(Pocket-lint) - We have all seen electric-powered skateboards before, but none quite like the Zboard. This electric deck's trumpcard is its weight and size, making it the first properly practical and portable electric skateboard we have used.
The Zboard was sitting there temptingly in front of us at CES, begging us to jump on and use it to zip around the vast halls of the Las Vegas Convention Centre. Unfortunately we weren't able to take it quite that far, the Zboard being confined to within sight of its designers.
Unsurprising, really, because the moment you step on this electric board you realise just how quick it can go. This isn't Segway speed we're talking about here - the Zboard will fly along at 15mph, or if you go for the pro version, 17mph.
The pro version also doubles the range of the deck from 5 miles to 10 and lowers weight from 35lbs to 28lbs. In reality, weight isn't much of an issue, as the deck has enough power to get up most hills and doesn't require you to push with your feet at all.
Zboard has also done a couple of special editions suited to different locations. The Santa Monica special, for example, has big, smooth wheels and a longer range for cruising the boardwalk. The San Francisco option has a higher torque motor to get you up hills and even a regenerative motor that charges batteries while you go downhill.
The version we rode was the standard option. It works by placing your foot on the soft black pad to go forward, or back foot on the other to stop. You turn as you would on a conventional skateboard, by leaning with your heel or toe.
The issue is, that when you bank to do a tight turn, enough weight comes off the front pad that the Zboard stops moving. In tighter spaces this can become a serious problem, so the Zboard is more for long outdoor runs.
Build quality is good and the grippy ridged wheels are handy - especially given the speed this can go, at as they stop you sliding about.
The Zboard is definitely a fun electric skateboard and one which could make a genuine alternative to standard ways of getting to work, especially if your commute involves a journey through a park. Pricing starts at $649 and the Zboard is available now (with a 10-week wait).