back to article Suck on this: El Reg forces dog hair, biscuit crumbs, and disconcertingly sticky stains down two mini vacuums

A few weeks ago, Chinese smart home (and batteries, cables, and headphones) manufacturer Anker asked us if we would be interested in reviewing its latest robot vacuum cleaner. As a busy person with two dogs that, on a weekly basis, shed enough fur to make a winter coat for every needy child in Britain, this reviewer said yes. …

  1. Dr_N Silver badge
    Trollface

    Roidmi

    Sounds like a request from a bodybuilder.

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Roidmi

      Sounds like you'd need to use Mr Muscle detergents with it...

  2. Boothy Silver badge
    WTF?

    Why an app for the upright?

    I really don't get this obsession with connecting things to a phone 'app' these days.

    Okay I could perhaps understand the robot hover, as this might hide itself under the sofa, or somewhere not directly in reach once it's parked itself up, and it saves from bending over to push buttons on the top of the unit etc. And the same goes for other devices that you wouldn't necessarily have direct access to.

    But for a manual unit, like a standard upright vac, that you've got to grab hold of in your hand anyway, just why?

    The worse one I've seen recently is a pressure washer (Karcher I think). I don't even want my phone in my pocket while I'm using the pressure washer, as it might get damp, or fall out as I'm manoeuvring around etc, so I certainly don't want to have to pull it out of my pocket mid wash, with likely damp hands, to change some settings or other. If I'm using the pressure washer, my phone will be sat safely on the table in the kitchen till I'm done.

    1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells

      Re: Why an app for the upright?

      For a robot hoover, you are presumably going to want to set schedules. It is much easier to do that with an app.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Why an app for the upright?

        Only if there isn't a suitable UI built into the device itself.

      2. Ordinary Donkey

        Re: Why an app for the upright?

        I'd say they provide an app to make it seem reliable enough to be able to schedule it to run while you're out.

        In reality I only ever use mine when I'm home because it usually needs rescuing at least once. Three is the record. Still much easier than a normal vacuum but I wouldn't trust it alone in the house.

        Now if only I could actually turn the wifi signal off. Guess I'll have to crack the case at some point...

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Why an app for the upright?

          >because it usually needs rescuing at least once.

          What would be awesome is a fleet of household robot thunderbirds that come out and automatically rescue it

      3. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Why an app for the upright?

        @Disgusted, if you're wondering about the downvotes just re-read the subject and the first 4 words of your comment.

        Why X for Z? Well, it makes sense for Y.

        1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells
          Paris Hilton

          Re: Why an app for the upright?

          Ah. Now that makes sense.

      4. teknopaul Silver badge

        Re: Why an app for the upright?

        it's potentially easier to do that with fully qwerty 105 key and a mouse.

        user input on any app is universally poor.

        sent from my iPhone.

        1. Korev Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: Why an app for the upright?

          > user input on any app is universally poor.

          Shiv you mean?

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Why an app for the upright?

      "I really don't get this obsession with connecting things to a phone 'app' these days."

      I just set up a DSL router modem. One of the options for managing it is an app, apparently so it can be rebooted whilst the user is at work should the necessity arise. In order for this to work it has to be configured to allow management from the vendor's cloud. Really? Let the router be controllable from to WAN? That's one option to be left off - at least off was the default.

  3. Warm Braw Silver badge

    Able to buff up dried-on stains and stubborn sticky patches

    I'll pass until it's able to deal with the entire corpse.

    1. CrazyOldCatMan

      Re: Able to buff up dried-on stains and stubborn sticky patches

      I'll pass until it's able to deal with the entire corpse

      Or recognise just what that brown sausage-shaped mass is before it smears it all over the floor..

      (Very elderly dog that is confined to the kitchen at night due to the decline in his ability to recognise whether he is outdoors or not..)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Able to buff up dried-on stains and stubborn sticky patches

        confined to the kitchen

        eewww.

      2. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: Able to buff up dried-on stains and stubborn sticky patches

        Roomba v dog poo.

        https://preview.redd.it/e94abqfxeca31.jpg?width=960&crop=smart&auto=webp&s=115405d794633a28401ca0da3c7190f1a4275821

        1. BebopWeBop Silver badge
          WTF?

          Re: Able to buff up dried-on stains and stubborn sticky patches

          Tempted to give a downvote because the image will remain with me, but well found!

      3. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Able to buff up dried-on stains and stubborn sticky patches

        Replace it with a Boston Dynamics.

