Samsung Navibot Silencio robot vacuum cleaner June 2011
Quieter, faster cleaning from a robot vac?
Samsung claims that its Navibot Silencio robot vacuum cleaner is faster and quieter than the original Navibot – but can you really sit back and have a conversation while your vac quietly gets on with the cleaning unaided? We gave this robot vac a test run to bring you our initial impressions.
This article, Samsung Navibot Silencio robot vacuum cleaner, was last updated on 09 June 2011 and is now out of date and held in our online archive for reference. Explore our latest Home & garden articles.
UPDATE 30/06/2012: you can now read our First look review of the latest Navibot SR8980, the latest robot vacuum in the Samsung range.
Samsung is one of the first major manufacturers to dabble in the robot vacs market, producing basic and premium Navibots in 2010 and now the Navibot Silencio in 2011.
The original Navibot impressed us with its methodical approach to cleaning, but we were disappointed that its apparently poor suction strength meant you'd still need to use a regular vacuum cleaner occasionally. You can read our first look review and watch our video guide to the original Samsung Navibot here. But does the new Samsung Navibot Silencio improve on it's predecessor? We let it loose in the Which? office to find out.
62db of silence
Samsung justifies the Silencio tag by claiming that the new Navibot operates at 62db. To put that in perspective, a normal conversation is around 60db, and we didn't need to raise our voices to be heard over the Silencio when we tried it out. You could watch the TV without increasing the volume, but it might take a while to get used to the background noise.
The Navibot has a small camera inside it uses to map out out the best way to clean each room. According to Samsung, the Navibot Silencio takes 30 photos a second, then puts all the information together to devise the fastest and safest route.
Suspension in the Navibot's wheels enables it to cope with uneven surfaces. It moved easily between the carpet and a thick rug when we gave it a go - though thicker obstacles will prompt it to look for an alternative route.
The Turbo setting sounds more aggressive but doesn’t seem to make much difference to dust pick-up. On both its main settings, the Silencio picked up dust, crumbs and small pieces of paper – though it spat out some larger pieces when moving between uneven surfaces. It also struggled with fine particles of sand lodged below the carpet’s surface.
The Silencio moves in straight lines on Auto mode, moving a step to its right at the end of each wall-to-wall length. This is fine for wide expanses of carpet, but any obstacles or furniture throw it off track and cause it to re-navigate. This can be quite frustrating to watch as the Silencio can try the same route more than once.
On the same setting, the Silencio stopped when it sensed a paper cup in its path and re-routed round it, so a forgotten mug or wine glass shouldn’t cause any trouble.
An Edge setting allows much higher impact with obstacles and walls to let the Silencio get into nooks and crannies. On Edge, the Silencio isn’t as careful with anything left on the floor (our paper cup was pushed over) - but it doesn’t damage furniture thanks to a protective bumper.
A further cleaning option is a remote control-operated manual setting. This is helpful if you want to vacuum a room full of furniture and don’t want to wait for the Silencio to work out how to do it. The only downside is that you can’t get on with other things: you’re left with an expensive hands-free vac that needs directing round the room.
Manoeuvring the Silencio using the arrow controls is easy, and releasing the button makes it stop. You can’t change the settings without stopping the Silencio so you need to use the remote to stop it before setting it to Turbo, for example.
You might not be able to get it into precise spaces as one press left or right causes quite a significant turn, but you can always pick it up and place it in the right spot. If you want to vac a specific area, a Spot-clean setting is also present: the Silencio vacs in situ for a couple of seconds before moving outwards in a tight square round the starting point.
90-minute battery life
According to Samsung, the Silencio runs for 90 minutes before requiring a two-hour charge. But the great thing is that you can plug the base into the mains wherever you like, and the Silencio will find its way back automatically when it’s running out of power.
We placed the base in a couple of slightly awkward spots and each time the Silencio found its way home. When charged, it will pick up where it left off. The Silencio also comes with a ‘Virtual Guard' that you can place anywhere to create an invisible barrier blocking movement into fireplaces or other rooms.
Dust collects in a tray that slides out of the side when ejected. A dust outlet hole allows you to suck out the dust using a normal vacuum cleaner – though the diameter’s quite small so a big nozzle won’t work.
The Silencio costs more than the standard Navibot: around £499.99.
Pros: Hands-free vacuuming, you can set scheduled cleaning, quiet
Cons: Doesn't seem to clean as thoroughly as a regular vac