Swagtron T1 Review
Pros: Playful, inexpensive, long run time
Cons: Poor on rough roads and off-pavement, a little sluggish
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Swagtron T1 forgoes some of the features and a tiny bit of the performance of its higher-priced competitors to bring you a great hoverboard at a fair price. This board made a good showing in our battery test, and Swagtron offers excellent customer support. However, it suffered a bit in the fun factor and outdoor capability categories due to its lack of power.
Here at TechGearLab we understand that, with all the cool products out there to choose from, it can be frustrating to aggregate the information needed to choose the right item the first time and not get a haircut in the process. Lucky for you, you have a friend in the business. Let TechGearLab do the data crunching. We purchased all of the hoverboards we reviewed to compare them head-to-head to find out which will come out on top. We ranked each board based on a suite of tests that allows us to quantify all the statements made in our reviews. We call our test categories metrics, and the T1's performance in each one is discussed in detail below.
The fun factor is the most important rating metric in this review as fun is likely the main reason you are looking at buying one of these products in the first place. Accordingly, this metric makes up half of the overall product score. A big part of the Swagtron T1's appeal is how well it did in this regard. The T1 is available in a handful of colors, and was well received by our expert panel of hoverboard tester in its obstacle course trial.
With all of the mandatory spins, corners, slaloms, and straightaways built into our obstacle course, it's no wonder that our panel of testers had a hoot ripping this board around. The board is deft in corners, maneuverable in tight spots, and handles the higher speed sections with stability. We did note that this board had slightly less pickup than the top performers. Consequently, this board didn't feel quite as comfortable doing rapid back and forth direction changes, but still performed well enough to keep our testers on the board throughout. The T1 hit a max speed of 8.65 mph in our top speed test, though it didn't feel all that stable when riding it at its max.
This board is available in three colors: black, blue, and red. It doesn't fit with the aftermarket protective skin we purchased — at least not without trimming the skin — but we were able to squeeze it into the aftermarket carrying case. Additionally, the T1 lacks onboard speakers and Bluetooth connectivity.
While the natural environment for most hoverboards is flat, smooth surfaces, we wanted to see how these products did when we pushed them outside of their comfort zone. We tested them on grass, packed sand and dirt, bumpy, cracked, and uneven roads, as well as steep hills. All and all, the Swagtron T1 made it clear that it preferred to stay on the pavement.
The T1 did about average handling smaller cracks in the road, but was unstable when it came to larger cracks or low thresholds. There was a very narrow speed window where it would clear these obstacles — too slow, and testers were stopped dead in their tracks, too fast, and they were prone to get knocked off the board.
Sand and dirt were manageable for the T1, but only if the medium was packed down. Performance dropped substantially on short grass, while shaggier sections stopped it dead in its tracks. Hill climbing and descending posed problems as well. One tester reported that the pushback resulting from the high speed required to climb the hill made it nearly impossible to stay on the board. The descent was without incident, but the board was fussy and jittery, leaving testers feeling apprehensive in the steeps.
In our earliest reviews of hoverboards, we were surprised to discover just how important quality customer support is to the maintenance of these products. As it turns out, these machines often require aid from the manufacturer. To address this issue we increased the weighting of this metric.
Our support tests are relatively simple. We contact the manufacturer and pose a common technical question. We then time how long it takes for the support team to respond and how effective their response is in resolving our issue. We also research what the manufacturer's warranty covers and for how long. Finally, after our field tests, we score each board on how well it held up to the demands of our testing process, and if physical damage was present.
The T1 sustained minimal damage as a result of our testing. The little damage we found was limited to scrapes and scuffs. However, we lost the charging port's protective dust cap early on. This board comes with a one-year limited warranty. Swagtron can be contacted via email or phone for claims or technical support. We emailed in asking how to switch between modes on the board, and while they did respond quickly, their response didn't wholly resolve our problem.
Our final ranking metric is battery life, and it made up 10 percent of the overall score. The T1's performance was average for the class. Scores were based on the maximum range of the board, its runtime, and the time it took to fully recharge the battery when completely drained. Our range test track provides test models with ideal surface conditions consisting of flat, smooth pavement. The T1 delivered a strong performance traveling for 7.9 miles before the battery died. This relatively strong showing was not repeated in the runtime test, as the board called it quits after 1 hour, 27 minutes. This test is conducted in our obstacle course and is quite a bit more taxing on the motors and batteries as it forces the board to change directions and speed constantly throughout the duration of the test.
The T1 did do well in the charging portion of the battery evaluation requiring a minimal 1 hour and 20 minutes to completely replenish.
The Swagtron T1 is a fantastic value, so much so that it previously held our Best Buy award. This board forgoes the fluff that you don't need, but still offers all the performance you'll require to be content with your investment.
The Swagtron T1 offers average performance at a below-average price, making it a good option for someone who is shopping on a budget. This board is fun to ride — even if it does have a little less acceleration — and its stability at speed helps to keep confidence high. While the board struggles off-road, it can squeak by in a pinch. Additionally, this model has a solid battery life and decent support from the manufacturer. All and all, this product will keep you happily hovering without breaking the bank.
— Nick Miley, David Wise and Austin Palmer