Segway makes a variety of self-balancing products that come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Each is known for delivering a well-calibrated and safe ride. Anyone looking for a high-quality Segway should be interested in Segway’s miniPLUS model. Let’s see what it has to offer and how it performs overall.
The improved Segway miniPRO is a clear improvement over the more affordable miniPRO series with an impressive range and one of the smoothest riding experiences you can find.
Comparing the two side by side, one can get an idea of what they have in common. However, it is harder to discern what really distinguishes the two balancing boards from just the eye alone.
There are several things everyone ought to pay attention to when selecting what Segway to buy. In our review, we’ll be discussing how well the Segway miniPLUS performs in all of the essential categories.
When it comes to their overall structure, the Segway miniPRO and the miniPLUS have several key similarities. Beyond basic observations like two wheels and a balancing bar, they have a “futuristic” vibe to them, something that is present in all of Segway’s products. This is no coincidence on their part. Segway has taken great care to give their personal transporters a feeling that both how they look and how they function will pave the way of consumer transportation in the coming years.
That’s where we have to give the miniPLUS some of our most glowing praise: this is certainly a futuristic and advanced device.
While the Segway miniPRO had a height of around 34 inches (not with the handlebar extended), the miniPLUS only reaches a height of two feet. It is considerably shorter than their other models and seems to live up to the name it has been given.
That can be a little misleading though as the miniPLUS is probably going to be a little heavier than you expect, as was the case with us. The scooter has a total weight of around 36 pounds and is actually heavier than Segway’s current revision of the miniPRO.
Don’t take that as a bad thing though. There are good reasons why this is the case. For one thing, it allows for a maximum weight limit that matches their larger products. The miniPLUS is suitable for ages 16 to 60 and can handle up to 220 pounds. 55 pounds is the specified weight minimum. This was a very wise move on Segway’s part because anyone who was capable of using their older models can still use this one.
While it may be a smaller device, it does not have a reduced max speed or max range. The Segway miniPLUS can go up to 12 miles per hour and has a max distance of about 22 miles. This actually makes it slightly faster and slightly more powerful than their famed miniPRO.
Here’s where we have to give our first negative comment, and it’s that the Segway miniPLUS only comes in one color. Rather disappointingly, it’s one of the blandest colors you could give to what is otherwise a cool and impressive piece of technology: eggshell white.
This isn’t an entirely bad thing and that’s for two reasons: one, this is hardly a fatal flaw and it shouldn’t turn anyone off from what would otherwise be a fine product to own. And two, there is a way to make the white casing and black tires look better. That’s where the LED lights come in.
Unlike older Segway models, the miniPLUS has LED lights equipped into the wheels themselves. The headlights are still present but they don’t hold a candle to how nice the lighted wheels look, especially after dark. The entire scooter acquires this very soothing glow of cyan and blue that really makes the miniPLUS stand out.
Segway has a large penchant for safety and it would be of no surprise if the only reason they offer eggshell white is so that the vehicle is more visible at nighttime. We still wish they at least offered some other bright colors so the plain white paint finish is lacking. Nevertheless, don’t get too disappointed. The white and black finish come together once the light blue lights are activated. This machine really shines when you know how to use it – literally and figuratively.
Now we’ll be getting into some areas where the miniPLUS both outperforms and underachieves compared to other Segway models.
One of the biggest complaints from communities is that the miniPLUS no longer features an extendable handlebar. In case you are unaware, other Segway devices had a bar that would come out from the center of the balancing rod that is stationed in between your legs. Many would use it to lug their Segway around like a briefcase when they were indoors. To some dismay that has been totally eliminated from the design of the miniPLUS.
The actual balancing rod of the Segway device itself is no longer detachable in the miniPLUS model. Some consider this a downside but we didn’t have that impression ourselves. The miniPLUS is already fairly compact and storing it away never felt cumbersome with the knee bar still connected.
Having said all of that, the actual riding experience of this machine is as one would expect from a company like Segway – very smooth and natural.
The auto-balancing system works as good as it always has. Frankly, we believe it functions a little better than previously. Despite this scooter being heavier, it glides along the road with minimal effort, including at top speeds. Turning feels easy and we never felt like we were on the verge of losing our balance even during sharp and fast turns.
The knee pad at the top of the balancing rod seems improved. While the overall rod is shorter and will not reach the knees of taller users, it’s thicker and softer and feels even more comfortable than other variants. We do wish it could be extendable as many do still prefer having the pads on the knees rather than below them. Fortunately, it takes little time to get used to and using it to aid in steering is still very intuitive.
Once again Segway shines in this category. The miniPLUS is a tough machine and the wheels feel like they were built like a tank. It’s impressive that a machine this size can be so sturdy.
Segway’s site did not mention anything about their shock resistant technology having any improvements in the miniPLUS but it seems to feel that way when bumping into objects. This can probably be chalked up to the increased weight. Nevertheless, this machine will definitely survive any minor accidents you may have with it. The size, and the name, certainly are deceiving when it comes to its durability.
Speaking of durability, the tires are easily the strongest component of this scooter. Segway only made the wheels of the miniPLUS slightly larger than the ones on the miniPRO. While we can’t be absolutely certain, we suspect that much of this machine’s 36 pounds reside in the wheels. They are absolutely top quality. They’re big and wide and we wouldn’t want it any other way.
We already spoke of the smooth steering and that’s mainly because of how they crafted the tires. They feel thicker when you pat or knock on them. They’re seemingly more resistant to tears and damage than previous tires. They work better over bumps and even in rain puddles. They’re slightly better at smooth steering and slightly better at resisting wear and tear and that’s saying a lot, considering Segway’s past record.
Again, Segway is on the ball here. Even at 12mph, you feel as stable as when moving at 4mph. The self-balancing is always at work and makes riding feel much more natural and intuitive than using a skateboard or a cheap hoverboard.
The casing is reinforced to be more waterproof which provides extra protection to the internal battery. You don’t have to worry about getting it wet by using this in the rain.
All in all the same Segway reputation of safety and protection is at work here as it is in any other of their scooter vehicles. They’ve provided top notch work as expected.
The miniPLUS is compatible with the same smartphone app that other Segway devices use. Diagnostics, anti-theft alarms and LED configurations are all available from a tap of your fingers.
The most interesting addition by far is their new “follow-me” function. We surmise that this is meant to replace the handlebar. This feature makes your miniPLUS, well, follow you. It moves at a suitable pace and is overall a nice convenience. The downside is that it has no obstacle detection so it can only move in a straight line. You’ll have to wait before turning a corner if you don’t want it to bump into anything.
Segway’s own website states that owning a miniPLUS is not too far off from having your own personal robot. In many ways, they were telling the truth. From the design of the looks to its surprisingly handy functions, the Segway miniPLUS really has earned the title of being “futuristic.”
But is this Segway’s best personal transporter? Would it be reasonable to call this a “miniPRO killer?” We don’t think so. While there are several minor improvements, there seem to be just as many minor downgrades. It replaced some great conveniences with some okay ones. People who prioritize portability above all else may disagree but the lack of a handlebar or an adjustable balancing rod harms even the portable angle.
While we were overall impressed, there are too many minor flubs to recommend this over cheaper models. It’s no doubt a step in the right direction but has lost some key features along the way.
However, if maximum range is your primary requirement, the Segway miniPLUS won’t disappoint!
Last update on 2019-01-17 at 13:26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API