Like a shark with a saddle, Halo Board is sleek, smooth, and insanely fun to ride

Over the past few years, electric skateboards have evolved from a niche novelty to a practical – and popular – way to get around. Today, there are hundreds of different electronic boards to choose from, and as such, manufacturers have been developing increasingly sophisticated skateboards in an effort to distinguish themselves from competitors. Case in point? The Halo Board Carbon Edition. It’s arguably one of the most advanced electronic longboards on the market right now, and boasts just about every bell and whistle you could hope for. We got our hands on one for review and took it for a ride.

What it’s like on paper

In terms of specs and features, there are a few things that make this board stand out from the rest of the pack. The first and most obvious is its carbon-fiber construction, which presumably makes it lighter and more durable than its wooden counterparts. Second, it boasts a pair of beefy 1,500-watt hub motors that allow it to hit a top speed of 22 miles per hour, and allegedly travel up to 14 miles on a single charge.

That’s not too shabby — but specs only tell you half the tale, so to get a better idea of how the Carbon Edition performs in the real world, we rode it. A lot. Probably over 50 miles at this point, in fact. In the process, we took it through just about every kind of terrain imaginable, in a wide variety of different weather conditions. Here’s what we liked and disliked about it.

What it’s like on pavement

First thing’s first: The carbon fiber deck is both a blessing and a curse — although we’ll admit the blessings outnumber the curses in this case.

The Halo Board is arguably one of the smoothest longboards we’ve ever ridden.

Carbon fiber is not only lighter and more durable than wood, it allowed Halo Board’s designers to integrate the battery directly into the deck, rather than attaching it to the underside, as you typically find on most electric boards. This gives the board a nice, sleek underbelly with lots of clearance, so it doesn’t really look like an electric board.

It also distributes the board’s battery weight across the full length of the deck, rather than tacking it awkwardly onto one end. This ultimately makes the board more balanced, and therefore less cumbersome to carry around when you’re not riding — which is a pretty big deal if you use the Halo Board as a commuting vehicle.

The downsides? The deck is extremely stiff, its battery can’t be swapped out when you run out of juice, and the parts without grip tape get super slippery when wet. Like we said though — these minor flaws are outweighed by the aforementioned virtues, and there’s a whole lot more to this board than just the deck.

Smooth, powerful, and damn near silent drive technology

Without a doubt, the Halo Board’s biggest assets are a pair of beefy, 1,500-Watt hub motors. This certainly isn’t the first board we’ve ridden that has hub motors instead of belt-driven wheels — but it’s definitely one of the best for one simple reason: rolling resistance, or lack thereof. The Halo Board has exceptionally smooth and free-rolling motors, which makes a massive difference in terms of how it feels under your feet.

See, not all hub motors are created equal. Some don’t spin freely when they’re unpowered, which makes it feel like you’re braking when you let off the throttle, rather than coasting. And when your battery runs out, you’re not going far.

halo board carbon edition review haloboard eskateboard ridedownview
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Many cheaper electric longboards suffer this “sticky wheel” effect, but the Halo Board is arguably one of the smoothest we’ve ever ridden. When you let off the throttle, there’s almost zero jarring, and the board is relatively easy to push when it’s dead. You probably won’t be pushing it around dead too much, but it’s still nice to know that you can if you need to.

These motors are also whisper quiet during acceleration — which is practically unheard of (pun thoroughly intended) in electric skateboards. On just about every other board we’ve ever tried, acceleration is accompanied by an annoying electric whine, which increases in pitch as the RPMs climb. You can still hear the Halo Board, but its volume is orders of magnitude lower. At low speeds, it’s almost silent — which only compliments the board’s stealthy, jet-black appearance.

Slowing down and getting the hang of it

Another thing we enjoyed about this board is the fact that it has pretty decent brakes — and that’s a bigger deal than you might think. Even if you know how to footbrake or slide effectively, it’s still pretty convenient to have a nice set of smooth, predictable brakes at your disposal. To activate them, you simply pull back on the joystick controller. You’ll feel a little bit of a forward lurch as the board slows down — especially if your stance isn’t good — but generally speaking the Halo Board’s brakes are far less jarring and sudden than a lot of other electronic boards on the market right now. Braking also regenerates the batteries a small amount, which extends the board’s range on hilly journeys.

Really, the only major downside to this board is the flimsy, unpredictable controller it comes with. Our first one actually arrived broken, and the replacement we got feels like it wouldn’t survive a hard smack onto the pavement — which would likely happen if you took a spill and used your hands to break your fall.

