GOTRAX Hoverfly ECO Review
Pros: Many color and aftermarket skin options, inexpensive
Cons: Underpowered, short run time, slow
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The GOTRAX Hoverfly ECO's weak performance in all metrics has it ranking quite low in the class. While the Hoverfly is overshadowed by many of the other boards here reviewed, that does not mean that it doesn't have merits that will appeal to the right customers. In this case, the right customers are kids. The board performs best with lightweight riders, and the LED lights, myriad of color options and aftermarket skins make this board enchanting to those that are more concerned with style than performance.
We have been testing hoverboards for almost three years now, continually buying all of the best models on the market and comparing their performance side-by-side. We divide our tests into four different groups, each weighted based on relative importance. The results of the Hoverfly's performance in each is discussed below.
By far, the most important group of tests is the fun factor analysis. As such, this metric accounts for half of the total score for each hoverboard. We graded each model on its top speed, and it's performance in our obstacle course. Additionally, we looked at the weight, the different color availabilities, Bluetooth connectivity, LED lights, onboard speakers, and aftermarket accessories like skins and bags. Despite the cornucopia of aftermarket accessories, color options and LED lights, the Hoverfly is slightly below average for the class.
This board doesn't have a Bluetooth speaker, but it is one of the lightest boards that we have tested. This makes it very easy to carry and transport when you aren't riding it.
Unfortunately, this board is also one of the slowest in the group which cuts into the amount of fun you have while riding it. This is, in large part, the result of having an adult tester in the pilot's seat. Nonetheless, the limited speed is less exciting when negotiating our obstacle course.
Speed shortages aside, the Hoverfly is available in a wide variety of colors. Moreover, because this is a standard-sized hoverboard, most third-party accessories are compatible. So, a consumer can go wild with the selection of protective skins, go-kart adapters, and accessory bags.
We run a series of tests evaluating how well each board fares when operating in terrain more demanding than the flat, smooth surfaces that boards like the Hoverfly prefer. We take each board into the wild, riding them across cracked roads, over bumps, through grass and dirt, and up and down a steep grade. The GOTRAX suffered in this series of demanding tests, but that isn't a big surprise.
More than most boards that we have reviewed, this hoverboard is best, nay, exclusively suited for flat ground. As such, it behaves much like a fish out of water when removed from its habitat. The Hoverfly detests any inclined ground. It also doesn't like driving over grass or packed dirt. As for sand, fuggedaboutit.
The Hoverfly did a little better in our rough road test than in other parts of the outdoor capabilities analysis. However, the performance was about average for a 6.5" wheel diameter hoverboard, which is to say, not great.
This board also struggles when trying to clear larger bumps or thresholds, stalling out as it tries to clear the obstacle and usually causing the rider to step — or fall — off. In general, we recommend that a rider of the GOTRAX avoid terrain of the type described in this section. You and the Hoverfly will both be happier on smooth, level pavement.
Hoverboards require a bit more maintenance than other similar products. As such, we think it's important to have a good handle on the customer support accompanying each product. These boards are prone to breaking with rough use. Occasionally they require technical support to get the sensors to reset or sort out other issues. Accordingly, we find it to be invaluable to have a support staff that is easily accessible, punctual, and helpful.
As such, we rated the helpfulness of the support staff and their timeliness in responding to our questions. We also look at the warranty included with each product. Finally, after all of our tests have been concluded, we inspect each board for signs of significant damage, awarding points for how well each one held up. The Hoverfly scored quite well in this category. The board held up to our testing process, displaying cosmetic scrapes and scratches, but no structural damage.
Unlike many other manufacturers, GOTRAX lists a phone number to contact their support staff during the week. Additionally, one can reach out via email or chat through their website. They responded quite quickly to our email and were very helpful in their response. Unfortunately, Hoverfly's 90-days warranty is on the shorter side. The terms of the warranty are specified on their website.
The battery metric makes up the final 10% of a boards total score. As the name implies, this metric is an assessment of the battery life with points being awarded run time, range, and recharge time. The Hoverfly delivered a slightly below average performance in this series of tests.
For the run time test we ride each board through our obstacle course — executing many back-and-forths maneuvers, spins, and tight turn — until their batteries die. Delivering one of the shortest run times in the class, the Hoverfly called it quits after about 50 minutes.
For the range test, we drive each board as fast as we can on level ground to see how far they can travel on ideal terrain. The Hoverfly doesn't quite live up to the manufacturer's claimed 12-mile range. In reality, this board can transverse about 8 miles with an adult rider.
On the bright side, the Hoverfly does charge in relatively short order. Our test showed that the board required about 2 hours to refill a wholly depleted battery.
All in all, the Hoverfly is a solid value if you are shopping for a kid that will primarily be using the board on smooth pavement.
The GOTRAX Hoverfly ECO is not our favorite model by any means. This reaction shouldn't be too surprising given that the board is not powerful enough to handle adult riders. However, the Hoverfly can handle smaller rider. Furthermore, it is packed with kid-friendly features and is quite affordable. So if you're looking for a toy hoverboard at an affordable price, this may be the board for you.
— Nick Miley, David Wise and Austin Palmer