Home of the HELIX Hoop with over 250 presets and custom color modes!
|Batteries and Charges||Evenly spaced rechargeable lithium cells (not user-replaceable)|
|Tubing||3/4" OD Polypro or 3/4" OD HDPE|
|Grip||Comes with sanding strips to customize|
|Collapsible||Yes, push-button release|
|Switch||Push-button power on/off|
|Balanced||Each size has unique placement of internal components and battery cells for perfect balance|
|Weight||This varies by size, of course. Do you have a guideline on how you would like this measured to be standard across all LED hoops? Everyone seems so shy to release real honest detailed info so it's hard for hoopers to compare! Might I suggest something like "Total weight of a 32" hoop" as a baseline?|
|LED Noise||Silent, no rattling.|
|# of LEDs in one hoop and Choices||
Approx. 80-100, depending on size.
|Minis?||Not at this time.|
|Warranty||1 year. More information at http://www.proton-labs.com/faq/warranty|
Tips for Leaving a Helpful Review
I've had this written for a while, and have read it over a few times. I want to start by saying I am not coming from an angry place right now as I have in the past. I am hoping this will get taken as some form of honest and perhaps helpful thoughts / criticism, or at the very least just something to think about for a minute or two. I'm sure most of us know now that I will be the first to admit that I've gone through this circle quite a few times, of being frustrated, and then sympathetic, frustrated, and excited, and frustrated again.
I don't mean to be a squeaky wheel, and I don't mean to nit-pick, but I don't understand why this seems to be true: "So, here you are posting here while none of the happy customers are ... You and others here only get to see the frustrated comments from the same frustrated minority looking for a place to vent and finding this thread. The vast majority of happy customers aren't searching for a venue like this to voice frustrations but are instead smiling and busy hooping and enjoying their Helix".
There are a lot of review threads on HoopCity, and many have a ton of positive reviews for companies. Some have mixed, some have poor. In general, there are a lot of hoopers who come here to write reviews on hoops, LED or not, and a lot of hoopers who come here to see what others are saying. I know I have come on HC numerous times solely to write good reviews so others can have an easier decision to make, and I've come to HC a ton to look for advice on what to buy.
I think perhaps people wouldn't need to seek out a place to vent if they felt there was a place (like on Facebook) for open, and immediate communication. This seems to be a last resort for a few people, because it's a place where your comments will be posted as soon as they're written, and you seem to always respond when things get put out in the public her, where with Facebook, people have to wait for you to approve/deny what gets sent through, and by the looks of it, nobody from your company is on there a whole heck of a lot. I still don't get why you have your facebook set that way, because in the beginning of all this you had said something along the lines of you wouldn't be censoring what people said because you were so confident in this product. I understand for a while in the beginning you were getting a lot of negative feedback on there, but are you still? Is this a reason why your facebook is still censored? I guess I'm not looking for a response with this, it's just something to think about from a customer stand point.
Anyways, seeing as this is a review page, I would think that those would step forward who are happy with the hoop, because as we can see, this is a very negative thread for the most part. I have personally talked with people who are totally fine and happy with this hoop, but a lot of people I've talked to seem to have issues in one way or another. So I maybe wouldn't be so quick to think that people are only coming here to complain or vent. I do wish that more people who are happy would speak up, as they do in other review threads, but that is up to them to do. I think a lot of Helix owners are a part of HC, and not everyone is constantly out enjoying their hoops. I've thought a couple times that maybe a new review page should be started, but then I can't help but think it would turn into another relatively negative thread. I do truly hope that those who are happy with their helix start to speak up in here.
I can agree with this, Jessica. This thread has indeed quite clearly turned into a "support" thread instead of a "review" thread. In fact, this seems to have happened last summer when we were having trouble keeping up with the volume of support messages we were receiving and didn't do a good job getting back with everyone as quickly as we wanted to.
This was then naturally a place for them to turn since other Helix owners were here. Without moderation, the thread turned from "reviews" to "customer support" almost overnight. This of course all was reinforced because I made such an effort to try to help everyone out here that was posting. This in turn brought in more people with problems wanting help, and so the cycle began. Sadly, at this point these new comments are buried so far down that the only people that will see them or respond are others that receive email notifications that were already part of the discussion.
By their very nature, customer support is a list of everyone that's not happy and/or having a problem. It's never pretty. Every company has a list like this and what's important is that you work on that list to keep it as small as possible and resolve everyone's issue that is on the list using any practical means possible. That's exactly what we do, but in this case it was done in the public for all to see and perhaps that's my mistake I suppose. I was just trying to be helpful anywhere and in any way I could.
Yes I agree, posting here was a last resort for me because I wasn't getting responses in a timely matter, via email or FB. I figured that the hooping community might be able to give me any info (they have the same issue, etc).
craig, it is a known fact that people are going to talk about their negative experience a lot more than their positive experience, it's human nature. that's why I told you your customers are your best advertisement and that's why you need to be going above and beyond to satisfy your unhappy customers.