    2. teknopaul Silver badge

      Re: Able to buff up dried-on stains and stubborn sticky patches

      The Wolf 1.0, by Oracle, natch

  4. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge
    Trollface

    Now if only Simon (the resident BOFH) can get his hands on one and "modify" it with assistance from the PFY...

    ...then we'll have a winner.

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Yeah! Never mind cleaning the carpets, can it roll one up?

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        And forget filling with water to use as a mop, it needs a quicklime dispenser.

        1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
          Terminator

          The Killer BOFH Bot From The Basement

          https://www.theregister.com/2002/11/21/the_killer_bofh_bot/

  5. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Pirate

    Robovac without an app

    The Eufy 11S is cheap and cheerful, it doesn't have any WiFi/app, it has a real remote to set a schedule, on the other hand it just bounces round the floor randomly as dumb robot vacuums do.

    Xiaomi on the other hand has been caught uploading 11.5 gigs of data in a month to the mothership.

    Icon because Xiaomi.

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Robovac without an app

      > Xiaomi on the other hand has been caught uploading 11.5 gigs of data in a month to the mothership.

      Looks like Xiaomi are really vacuuming the data up...

      1. Potemkine! Silver badge

        Re: Robovac without an app

        That's why my vacuum cleaner is on a client wifi-network. I had to connect it to access specific functions, as schedule or forbidden zones, but I don't trust my chinese slave robot enough to mix with other devices on my network

        Got a 360 S6 for the last two years. It does the job web, and I've still no problem with it, si quite reliable.

      2. Klimt's Beast Would

        Re: Robovac without an app

        Suck it to me?

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKdKReioXao&ucbcb=1

  6. macjules Silver badge
    FAIL

    destroyed another robot vacuum cleaner

    Been there, done that. Came downstairs one day after buying an AEG RX9 robovac only to find one dog maliciously peeing into it. I am now on the third one as 1 was replaced and one since failed to charge and now all 4 dogs (2 pugs and 2 labradors) appear to have declared war on it. This ranges from running in front of it, which causes the robot to keep deviating from its cleaning course, to sitting on top of the robot just as it is moving out to start cleaning, which causes it to stop and move back into its dock. Being barked at in unison just confuses the poor thing and it stops.

    The ultimate was a very recent occurrence where a pug managed to leave a small message right in front of the TV since I had forgotten to leave the back door open for them to go in the garden and we returned to find said message splattered all over the floor, thanks to the robot. It has now been consigned to the place where all gadgets marked as "nice, but bloody useless" end up.

    Be warned: The Husqvarna AWD robot mower is so powerful that it can shoot dog crap for some distance - I have seen this at a friend's house recently (same pug as it happens).

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: destroyed another robot vacuum cleaner

      "The Husqvarna AWD robot mower is so powerful that it can shoot dog crap for some distance"

      So is a standard petrol mower. At least you're not standing next to it when that happens....

      1. macjules Silver badge

        Re: destroyed another robot vacuum cleaner

        Point being that it is a robot mower, so that yes you can be next to it when it decides to catch up on its mowing and passes closely to where you are all eating.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: destroyed another robot vacuum cleaner

        Too much shit hitting the fan here recently. Pity it wasn't still in the feline shitbags. I've just got round to mowing the far end of the orchard.

        Why is it that dog owners regularly scoop up their pet's excrement*, at least off their own premises, but cat owners just don't care. OK, I know, cats own people, not vice versa, nevertheless it's downright anti-social to support a cat but not to offer to clean up neighbour's gardens.

        *Dog owners do exhibit some strange behaviours in rural situations. The heap will, if left to itself, be dealt with by the elements as it has been for millions of years and just like the leavings of the horses, stray sheep and, when the neighbours had a milking herd walked daily down the road, cattle. Wrapped in plastic and hung on an adjacent fence it just stays there, the worst of all options.

        /rant

        1. Chris G Silver badge

          Re: destroyed another robot vacuum cleaner

          "*Dog owners do exhibit some strange behaviours in rural situations. The heap will, if left to itself, be dealt with by the elements as it has been for millions of years and just like the leavings of the horses, stray sheep and, when the neighbours had a milking herd walked daily down the road, cattle. Wrapped in plastic and hung on an adjacent fence it just stays there, the worst of all options."

          Yeah, what is that about? If an owner can be bothered to pick it up and put it in a bag what is so hard about looking for a receptacle to put it in?

