ePoi are Emazing Light’s entry into what I’ve come to think of as the kind of mid-market poi that hover around the $100 dollar mark and meet some or all of the following criteria:
The ePoi themselves come with a set of single loop handles that connect via a ball bearing swivel to a semi-stretchy cord that then hooks through a small loop of a cord made of the same material that then connects to a silicone shell that has the LED apparatus in a cylinder inside.
All glow modes are activated by pushing a single button. Push quickly to cycle through modes or turn the poi on, hold for two seconds to turn them off or hold for three seconds to access a given mode’s submodes. They recharge with a micro-USB cord that pokes through a seam in the silicone shell.
So how are they to use and spin? Honestly my reaction is split between moments of thinking they made some really good choices and moments of being baffled by their choices. So let’s go through the good choices first.
I’m gonna say it up-front: the weight of these is really satisfying. They weigh just slightly less than a set of contact poi, so for someone who’s trained extensively with contact poi these feel really comfortable to just dive into. I feel like I have a lot of control spinning them and that there’s minimal adaptation that’s necessary in jumping from a training pair to these.
Also, the LEDs on these are incredibly bright. Like, bright enough to light the performer bright. I’ve never been a person that’s super gung-ho about how bright my glow props are, so it’s not a huge incentive for me, but I’ve found myself when practicing after dark I’ll actually frequently use these like a lantern or flashlight, posting them by my backpack so I don’t accidentally leave anything on the ground.
Also: one of the modes for these poi features an accelerometer that works in a really cool fashion. When the poi is at rest, it glows yellow. When it starts to accelerate, it glows purple, and when it’s in motion it glows blue. There are some really interesting possibilities that come out of using this mode, but one of my favorites is as a training tool--similar to how some people use bowls of water to train spinning more smoothly there’s a lot of potential for this mode to be used to gauge how in sync your hands and movements are on each side of your body.
Okay, so now the WTF moments. I’m going to say that overall the tether needs a little bit of work and pick that apart a little bit.
The first and biggest red flag for me here is that the rings that hold the assemblies for the connection points together are split rings rather than solid rings. Why’s this a big deal? Because split rings, unlike welded ones, will stretch over time and eventually the tether will come loose. That’s not a question of if but when. I’ve talked with Emazing’s CEO Brian Lim about the design and he’s assured me that the next run of these poi will not use split rings. That said, if you’ve got one of the first run poi like I do, keep an eye out for this.
Some additional minor things including the tether being black--it’s only a minor quibble because it means there’s no easy way to mark where you want to cut the tether when you set a custom length for it. I wound up just tying knots to mark that spot and then cutting right under the knot to dial in the length I wanted.
I’m on the fence about the loop of cord being used as the connection point to the tether. I can see it ultimately being a problem if the edges of the silicone shell start to cut through it or it may be perfectly fine. I’ve never seen a connection point like that before so I’ve no idea what the long-term issues with it might be.
Finally, there’s no option available for a ball handle through Emazing. I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t really use loop handles any more so I threw a set of poms on these almost right away.
Outside of the issues with the tethers, the only other issue I really had was the brightness. Wasn’t that also something I listed as a good thing? Yes, but: because these poi are so bright, in really dark environments I found I would often have a hard time seeing the ground because my eyes would never fully adapt to the dark with such a bright light source so close to them so much of the time. It would be really nice for the brightness to be adjustable.
So: overall I have to admit that I actually do like these. They’re neither the most versatile nor the most innovative glow poi I’ve ever played with, but I think they’re a solid option in that mid price tier I mentioned before. If you’ve been waiting for something heavier or brighter, give them a spin and see what you think.
They’re right on the edge of what I’d consider acceptable for beginners in terms of both weight and softness. They’re far more forgiving than than other options that have this kind of weight, but a hard collision to the head or genitals is still going to hurt pretty badly. They run for $99.95 a pair and are available at emazinglights.com.