Review of Self-Balancing Electric Scooters 2015-2016: Everything You Need to Know

Which self-balancing electronic scooter (cheap Segway hands free Hoverboard) should you buy? Here are 9 frequently asked questions- and They’re all from the same manufacturer, so select yours based on the price, shipping time, and seller trust.

hoverboard 2015
Charlie is 11 and is handling the self-balancing scooter well, but I’d be careful about kids under 14. As of this writing, Charlie’s hover board has not caught the house on fire.

January 2016 update: This blog post reviewing hover boards apparently filled a void: traffic to this “everything you need to know about hover boards” article has been insane! But a lot has changed in the past 45 days…

The bad news: in min December Amazon discontinued most models of the hover boards due to manufacturing problems causing batteries to overheat and even catch on fire. So buyer beware. This killed our US access to a lot of the low-cost models, and hover boards are not sold yet by traditional US distributors like Walmart, Kmart, Target, ToysRUs,

The good news: some manufacturers have convinced Amazon they are selling safe models. Here is one called “3rd Generation Smart Balance Intelligent Personal Mobility Device.” Here is another but only in white. Also some good long-term news Razor scooters bought the US patent so that company may eventually have a quasi monopoly on these, and that means higher prices. I can’t recommend a Razor yet because of the poor reviews.

 

Okay nowwww back to the original post with those edits:

The hot seller for Christmas 2015 was the new self-balancing 2-wheel electric scooters (also called incorrectly a hands-free Segway, razor skooters or hoverboard).

They sold like Heelys in the early 2000s. It takes maybe 5 minutes to learn if you’re mildly coordinated (so it took me 10). My four kids picked it up WAY more quickly than my coworkers.

Here’s what’s fascinating. These Segway-like handle-bar free scooters are getting tons of news coverage because celebrities and YouTubers are cruising around on them. But journalists are missing a vital piece of the story… they’re all made by the same dang Chinese manufacturer yet they have various brand/labels and range in price from about $300 to $1000. 

I’m writing this post because it’s really hard to find accurate, comprehensive review information or where to buy the best one for the best price. So in this post you’ll find:

Review of self balancing electric scooter and where to buy least expensive best one
Which self balancing electric scooter should you buy? Regardless of the brand name, they are all the same. So buy via trusted seller (like Amazon), and choose based on the price and shipping time (as well as Amazon ratings)

Now, dear reader, here are the 9 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) I would have liked answered before I purchased one:
Which to buy.

  1. Which self balancing electric scooter brand should I buy?

Good news. It doesn’t matter! Here is one I found on Amazon but they’re really hard to find right now. They’re almost all still from the exact same manufacturer in China (wholesale prices vary by the lot, but I’ve seen them for around $200). Look at the images and you’ll see they’re all the same except for the names splattered on them like eRover, PhunkeeDuck, IO Hawk, Oxboard, Cyboard, Scoot, Future Foot, Monorover, Airboard, Freego, Esway, Airwheel, iEZWay, Overoad. I don’t think Razor makes one and they’re not Segway brands even though people think they are. So buy on price, shipping speed and from a seller you trust. A lot of them are on backorder and can take a month to arrive. I see some are buying from Ali baba or express or whatever, but I’m nervous about that.
Where to Get Deal.

2. Where can I buy the scooter for the lowest price?

Per above, Amazon has a lot and here are the most popular self-balancing scooters they sell. Unfortunately, toy or major retailers (Walmart, Target, ToysRus, Kmart) don’t seem to have them yet. And even when they do they’re likely to mark it up significantly. For instance, if they purchased from wholesale at $200, they’d likely retail it for $400. You’d be getting the same thing (but you would be able to return it to the store, which would be convenient). Again- you can try Ali Express but I don’t know them. Here is the only one I could find on Amazon as of April 2015.

