Chances are that when you think about robot vacuums your mind immediately goes to Roomba. There’s a good reason for that. The company was arguably the first one to do home-based vacuum robots with any sort of success. But Korean manufacturer Moneual is hoping to change your narrow view of the market with the introduction of its Rydis MR6550. I’ve had my hands on one of the devices for a couple of weeks, so here’s what I’ve found.
First thing’s first – No robot vacuum is going to let you throw away your Hoover or Dyson. That’s not what they’re meant to do. But for in-between cleanings and maintenance, they’re typically wonderful. The 6550 is no exception, in that it does an admirable job of maintenance cleaning across a variety of surfaces. We ran the 6550 on Berber and shag carpeting, as well as hardwood and tile floors. In every instance we were impressed by the vacuum’s ability to get into tight spaces and with what it picks up.
The 6550’s virtual wall system works great and the fact that you can attach a washable, microfiber pad to the bottom of the device is a welcome addition for hardwood or tile. The dust bin of the 6550 is a bit smaller than I’d like to see, but it’s generally large enough to easily allow for a single room cleaning. Only when we skipped two days did we have to empty it prior to it finishing a room, as our (rather shed-happy) dog had been extra busy covering the room in hair.
There are different cleaning modes, including focused, corner and automatic. There’s also a mode called “shadow” to allow you to clean under furniture, but more on that later. You can control the cleaner manually, or there’s a gyroscope-styled control, where you can control the device by tilting the remote control. In my testing, I didn’t find a real use for this function.
But there are some down sides to the device, and they’re going to likely mean the difference between whether you buy or pass.
iRobot has a real winner with its current Roomba 650 model. Price to value there’s not much else on the market that can compare. You can read an in-depth review via The Wirecutter to see the full details. But where the Roomba 650 really shines is in its ability to travel under couches and beds without getting stuck. This is the first area where the Moneual model falters.
We repeatedly found that the 6550 would encounter errors when it darker parts of a room, even when the room was otherwise brightly lit by the sun. When the 6550 went under our couch (which sits a rather generous four inches off the floor), the 6550 would encounter errors and stop completely. This required us to lay down and push the device out onto the open floor to reset the program.
The other issue that we had with the device was with a Berber carpet strand. The strand wrapped around the beater bar and unfortunately rendered the unit unusable as it sheered off the hexagonal area where the bar attached to the rotation motor. In fairness, we were told that this problem happened on a pre-production unit, and a subsequent unit that was sent to us did not encounter the same issue.
A final gripe for me is the lack of scheduling ability on the 6550. But you can also pick up the 6550 for $100 cheaper than the comparable Roomba 650 which includes scheduling. In my testing, the Moneual was easily quiet enough to run at night, so pressing start before going to bed didn’t cause any problems. Scheduling would be nice to have, but for $100 you might easily want to skip it.
Getting down to brass tacks, if you have a brightly-lit home then you’ll probably love the Moneual 6550. At retail, it’s $50 cheaper than the lowest end Roomba, and does an equally good job of cleaning your floors. A high-powered motor and lithium iron phosphate battery should keep you running for quite some time to come and the addition of the microfiber cleaning pad is icing on an already tasty cake.
This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author's own and not necessarily shared by TNW.
Published January 3, 2013 — 19:52 UTC