Let’s face it, every time you see someone roaming on a Hoverboard, you’re wondering “Is that thing going to explode?” But exploding risk aside, hoverboards have apparently made their mark in India as well. I’ve been told people are using Segways, etc to do their grocery shopping in a city like Delhi, which I find fascinating. Fascinating because a) how do you maintain balance on these things on the lovely roads we have in India, and b) how do you avoid being run down by the speeding vehicles in this city.
I for one am afraid of venturing out on a cycle in this city, so you can understand my surprise at those willing to risk hoverboards out here. But risks aside, hoverboards are fun. We got the Mega Wheels Hoverboard (10-inch version) sent to us by Hamleys, and pretty much everyone wanted to try it out in the office.
So what does this offer? Well, this is a 10-inch hoverboard, costs around Rs 45,000 if I go by the box price, and is available via Hamleys Stores. Made in China, the so-called ‘Smart Scooter’ has a maximum speed of 10km/hr, and you can’t be over 100 kgs to get on this thing.
It comes with a separate charger when the battery runs out of juice, and there’s a set of keys as well. Once you press the lock button on the keys, nobody else can walk off with the hoverboard by just stepping on it. There’s also a smart Bluetooth function, but I’m couldn’t figure out what that’s supposed to do. There’s no app mentioned in the manual, and I didn’t know how else to connect this to my smartphone.
For a lot of people, considering a hoverboard, the major question is this: Is it simple to ride on these things? How fast do these things really go? What happens when you fall? Let’s try to answer some of those.
Now, the bit about riding this without falling flat on your face is simple. It’s all about balancing your weight, not getting scared, and praying to the gods that should you fall, your colleagues are not busy recording it live on Facebook. Step onto the hoverboard with your right foot (get on the side which has a little round symbol first, not the one where the battery symbol is glowing), follow it up with the left foot, and if you haven’t panicked till now it should be fine.
The key on the hoverboard: It’s self-balancing, so if you lean forward a bit it will move in that direction and fast. You want to slow down, just straighten up. If you want to turn, you can put your weight on the side (left or right) and you’ll find the hoverboard taking a u-turn or moving in that direction. As someone who has perfected the hoverboard in office, I’m pretty confident with this thing but the same can’t be said for everyone else.
The speed will depend on your weight, and how fast you want it to go. Also the surface you are using it on; a smoother tiled floor with less friction means the Mega Wheels will move faster, thus increasing your risk of a fall should you lose balance. On a carpeted surface like in our office, it is still possible to control the speed easily.
So what happens when you fall? Let’s be honest, it hurts and there’s a risk of serious injury. In our own office, people have tripped badly on the hoverboards, which is never a pretty sight. If you’re not confident and a general clutz, stay clear of these hoverboards. The problem is even if you can ride these things with style, there are moments when obstacles in the way can cause you to trip and fall.
And what about the battery on the Mega Wheels? We got a mixed result. The first time, we tried it out the Mega Wheels was all out of juice in just over an hour with the hoverboard being used by quite a few people in the office. Charging it takes over three and half hours or so. But in another instance, the hoverboard didn’t show any signs of shutting down despite being used for a good 4 hours, and the battery indicator remained green.
So who should get the Mega Wheels? I can’t deny it, hoverboards are fun, never mind the exploding risk. You look like this extremely confident, slightly arrogant person, as you zoom around on those wheels, while others stare at you wondering “Why is she not falling?”
But it’s not for everyone and these ones are certainly not cheap. I’m not entirely sure about hitting the roads with these yet, because hello potholes and open sewers and other risks. But if you want to zip around your gated colony in something cool, then this is one sweet ride to flaunt.