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: destroyed another robot vacuum cleaner

            They get confused when they look but don't see one.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: destroyed another robot vacuum cleaner

          leavings of the horses, stray sheep and, when the neighbours had a milking herd walked daily down the road, cattle.

          At least those are vegetable-based, and stink less than dog shite.

          1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

            Re: destroyed another robot vacuum cleaner

            And also aren't full of nasty bacteria (Toxicara and the like).

    2. teknopaul Silver badge

      Re: destroyed another robot vacuum cleaner

      The worst thing that the Chinese have ever sold us: Pugs.

      Inability to house train is but one of many design flaws. Wikipedia has the details under health problems.

      I have never forgiven the whole breed after one left a turd under my work desk.

      1. macjules Silver badge

        Re: destroyed another robot vacuum cleaner

        But definitely the most lovable - so long as you get a good pedigree dog that has none of the breathing problems. My only issue is the sheer uncontrollable appetite as they can easily beat the labradors in food volume consumed.

        1. imanidiot Silver badge

          Re: destroyed another robot vacuum cleaner

          NOTHING can beat a lab for "food black hole" qualities.

      2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        "Has anyone seen my little Willy?"

        Willy is Ethel Skinner's (Gretchen Franklin) constant companion. She rarely appears on-screen without him tucked under her arm.

        ...one day, Willy and Roly eat all the expensive steak for the steak and kidney pies when her back is turned.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willy_(EastEnders)

      3. MJI Silver badge

        Re: destroyed another robot vacuum cleaner

        I quite like Bichons* as they do not shed, but they do need regular haircuts.

        I like dogs that look like dogs, not like lawyers who ran into the back of an emergency braking ambulance.

        * With neat haircut, NOT a puffball.

    3. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: destroyed another robot vacuum cleaner

      robovac only to find one dog maliciously peeing into it.

      It's a "vehicle" ergo dog will cock his leg to it

  7. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Are they any good with stair carpets?

    1. Robert Moore

      > Are they any good with stair carpets?

      Utterly fantastic... But you do need to buy one unit for each tread. This does tend to get rather expensive. :)

  8. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Dog urine

    "we were forced to explain to the manufacturer why they wouldn't be getting their review unit back in a functional state"

    It failed real world testing

    This isn't exactly a unique problem

  9. Gene Cash Silver badge
    FAIL

    The most unbelievable thing in the entire article

    Is that DHL found his house. Twice.

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: The most unbelievable thing in the entire article

      Maybe he had a gate to the back garden they could throw it over.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That's it?? Where's the rest of the review?!

    Was excited looking at the title. It started well. But the article finished after the summary, where's the rest of it?!!

    Some of the forum messages were more informative and in-depth than this piece. Unbelievable. Like who cares about your dogs (well I don't mind but if it's half of the article.....)

    How about: how's the app like. Battery life. How intelligent is it going around the floor. And so on and so on.

    Seriously disappointing, this could have been good but it's like the article was written over a toilet sitting session. Wow. Someone gets paid for this??

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: That's it?? Where's the rest of the review?!

      After getting over the shock of spending all that time to learn very little about the machines I checked the article again.

      I'll turn down the hyperbole - it's a somewhat entertaining piece but the problem is there's little actual information. I ended up knowing much more about the writer. Some polishing (and lots of more actual reviewing& information) and I'd be a fan.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: That's it?? Where's the rest of the review?!

        "it's a somewhat entertaining piece"

        Of course. Which site did you think you were reading?

    2. druck Silver badge

      Re: That's it?? Where's the rest of the review?!

      How often do you have to rescue it when it gets stuck under the dining chairs and starts beeping in distress?

  11. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    Form factor?

    "compromises you have to inevitably make for the form factor"

    But why do they all have to have that same form factor? Why can't it be significantly bigger and just have the small flat "head" move around a bit in front of the larger, more powerful mothership, attached by hose/cable? The mothership could even have a lower docking station for the head to be housed in when the main unit goes back to it's charging point? Fewer problems with the waste container and much more room to play with if you want it to be a floor mop or carpet cleaner as well as a vacuum cleaner. Maybe something the size of a medium/large upturned waste basket.

    It seems all the current models are just copies of the original Electrolux Trilobite, Dyson copied it and failed on price, then iRobot came along and copied it again with their successful Roomba. I just did an image search for "robotic vaccuum cleaner" and EVERY image was the same form fact with some minor variations, like a flat front end, none were distinctly different.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Form factor?

