Kebe Hot Mini Scooter Review
When it comes to the Chinese take on marketing, one surefire rule seems to be that the more hyperbolic the description of a product, the more underwhelming it actually is. The Kebe Technology hoverboard (distributed by Expert Tech, whose homepage I can’t find) has the word “hot” right there in the product name. It’s also one of the cheapest hoverboard products on the Amazon storefront. Two warning lights right off the bat.
Knock it Off
The design is yet another carbon copy of the Chic Robotics S1 hoverboard, the product that kicked off the hoverboard craze in the first place. The same shell and LED design make this indistinguishable from the other S1 clones on the market. Not too important in and of itself, but hopefully the money saved on design went into better components.
Thanks to the typically poor quality of the information we get with direct Chinese imports, it’s not clear exactly what sort of battery the Kebe has onboard. Since it’s actually on the Amazon storefront I presume all the right safety certifications are in place. The marketing material included with the product description refers to Samsung batteries, but clearly show the FutureHovr, a different product. However, it seems that FutureHovr are handling customer queries on Amazon and have explicitly said that the product has genuine Samsung batteries.
Still, since it survived the safety cull on Amazon we can be fairly certain it won’t burst into a ball of flame. Certainly no user reviews suggest anything like that so far.
Given how cheap this hoverboard is I was pleasantly surprised to hear the distributor confirm that there’s a 1-year warranty on the board and motor, while the battery has a three-month warranty. That may seem awfully short, but it’s pretty normal in terms of lithium battery technology. If there are any serious factory flaws in the batteries it will show up in the first three months.
Check the (S)pecs
The specifications on the Kebe seem pretty competent. It has a higher weight capacity than usual at 265 lbs, which is thanks to an aircraft aluminum alloy frame. The Kebe weighs a light 22 lbs, probably thanks to the use of aluminum. The motor is rated at 250W, which is about half of the peak power I’ve seen in $500 and up models. Still, it’s rated for 15-degree inclines and nearly 9 miles per hour. Maximum range is 12 miles, which probably means half that under real-world conditions. A practical commuter this is not, depending on your circumstances.
The wheels are 6.9 inches, which is slightly bigger than the typical 6.5 inch models we see at this price point. Nothing explicitly suggests waterproofing and the warranty conditions exclude it, so no riding in the rain.
Overall, I think this is a fairly well specified scooter for the price. In terms of durability it’s anyone’s guess. I can’t imagine that a hoverboard in 2016 priced under $300 will be especially long-lived.
Taste the Rainbow
There’s a decent range of colors available for the Kebe. These include red, white, black, blue, and of course gold. The gold coloring on these scooters are a direct result of the whole celebrity poser thing, so I don’t particularly like that color. Given how badly the paint chips and cracks on these cheap scooters, gold is probably a particularly bad choice and the inevitable damage will be less obvious on a dark shade like black.
So the facts as I seem them is that (1) The Kebe is really cheap, (2) it’s passed the basic safety requirements, (3) it has decent specifications, but (4) its limited range makes it more of a toy.
At this price and with the mindset that this is basically a cool toy rather than something you’ll want to trust for commutes, I think the Kebe is worth the gamble. The slightly higher weight limit and claimed aluminum frame strength are also good selling points. Just don’t buy it thinking you’re getting a PhunkeeDuck.