When I used to think of hoverboards I tended to view them as fun, dangerous toys. That changed when I got my hands on a Ninebot Segway Mini Pro. It’s the hoverboard re-thought. It’s safer, easier to steer and has some really cool extra features. Actually, when Segway’s PR company got in touch to ask if I’d be interested in doing a review, they described it as the Rolls-Royce of hoverboards — and I think they’re right.
Let’s start of with what matters most: what it’s like to ride and how easy it is to use.
The Mini Pro is not at all hard to balance on. The self-stabilization on this machine is truly incredible. As soon as you power it on, it stands upright and stays that way — whether you are on it or not. So even if you push it it doesn’t tip over — and even when you fall off (or step off) it remains perfectly balanced. It’s impressive to see and experience.
What I noticed immediately upon hopping on was how insanely easy it is to ride in a straight line (which is not something I could say about the previous generation of hoverboards, which now seem so… primitive). This is because the default “stance” on the Mini Pro is simply forward or backward.
While the base looks very similar to other, inferior, hoverboards, you don’t use your feet to do any steering. Instead, Segway has you use your knees to push a lever that looks like a mini bike seat left and right and it definitely takes some getting used to. Compared to older hoverboards, steering is a lot less sharp. It’s also smoother. Part of me likes it and part of me doesn’t; but I like it more than the unpredictable steering mechanisms we all knew and loved to hate from previous hoverboards.
For me, once I realized that leaning your whole body left or right feels more natural on the Mini Pro, steering became a lot easier and much less awkward (than trying to steer by moving my knees one way or another while trying to remain straight).
The Mini Pro drives great on non-smooth surfaces (when you want to cruise off the pavement). Grass, dirt and even bumpy brick-paved roads are not an issue. And going over curbs and bumps can be done pretty casually (whereas it was always a ...