Okay, so if you are one of the many who were intrigued by the original Segway but lost interest when you saw the price, listen up. The Segway MiniPro, a lighter, shorter, and slower but also way less expensive version of the go-the-way-you-lean personal transporter, is now setting up distribution in North America.
Note that the Segway MiniPro is not the same machine as the Xiaomi Mini that started selling in November 2015 in China. The North American version is similar, however, (though not identical) to the Ninebot MiniPro now sold in France.
A comparison chart on the Ninebot-France website shows the differences between the two. The specs of the French version are the same (except for the name) as the edition for which Amazon is currently taking pre-orders. So with that possible confusion out of the way, let’s talk about the fun stuff and what you can get when the MiniPro starts shipping on June 29, 2016.
First off, there’s no handle for the MiniPro. An adjustable vertical shaft extends up from the center of the floorboard to about knee height. You press on an adjustable knee bar to control direction. With a fully charged Lithium-ion battery, the MiniPro has a range of up to 14 miles with a top speed of 10 miles per hour on grades up to 15 degrees.
The MiniPro weighs 28 pounds and measures 10.5 inches front to back and 20.5 inches in width. Height varies from 20 to 34 inches depending on the height of the knee bar. Charge time for the 310-watt battery is four hours and the device sports two motors — one for each wheel. The device as sold in the U.S. is FCC and UL certified.
There are front and rear LED lights so you can travel at all hours. The MiniPro smartphone app, available in iOS and Android versions, pairs your phone with the MiniPro via Bluetooth. With the app you can operate the device remotely, view dashboard performance data, set the maximum speed limit, customize the lighting, and engage a tamper-proof security alarm. There’s also a Kensington lock slot.
The dashboard, located on the lower front of the center structure, has a power button and indicators for Bluetooth connection, speed limit, alarm activation, and battery power level.
If this sounds like fun, you can pre-order a MiniPro now for Amazon Prime delivery after June 29. According to the Amazon listing the retail price is $1,000, marked down from $1,300. In the Q&A in the Amazon listing there’s a hint (in response to a question) that a more powerful, perhaps somewhat larger edition will be announced in the future with a 250-pound rider weight limit.
If you’ve considered hoverboards or electric skateboards, the MiniPro has the advantage of proven technology with the same fun factor.