Roborock has announced the S6 MaxV for the end of June, which could become a real beast in terms of hardware and software. As the first Roborock model, the S6 MaxV brings floor storage and AI detection of small obstacles such as cables, shoes or even dog excrement. If the manufacturer is also convincing in these categories, it will probably be the best suction robot in 2020.
The S-series from Roborock is the manufacturer’s premium range. Accordingly, we compare each new model with its predecessors. An overview of all Xiaomi and Roborock suction robots can be found in our guide article.
For several years now I have been testing suction robots of all navigation types, manufacturers and price ranges. One difficulty that can be solved with virtual walls and no-go zones, but which has always been a problem up to now: No matter how well the round household helpers scan rooms or detect obstacles, small objects such as cables, shoes, socks or even dog excrement were variables in the household that could not be mastered up to now. Also because they are not placed in the same place every day.
Ecovacs is considered a pioneer in the field of AI obstacle detection with the Deebot Ozmo 960 and soon to be released T8 AIVI. However, the Ecovacs system called AIVI does not yet work one hundred percent in such a way that easily destroyed cables, for example, could simply be left lying around carelessly when the robot is working and we are on the road ourselves.
Roborock is now venturing into this promising technology with the S6 MaxV and is installing a stereo camera which, in combination with the LDS (Laser Distance Sensor), should be able to detect even small obstacles and take appropriate evasive action.
By means of two camera eyes at the front of the suction robot (in the middle of the bumper) the suction robot detects objects in 3D. Up to 30 images per second can be processed. For this purpose, a powerful Qualcomm APQ8053 processor chip – for suction robots – was installed so that the robot can handle the data volume of images.
A recognized object is displayed as an icon in the Roborock (Android, iOS) or Xiaomi Home (Android, iOS) app. For example the favourite slipper of the houseman. This way you can see what the robot “sees” in the household and what it doesn’t recognize even when you are on the road. The distance and size of the jewel are measured and included in the navigation.
Experience has shown that there are always “hackers” in various communities who will check such information carefully. This happened in the past, for example, with the Xiaomi Mi Robot 1C or Roborock S5 Max. I can understand the scepticism in front of cameras very well, but I must say that I would have few problems with the solution as described here. In addition, the robot does not record videos or voices, which I would find much more delicate. But of course everybody has to make his own (attention word joke) picture of it.
This function lets you know that Roborock does not consider the German market to be negligible. After all, saving several maps only makes sense where there are owners or tenants of houses with several floors. In China this is rather seldom the case, in Germany it is by no means unusual. Thus, the multiple card storage long desired by Roborock users has also made it into the software package of the S6 MaxV.
Up to four floors can be stored and provided with ten no-go zones, ten non-wiping zones and ten virtual walls per floor. The maps are created using laser room measurement, as in the predecessor models. The virtual maps can then be called up in the app as usual.
It is quite conceivable that there will also be icons on the map for the small obstacles found during cleaning.
In comparison to the previous models, the hardware has not changed much in terms of technical data. Apart from the 25% stronger suction power in the new model – thus 2500 pa and leading on the Roborock scoreboard – the electric water tank should also be mentioned.
We already know it from the S5 Max: The amount of water that drips from the tank onto the microfiber cloth on the attached attachment can be adjusted in the app. So you can decide for yourself how much water you think is appropriate on the ground. There are two more positive points to mention: The water tank exerts a constant pressure of 300 g on the floor, which should compensate a little for the manual pressure of a human mop, although it will not be able to completely replace it. But for a superficial wipe this should be sufficient.
The second positive point: In the app, the selective room division allows you to specify when the robot should work in which order in which room. The S6 MaxV can switch the wipe function on and off. For example, the kitchen, living room and bedroom can be vacuumed first, and then wiped in a second pass. Roborock calls this “Room Sequence Cleaning”.
Suction robots automatically return to their charging station when the battery level drops and recharge the battery there. If the charging station is not moved during cleaning, it is only a matter of seconds to find it again due to the built-in laser tower. Cheaper models often have the problem with large living areas that they cannot create all the space in one go due to a low working time.
Higher-quality models, such as the S6 MaxV, master the continuous cleaning process. Thus, when they notice that the battery life is coming to an end, they notice that not everything has been done as desired. In this situation, they remember at which point in the four walls they have to leave work, drive to the charging station, charge the battery fully and continue cleaning at this point.
The highlight of the Roborock S6 MaxV: It does not fully charge the battery in such a situation. It may not sound smart at first, but it is much more profound: By scanning all rooms beforehand, the S6 MaxV knows how many m² are left and calculates the required battery capacity. Then it drives to its docking station and charges the battery only by as much percent as it can handle the remaining space.
Suppose the robot notices that the battery power is decreasing and it still has 50 m² in front of it. If we assume 1% battery capacity per m², it will charge the battery by only the necessary 50%. Glorious technology.
However, it is questionable who owns such large areas that this system might be necessary. Because the working time has never been higher with any model of the Chinese manufacturer: 3 h working time guarantees (at least on the lowest suction level) the cleaning of a living space of up to 250 m² according to Roborock. It is rather questionable how the dust chamber with a potential filling quantity of 0.46 l is supposed to play along.
Think of all the functions you know about suction robots. And now pack them all into one model, then you have the S6 MaxV. Roborock holds the cards in their own hands, whether or not they climb to the top of the podium of the best suction robots in the world.
Roborock may have confused us a bit in the past with product names and upgrade models, but it also stands for getting things started properly and to a high quality standard. So it is quite conceivable that the new functions will also work well in practice, and the Reactive AI is still being worked on until the launch at the end of June.
It is currently not yet conceivable that the AI will work so well that we will never have to protect anything small in the household from the suction robot again. As nice as it would be, I guess we cannot expect perfection here yet.
Because Roborock in the S6 MaxV runs the full range of software available, the high launch price of 649€ is not surprising. We have to slowly say goodbye to the idea that technology from China is always cheap. Especially because China has long since overtaken top performers such as iRobot, Vorwerk or Dyson in the field of suction robots. Compared to the manufacturers mentioned, the S6 MaxV is still cheap, but it is the most expensive model from China so far. But if the functions are all as good as announced, after the sad payment you will have the best model 2020.