3. Tips if you decide to buy via on Amazon:

  1. Don’t be deceived by the price and Prime shipping. Sometimes the seller will provide a nice starting price and a range, where only one color will be low priced and Prime.
  2. I would hesitate buying one that doesn’t have a lot of ratings yet. If you’re really cautious, then you find one that has good shipping and price, and sort comments by four-star ratings (If someone’s faking positive reviews they usually rate 5, and 4-stars tend to be more objective).
  3. But here’s what’s important- Ignore any product-specific comments unless they’re many product problems since they’re all the same products. Instead look for notes about shipping or service or refunds.
  4. Consider the extra protection warrantee from a separate seller (I got the SquareTrade 2-year protection plan but I’ve never used them…. I just liked the idea of not having a hassle on replacements (and hopefully they don’t first force me to deal with the manufacturer).

4. Will it break? Will it have money back warrantee ?

Most online reviews are positive, but I’ve seen a number of reports that suggest the Chinese quality-control leaves something to be desired. Some comments indicate they do break, batteries die, and sometimes the battery burns. For less than $25 I bought a Square Trade protection plan that covers up to $349.99, and I hope that’s my backup if it fails. You buy this protection plan separately not from the manufacturer and to active it, you send the receipt to them via email. I expect to use it so I’ll update this post if I have problems. I do not recommend trusting the seller to take a return or honor any manufacturer warrantee.

5. How do I learn to use it? Is it safe?

Here’s a nice tutorial video on how to learn it. Here are the basics:

  1. You  step on it one foot at a time, but quickly (using a wall for support).
  2. Then you lean forward as if you’re going to fall over and you need to trust it.
  3. If you start to compensate your balance as you instinctively will you’ll get unstable… because it’s doing the same thing.
  4. Don’t tilt your feet forward like you’re pressing a pedal. Lean forward like you want to drop to a pushup. The more you do this, the faster you go.
  5. Turning is totally intuitive,  and you can spin around almost effortlessly.

Here’s me trying it out at work yesterday

In about 10 minutes I was cruising confidently in the hallway of my office...
In about 10 minutes I was cruising confidently in the hallway of my office…

But BE WARNED. It’s deceptively dangerous, so take precaution and use helmets. One of sons took a major spill while I was typing this, and he’s down on the ground with ice on his back.

Update January 2015: The discounted models referenced in this report apparently are not safe, so I’ve stripped out the links. I still own my two and we only charge it while monitoring them. But there have been reports of fires, and this has crushed the entire Chinese market for cheap ones that may violate patents. I’m quite confident the news has been overplayed by business interests, but it’s still a major “buyers beware.”

6. How long does it take to charge and how long will it last?

The online reports say it charges in an hour or two, and can go about 10-15 miles on a single charge.

7. How fast does it go?

It will go 4-6 miles per hour and it beeps when it’s maxed. That’s about the speed of a normal jog… it moves quick so ride carefully especially when stopping abruptly, turning or hitting bumps.

8. How heavy and big is the scooter?

It’s about 25 pounds, so it’s heavier than it looks. The length is 23 inches and the width about 8 inches. The stability means that it can carry up to 220 pounds.

It's about 25 pounds. And the length is 23 inches with a width of 8 inches
It’s about 25 pounds. And the length is 23 inches with a width of 8 inches

9. On what surfaces can I ride it?

It works great indoors or on carpet, but it can handle well paved driveways, streets or sidewalks. Watch out for bumps or curbs!

Here’s a nice review video that summarizes a lot of this.

Which electric scooter should you buy for the best deal?
Which self balancing electric scooter should you buy? The cheap one!

Specifications on mine: It’s about 25 pounds and can allegedly run up to 10-15 miles per hour. The wheels are rubber so they won’t go flat. The  charger voltage: 100-240v. Battery: 36V 4 4Ah Lithium Battery Dimension: 584 186 178 mm (23 inches by 8 inches).

 

More Music Sources for YouTube Videos

Hard to find free, royalty free music. There's free. Then there's royalty free. But a lot of royalty-free music is not free. See?

