DNSSYS X1 Exoskeleton review: A great idea that needs further refinement

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He was initially skeptical, especially on the flat slopes, but after climbing a relatively steep slope, he admitted, “I usually have to stop halfway up here and I’m definitely more out of breath than I used to be.” He also noticed that walking on a flat slope, “changes my natural gait, and I feel like I’m walking like a disabled person being held up.”

When asked if he’d spend $1,200 on it, the dad laughed.

The Dnsys X1 is heavily discounted as part of the brand’s crowdfunding campaign, with the price starting at $750, which is a little more attractive than the suggested retail price it would fetch if it ever hits the market – though at a price of $1.2 million and up you’d assume that would be the case.

My final prototype sample definitely had some issues. Without the benefit of the Dnsys app, the controls on the X1 are complex and confusing, with different tones and small lights indicating power mode and battery life.

The app makes everything easy, but it’s not great. I had to ask the brand what the different power levels actually represent, as there was no guidance. Levels one and two, for example, are designed for “regular body weight” women; levels two to four are for long distance hiking and climbing hills; and levels five and six are for trail running and intense sporting activities. Hopefully this basic information will be added to the app before the proper launch.

During testing, the unit also failed several times. According to the engineers, this was a safety feature that works when the straps are not in the correct position. That’s a good thing in itself, but I couldn’t tighten the straps any further, and the unit was unable to reset itself. Hopefully for Kickstarter backers, these are just teething problems.

Pensioner Power

There’s no denying that the Dnsys X1 exoskeleton works. It really gives you power and takes the stress off your legs when walking uphill. However, it’s pretty bulky, and the waist strap should be more comfortable.

Looking at the Dnsys X1 as it is right now, it scores here – and it should be highlighted that, even though this is a late-stage prototype, Dnsys was insistent that we be able to review this model thoroughly. If the annoyances we found can be ironed out, it will be interesting to see how the shipped product comes September and differs.

However, I can’t help but think that the brand is currently targeting the wrong audience. There doesn’t appear to be a single person in the marketing literature who actually needs help with hiking, walking or running.

I’m lucky enough to be relatively fit and healthy, but as I age and my physicality weakens, I’d love to know there’s still a way for me to get out and explore. Yes, my dad initially scoffed at the price, but he’d definitely spend the big bucks to keep doing what he loves – and I’d love to welcome more Mighty Morphing Power pensioners onto the trails myself.

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