Acton BLINK QU4TRO review

A 4WD electric skateboard that hits 23 mph is even more fun than it sounds

Acton’s Blink QU4TRO is the Ferrari of electric skateboards.
Acton’s Blink QU4TRO is the Ferrari of electric skateboards.
Acton’s Blink QU4TRO is the Ferrari of electric skateboards.

Highs

  • Four hub motors
  • Outrageously powerful
  • Insanely long range
  • Shock absorbing trucks
  • Running lights

Lows

  • Heavy as hell
  • Not maneuverable

Nearly two years ago, a Californian startup named Acton launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a four-wheel-drive skateboard. Now, that board is finally here. It’s called the QU4TRO (henceforth referred to simply as “Quatro”), and we rode it around Portland for a few weeks to see how it stacks up against some of the bigger names in the electric longboard space.

Standout features and specs

On paper, the Quatro is a beast. This monstrosity of a skateboard carries four hub motors (one in each wheel) that collectively provide 2,000 watts of power, and propel the board along at speeds up to 23 miles per hour. It also has insane amounts of torque — enough to push a car on flat ground, or propel a 165 pound rider over a hill with a 30-percent grade. Think San Francisco steep.

On top of that, it’s also equipped with a massive battery that fills up the majority of the board’s 39-inch deck, and provides over 22 miles of range on a single charge. To hold all that battery, the board is constructed from aircraft-grade aluminum, and feels extremely sturdy as a result.

Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

You’ll also notice a handful of little flourishes that don’t come standard on most electric longboards — things like lights around all four sides, and an innovative suspension system built into the trucks. It’s easily one of the most feature-packed eboards we’ve ever stood on.

A thrilling, polished ride

The Quatro’s burly four-wheel drive system and outrageous amounts of speed and torque are arguably the board’s biggest selling points, but they’re really just the tip of the iceberg. There’s a lot going on behind the scenes that gives the Quatro an extremely polished underfoot feel.

The Quatro is easily one of the most feature-packed eboards we’ve ever stood on.

First and foremost, there’s the motors. Unlike some other boards on the market, the Quatro sports a set of hub motors, meaning the motors live inside the wheel and don’t need to be attached via a belt or chain. This essentially means that the Quatro’s wheels roll with less resistance when they’re unpowered, allowing you to coast freely when you let off the throttle, and also push the board manually if necessary. Unfortunately, the Quatro’s massive weight (24 pounds) means it’s a bit of a chore to push even with the low-friction drive mechanism, but to be fair, the board has such a ridiculously long range that you’ll rarely need to kick it manually.

In addition to the board’s fantastic coasting abilities, the Quatro’s throttle is exquisitely well-tuned. Both acceleration and deceleration are incredibly smooth, and actuated in a gradual manner that doesn’t throw you off balance — even if you’re quick and heavy on the throttle. It’s definitely still possible to accelerate or decelerate too hard and send yourself flying onto the pavement (especially in “Pro” mode), but Acton’s throttle and brakes are far less touchy compared to most other eboards we’ve ridden.

acton blink qu4tro qu4dro eskateboard power wires
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Acton also equipped the Quatro with something we’ve never seen before on a longboard: a set of shock-absorbing trucks. Most trucks are simply a swiveling crossbar that attaches the wheels to the deck and allow you to turn by leaning — but Acton’s “Tension Suspension” trucks take things to a whole new level, and incorporate a clever C-shaped spring that allow the deck to travel up and down a few centimeters. This ingenious design element helps the board absorb small bumps in the road, and ultimately makes for a smoother riding experience. Without this suspension, riding this all-metal board would probably be quite jarring — but thanks to the shocks, it’s like riding on a cloud.

A cumbersome commuter

Despite the fact that this board is undoubtedly one of the most powerful and enjoyable boards we’ve ever set foot on, it’s also not the most convenient commuter vehicle. Here’s why:

First and foremost, it’s massive. Quatro is a leviathan of a longboard, so if you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to carry it, be prepared for a bit of an arm workout. Without any handles or anything to hold onto, it’s a pain in the ass to lug around — especially in the tight confines of a bus or train. The upside? It’s also so long that you can just lift up the front and drag it behind you like a roller suitcase.

Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Second, the board isn’t exactly the easiest to whip around. With a long wheelbase, a heavy body, and no kicktail, the Quatro isn’t great at taking tight turns or making quick directional changes. If your route is predictably straight and clear, you’ll be fine. But if you regularly encounter obstacles and tight turns, you might want to find something that’s easier to throw around with your feet.

On the plus side, the headlights, tail lights, and running lights make you more visible at night, and allow you to ride in the street more safely.

Our Take

There’s a lot to like about the Quatro. It’s fast as hell, has insane battery life, and offers one of the smoothest, most exhilarating riding experiences you can get from an electric longboard right now. The only real downside is the Quatro’s lack of maneuverability in tight spaces, and lack of portability when you’re not riding.

Take it out on a curvy road for a few minutes and you’ll fall in love.

Think of it like a sports car. It might not be the most practical thing to drive to work every day, but if you ever start to doubt your purchase, just take it out on a curvy road for a few minutes and you’ll fall in love all over again.

Are there better alternatives?

The electric longboard space is extremely competitive right now, so prospective buyers have a ton of options.

