The Back to the Future Hoverboard by Mattel is not a hoverboard. It's a board at best. Really, it's just a piece of chintzy pink plastic that you can buy for $120 if you're a jerk. It doesn't hover.
The bar for high tech toys was set low by this year's hell-creature Furby, which we banished to a prison dimension reserved for space criminals after our review. But at least that was exciting, in the same sense that a brain hemorrhage or chair made out of poison is exciting. The hoverboard is just a fraud. And that really hurts, because we've been looking forward to this for almost a year.
Now for the most part, we're not idiots at Gizmodo. We didn't expect an actual flying hoverboard as depicted in the film, because that's impossible. For now. But for over a hundred bucks, we expected something better than this. Mattel goes so far as to promise the following from its official movie replica: "Be assured your Hoverboard will gently glide over most level surfaces." Gently glide! Be assured!
It doesn't. Not even a little bit. Not gently, not roughly, not at all. There is zero gliding of any kind, because the thing is just a piece of plastic with a AA battery compartment and muddled movie sound effects that doesn't really correspond much to stepping on it.
Yes, you can step on it. You can put a loose velcro strap over one of your feet and stand on it, or hop around with it like some kind of polymer amputee. You can rock back and forth, maybe, or wave your hands to the side and use your imagination if your imagination is strong enough. But what you can't do is hover. If you push hard enough, you can sort of drag it along with you as if it were a tween prisoner's neon shackles. But it will not glide. Mattel, the company that makes Hot Wheels—still awesome—couldn't even put a pair of detachable wheels on the thing. Or something. Anything to make this thing feel the slightest bit fun, have the slightest bit of magic, and give you the slightest reason to own it. Back To The Future is a pop culture treasure, and this thing could have been a fitting artifact. Instead it's just landfill fodder.
A piece of bright pink plastic.
I don't know.
Pink plastic. There's no off switch for the sounds.
You stand on it. Or hang it on your wall, maybe.
It looks like the thing from the movie.
The hoverboard doesn't hover or move in any manner.
Seriously, why isn't there an off switch?