A friend of mine happened to take delivery of his Meepo V3 today and we just got back from a quick ride. Of course, I took my NLS Pro.
A lot of people are curious about how the two boards compare to one another in terms of "feel," particularly when it comes to the ESC. I was able to briefly play around with the V3 and its various speed modes and brake settings, and compare it to my established thoughts on the NLS Pro.
For those of you who need to be caught up, Meepo uses two different ESC types in their range of boards. These are Hobbywing and what's known as the LingYi/Binary type ESC.
Current Meepo's using Hobbywing ESC's are the NLS Pro, Classic, City Rider and Mini 2. Compatible remotes include the NR-B, Classic (standard Hobbywing 3-speed) and forthcoming N2 remote.
Current Meepo's using LingYi/Binary ESC's are the V3, AWD GT and NLS (non-Pro). Compatible remotes include the NR-A, V2 (aka RC6) and the new MR remote.
The Hobbywing ESC is known for its smooth, predictable and reliable controls as well as it's intuitive and progressive acceleration and braking curves. The downside is that due to its smooth and gradual curve, this can also be interpreted as being "lower on torque" compared to the LingYi/Binary alternative.
Hobbywing ESC's are also (usually) restricted to three speed modes (although are generally just as fast or if not faster than their LingYi/Binary alternatives in terms of top speed) and lack other features like push-to-start and adjustable brake modes, which exist on LingYi/Binary ESC's.
LingYi/Binary ESC's are known for being a little more "touchy." This can also be interpreted as being "higher on torque" compared to Hobbywing alternatives. Many also accuse the LingYi/Binary ESC of simply being "jerky," which is true from a certain point-of-view. You can train yourself to get used to this, however. What's harder to get used to is the erratic way in which the ESC responds to control input. Pushing a millimeter down on the throttle can result in different action depending on the ESC's mood, it seems. A millimeter can mean a little bit of power in one second, or a lot of power the next second. This is what is meant by the LingYi/Binary ESC having "unreliable controls" compared to the Hobbywing ESC.
But yes, generally you will find that LingYi/Binary ESC's are faster than Hobbywing ESC's off-the-line. Other features the LingYi/Binary ESC's have that the Hobbywing's don't are push-to-start and, more recently, adjustable brake settings.
Meepo's V3 version of the LingYi/Binary ESC is brand new and has been promoted as their best version yet. "So smooth that it rivals Hobbywing," some people say.
Well, I can tell you that, yes, it's close.
Meepo's V3 LingYi/Binary ESC is leagues ahead all previous iterations in terms of it's acceleration smoothness. It retains the punchier, off-the-line launch the LingYi/Binary ESC's are known for, but the curve is now smoother and the control response is more predictable. Is it as smooth and predictable as the Hobbywing ESC? No, but it's close.
Braking is still janky though. I found anything except the lowest brake mode to be more of the same old unpredictability from LingYi/Binary. But that low brake mode when coupled with the EXPERT or PRO speed modes, yes, this almost rivals the overall Hobbywing feel.
It's still not quite "Hobbywing smooth" though, as close as it is.
Hobbywing ESC-equipped boards are set-and-forget type boards. You know exactly what you're going to get each and every time you step onto the board. You learn its power curves and become one with the board quickly. It will always be reliable and smooth as silk. Personally, this suits my riding style and I will always choose Hobbywing over LingYi/Binary when presented with a choice.
For people who crave that extra off-the-line punch and want extras like push-to-start and adjustable brake settings, at least the LingYi/Binary ESC's are getting better and smoother, just not quite as smooth as Hobbywing. Their saving grace is that Meepo's V3 LingYi/Binary ESC is their best yet and a sweet spot can be found riding in the EXPERT or PRO speed modes with the brake settings on the lowest mode.
Overall, what's the better board between the NLS Pro and the V3? Well, the V3 is probably the best value budget board on the market right now. The most well-spec'd and feature rich of anything hovering around the $450 USD price point. The stiffer deck, 90mm wheels and "punchier" ESC makes it the more agile of the two boards. It's the better "drag race" board and probably the better hill-climber. It also has the push-to-start and adjustable brake setting features that the NLS Pro lacks.
The NLS Pro is the better cruiser, carver and touring board. It has the bigger 100mm wheels/motors, higher top speed, (still) smoother ESC, nicer deck and the ER battery as standard.
For me, it's the NLS Pro. All day, every day. For my friend, it's the V3. We're all different and that's what makes us awesome.
I ride and write about electric skateboards for one reason and one reason only - the love of it!