Roborock S6 MaxV review: Flagship robot vacuum cleaner put to the test

Roborock's top dog adds plenty of bells and whistles

Roborock S6 MaxV
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Roborock has impressed with its range of powerful and smart vacuum cleaners but with the line-up getting ever more confusing with variations on a theme, it’s nice to see the company try something completely different.

Thanks to the camera on the front of the Roborock S6 MaxV, this AI-powered model is built to automatically detect obstacles and skirt around them.

Adding cameras and the extra processing power to understand what the robot ‘sees’ all add to the price, comfortably making the S6 MaxV the most expensive vacuum cleaner from the Xiaomi-backed brand at $749.99.

Compared to other robo cleaners in the Roborock line-up, that price-tag makes it far more expensive than the previous flagship, the Roborock S6 ($649.99) and our current favourite robot vacuum, the Roborock S6 Pure ($599.99).

Does the S6 MaxV justify its high price with the end of having to have a pre-tidy up before setting the robot vacuum about its business or is it just a gimmick that adds to the price?

Read on to find out more.

Roborock S6 MaxV: Design and build

Roborock’s not one for changing design between products, and the S6 MaxV looks pretty much like all of the other robot vacuum cleaners in the range: a circular cleaner less than 100mm thick, built to slide under furniture.

On top, you get the same three control buttons as on the S6: power, home and spot clean.

The latter lets you place the robot where you want it to tidy up, and then it will do a quick clean around a 1.5m x 1.5m area. To be honest, I’ve never used this mode as it’s far easier to either set the robot on its way for a full clean or to use the app to target a specific location.

Roborock S6 MaxV buttons

Flip open the main lid and it’s business as usual, too. Inside there’s a 0.46-litre bin that quickly lifts out and hinges open for cleaning, and a tool for cutting away hair that may get caught around the brush bar underneath.

This robot also has a side-sweeping brush, built to push dust into the path of the main roller. With this brush on the right-hand side, it means the robot has to smartly adjust its path to get the dust against the sides of a room.

Roborock S6 MaxV underneath

There’s also a 300ml water tank that turns the Roborock S6 MaxV into a handy mop as well (more on that in the mopping section).

In the box is the standard slim charging dock, and a handy stick-down bit of plastic, which stops your floors from getting soaked if you use the mopping mode.

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What’s particularly different about this model are the two cameras located right at the front of the vacuum, which let it spot and avoid obstacles.

Roborock says that the robot does not send any data to the cloud and that the robot processes everything locally for privacy.

Roborock S6 MaxV cameras AI

Roborock S6 MaxV: Features and in use

Roborock excels at mapping and navigation and the Roborock S6 MaxV is designed to be the smartest cleaner yet.

With two cameras and LIDAR, this cleaner is the most accurate at mapping that I’ve tested.

It’s the cameras that really set this model apart. Thanks to a Qualcomm APQ8053 processor and a neural network trained by thousands of real-world images, the S6 MaxV is built to spot and avoid common household hazards that other robots can get stuck on. And, when spotted, the robot updates the map in the app to show a little thumbnail image of what it found.

When it works, it’s exceptionally clever, and I found that my cleaner avoided the (fake) pet mess and shoes that I left out, as well as a power cable on the floor.

As clever as this is, other obstacles still cause problems: the S6 MaxV didn’t spot the cat bowl on the floor, and rammed into it: the object detection is, literally, hit and miss.

Roborock S6 MaxV shoe found detection using the camera

A new trick, delivered via a recent firmware update, is that you can now view the live camera stream when you put the S6 MaxV into Remote Viewing mode. F

or privacy, you can only enable this mode by pressing and holding the three buttons on the front, and you then have to set an unlock pattern in the app.

Once connected, you can see what the robot sees, and move it around your house using the remote control or tapping where you want the cleaner to go on the map. Image quality won’t beat the best security cameras but it’s actually pretty neat, and this is a surprisingly fun way to see what’s happening in your home while you’re out.

You can even send a recorded message to be played through the S6 MaxV’s internal speaker, although the results aren’t particularly clear.

Roborock S6 MaxV remote viewing

While the object recognition quality varies, general navigation is still brilliant, and this cleaner gets stuck far less often than those from rival brands, with the S6 MaxV making its way between dining chair legs with ease.

With is 2,500Pa suction rating (on par with the best of the competition and the most powerful Roborock), this cleaner made short work of dust on the floor, getting into pretty much every area.

As with all robot vacuum cleaners, this one is a maintenance cleaner and you’ll have to tackle the job manually from time-to-time to really get everything; the quality of the S6 MaxV means you’ll be reaching for the manual cleaner far less often.

