Swagtron T380 Elite Hoverboard Review

Best Hoverboard

Here at GameSpace, we embrace the wide world of geek culture. To that end, we love every kind of tech and especially things that are just plain fun. It’s in that spirit that we present the Swagtron T380 Elite Hoverboard, one of the most genuinely fun pieces of tech we’ve ever reviewed. This is our review of the Swagtron T380 Elite Hoverboard.       

Specifications

  • Current Pricing: $249.99 (List: $350 – Swagtron Site)
  • Color: Black, Blue, Gold, Pink, Red, White
  • Minimum Load: 44 lbs
  • Maximum Load: 220 lbs
  • Speed: 8 mph (300W dual motors)
  • Range Per Charge: 7-12 mi
  • Wheel Size: 6.5″
  • Tire Type: Hard Rubber
  • Terrain Type: Flat Terrain
  • LED Front Lights: Yes
  • LED Wheels: No
  • Safety Standards: UL2272
  • Battery Type: Lithium
  • Charging Time: 2-3 hrs
  • Battery Shielding: Sentryshield
  • Safety:
    • Battery in air-tight aluminum enclosure, silicone gel layer on PCB maintains consistent temperatures and avoids short circuits, Intelligent Battery Management system to prevent overvolting, overcharging, and overcurrent, full Underwriters’ Laboratories certification
  • Bluetooth Enabled: Yes (Music and App)
  • Learning Mode: Yes
  • Dimensions: 24 x 7.5 x 7.5 in
  • Weight: 22.5 lbs

Starting things off, I suppose I should say that I’m 32 years old which makes me half past ancient for riding a hoverboard. Age is in the eye of the beholder, as the saying goes, and I can honestly say that’s this is the most fun I’ve had with a new piece of tech in ages. It’s exceeded my expectations in literally every way. If you’re willing to learn how to ride it, the T380 is nothing short of a blast.

When it arrived, I was surprised by how heavy it was. Having only seen other people ride them, I expected it to be more lightweight, more, well, like a toy. Instead, the T380 is rock solid and feels like the little vehicle it actually is. It’s made from a mix of plastic and metal and even includes replaceable rubber inserts (“bumpers”) in case you should run into something and a carrying strap for easier transport. The tires are six-and-a-half inches of hardened rubber surrounding heavy aluminum rims. By it’s design, it’s more likely that anything you would hit would knock the bumpers instead of the dual motor chamber but even if it did, the T380 decelerates so quickly after you step off, it’s unlikely to come to serious harm anyway. Short of mechanical failure, it’s set to last for a good long time.

One of the unique features this hoverboard brings to the table is bluetooth connectivity. This allows you to play music as you’re rolling along through surprisingly good speakers but, more importantly, opens up multiple control modes through the Swagtron app. I had a little trouble connecting to the board without the app at first but after the first in-app connection, it would perfectly thereafter.

What’s really neat here is it allows you to control just how sensitive the controls are. You can set it to advanced mode, which opens up it’s maximum speed and ultra sensitive controls for hoverboard aficionados and trick-pullers, but also slow it down for normal users and complete newcomers like me.

Just be aware that you’ll need this app if you are a newcomer. Out of the box, mine was set to advanced mode. Being the newbie that I am, I hopped right on not realizing this and wobbled my nervous legs right out from under me in less than two minutes (much to my wife’s amusement). Don’t be like me, kids. Read the manual and use the app.

After that, I really got acquainted with how the T380 Elite works and there’s a surprising amount of technology inside. As soon as it senses that someone has stepped aboard, it automatically balances according to your weight and gait. Swagtron advises leaning in the direction you’d like to go and this is because each foot has pressure sensitive to even slight shifts in weight. Eventually, you’ll naturally lean but at first I found that just pressing down with my toes was enough to get me moving the direction I wanted to go.

This also means that it’s extremely important to relax, which was the exact opposite of how things started off for me. I may have gripped a door frame the first few times I stood on it and still wobbled back and forth. So much of it comes with confidence, though, because the T380 operates with such high fidelity that once you get a feel for its sensitivity, zooming around it becomes so second nature it feels like flying. I went from laying on my back in my living room one day to the next doing easy figure eights to the next doing pinpoint turns to impress my kids (thank you, Swagtron, for making me Cool Dad).

The distance and speed it’s able to pull off is impressive too. 8MPH may not seem that fast on paper but feels extremely fast standing on the deck of a hoverboard (wear proper safety equipment, kids). It’s rated for 7-12 miles per charge, too, and only takes several hours to raise from dead to fully charge. It’s entirely possible to use it for short commutes or trips to friends’ houses and charge it again before your ride home. A handy battery indicator light lets you know how much juice you have left.

The battery is kept safely in an airtight aluminum alloy enclosure, protected by an Intelligent Battery Monitoring System

When it comes to Swagtron, though, safety is the name of the game. It has to be. After the controversy surrounding cheap hoverboards bursting into flames, safety is going to be on the mind of anyone buying a hoverboard today. Thankfully, Swagtron has gone above and beyond to make sure the T380, and particularly its battery, will be safe and have no risk of erupting into flames. The battery, the leading cause of the fires which caused hoverboards to be banned on airlines, is kept in an airtight aluminum allow shell. On top of that, Swagtron has implemented an Intelligent Battery Management system that monitors and guards against overcharging, overvolting, and ultimately overheating. The board has also been put through a 150 test safety regimen and certified by the Underwriters’ Laboratory. Simply put, this isn’t a cheap board and Swagtron has something to prove and is with the T380. It also includes indicator lights to show which direction it’s traveling/turning to keep everyone else informed and safe too.

Final Thoughts

Simply put, this thing is a blast.It’s the kind of tech that gets at the heart of why we all love this stuff:  it’s fun. The Swagtron T380 is impressive on a technological level, fun to learn, and even more fun once you’ve developed your confidence to get out there and ride. I honestly didn’t expect to have this much fun with it when it was confirmed for review. Now, I just can’t wait for the snow to melt to take it out again next season!

Pros

  • Exceptionally well-built: feels more like a vehicle than a toy
  • Good battery life – 7-12 miles per charge
  • Capable of swift speeds up to 8MPH
  • High fidelity control, masters can easily pull off some impressive moves
  • Short 2-3 hours recharge time

Cons

  • Requires app to adjust controls and defaults to advanced mode

The product discussed in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purpose of review.

Written by
Chris cut his teeth on games with the original NES. Since then, games and technology have become a passion. He currently acts as the Hardware Editor for MMORPG.com and GameSpace.com. You can reach him at Chris@MMORPG.com.

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