While smart speaker integration needs a little work for more functionality, overall the Roborock S6 MaxV is great. As the first robot vacuum I've seen in action, it has certainly impressed.
It’s 2020. You should have a robot butler, a flying car, and a holiday home on the moon. Unless you escaped from an Isaac Asimov novel, you have none of these things.
But the prospects of a butler are looking promising.
The Roborock S6 MaxV might not serve drinks, but it has the tools to help you keep your home clean. It’s a robot vacuum cleaner with mop functionality, Alexa and Google Home integration, and zoning features.
But is it worth the $750 price tag? Read on to find out, and at the end of this review you can enter to win your own. If you can’t wait, you’ll find a $50 early-bird coupon on the Amazon page, but be quick as this won’t last forever.
Unboxing the Roborock S6 MaxV
You’ll find a hefty box housing the Roborock S6 MaxV. Alongside the robot cleaner you’ll find a charging dock and its counterpart, a moisture-proof mat. These are each equipped with adhesive strips for attaching to a hard floor (lino, laminate, or hardwood).
A 1-meter power cable is included, which limits positioning options. However, this is also a safety feature as it discourages trailing the cable across the floor. Not only will this make your home safer, it will stop the Roborock S6 MaxV getting tangled on the lead.
Also in the box is a mop cloth bracket and cloth, a spare filter, plus manuals for the Roborock S6 MaxV and its accompanying app. You’ll also find a 297ml capacity water tank for mopping.
As a review device, we received a special bonus—a packet of fake dog poo. The purpose of this will become apparent.
What Can the Roborock S6 MaxV Do?
If you’ve been holding onto your multi-vortex upright vacuum cleaner, what follows will shock you. But if you’re planning on upgrading your existing robot vac, you’ll still be pleasantly surprised.
The Roborock S6 MaxV navigates using LiDAR (Laser Distancing and Ranging), and uses dual front cameras for AI object detection. It literally maps your home as it cleans and can retain multiple maps, as well as avoid user-defined no-go zones. You can select rooms to be cleaned and even set a room-by-room cleaning schedule.
It features 2000Pa suction, with automatic boost mode for carpets, ensuring a deeper clean. A 297ml water tank enables you to mop floors up to 1610 square feet, and if it’s tiring, the Roborock S6 MaxV will return to base to recharge. When it’s ready to go again, the robot cleaner will finish the job. This shouldn’t happen often, however. The 5200mAH battery powers it for two and a half hours on one charge, an area of up to 2152ft.
Everything about this black cleaning disc is impressive, from the array of sensors designed to avoid objects, pets, falling downstairs, and poo. It’s designed to be easily cleaned, and comes with a removable brush, dirt chamber, and mop module.
All of that is impressive enough; however, this app-controlled robot vac can also be controlled using Alexa or Google Home.
One thing it can’t do, however, is clean your curtains and distant corners of your ceiling (no, really?). Keep a handheld vacuum unit in your home for these hard-to-reach areas.
Setting Up the Roborock Dock
Getting ready for your first clean is straightforward. Start by finding a mains electricity wall socket that you can dedicate to the Robovac. On the floor beside this (not too far as the cable is only a meter long) place the docking station. It has an adhesive strip on the bottom to secure it in place.
Next, add the moisture protector, a plastic disk that protects your floor.
Finally, switch the dock on at the wall and place the Roborock S6 MaxV upon it. The buttons on the chassis should be closest to the dock. Once correctly placed, the robot announces that it is charging.
You’ll notice that the onboard controls are limited. There’s a Home button, power button, and spot cleaning option. That’s it. For complete control of the Roborock S6 MaxV, use the mobile app.
Syncing the Roborock S6 MaxV With the App
Controlling the Roborock effectively requires the app. This is easily accessed via the QR code which comes attached to the vacuum and should be removed before docking.
The app (available for iOS and Android) guides you through creating an account and getting the Roborock S6 MaxV connected to your network. It’s one of the most painless connection experiences I’ve come across, with the robot vacuum cleaner compatible with 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz wireless networks.
Once configured, the app is used to initiate cleaning, specify zones, and manage other settings for the Roborock S6 MaxV. While smart home speakers can be used, and the cleaner has buttons, the best control is via the app.
The app can be used from anywhere. Got friends coming for dinner? Remotely activate the Roborock S6 MaxV so it cleans while you’re at work!
Initial Cleaning and Mapping
To gain familiarity with your home, the robot vacuum cleaner will take its time on the first run, carefully mapping out your floor area. You’ll be able to see the results of this in the mobile app, with rooms helpfully demarcated with different colors.
Mapping can be tricky, however. Areas you want to keep the Roborock S6 MaxV away from, such as the top of your stairs, should be blocked off with a wooden board. This way, the bot recognizes this as a no-go area.
After the initial clean you can use the app to specify cleaning zones. Perhaps you want the area under and around your table cleaning up; maybe send the cleaner into the kitchen while you watch TV.
The Roborock S6 MaxV also features a zoning tool to mark areas as off-limits. Perhaps there is a room unsuitable for cleaning; maybe a door is always open onto your garden or balcony. These areas, like the cleaning zones, can be highlighted in the app. The Roborock S6 MaxV will no longer clean here, although the app does highlight that this setting isn’t foolproof.