Roborock S6 MaxV mopping tank

Roborock S6 MaxV: Mopping function

Mopping is something that you’ll either love or find too annoying to deal with. What I can tell you is that it works brilliantly in some instances.

I’ve got a light floor and four cats that like to leave muddy paw prints all over it. Setting the Roborock S6 MaxV to maximum mopping mode, and then sending it around the kitchen helps it pick up most of the mess, and means that I have to reach for the hard floor cleaner less.

I would like to see another cleaning cloth in the box so that I could continue to mop while one cloth was in the washing machine.

If you don’t have a lot of hard floors or don’t care about mopping, you can just remove the mopping cloth part of the vacuum cleaner to put it into vacuum-only mode.

Roborock app

Roborock S6 MaxV: App and digital assistants

You no longer need the old Xiaomi Mi smart home app and can use the Roborock one instead. Running the vacuum cleaner for the first time not only builds a map of your home but will automatically split it into rooms.

If it gets things wrong, you can quickly update and adjust them to suit, setting your own rooms and zones using the app.

Up to four maps per home can be stored, and the robot can recognise which floor it’s on automatically, so you can use it in a multi-story house.

Here’s where things get really smart, as you can fully customise how the Roborock S6 MaxV tackles your home. Want to clean just a single zone or room? No problem, you set the cleaner off on its job, and even tell it how many passes you’d like it to make. You can even set custom schedules, telling the robot how much power to use in each room.

Having the mop attachment on used to make cleaning a bit more complicated, but the S6 MaxV makes things a bit easier. Now, you can set areas as No Mop; when you want to clean the entire house, the S6 MaxV will first of all tackle these ‘dry’ rooms, before turning on its water supply to tackle the mop rooms.

There’s no more fiddling about removing and adding the mop with this model. You can also set your own cleaning routine, picking the order that rooms should be tackled in.

If anything, the range of options can be a touch overwhelming. After all, when faced with Gentle, Quiet, Balanced, Turbo and Max, which is better out of Turbo and Max, and how different are they anyway? Slightly fewer modes, more clearly defined would be nice.

Automation is high up the list for this vacuum cleaner, and it can be set to recognise carpet and up the suction power automatically. It’s a shame that this mode can’t be used to automatically back the vacuum cleaner off while the mop is attached, say avoiding soaking a prized rug.

Instead, you have to use no-mop zones to mark off these areas, plus you can set No-go Zones and virtual barriers to prevent the vacuum from going where you don’t want it to.

There are skills for both Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant. Via the Alexa app, you can start and stop a clean (but not return to dock). If you use your voice, you can start and stop a clean and get the robot to return to its dock. As the robot appears as a switch type device in the Alexa app, you can also use it in Routines, say starting a clean when you go out.

Google Assistant control is similar, although in the app you can start and stop a clean, and use the Dock button to return the cleaner to charge; you can, of course, do all of this with your voice.

Roborock S6 MaxV dust bin

Roborock S6 MaxV: Battery life and maintenance

Matching the S6 Pure, the MaxV has a 5200mAh battery, which can give up to 180-minutes of use, when used on the lowest power setting. Used in a rather standard Victorian terraced house, with the vacuum set to Turbo, I found that I could clean an entire floor and still have plenty of juice left to tackle a second go.

Roborock rates this cleaner for areas of up to 240 square meters, with mopping for 200 square meters. Should the robot run out of juice part way through a clean, it can return to dock, top itself off and then carry on.

Rated at 67dB, the S6 MaxV is louder than the old S6 but slightly quieter than the S6 Pure. In practice, there’s nothing to worry about, as this vacuum is far from loud, so there’s nothing to worry about.

You’ll get notifications when it's time to clean sensors, brushes and filters. You can wash the filter but there’s a spare in the box and you can buy additional ones.

Once full, you’ll get a notification (in-app and voice) telling you it’s time to empty the bin.


Roborock S6 MaxV
More smarts and the promise of avoiding tricky obstacles makes the S6 MaxV sound like a dream. Yet, in practice, you’re paying a fair bit more to get object detection that doesn’t work all of the time, and you’ll still have to tidy up a bit before you start. It’s a shame, as the basic underlying mapping quality and suction power remain are excellent, and I have no complaints about this vacuum’s ability to clean your home. The main problem with the S6 MaxV is that Roborock’s other cleaners are so good. Drop down to the S6 Pure and you lose the cameras but get all of the same smart mapping features and similar cleaning performance for $150 less.
PROS
  • Powerful mapping
  • Amazing performance
  • Quality mopping in the right circumstances
  • Smart app
CONS
  • Object detection is hit and miss
  • Relatively expensive
  • Louder than S6



TAGGED    robot vacuums

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