It can be difficult to find decent, royalty-free music without paying a fortune. Here are some new options if you’ve had your fill of Kevin MacLeod:

  1. DanoSongs has a bunch of instrumental background songs, ranging from acoustic and orchestra to pop and country. Scroll down on his site to hear and download clips.
  2. Shockwave-Sound has a bunch of songs and sound effects.
  3. JewelBeat has a nicely organized collection for various uses — world, motivation, video games, humor. They sell in $99 packs, but are available for individual download for 99 cents.
  4. Smartsound: it allows you to customize songs using a drop-down menu.
  5. PartnersInRhyme has some expensive sets, but a few free tunes with no royalties.
  6. DiggCCMixer is a “creative commons” search engine that allows you to search its library with an option: “free for commercial use.”
  7. The Music Bakery has nice royalty-free music, but it’s fairly expensive. But, really…. 5-seconds for $34?
  8. http://JoshWoodward.com has tunes (thanks Urgo) and some nice covers on YouTube.

Be sure your license allows you to post on YouTube when you’re earning money on your videos (which is considered commercial use).

And some additional sources for free, royalty-free music:

Showtime’s Babass Homeland Premiere

Homeland's pilot is free online. That's badass, friends.

Hats off to Showtime, which not only secured a full takeover ad on YouTube to debut “Homeland,” but ran the first episode free on YouTube. No ads, no punitive actions ala Hulu if you fast forward or rewind.

That’s just badass, and an amazing marketing strategy. GIVE AWAY your pilot, friends. And you get free trial, and press (like this).

10/14/11 Note: Bastards pulled the video since

So here’s the deal, Claire Danes… I’ve been meaning on writing you through Michael Aglion or Carol Bodie. You’ve GOT to read “Welcome to the Jungle” by Hilary Brody. You’ll have an easy time getting the role correct from a Homeland perspective, but you’ve got to master Bipolar. Give that book a shot for inspiration.

Watch the whole Homeland premier from this blog and you’ll get a free piece of cheese.

 

US Army Captain (Alleged Murderer) Leonard John Egland’s Suicide Spot: Royalty-Free Photos

Because I'm tired of seeing this photo

Hey media. Here are some free royalty-free photos of the “last stand” of Leonard John Egland in Warwick, PA (here’s the location on Google Maps). I’m kinda tired of seeing this dang mug shot, so help yourself, media. They’re all on Flickr noted as “creative commons” with attribution, so use away. Just please stop showing us that face shot. It’s freaking me out. Some choices:

  • Photos of the media circus around him (as if I’m any better)
  • The crime scene of his alleged suicide (very uncomfortable)
  • The intersection (with machine-gun armed police) before he was proclaimed dead
  • The Lukoil where he was last seen- that may be his car. Not sure.

Hey I was sleep deprived after 2 basement-runs due to Tornado warnings. And it’s hard not to get a bit obsessed when a SWAT manhunt is taking place just miles from your house. So I’ll admit… I drove around a while until I found the crime scene… it was a bit of a circus, with some parents even bringing their kids on their shoulders. I thought I was smelling either floods or death, but it turns out my car was just stanky.

Apparently Egland was last seen at the gas station, then fled on foot. He didn’t get far, or else he did some kidna loop after playing Rambo for a while… because the spot they were investigating was just a few hundred feet from the Lukoil on Almshouse/Sugarbottom/York Road in Warwick (very close to the Warwick tavern). That location had been reported a good 6 plus hours before he was proclaimed dead.

For a while we were warned to “lock our doors,” because an armed murderer was loose (although most of my information was from the web, as local media felt that lame flood-aftermath footage was more important). I’m not sure Egland was planning to gun folks down, and was pretty specific in his murders (unless you count the two police offers at whom he shot but didn’t severely harm). He went for his ex, her husband and his mother-in-law… then himself.

The crowd gathered like it was a circus performance. Then again, can I judge?

The guy had just returned from Iraq and I suppose he didn’t want certain people raising his daughter (who he dropped off at a hospital before fleeing, scaring folks, and eventually killing himself). The girl told hospital workers that her grandma was in heaven. She lived just a couple miles north of me.

Okay- for therapeutic relief I did amuse myself editing his face into random shots this afternoon. But none of these Flickr photos are digitally altered accept obviously the one of him peering out the window at the Doylestown Starbucks. Yeah, that’s fake. The rest are real.

