We review the affordable Hoverboard of CD-R King!
Whenever we talk about hoverboards, people always take great pleasure in pointing out that it doesn’t really hover off of the ground. Well, that’s true, but since there’s not really an easier way to say self-balancing, two-wheeled electric scooter, that’s probably the reason why the hoverboard moniker sticks. Anyway, the hoverboard is fast becoming THE it toy for 2015, with both parents (and self-aware hipsters) buying the two-wheeled gadgets left and right. Today we’re going to review the offering of CD-R King, possibly the most affordable of the bunch.
Simple design that’s similar to other hoverboards in the market
If you’ve seen one hoverboard, you’ve pretty much seen them all, as many hoverboards in the market have the same design – two wheels, rubber mats to place your feet on and a stabilizing gyro inside. The Berkeley uses the more common 6-inch wheel as opposed to the bigger 10-inch wheel model, which means you’re limited on the height of the cracks and elevation changes you’re allowed while riding the thing.
There’s two LED panels on one side of the board and the charger port and power button on the other. There’s no front or back side on hoverboards per se since the electric motors can go the same speed either way, though we did find that orienting yourself on the LED side of the board allows you to see the ground better in dimmer conditions when you’re riding around at night.
Probably the biggest issue we have in the overall construction is the fact that the finish is incredibly easy to mar. We’ve been using the hoverboard for around three weeks, and unless you already know how to ride it off the bat, you are going to take a few spills with it – it’s just comes with the territory with these things. As such, we were expecting the finish to be more durable that it was but alas, our hoverboard already looks like it’s been heavily used for a few months.
Easy to ride, but it takes a little getting used to
Two-wheeled self balancing electric scooters like the Berkeley work on the same principle – two independent motors plus a gyroscope keep the board and you balanced. You move the board forwards and backwards by leaning, and turn by twisting your your feet to the direction you want to go. First time riders will try to balance themselves when they first step on the board – this is possibly the worst thing you can do. The most important thing to remember is to let the board balance you. We know that’s a little bit weird, but trust us – you’ll need to stand perfectly still when you first get on the board, and when you’re a little bit more confident, you can start to lean forward and back to start moving.
We managed to learn how to ride the Berkeley in around 10 minutes, but not without a spill on the ground so we do recommend people wearing protective equipment if they do decide to get this for their kids. After the initial (and painful) learning curve, we were riding around like a pro.
The Berkeley is advertised as having a maximum speed of up to 10 kph, and it practice, we found that to be correct. Its two brushless motors are powerful enough to propel you past most people on the street, and if you’re not careful and bleed speed before you turn, you’ll get thrown out of the hoverboard before realizing your mistake. While you can probably navigate through most cracks and dents on the street, we suggest you avoid them entirely – the wheels aren’t inflated and a medium-sized twig can send you sailing a few feet if you go over it at the right speed (ask us how we know).
Overall range is pegged at 15-20KM, but we’re sure you’re not going to reach that distance in one session. A lazy Sunday afternoon trot around QC Circle left us with plenty of charge to do our Smart Hoverboard video (we used the CD-R King Berkeley as the chase vehicle for that). In fact, we haven’t charged the hoverboard since then, which shows you how long the battery life of the Berkeley is. Charging it takes a few minutes to a few hours, and we highly recommend you NOT leaving the hoverboard charging unattended.
We do have to address the fears of fires on hoverboards, though. It’s a real concern, and we reached out to CD-R King to find out what exactly provides the juice for their Berkeley. Well, they told us that the supplier that they used for the Berkeley used Samsung batteries, which are one of the most common batteries that’s available in the market. Still, we highly recommend not leaving the Berkeley plugged in overnight and if possible, charge it outdoors. Also try to avoid hard hits with the Berkeley if possible to avoid damaging the Lithium ion batteries inside.
As far as practicality goes, it’s more of a toy rather than a useful gadget. Its small wheels means it won’t be able to navigate through sidewalks and streets in the metro – you can try it, but you need to be pretty brave to do it. It’s a great platform to shoot from if you have a self-stabilizing camera, for example, making it a poor-man’s dolly track, but other than that it’s more of a toy than anything else.
CD-R King is selling the Berkeley at Php 11,999, which is probably one of the more affordable prices we’ve seen today. It’s not the most practical gadget out there, but the Berkeley is definitely one of the funnest things to use and as long as you follow our use and charging advice, it’s one of the safest as well.