Review: Yuneec E-Go, an iPhone-connected electric skateboard
The Yuneec E-Go electric skateboard certainly is not your typical Bluetooth smartphone accessory, but this highly mobile mode of transportation is the most fun we've ever had using our iPhone.
The $699 E-Go is a 13.9-pound longboard featuring a rear motor that can propel the rider at over 12 miles per hour, with an advertised range of up to 18 miles per charge. It comes with a dedicated handheld controller for adjusting the speed, but users can instead opt to connect to their iPhone for a convenient and intuitive riding experience.
For this review, Yuneec provided AppleInsider with a test unit to ride, including the board, hardware controller, truck tool, and assorted charging cables.
We found that the hardware remote works great, and conveniently charges simultaneously through a USB port on the board. But for the purposes of our review, we wanted to focus on testing the Yuneec E-Go exclusively with our iPhone 6.
The design of the E-Go is great. The longboard sports large 90-millimeter wheels that make it easy to ride over minor bumps in the road without incident. The E-Go is rated to support riders up to 220 pounds, and the deck itself is made of Canadian Maple Wood.
Riding and carving on the E-Go was easy and simple, and the motor had no problem getting us — and heavier users who tested the unit — Â up to speed.
The motor and battery are housed in the undercarriage of the board, with the propulsion being applied to one back wheel on the unit. Once you're on, the electric engine's ride is quiet and smooth.
Underneath, on the side of the battery, is a power switch, a power port with an attached plug to cover the hole, and a USB port that also has a removable rubber plug to protect it from dust, dirt, and the outdoor elements.
To switch the E-Go between the hardware remote and the iPhone controller, a switch must be flipped on the board itself. Unfortunately this switch is recessed, and requires the use of a provided special clip, though it could also be switched with the use of a pen or paperclip.
We can't see riders frequently switching modes. And we do see why an exposed switch could be a problem, if a rock were to be kicked up and hit it. However, we do think a better future design would make this switch more accessible.
We'll also note that the engine on the rear of the board did show some minor scrapes after a few days' worth of use, presumably from riding over various terrain. These scrapes were entirely cosmetic, and on the bottom of the board, and did not affect the motor at all. Similar dings could be found on the wooden board itself, but hey, it's a skateboard.
Yuneec advertises that that the E-Go offers up to 18 miles of riding distance on a single charge. While we didn't push the board to the limits, we did find that the lithium-ion battery lasted an exceptionally long time. And conveniently, the connected iPhone app provides riders a total distance traveled and battery life.
The E-Go battery is advertised to recharge within 3 to 5 hours, and range and speed can vary on the rider's weight, road conditions, riding style and more. The board can also take riders up an incline of up to 10 percent for a limited distance.
The board also features a regenerative braking system that recycles power used when braking to recharge the battery, further extending the riding distance of the E-Go. And at 13.9 pounds, it's light enough to carry around for the day or attach to the back of a backpack that can hold a board.
Finally, in the event that you do wear out the battery, the E-Go can be self-propelled like a traditional longboard. While the motor does cause some slight resistance when pushing the board by foot, it's still easy to get moving.
When it's set into Bluetooth mode, the Yuneec E-Go connects to and is controlled by the E-Go Cruiser app. Connection is a snap: Simply launch the app, select your board and go.
We'll admit we were a bit wary at the thought of controlling a skateboard under our feet with our $850 128-gigabyte iPhone 6. And the lack of tactile controls on the iPhone's touchscreen didn't inspire confidence.
But we're happy to report that the design of the E-Go app is as intuitive as it needs to be — Â that is, it's a completely eyes-free experience while riding.
While the app does display a lot of valuable information, there's no need to look at it. Users simply place their thumb anywhere on the screen and slide it upward to accelerate, without the need to correspond with any graphics on the display.
To brake, users remove their thumb from the display, then touch it again and this time slide their thumb slowly downward. That's it.
With the app (as well as the hardware remote), users can choose between a variety of different modes. For riding, there's an eco mode with a lower acceleration curve, and a sport mode that accelerates faster. Riding in eco mode helps conserve battery and maximizes range.
And the app also offers two different speed modes: A slow or beginner mode with a limited speed of 8 miles per hour, and a fast mode that goes up to 12.5 miles per hour.
The app also clearly notifies users of their current speed, the battery status of the board, the battery on their iPhone, and it even has a quick flashlight button for added safety when riding at dusk or night.
We did receive a phone call while testing the E-Go and the app simply stopped providing acceleration to the board. The board naturally slowed to a stop without incident.
Of course, riding with an iPhone might not be ideal for everyone. While we never fell off the E-Go, one small spill could ruin your expensive handset, so riders might consider a heavy-duty case if they do rely exclusively on their iPhone. Thankfully, the included hardware remote is also an option, and from our tests it worked great.
The E-Go is certainly one of the most interesting iPhone accessories we've ever reviewed. We came away very impressed.
Regarding the board itself, the E-Go is an easy recommendation for riders who live in an area where they can safely cruise to their destination. It's lightweight enough to carry around without trouble, and its 18-mile range offers enough distance to make it feasible for a trip there and back on one charge.
It's also easy to carve and turn and offers a smooth ride.
The iPhone app works great. It's a quick, seamless connection that never caused us any problems in multiple tests.
As for the price, $699 for an electric skateboard might seem like a hefty price to some, but those who are in the market for such a board will know that it's actually extremely competitive.
Take, for example, Boosted Boards, which start at $999 and do not feature a connected iPhone app for control.
If you do want your iPhone to connect to your electric longboard, an alternative to the E-Go is the Marbel, which is lighter at 9.9 pounds, has enough power to go 25 miles per hour, and offers over 12 miles per charge. But the Marbel board isn't shipping yet, and carries a preorder price of $1,299.
Considering its relatively low price, ease of use, compatibility with the iOS ecosystem, and through-the-roof fun factor, the Yuneec E-Go is an outstanding iPhone accessory.
Score: 4.5 out of 5
- Easy and fun to ride, with different settings for speed and acceleration
- iPhone app is reliable and well designed for eyes-free control
- Great battery life, light weight, adequate speed and competitive price compared to other options
- Switching between Wi-Fi (hardware remote) and Bluetooth (iPhone) modes is needlessly cumbersome
- At $699, this is for serious riders only