On top of that, the controls are a bit touchy. If you don’t maintain perfectly consistent pressure on the joystick, the motors will sometimes switch off, which often creates a feeling that board has “died” mid-ride. To resume your former rate of acceleration, you have to let off the stick and then gingerly inch your way back up to where you were before — and if you’re not careful, you can easily over-accelerate and lose your balance. That said, this quirk is fairly easy to acclimate to, and after a couple hours of riding, you’ll get a feel for how the accelerator behaves. Just like anything else, there’s a bit of a learning curve.

Verdict

Sure, it’s a bit stiff and the controls take a minute to get used to — but between its powerful motors, excellent coasting, and sleek, easy-to-carry design; the Halo Board easily makes up for its shortcomings. So while there’s certainly room for improvement here, the Halo Board Carbon Edition is arguably one of the best electric skateboards we’ve tested thus far, and is absolutely worth considering if you’re in the market for a rideable.

Cars

Driving Daimler’s 40-ton eCascadia big rig isn’t just fun, it’s electrifying

Daimler Trucks brought its all-electric eCascadia semi-truck to the 2019 CES, and invited us to take the wheel. What does it feel like to drive one? Simply electrifying, of course.
Gaming

You're never too broke to enjoy the best free-to-play games

Believe it or not, free-to-play games have evolved into engaging, enjoyable experiences. Here are a few of our favorites that you can play right now, including Warframe and the perennially-popular League of Legends.
Cars

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is ready to strike with over 700 hp

The 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 revives one of the greatest names in American muscle cars, and gives Ford some ammunition in the horsepower war with Chevy and Dodge. Debuting at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the GT500 boasts over 700 hp.
Emerging Tech

Sick of walking everywhere? Here are the best electric skateboards you can buy

Thanks for Kickstarter and Indiegogo, electric skateboards are carving a bigger niche than you might think. Whether you're into speed, mileage, or something a bit more stylish, here are the best electric skateboards on the market.
Emerging Tech

Ford’s sweaty robot bottom can simulate 10 years of seat use in mere days

Ford has developed 'Robutt,' a sweaty robot bottom that's designed to simulate the effects of having a pair of human buttocks sitting on its car seats for thousands of hours. Check it out.
Emerging Tech

CES 2019 recap: All the trends, products, and gadgets you missed

CES 2019 didn’t just give us a taste of the future, it offered a five-course meal. From 8K and Micro LED televisions to smart toilets, the show delivered with all the amazing gadgetry you could ask for. Here’s a look at all the big…
Emerging Tech

Want to know which drones are flying near you? There’s an app for that

Want to know what that mysterious drone buzzing over your head is up to? A new system developed by AirMap, Google Wing, and Kittyhawk.io could soon tell you -- via a map on your phone.
Emerging Tech

A Japanese hotel fires half its robot staff for being bad at their jobs

Japan’s oddball Henn na Hotel has fired half of its 243 robot staff. The reason? Because these labor-saving machines turned out to be causing way more problems than they were solving.
Emerging Tech

CERN plans to build a massive particle collider that dwarfs the LHC

CERN already has the world's biggest particle accelerator. Now it wants a bigger one. Meet the 9 billion euro Future Circular Collider that will allow physicists to extend their study of the universe and matter at the smallest level.
Emerging Tech

Forget fireworks. Japan will soon have artificial meteor showers on tap

Tokyo-based startup Astro Live Experiences is preparing to launch its first artificial meteor shower over Japan, serving as a showcase of its prowess in the space entertainment sector.
Cars

Robomart’s self-driving grocery store is like Amazon Go on wheels

Robomart's driverless vehicle is like an Amazon Go store on wheels, with sensors tracking what you grab from the shelves. If you don't want to shop online or visit the grocery store yourself, Robomart will bring the store to you.
Emerging Tech

Glowing space billboards could show ads in the night sky

Look up at the night sky in 2020 and you might see an ad for McDonald's floating among the stars. A Russian startup is working on a project that uses a constellation of small satellites in low-Earth orbit to create glowing ads.
Emerging Tech

New brainwave reader tells teachers if students are concentrating

Massachusetts-based startup BrainCo has developed brainwave-reading headbands which can reportedly help reveal if students are concentrating in class. Here's how they're being used.
Emerging Tech

Fears about kids’ screen use may have been overblown, Oxford researchers find

Many people take it as gospel that digital technologies are harmful to young people’s mental health. But is this true? A recent study from the University of Oxford takes a closer look.