Roborock S6 MaxV uses an AI-powered object recognition system to assist with mapping and avoiding obstacles. ReactiveAI Object Recognition reduces the need to declutter your vacuum zones before cleaning and identifies problem items on the map.
For privacy purposes, images collected by the device camera are processed by the onboard computer and not uploaded. Settings managing the camera can be found in the app, although there is sadly no way to view footage direct from the device.
Vacuuming With the Roborock S6 MaxV
Sending the Roborock S6 MaxV off on its first mission around the house is an exciting prospect, one that tends to attract the attention of all present. Children are transfixed, pets confused, and the person who activates it is convinced it’s never going to measure up to expectations.
Cleaning takes place using a standard rotating brush, like the type you’ll find under a standard upright. There’s also a spinning brush on the side, spinning loose debris much like the gully brush on a street cleaner.
In terms of capacity, the Roborock S6 MaxV squeezes what it collects into an ingot-like space inside. This is about enough for a single clean, and the bot should be emptied between cleans for the best results. You’ll find the chamber under the top flap of the cleaner—this can be easily unclipped and removed for emptying.
As noted, it ships with a spare filter. You can keep an eye on how the existing filter is doing by manually inspecting it or checking the app. Here you’ll find details for the filter, side brush, main brush, and sensors, and how long they should last.
Smart Home Integration
Roborock S6 MaxV cleaners integrate with popular smart home systems, including devices running Alexa or Google Home. This enables further control options, although the support commands are rather generic.
Unlike earlier Roborock vacs, the Roborock S6 MaxV requires the Roborock Plus Alexa skill, rather than Roborock Home. Setting up the correct skill means you can control the cleaner using voice commands, so this is significant.
Even so, my Echo Dot was often unable to discern “Alexa, ask robo rock to start cleaning,” instead hearing “robo vac” and insisting I activate a different skill. Not ideal, it required over-emphasis of the word “rock.” My North of England accent certainly isn’t one that produces similar sounds for “vac” and “rock”, so it’s not clear what is happening here.
Sadly, voice controls are limited to start, stop, and recharge. More specific controls (such as “clean kitchen”) would be desirable, but not possible. Still, it’s a voice-controlled robot cleaner, so that’s pretty exciting.
Vacuuming Laminate and Carpets
So, how does this robot vacuum cleaner actually perform?
We tested the Roborock S6 MaxV in a home comprising good quality laminate and carpets.
Comparing the results, it seems to perform somewhat better on hard floors. With dust and detritus unable to hide within the loops and get trodden in, this is hardly a surprise.
Carpets differ in pile and this robot vacuum cleaner isn’t quite up to cleaning some woollier types. The spinning brush on the side tends to get tangled in the loops, which makes it slightly useless. While the cleaner can cope with the height of deep pile carpets and rugs, this is a shortcoming that can prove frustrating. You might just opt to clean such carpets with an upright.
However, shorter carpets are more easily managed. Settings in the app determine the power of the clean. So you can switch between a Gentle, Silent, Balanced, Turbo, and Max clean. Each of these settings can be applied to a specific room in the app. So a wooden floor in the entrance area might get a Max clean with the mop attached to keep things clean. Conversely, a guest bedroom might receive a Balanced clean.
Planning to run the Roborock S6 MaxV while you sleep? You can specify a time for it to activate–if it’s while you sleep, use the Silent running option.
In short, there is an option for almost every household scenario. Have a four-legged family member pet who isn’t quite toilet trained? The Roborock S6 MaxV features a pet mode, enabling it to spot and avoid sudden incursions into its sphere of activity. It can also recognise poo (fake and real) and avoid cleaning it up, thereby spreading the mess.
You’ll have to scoop that up yourself, however.
Expecting a Mop? It’s More of a Buffer
The promise of a mop function was enough to pique my wife’s interest in the Roborock S6 MaxV. After all, those laminate floors don’t clean themselves.
Using the mop is straightforward. The water tank is removed and filled, while the mop attachment is fitted. The mop must be dampened first—it uses a hook-and-loop fastening system—then reattached to the mop cloth bracket which slides in under the tank.
There is no different function in the app to engage mop cleaning. The presence of water and the mop attachment activates this, meaning that the Roborock S6 MaxV automatically vacuums and mops at the same time.
Or does it?
Well, it certainly does something. However, the lack of support for detergent means that mopping is sadly closer to buffing. Our floor looked great after, but quick use of an antibacterial floor wipe in the same area revealed that more could have been picked up. The Roborock S6 had been running on maximum settings, so it should have made the best possible clean.
A Robot Vacuum You Can Trust
A robot vacuum cleaner is one of the greatest developments of the smart home era. No one likes spending time driving an upright back and forth. In many cases, we just vacuum around things, rather than under them as well—after all, it’s quicker!
With a smart robot vacuum cleaner, this isn’t necessary. You’re not wasting any time, as the device is working for you. And the Roborock S6 MaxV certainly works, with powerful vacuuming, good mopping/buffing, and app integration. The zoning feature makes keeping the device away from animal baskets or sleeping babies simple, and overall, it is a great labor-saving device. Waking up to a clean room is a pleasure you’ll only enjoy with a robot vacuum cleaner.
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