Proscenic 850T review: A robot vacuum and mop at a temptingly low price
Some robot vacuum cleaners are expensive and come awash with features. Others are affordable but basic. The Proscenic 850T would appear to offer the best of both worlds.
On the one hand it looks like it ought to sit side by side with the premium models, with a broad sweep of headline features, including both vacuuming and mopping in a single unit, a physical remote control, and a stated suction rating of 3,000pa.
However, it’s price of £229 sets it at the cheaper end of the price spectrum, lining it up alongside robot vacuums that don’t promise nearly as much.
Proscenic 850T review: What do you get for the money?
You get plenty for your money in the box as well. As well as the robot itself, the package comes with a small charging station, a remote control, a mop attachment that replaces the standard dirt collection bin, magnetic floor tape you can use to stop the robot going to places you don’t want it to, and replacement parts for most of the consumables (two spare edge brushes, a spare filter and a spare mop cloth). The only thing it doesn’t have is a docking station that can empty its collection bin for you, although we’ve yet to see this in a robot vacuum cleaner that costs less than £600.
The robot itself measures 325 x 325 x 73mm and is a circular hockey puck shape with no protrusions, which helps it slip under even the lowest of furniture. Its collection bin has a capacity of 500ml, while the mop module can hold 300ml of water.
On the underside there’s a 140mm intake port with a single brush roller consisting of a mix of bristles and rubber fins. This sits centrally, between two large traction wheels, with large and small coasters at the front and back to keep the robot stable.
Proscenic 850T review: What’s it like to use?
The Proscenic 850T comes with a remote control for setting it off on a basic cleaning task if you don’t have your phone to hand. This has an LCD screen with a clock and you can use it to set up a schedule with it as well, although this is very basic. You can set it to clean everything it can reach at the same time every day and that’s it. You can also use the remote to direct the robot to a spillage, perform a spot clean and send it home again after it’s finished.
The smartphone app provides a little more control but not much. It does everything the remote does, but also builds a map as it goes. The only function of the map is to show you where it’s been; it isn’t saved from session to session and you can’t use it to tell the robot where to go or what to avoid. Using the app, you can create more sophisticated schedules than the remote, however, with more options around timings and repetitions.
Because the mapping is basic you can only really control where the robot goes by closing doors or laying the supplied magnetic tape. Unfortunately, only 1m of tape is supplied, so you can’t section that much off without ordering more.
If you use the door closing method, it’s possible that you might want to shut the robot in a room that stops it returning to its charger. Usually the robot will wear its battery down trying to get back to its charging station, so there’s a special ‘single room’ option. This puts the robot to sleep once it’s finished cleaning an area, rather than leaving it endlessly searching for a non-existent exit.
Proscenic 850T review: Is it good at finding its way around?
In a word, no. On numerous occasions during testing, the Proscenic 850T got stuck between chair legs, wedged in tight corners or tangled in cables that other robots are able to work around. When stuck it tends to keep rotating and knocking against its cage, failing to find a way out. Other than that, it’s relatively gentle around furniture and skirting boards, sensing their presence and bouncing off things with a very gentle bump.
When it’s covering an area, it runs backwards and forwards in long lines, fitting as much into each pass as possible before having to turn and start again. This is in contrast to most robot vacuum cleaners that scope an area out, cover it, then move on to find another
The Proscenic was fast as a result: the app claimed it covered our cleaning space of 57 square metres in 1hr 4mins, though the app struggled to accurately report how much space it had covered.
Proscenic 850T review: How well does it clean?
On hard floor, the Proscenic 850T performed reasonably well. I spilled 50g of rice and 50g of flour on the floor and used the vacuum’s spot-cleaning mode to tackle it. Proscenic suggests you place the robot directly on top of a spill in this mode, and it helps a lot. The vacuum whirs into action before the edge brush starts spinning, which gives it the chance to clean up some of the mess before the vacuum begins to move. As a result, it collected 42g of rice and 44g of flour; the caveat is that the remainder (a significant amount) was scattered far and wide by the spinning edge sweeper.
It wasn’t as successful on short pile carpet. Here it collected 38g out 50g of the rice but still managed to scatter plenty beyond the reach of the spot clean. It struggled even more with flour, with only 20g of the 50g spill gathered up. Only the loose flour from the top was gathered, with a significant dusting left behind. This is a disappointing result from a vacuum with a quoted suction of 3,000pa.
I also tested the mop attachment but it’s a very basic affair. Setting it up involves replacing the dust collection bin with a water tank that can hold 300ml of water. This has tiny holes on the base that slowly drip water into a mop cloth, which is velcroed to the bottom and dragged around the floor, “mopping” as it goes. Beware, though: you can’t charge the vacuum with the mop on and, if you leave it standing in the same place, you’ll end up with a puddle on the floor.
Alas, you can’t control the deployment of the mop other than by physically removing it and replacing it with the collection bin and because you can’t section off areas using the app, you’re left to physically obstruct the mop from finding its way onto carpets or rugs. This makes mopping quite difficult if you live somewhere with a mixture of floor types.
Proscenic 850T review: Should I buy it?
At first look, the Proscenic 850T seems like it’s a good buy, with plenty of features and a relatively low price. However, it disappointed in our cleaning tests, it was prone to getting stuck in places that other robot vacuums handle without problems, and the app used to control it is basic. The mopping function is limited, too.
On this kind of budget, we’d opt for a for £220. It doesn’t come with a mop or have sophisticated mapping but it did a better job of cleaning in our tests and is cheaper.instead, which at the time of writing was selling
For those looking for an exceptional clean, meanwhile, particularly with the ability to zone off areas to clean or ignore as required, the currently £568) is our current favourite and is able to clean closer to walls and corners than any other robot vacuum.(