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Proscenic 811GB robot vacuum hands-on: Ingenious wet and dry cleaning from a noisy robot

Written by Eileen Brown on

Proscenic 811GB robot vacuum cleaner

  • Ingenious integrated dustbin and water tank
  • Powerful suction
  • Ledge sensors prevent stairs mishaps
  • Noisy on hard flooring
  • Water flow needs regular resetting on app
  • Device shows as offline even when in use

The Proscenic 811GB robot vacuum cleaner is a nice-looking robot from Taiwanese company Proscenic. Bright blue, there are no buttons, or knobs to catch on furniture, and no extraneous icons to worry about.

It looks streamlined and well built. At 18.5 inches, it is rather larger than the 12-inch ILife V8s and the 13inch iLife A7 I reviewed earlier this year.

The 811GB has a large dust bin and an ingenious dust bin and water tank combo container. This means that you can both sweep and mop floors at the same time.

The robot has a roller and two rotary sweeping brushes. It also has a boundary marker strip placed on the floor at the threshold beyond which the robot will not cross. The water tank has different water flow settings to suit different types of flooring.

Also: Beyond vacuums: Home robotics

The body of the robot is simplistic and streamlined. There is only a power rocker switch on the side, and a blue-lit power and Wi-Fi icon on the top of the housing

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All the robot functions such as cleaning mode (spot, auto, edge, and zig zag) need to be controlled by the remote control. The remote control also manages the normal, or maximum power setting .

You can set the 811GB cleaning schedule using the remote control. First, you need to set the clock time and day, and then set the schedule. If the time is 1pm, and you want the robot to start automatically at 5pm, then you need to set the cleaning plan on the remote control for 4 hours, not at 1700hrs.

If you want to set the robot to clean at a different time each day, then you need to set different times for each day, which can only be configured on the app.

The device connected quickly to the app. You first need to connect the app to your Wi-Fi, then to the device. The two bind together, and you can then see the device on the app.

Also: Hands-on with the iLife A7 robot cleaner: A must-have for automated office and home cleaning

The app allows you to remotely start the device, change its cleaning schedule, send it back to the charging station, change the mode, or adjust the amount of water flow during operation. You can also control the robot using Alexa, but I round it easier to use the remote control to manually start the robot.

Unfortunately, the app often shows the device is offline, even when the robot is doing its cleaning. I had to set the water flow level each cleaning session as the setting was not saved in the app.

The automatic schedule is saved in the app, as is the max power setting. I found the app frustrating. It regularly could not connect to the Wi-Fi both at the office and at home.

I want to configure the app and then forget about it for daily cleaning, but I found that I had to check the water flow setting every time the robot was in use -- not very automated at all.

I found the robot to be the noisiest I have tested so far. It squeaks and groans as its wheels turn and it makes alarming noises from time to time when used on hard floors.

Also: Startup Kindred brings sliver of hope for AI in robotics

It seemed like the wheels scuffed against the housing of the robot, but when I checked them, they seemed to be free running. I would expect this type of squeaks and groans from an old machine -- but not from a new device.

However, for the quality of the clean, I was happy for the extra noises. On carpet, there are no noises at all -- apart from the suction fan.

Although not in the user manual, or the website, there are ledge sensors on the robot. This means it will not fall off ledges, or fall down stairs during use -- very useful for multi-level rooms.

I loved the fact that I could both sweep up and mop the floor at the same time, and used this combo-tank almost exclusively during the test.

The tank does not leak when the robot is at its docking station which is a huge bonus. However, the next mop cycle reverted to minimal water discharge and poor quality mopping until the setting was changed via the app.

The robot will clean for up to two hours before returning to its charging base. The base is very light, as the transformer is stored on the plug, not inside the base station.

Also: Photos: Robot vacuums and rolling laptops TechRepublic

Often, the robot pushed the docking station out of the way, which then prevented it from docking. I used double sided tape to secure the device to the floor which solved this problem.

All in all, I liked this robot. I loved the wet/dry cleaning tank and the max power setting. I was frustrated by the app and the fact I had to set the water flow each session. I also had to regularly delete the robot and bind it again using the app.

If the remote control had all of the features, such as water flow control and flexible cleaning schedule setting, I would not use the app at all. But these are small niggles in what is a very good robot which cleans a variety of hard flooring, and carpets, very well indeed.

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