Alternatives

$1199.99
$997.00
$1499.00
$1799.00

Compared to Acton’s Quatro, the Boosted 2 Dual+ offers a comparable level of power, and also boasts an extremely polished riding experience. Unfortunately, it’s also belt-driven, doesn’t enjoy the same coasting abilities that the Quatro does, and has a maximum range that pales in comparison — just 12 miles compared to Acton’s 22.

Another one to consider is the Haloboard Carbon Edition. It’s smaller and lighter than the Quatro, and therefore more commuter-friendly — but doesn’t have four-wheel drive, headlights, or 22 miles of range. On the upside, it does have hub motors and plenty of power, so it offers a pretty excellent riding experience. It’s also quite a bit cheaper.

And of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the Onewheel+ and newly-released Onewheel+ XR. While technically not skateboards, both vehicles offer a supremely smooth ride and sell for a similar price. Neither can compare when it comes to range, though. The new XR boasts a range of up to 16 miles, while the Onewheel+ can only travel 8 miles on a single charge. That said, Onewheels are arguably more maneuverable, portable, and commuter-friendly than the Quatro. They can also handle far more terrain.

How long will it last?

The Quatro’s lifespan likely depends on how hard and how often you ride. The aluminum body will probably last for ages, but the lithium battery, hub motors, and urethane wheels will likely wear out after a few years — especially if you ride every day.

The aluminum body will probably last for ages.

The first thing to kick the bucket will undoubtedly be the urethane “shells” that shroud the board’s hub motors and serve as your wheels. When these shells wear out, you’ll have to replace them to ensure the board rides properly. Unfortunately, shell replacements aren’t currently available for the Quatro’s 88mm wheels and we don’t know how much they’ll cost — but based on the price of shells for Acton’s other boards, we’re fairly certain they won’t be cheap.

Our best guess is that this board can probably survive three to six years of abuse before it craps out, and you can expect to pay at least $200 for new wheels after the first year or two.

Should you buy it?

If all you’re after is an exhilarating ride, then yes. Add this monster to your shopping cart without hesitation. The Quatro is practically guaranteed to get your adrenaline pumping, and get you from A to B in record time.

If you want something more practical that you can use as an urban commuting vehicle, then we’d recommend looking into something smaller, lighter, and more maneuverable.

Emerging Tech

It’s no flying car, but the e-scooter had a huge impact on city streets in 2018

Within just a year, electric scooters have fundamentally changed how we navigate cities. From San Francisco to Paris, commuters have a new option that’s more fun than mass transit, easier than a bike, and definitely not a car.
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

Scoot your commute! Here are the 9 best electric scooters on the market

Electric scooters are an affordable, convenient way to minimize your carbon footprint and zip around town. Check out 8 of our current favorites, whether you're working with a budget or have some cash to spare.
Product Review

Audi built an electric SUV for buyers who want gasoline-free to mean stress-free

We finally got to spend time behind the wheel of the electric 2019 Audi E-Tron bustling cities and arid desert of the United Arab Emirates to see how it compares with Jaguar and Tesla's competitors.
Emerging Tech

Full-fledged drone delivery service set to land in remote Canadian community

Some drone delivery operations seem rather crude in their execution, but Drone Delivery Canada is building a comprehensive platform that's aiming to take drone delivery to the next level.
Emerging Tech

Intel wants its fleet of drones to monitor America’s aging, unsafe bridges

Intel has signed a deal to use its Falcon 8+ drones to carry out bridge inspections. The hope is that these drones will be useful in spotting potential problems before they become serious.
Giveaways

Print your heart’s desire: Enter our giveaway to win a free Monoprice 3D printer

We’re giving away a $400 Monoprice MP Voxel 3D Printer. It's easy to use, especially for beginners, with its simple menu system and touchscreen display. It comes fully assembled so you can spend more time printing instead of setting up.
Emerging Tech

Transplanted pig hearts show promise in baboon trials. Are humans next?

Researchers in Germany have successfully transplanted modified pig hearts into baboons. The results take us one step closer to ending organ transplant waiting lists for good. Here's why.
Emerging Tech

An A.I. cracks the internet’s squiggly letter bot test in 0.5 seconds

How do you prove that you’re a human when communicating on the internet? The answer used to be by solving a CAPTCHA puzzle. But maybe not for too much longer. Here is the reason why.
Emerging Tech

Makerbot is back with a new 3D printer that’s faster and more precise than ever

MakerBot's new Method 3D printer aims to bridge the gap between home 3D printers and more industrial 3D printing tech. Here are a few of the tantalizing things you can expect from it.
Emerging Tech

Warm ski beanie instantly hardens into a head-protecting helmet upon impact

Wool hats are way more comfortable than hard helmets. You know what they're not? Safer. That could soon change, thanks to an innovative new ski beanie which instantly hardens upon impact.
Deals

Take to the skies with these 5 drones on sale for under $50

On the hunt for some cool tech for under $50? We've rounded up 5 drones under $50 that you can still get before Christmas. These models are great for kids, adults, and anyone just getting started with drones.
Emerging Tech

With this robotic garage, retrieving your car is like using a vending machine

Remembering where we parked our cars can be a real pain. But what if our cars came to find us, rather than the other way around? A new automated robot parking valet system aims to help.
Cars

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…