Review: The ROLLOVA Digital Measuring Tape

HOZO Design sent me a ROLLOVA Designer Edition digital tape measure to evaluate and these are my impressions after a couple of weeks of use.

Cameron Coward
a month agoSensors / Displays

While makers often require more precision than they offer, everyone should still own a good ol’ fashioned measuring tape. But those measuring tapes aren’t perfect and can sometimes be a pain to use. We’ve all dealt with the frustration of a measuring tape slipping off the corner of a wall or the edge of a board. Traditional measuring tapes also work poorly on curved surfaces. ROLLOVA is a digital measuring tape that fits easily into your pocket and solves both of those problems. HOZO Design sent me a ROLLOVA Designer Edition to evaluate and these are my impressions after a couple of weeks of use.

The first thing I noticed upon receiving the ROLLOVA digital measuring tape was how attractive the packaging was. No, good packaging isn’t necessarily proof that the product itself will be good but it does indicate that HOZO Design has put effort in. Inside of that package are an owner’s manual, a small leather case, a key ring and the ROLLOVA device. The keyring can be attached to the leather case if you want to carry it around on your keychain for some reason. The case isn’t particularly nice but it is useful for protecting the ROLLOVA when you toss it into your toolbox.

Like the packaging, the ROLLOVA device is very attractive. The Designer Edition that I received has a stylish 18k gold-plated finish that contrasts nicely with the black outer wheel and screen cover. The standard ROLLOVA 2.0 model has a silver finish that also looks great. Aside from the finish, the two devices are identical, so just pick whichever one you think looks better. Both devices resemble tiny 2” diameter hockey pucks and fit easily into the palm of your hand or a pocket. The front cover has a mesh screen that allows the 1.2” OLED display to shine through. The back cover has a button to activate the device and the outer rubber ring is where the magic happens.

To take a measurement, you simply hold down the button on the back, line up the lit indicator line and then slide the device along the length of whatever you’re measuring. As you do, the outer rubber ring will rotate. An internal sensor monitors that rotation in order to determine the distance traveled. Unfortunately, I found this experience to be lackluster because the rubber ring doesn’t spin as smoothly as I would like. That forced me to press the device fairly hard against the surface and also caused the device to slip on some surfaces. That slippage ruins the measurement and so you have to try again. It works just fine on rough surfaces, but this is an issue when using ROLLOVA on slick surfaces like glass.

On the plus side, the screen is bright and easy to read with large numbers. You can set it to either centimeters or inches, and inches can be displayed as either fractions or decimals. That is a major benefit over conventional tape measures, which are generally difficult to read past fractions of 1/8 or so. The stated measuring range is 10 meters or 83 inches. I’m not sure why measurements are limited to those lengths but it certainly would have been nice if you could measure longer lengths. There is also a stated maximum tolerance of +/- 0.4%, which means that ROLLOVA isn’t really suitable for precision work but that tolerance is fine for the kinds of measurements that you would normally take with a measuring tape.

ROLLOVA is powered by a pair of CR1632 coin cell batteries, which are supposed to last for two years. Replacing those batteries is easy and doesn’t require any tools — just rotate the back cover and it will pop off and expose the batteries.

The device feels solid and well-made, and the only thing stopping me from wholeheartedly recommending ROLLOVA is the tendency for the outer ring to slip. If you’re willing to deal with a bit of frustration with that, then you will likely enjoy the convenience that ROLLOVA offers. The ROLLOVA Designer Edition that I received is currently $99, while the standard ROLLOVA 2.0 is $89.

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