercial Segway devices start at minimum $5000, I would say this branded futuristic scooter is a great deal.
People loved hoverboards but didn’t buy them seeing them as unsafe. Ninebot has emerged as a clear winner in the hoverboard and electric scooter space by filling that gap. The new Segway is the safest transporter device in market and also a hit.
Needless to say, it comes with mind-blowing features and advanced futuristic technologies which make you crave more for these new-age gadgets. And also, these are incredibly fun!
Considering the limited purpose the miniPro serves, whether you invest that much of money or no is a different thing but the product is definitely alluring. If you get one, it’s sure to be an object of envy.
I have to admit that I am mesmerized by this two wheel balancing scooter and if you ask my overall rating, I would say 9/10.