I most likely am that frustrated person you speak of because I was trying to contact days prior to the "snag" you hit without any response from you. All I wanted was communication and didn't get it so naturally, I got upset. Communication is key to successful customer service.
I have been getting email updates on this review since I added my two cents in at the very beginning of this fiasco. However, I DO NOT own a Helix. My best friend does. The same person who went through hell and back with Craig and his team in the beginning. The same person who also had to send her Helix back to get it fixed after she waited months because of "static discharge". (IMHO I think that line was a load of crap) The issue was FINALLY resolved and she now has a working Helix. Let me add to this statement though. The Helix works, but my best friend rarely uses it. Why? She is afraid it may crack, or something will happen with one of the LED's and she will have to deal with the whole terrible process again. Although I DO NOT personally own a Helix, I lived with someone who did. I saw first hand what she had to deal with customer service wise. Customer service reviews are in fact, REVIEWS of the product. People want to know everything about what they will be purchasing. If you don't want a customer service review, I am more than willing to provide a product review.
From my knowledge, of using the hoop multiple times, here goes:
The Helix is bright. It's VERY bright. It's a very beautiful hoop.
The black gap won't bother you at first, until you've owned the hoop for awhile. Then you start to notice it more and it becomes more obvious in your photos. It bothered me a lot so that is why I didn't purchase a Helix after my best friend did. Also because the customer service.
The computer software is cool. It's cool that you can change the brightness of some patterns and fiddle with the modes on the hoop. Although, it would be nice if you could get the users a manual for their modes so they have a better understanding of how to configure the modes via the software.
Software upgrades should be more prevalent. The software package that came out around Christmas time was way better than the original software installed on the hoop. It would be nice if the hoop could be consistently upgraded with newer patterns.
It rattles. Some have said theirs don't rattle which is great. The one I have been using, it rattles.
Battery life is good. No issues there. It lasts long, came with a car charger and stays light for a long festival night.
I'm not sure if I missed anything else, if anyone has any questions about my personal PRODUCT review, I would be happy to answer them.
Now as far as CUSTOMER SERVICE. I would not, will not ever recommend this company to anyone I know in the hoop community. I personally have dealt with many different companies, and this is by far the worst customer service I have ever come about.
The problem Craig, is that you have nothing but excuses. We as hoopers are nice people. We like honesty, we like integrity. We are all willing to be patient for something awesome, we are willing to work with companies on issues. I know that no one likes to be lied too though. Your problem with your customer service is the blatant lies. If you had been open and honest with your customers from the beginning, I don't think you would have had near as much backlash about your product. I see that you have said that your customer service team is bigger and stronger now. I sure do hope so. As I said in the beginning, and will continue to drive the point home, you need to respond to your customer via email. NOT on your hoop's review platform. It's ridiculous that you can sit here and point fingers at these people for writing negative reviews, but can't seem to take that extra time to write the actual customers with issues about their hoops.
Another thing. The static discharge. Seriously? WHY in the world would you make those people pay to send back their hoops when it was your companies fault?! That blew my mind. Seriously bad judgement call. I hope that Proton Labs has resolved their issues, and that your customers can become happy with your product. For now, sitting side by side with someone who has been with your company since the start. I still think you guys have some work to do.
Most of you review is consistent with what we hear, particularly from last summer. The Helix is easily the brightest smart hoop available and people love the power and ease of customizing the patterns in the software. The new presets we've made available (for free) are excellent and are in line with the vision we had for the Helix. There is even another preset pack about to be released VERY soon and, once again, completely free!
If you read back far enough, the reviews of our customer service during the spring of last year around the time of launch were stellar. Then in the early summer the enormous demand and thousands of messages we began receiving absolutely crushed us. This is coincidentally the same time that this thread was created by the admins and became the place everyone turned to. I've openly admitted this on many occasions including at least a handful of times right here in this very thread - our ability to respond quickly last summer was inconsistent and in general was very very slow. I personally drastically underestimated the demand for the Helix and I didn't have in place a high quality customer support system and enough people to manage it very well.
To me, admitting this so bluntly the most honest thing I can do. I don't think that's something a lot of people typically do in these situations as it would be much easier to lie or just hide. However, I've remained committed to being present, honest, and working as hard as I can to ensure everyone loves our customer service as they already love the Helix itself. The issue we experienced with the demand wasn't the customer's fault and we worked incredibly hard through it making sure we shipped every hoop ordered as quickly as possible and resolved every single issue reported. It did, however, take some time.
Fast forward to just last week where I added another member to the team, Amanda, who is a talented hooper and whose sole focus is customer support in an effort to improve it even further. As of today we have absolutely no outstanding support tickets, we're responding promptly, and we have grown and learned tremendously from last summer. It will of course take time for these huge improvements to be recognized, particularly by those like your friend. She had the misfortune of experiencing the long wait to get a genuine mistake on our part resolved at the peak of the incredible demand.