Great way to end a week, right? An earthquake. A hurricane. Two tornados. Then you wake up to a military-trained murderer cruising your neighborhood armed and dangerous. My wife said she heard three gunshots some time in the afternoon, and I went driving around kinda hoping I’d spot him and run him over before he hurt anyone else. I recognize that’s not a very normal way to spend your Sunday.

Very relaxing.

Leonard Egland crime scene August 28, 2011. U.S. Army Captain who allegedly killed 4 people then himself

YouTube Goes Music, Music, Music

It's just like this, only the radio is a laptop, and everyone's in a different room wearing gym clothes.

YouTube has agreed to pay licensing fees with the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA), which represents about 3,000 independent music publishers (LA Times). This deal is consistant with Vevo’s success, the significant percentage of music videos topping “most viewed charts” and the all-new YouTube.com/music (see promo video).

YouTube music vevo channel
YouTube "Music" Debuts: click to see promo video

YouTube, friends, is your new radio station, MTV, iTunes, Pandora, Jango, Live365. I’m Sirius.

This advances YouTube’s partnerships with music publishers to “monetize” user-generated videos that contain music written by artists represented by the NMPA. The four major labels (EMI Music Group, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment) already have separate licensing contracts with YouTube.

What’s relatively new is that these deals cover synchronization rights on behalf of songwriters. Yes, folks, this means independent musicians singing “covers” of a licensed song will be providing a percent of their ad-generated income to the owner (sorry jaaaaaaa). The terms of the royalty payments, however, are confidential. This, of course, is more than fair. Shouldn’t the guy who wrote the timeless classic, “Never Gonna Give You Up” get a chunk money from the ads that surround Rickrolls?

NMPA agreed to drop its class-action lawsuit against YouTube filed in 2007, but members of NMPA have until mid-September to decide whether they wish to opt out of the licensing agreement with YouTube or continue to pursue legal action against the video platform on their own.

 

 

Free Web Seminar: Online-Video Secrets from Steve Garfield

Steve Garfield,  the “Paul Revere of video blogging,” will join Pixability CEO Bettina Hein in a free 1-hour webinar on December 1, featuring latest trends in online video and related media. Topics include:

  • The benefits of marketing with online video
  • How to shoot video like a pro (recording, editing, exporting, etc)
  • How to build presence with video on the social web
  • How to increase views for your video

Garfield also is raffling off ten copies of “Get Seen: Online Video Secrets.” Space is limited, so register now for the free webinar, held December 1, 2010 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Garfield’s book is part of David M. Scott’s “New Rules of Social Media,” which also includes my book (Beyond Viral).

FREE “Cliff’s Notes” of My YouTube-Marketing Book

Beyond Viral: All the benefits of Ambien without side effects

So you’re too busy to buy a copy of my book (Beyond Viral), but maybe want a quick scan of the topics? Here are some of the key points addressed in each of the 18 chapters… these digital documents also identify the many experts who contributed to the book.

The cheat guide to Beyond Viral

From Daisy Whitney (This Week in Media), Mark Robertson (ReelSEO) and Ben Relles (Barely Political/Next New Netowkrs)… to  “YouTube Stars” like CharlesTrippy, VenetianPrincess, RhettandLink, ShayCarl, Mediocrefilms, and Daneboe/Annoying Orange. Thanks to all of you!

Here’s the Beyond Viral (www.beyondviral.com) on Scribd and Slideshare.

It’s called a “sneak preview,” but I hope you’ll read it and consider picking up the actual book. There was no way I could have summarized it in 5-20 pages because the book has loads of examples and details.

I’m Going to Blog World San Fran Because… Chris Brogan Said I Am.

Find me at Blog World and Mention Chris Brogan. Receive Free Top-10 Video Tips. Retail Value: $1 Billion.

So a week or so ago I sent Chris Brogan a note. Asked him if he could get me a free pass to Blog World San Fran Los Vegas (thanks CB and SG), and offered to fill a last-minute speaking slot, be on a panel, or hand out drinks. I can’t let Steve Garfield get all the attention with Get Seen when I’ve got my book, Beyond Viral, coming out in the next weeks.

