AirWheel Q3 review

Hold on to your hats, don your gum shields

For me, what this all amounts to is a bit of a mess. What is the AirWheel Q3 for? I really don't know. It just feels like a prototype, manufactured in China, and put on sale just to see if anyone will buy it. It lacks finesse - a classic 'version one' problem.

I certainly wouldn't ride it to work, despite living only 1.3 miles from the office and walking in every day. And where I live, I can't really think of anywhere that would be appropriate to have fun with it, despite Bath being a beautiful, quiet city.

We liked

Yeah it's pretty fun to ride under the right circumstances. The pedals are responsive and while turning takes some learning, you do get the hang of it. There are also a few 'how to ride' tutorials on YouTube which I'd advise you to check out, but don't expect it start out easy under any circumstances.

We disliked

The Q3 is too big and heavy and its potential for violence is too threatening. The idea of riding it around town among other shoppers is just absurd - you could seriously hurt someone.

You have to wonder, also, whether the AirWheel will eventually encounter the same legal issues as the poor old Segway. Segways are illegal to ride on pavements and on roads in the UK and many other countries. The law says you can only use them on private property - ignore this and you could be prosecuted, and that's why you never see Segways on British streets.

It's not hard to imagine a legal precedent being set at some point which would condemn the AirWheel to the same, redundant fate.

And what about that price? £800/$1333 for the Q3 model we're testing is a lot of cash - you could buy a car for that much. Second hand, sure. But it'll still be an excellent piece of machinery and it'll only run you over if you're Brian Harvey.

Verdict

Ultimately, and I feel a bit mean saying this, the AirWheel Q3 reminds me a bit too much of the much-maligned Sinclair C5 from 30 years ago. Another white plastic electric vehicle, it was bags of fun for an afternoon, especially if you had more than one. But a serious purchase? Not really, and no one bought it.

To that end, I simply couldn't recommend you buy the Q3 unless you've used an AirWheel before and feel comfortable with it. Having said that, many of the issues I have with it relate to its sheer size and weight, so if you fancy getting one, I'd highly recommend looking at one of the smaller, cheaper options.