In a market for robot vacuums which is struggling to take off, Roborock has succeeded in establishing itself as a benchmark. With the S6 MaxV, the manufacturer is adding two cameras and artificial intelligence to a model that has been proven to improve navigation and obstacle recognition. We tested it.
Originally powered by Xiaomi, Roborock now flies with its own wings. While it retains the ingredients dear to the Chinese manufacturer (an unbeatable value for money), it is now orienting its strategy on more expensive products, but technically more complete.
Determined to establish itself in a market for robot vacuum cleaners which is struggling to attract French consumers (2% of households had taken the plunge at the end of 2019 according to Kantar TNS), Roborock is launching the S6 MaxV, an improved version of its excellent S6 . Main novelty: its dual camera system associated with a Qualcomm processor and promising artificial intelligence better recognition of obstacles and better navigation.
Marketed for nearly 650 euros, the S6 MaxV is therefore more expensive than the previous models, but still more affordable than its competitors. Still, he doesn’t have much to envy them.
Price and release date
The Roborock S6 MaxV is already available at a price of 649 euros exclusively on the manufacturer’s website and at Boulanger. If this tariff represents a certain investment, it remains accessible for such a technology. The Roomba S9 +, iRobot and Rolls’ most top-of-the-range model of robot vacuum cleaners is offered for example at 1,499 euros. Still, Roborock once again increases its prices compared to the previous model and almost joins some competitors. The argument of excellent value for money may not weigh that much if the manufacturer continues at this pace.
Design and equipment
The S6 MaxV is part of what Roborock has been offering for a few years now. Always round, the robot is distinguished by its laser rangefinder positioned in the center of its upper face. More imposing on this model, it brings the height of the S6 MaxV to 9.6 cm which prevents it from slipping under certain furniture.
Like its predecessors, it only incorporates three physical buttons, one to start a cleanup, another to do it in a specific area and a last to return to its base. You should only use them very rarely, as the same actions are available in the companion app (we’ll get to that) or by voice control using Google Assistant.
It is also from the top of the device that you can access the HEPA filter (a second is supplied in the box) as well as the dust container whose capacity is reduced compared to the S6 (- 20 ml for a total of 0.4 liters) which will require you to empty it very regularly (approximately every 100 m2). Conversely, the transparent water tank placed on the back of the robot goes from 140 to 300 ml. The mop can be clicked in a jiffy just below alongside the central brush, the two toothed wheels, the guide wheel and the side brush.
So far, the S6 MaxV differs little from the S6 itself, almost similar to its predecessors. The great originality of this MaxV version lies in the integration of two cameras placed at the front of the device between the two anti-shock reinforcements. We will discuss this in detail in the next section.
All in black, the S6 MaxV shines with its quality finishes, in particular its shiny upper part giving it a certain elegance. Only drawback, this type of surface takes a lot of dust, a shame for a vacuum cleaner.
Vacuuming, cleaning and maintenance
As we said above, the great novelty of this S6 MaxV is its dual camera system. Combined with ReactiveAI obstacle recognition technology, range finder and Qualcomm APQ8053 processor, they promise trouble-free navigation.
In the facts, the S6 MaxV fulfills the contract perfectly. The robot analyzes the parts in a methodical way, starting with the contours and then the various obstacles. The camera system makes it possible to photograph and identify objects lying around here and there. You will find these pictures in the Roborock application, on the map (see application section). No more socks alone lost under the bed.
It’s all good, but what is this S6 MaxV worth? As for aspiration, it is excellent. Tested on different types of tiles and old parquet, it stood out for its suction power, even with the silent mode. If it is effective, the S6 MaxV is rather slow. In 19 minutes, for example, he sucked up a hard surface of 14 m2 lengthwise and across, with many obstacles and several objects placed in his path bypassing. Nothing catastrophic, but the competition is doing much better.
On the other hand, this slowness allows it to be among the most discreet models on the market, in silent mode as well as at maximum power. Finally, it should be noted that it stands out for its ability to overcome the most difficult obstacles. Cables, no doors, rugs, chair legs, nothing prevents him from accomplishing his purpose.
LThe S6 MaxV is also distinguished by its new wet cleaning system. In addition to the larger tank, Roborock has greatly improved water flow management. You will never get the effectiveness of the mop / elbow grease combo, but the robot will be more than enough for everyday use.
You will not encounter any difficulty in maintaining the machine. The mop and HEPA filter rinse with water, brush them clean in a jiffy and we recommend emptying the water container after each cleaning.
If it’s not perfect (a bit slow and too high to fit under some furniture) the S6 MaxV therefore remains an excellent robot vacuum cleaner, efficient and easy to maintain. A station with an automatic drain system like that of the Roomba S9 + would be welcome, but would also rhyme with a significant increase in price.
Roborock has moved away from its creator Xiaomi and now accompanies (since the S4 and S5) its vacuum cleaners with an eponymous companion app instead of Xiaomi Home. If the name is different, the functionalities remain more or less the same, even if the manufacturer adds some exclusive features to this S6 MaxV.
Thus, the Roborock app allows you to choose from five suction modes (Delicate, Quiet, Balanced, Turbo and Maximum) and four cleaning modes with the mop (one pass, low, medium or high). You can always remote control the robot : start or stop a cleaning cycle or return it to the base for example. Among other known items, the “maintenance” tab giving information on the condition of the various parts is still as complete.
The companion application also integrates its mapping system allowing you to locate from a distance where the vacuum cleaner is located and which parts have been cleaned. You can also pin a location on the map to instruct the vacuum to go there.
Small novelty of the S6 MaxV: four different cards can be registered in the app. Ideal for large houses or dwellings with several floors. This feature was particularly interesting in our test since we did it in a house on three levels.
Note also that obstacles detected by cameras are photographed and then identified by AI. These points are indicated on the map and you can thus have an overview of the objects or elements (cables, boxes, etc.) that have diverted the robot from its path.
Since July 30, 2020, the S6 MaxV can also be used as a surveillance camera. If until now you could control it from your smartphone blindly, the two cameras now allow you to follow the robot remotely. Pretty good at fixing disasters for your pets while you’re away. Unfortunately we did not receive the update in time to give our feedback, so we will be updating the test in a few days.
The company indicates that it is associated with TUV Rheinland to ensure the security of personal information. In her press release, she explains that “The tests conducted by TUV are in accordance with ETSI TS 103645 certification, a cybersecurity standard recommended for IoT products, so that they respect confidentiality and protect users’ personal data”.
True to its reputation, Roborock is once again delivering a very durable robot vacuum cleaner. With its 5200 mAh battery, the S6 MaxV can chain three hours of vacuuming in silent mode before returning to its base, i.e. the equivalent of 240 m2 of surface cleaned in a single session. Better, it lasts two hours in mode Maximum. It’s much better than iRobot’s Roomba S9 + which doesn’t even hit the runtime.
Like most robot vacuums, the S6 MaxV returns to its base before the battery runs out. Roborock sees it wide and begins the comeback from 20% battery remaining. Be careful though, because if it is too far from the base it is not uncommon for it to have difficulty returning. We sometimes had to bring the robot back to its charging station ourselves. Nothing dramatic, the S6 MaxV remains a monster of autonomy and will therefore be suitable for both small apartments and large houses.