      I'm assuming it's because circles can just bounce around at random in most empty* rooms and cover most of the place without getting stuck.

      Anything more interestingly shaped has to be capable of reversing out of trouble, which means maintaining an actual map and do real navigation.

      * Owners of such devices are assumed not to own any furniture.

  12. mark4155
    Thumb Down

    Poor article, badly written.

    I really hate to moan, especially at El Reg who on the whole produce informative and mainly fact based articles.....but.

    I think The Register needs to review the reviewer.

    As mentioned elsewhere in the comments the article lacks detail. Battery life, cleaning pattern, do the cleaners go back to the earth ship and self recharge, how good is it if it gets stuck in a hole (the reviewer may need to consider his own position on this subject).

    I guess if I lived in a home without furniture or "shag" pile carpets (such a lovely term of phrase) and £££'s to throw around then OK I may be tempted to purchase, but based on the class of review the opposite of this scribble.

    To the reviewer, return your samples at once and report to the HR department! And don't blame COVID on your woes, it simply doesn't wash anymore and shortly neither will your Robo Cleaners.

    Toodle Pip!

    Mark.

    1. -v(o.o)v-

      Re: Poor article, badly written.

      I wouldn't say it was badly written. I thought it's a good read. But the lack of actual reviewing is glaring and the SNR should be improved.

      1. keith_w Bronze badge

        Re: Poor article, badly written.

        I got all I needed out of the review, one doesn't have much suction and the other does, the same one isn't all that good at washing your floor, the other is better. Battery time? why care? When the battery is low they recharge themselves,

  13. Klimt's Beast Would

    Is there a vacc...

    ....for a horny middle aged cat?

    Ours has gone beyond the brief squirting of ladyjuice on my DVDs (wot they?) and usual places. Only summer she has started to target our 4 euro (1mx2m) carpet we bought from a brocante a few years ago. This is too far. In the evenings we get a more than faint Mungo Jerry whiff. Alco-gel? Check! Soda bicarbonate? Check! Does she give a s***? No. If there is a robot vaccum cleaner which can detect spots of cat juice and spray the affected areas, I'm interested. Either that or I hire a sniper to knock off the young buck who puts our puss in to a tizz by parading across the garages out back.*

    *It has occurred to me to wee on the carpet to cover the cats non-discretion, but I think the 75% might object...

    1. -v(o.o)v-

      Re: Is there a vacc...

      Why for god's sake is it not spayed since years already?? You are making her life a misery. Either spay or get a mate, simple.

      1. Klimt's Beast Would

        Re: Is there a vacc...

        She was spayed years ago but for some reason this year she's changed her habits from her usual gentle tail lifting. Vets usually leave a little bit in there for 'quality of life' purposes... One part water and one part vinegar has been applied and the carpet is being left to hang off a door... What a git.

  14. ShortLegs

    Can any of these robohoovers vacuum stairs?

    No?

    Please come back when they can.

    1. midgepad

      Bothers flat-livers

      Little.

  15. PhilipN Silver badge

    Mop and bucket

    Nope. New designs, new materials, new products - NOTHING beats a good old-fashioned mop and bucket with hot water.

    And when I say hot I mean HOT.

    1. Montreal Sean

      Re: Mop and bucket

      Nothing beats HOT water, Mr. Clean, and washing with a rag on your hands and knees.

      You youngsters and your new fangled mops!

  16. Iain Gilbert

    Doorless society

    Am I missing something here? Does no one have doors in their house anymore?

    These robo vacs seem a great idea until you think I’d need one per room as I refuse to leave the doors open all the time.

  17. DrXym Silver badge

    I have an Eufy

    And twice I've had to rescue it after a dog accident. Disgusting doesn't even begin to describe the cleaning process of the device or the lovely shit circles it drew on the floor. Aside from that, I've had to take it apart multiple times to remove hair that has wrapped around the spindle and one time had to practically dismantle it to get gunk out of the motor housing.

    Anyway in normal operation it just about justifies its continued existence since it does save on regular vacuum cleaning but its certainly not without its faults as described above. It also likes to gets stuck on things like cables, or go walkabout into the wrong room and get lodged under something beeping for ages hoping someone will rescue it.

  18. trevorde Silver badge
    FAIL

    Oh, 5h17!

    https://www.goodthingsguy.com/fun/roomba-poohpocalypse-throwback/

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