Yesterday Chris e-mailed me to confirm that I’m attending, and saying he mentioned me in a draft “9 Ways to Rock Blog World” on his wickedly popular Chris Brogan blog. My response: “if you say I’m going, Chris, then I’m going.”

So now I’m not only going (by plane, train or Greyhound bus), I’ll be giving away a card with top-10 secrets than can help you promote yourself and/or business via online video. But here’s the catch. I’ll be keeping these hidden, and giving them away to anyone that mentions Chris Brogan. I’d give away copies of the book, but I’m a little worried about carrying 500 books around inconspicuously.

Thanks, Chris. I want to be you when I grow up. And when are we going to work on your fledging YouTube persona? I can double your views in a week for one case of beer.

P.S. THIS JUST IN (3:00 pm): Marc Monseau invited me to the J&J sponsored healthcare round table (Social Health). I’m quite sure it wasn’t an inducement prompted by my giving him a free book… I didn’t even autograph it.

Dramatic “Royalty Free” Music Sites

If you’ve worn out Kevin MacLeod’s Incompetech, but looking for free, royalty-free music here’s a new alternative… some dark, intense, orchestral and dramatic options. Check ’em out: http://www.jewelbeat.com/

Also a bunch more courtesy of YouTube’s BattlefieldDoktor via JourneysofLifeBooks:

http://ccmixter.org (click here to search royalty-free for commercial use tunes)
http://incompetech.com
http://freepd.com
http://www.jamendo.com
http://soundsnap.com
http://theslip.nin.com/
http://www.dance-industries.com
http://www.tbtmusic.com
http://www.newgrounds.com/audio/
http://www.audionautix.com
http://www.music4yourvids.co.uk
http://www.nathanwillsmusic.com

Let’s Create a Source for Free Royalty-Free Music

Let’s help build a killer index for FREE royalty-free music. Ever search for free music online? How about royalty-free music? It’s hard to find good stuff. Now let’s complicate it further. Free, royalty-free music? Nearly impossible.

But the need is there, and the benefit is high for:

  1. Viewers/listeners: Who can discover new talent, and enjoy videos without hearing the same ridiculous loops from every editing software package.
  2. Video creators: Who can stick to what they do best, but create better videos with the help of talented usicians.
  3. Musicians: Who can gain exposure from the large audiences of video creators. What a great way to market your work. If I was a musician, I’d certainly offer a few songs for free (in exchange for credit), and I’d market myself to popular video creators in hope that they’d use my tunes and credit me. I do this often, but it helps when musicians are aggressive (and talented).

Kevin MacLeod, the infamous talent behind Incompetech.com, has changed YouTube forever by offering his music for free AND royalty-free use. That means we “partners” can use it without fear of the copyright police. We want to use good music (not just our own attempts to score via Garageband or other layman tools.

Offering free music, of course, is a generous gesture by MacLeod and others, but also a brilliant marketing strategy. As I’ve written before, I’ve commissioned custom music from MacLeod to thank him… and he was fair on price, excellent in quality, and extremely fast in turnaround. It put MacLeod on the map, and is a smart strategy for any talented musician looking for fast and free exposure.

Kevin’s friend Frank Nora is offering HOURS of his music without any cost and for royalty free use. He doesn’t ask for credit, which makes me want to credit him even more! Kevin has a few other friends who have taken his approach to marketing their talent. I hope to include their websites to this post.

Are you aware of other musicians who offer their music for free? Let’s create a one-stop showcase for them, and see if we can push it up on Google for searches for “royalty-free free music” or “free royalty-free music.” If it already exists, please let me know!

Currently Google searches like those yield a lot of websites that promise it, but are actually selling really cheesy, outdated collections of canned gunk. The kind of thing that is almost bad enough for a parody of a corporate video, but not quite bad enough.

Thanks musicians! Thanks video creators that help publicize these talented musicians and make videos that are more fun to watch. And thanks to you WillVideoForFood peeps that can help make it easier to find ’em.