I was one of the first 100 people to purchase the Helix, and was waiting for the Mac compatible software to come out so that I could customize my hoop. I waited for a long time, and to only find out (recently) that the software can only be used on a Mac if you run Boot Camp. Maybe this is my fault for not checking the Facebook page to see if they had released a Mac compatible software, and had I checked the page maybe I would have found out sooner. I borrowed two of my friends' PC computers in the past month, and downloaded the device driver and software successfully (as instructed on the website). My hoop is detected by the software, is powered on, but cannot connect to the software. I contacted Proton Labs on 4/3, and they did not respond to my email until 4/23. They told me to send in the hoop because it is "likely" covered by the warranty, which is no guarantee. They also stated that there was not a single report of the same issue as me, but somebody on Facebook replied to my post and said that they were also having the same issue. I don't feel comfortable paying shipping fees to mail my hoop in if it's only "likely" that my problem can be covered under the warranty. When I asked in an email on 5/1 how long I had until the warranty expiration date, they told me one year from the purchase date. My purchase date was in late March, when the hoop wasn't even available for shipment until around May, and I didn't receive it until the end of May. I thought I would try my second friend's computer before mailing it in, and when I stated that my purchase date was in March they told me that they could work something out. I still haven't heard back from them after telling them it didn't work the second time, and it's almost my warranty expiration date from the day I actually received my hoop. I wish that somebody would get back to me so that I could feel confident spending money to mail my hoop in for the second time (I paid to ship the hoop but they fixed it free of charge for me the first time which was nice, because it was rattling and they had come up with a new technique after they had already made my hoop to minimize rattling). I had such a positive experience with them when I had my first issue, since they said that my problem was not usually covered by the warranty but made an exception since I was an early supporter, so I'm frustrated and disappointed that they haven't gotten back to me yet because these hoops are not cheap. It's a really great hoop, super fun to play with and is gorgeous to watch, but I just wish I could customize it as advertised :(
that seems weird to me..that the warranty starts from the date of purchase, not the date of shipment. all this time i thought i had until the middle of august on mine, but i only have 2 weeks left by what they told you. there's no exception for the first however many orders, who had to wait months for this hoop? part of me is hoping maybe they just didn't realize this when you e-mailed in to them.
sorry you cant customize yours, that stinks :(
They finally emailed me back this morning (I'm not sure if it was because of my several posts of Facebook or the post on here) and said that most of the crew was at a festival and the person who read my email didn't know how to respond. I wish that they could have just replied and said "we'll get back to you as soon as possible, the people who are the decision makers of the company are out of town" or something like that. They also stated that they noticed I still hadn't sent my hoop in, but I responded by saying that it's because I didn't know the details about whether my hoop was really covered under warranty or not. I don't want to pay expensive shipping fees to only have them say "sorry there's nothing we can do." Even in this morning's email they say "it should be covered" but not "it will be covered".
They confirmed that the warranty date will be as of the ship date (not sure if they changed this policy for me specifically or for all orders).
The problem seems to be a hardware issue, since the device can be detected but can't connect to the actual software. This means that the hardware probably has to be replaced. That seems like a very expensive repair to me if it's not covered under warranty. I wish they could tell me if hardware replacements are covered under warranty or not.
So I own a Helix and I only have positive things to say. About a week ago, I had spilled water on my charger, thus I stopped working, This past wednesday, I wrote them an email explaining what had happen, and told them that I would more than willing to pay for overnight shipping since I preforming within the week. They replied within 20 minutes saying that they didn't want me to be with out my hoop and would send me another for free. They shipped it out to me on Thursday, and it arrived on saturday. I have never had any trouble with their customer service, and seems to me that any problems that they have been having they are trying to work them out.
I also want to say that I have been incredibly happy with my helix. I love playing with they software as well, although it doesn't allow for full customization, you can still change colors, speed, brightness, and direction of the pattern, and allows for many possibilities when creating new designs. You can also control how you want the random mode to work through the software as well. I also have a mac, so I use boot camp to install windows and then go into the software. Also, if you have a mac you can download a virtual machine and download the software through there, but it slows down your computer especially while it is open.
Also another great thing about the helix is the buttons, most smart hoops have a joystick, but I like the buttons because its a lot easier to scroll through the banks and choose a pattern. It also shows you the pattern you are on while scrolling. I know that the synth and astral just have lights around the hoop that represent the pattern and banks, but you can't actually see the pattern until after you have chosen it. Also be sure to put a piece of gaffer over the buttons while performing, they are really easy to accidentally press while hooping.
The only negative thing I have to say is I don't like that it isn't seamless, but the hardware for programmable hoops doesn't allow for a seamless hoop, so it's kinda a give or take. Anyways I hope y'all will find this helpful! <3