As a young kid, I remember sitting in the living room of my parents’ house and watching as a salesman pushed a tank of a vacuum cleaner demoing its incredible dirt lifting powers. Those Kirby’s were heavy, expensive, occupied an entire closet and they didn’t even sweep the floor by themselves.
Fortunately, my parents had four children to automate their household chores. In reality, we swept about as efficiently as the original robot vacuums; in random patterns, bouncing off walls and occasionally abandoning the job when a neighbor stopped by asking us to join them in a game of kickball in the street.
Fast forward 40 years and there are numerous autonomous robot vacuums available. Alongside “famous” brands such as Roomba and Neato are multitudes of less famous brands including EcoVacs, RoboRock, etc. Announced in December 2020, I was able to test the Proscenic M6 Pro vacuum against my dog and cat, who shed fur on the daily.
In the box you get the M6 vacuum, remote (with batteries), 2x side brushes, an extra HEPA filter, mopping attachment, extra mopping pad, and a mopping/vacuuming dustbin. You also get the usual quick start guides and instruction manual.
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The M6 vacuum is round and measures about 13.75” wide and at its tallest 3.75”. Onboard is the usual set of sensors including fall detection, wall/bump sensor, and tilt sensor. Navigation is handled by IPNAS 3.0. I am not familiar with IPNAS and unfortunately wasn’t able to find much about it online. I’m guessing that it is Proscenic’s fancy name for lidar since it is also referenced in their marketing material.
One thing I really liked about the charging base is that it allows you to coil the AC adapter cord so that only the necessary length extends to the wall outlet. Finally, the M6 is powered by a 3200mAh which equates to approximately 110 minutes of cleaning time.
The first couple of days with the M6 were not smooth to be quite honest. Setting up the vacuum was relatively easy. You need to download the Proscenic App; which I’ll cover later, in order to connect the M6 to your home’s Wi-Fi network. You add it by first connecting to the ad-hoc network created by the M6 and inputting your home network SSID and password. Once the M6 is connected, you’re ready to map your floor plan.
The instruction manual doesn’t give much detail from a quick start perspective. The only option I saw was to tap start. The M6 makes an announcement and takes off from its charging base.
You can watch as the M6 builds a map of your house within the app. It was really cool to see actually! A dot moves along tracing your walls as the IPNAS sensors scan objects placed throughout the rooms. It does a really good job of building the floorplan. Once the edge is determined, it begins methodical back and forth vacuuming.
Because rooms aren’t yet defined, the systematic sweeping may fall weirdly between rooms or ½ way in a room that has no objects blocking the M6’s path. Near the end of its battery life, the M6 returned to its charging dock with a notification that vacuuming will resume when the battery is charged.
Unfortunately, it never went back out and eventually its internal clock must have timed out and what mapping was completed was lost. Strike one.
Strike two came the following day when the M6 attempted to sweep again and wasn’t able to find its way back to the charging dock and died. Again, the map was lost.
On the third day, I was able to successfully map the downstairs portion of my 3,600 sq. ft. house. Finally! I was able to use the app to section off rooms of my house, as well as, place virtual barriers where I knew the M6 would likely get stuck. I scheduled cleanings through the app to start cleaning on day four.
Day four arrives and the M6 finds itself stuck on an anti-fatigue mat I have in my kitchen. It had successfully navigated the pair of mats I have placed in the kitchen on three previous days but for whatever reason, it couldn’t on the fourth try. The app showed a “tilt” error which required moving to a level surface for recalibration.
Unfortunately, the M6 was stuck in a weird loop where only the edge brush spun but nothing else responded. I found no way to reset the M6 despite prolonged research on both Proscenic’s website as well as their Amazon store. After about 10 hours of running, the battery finally died.
Trying to reset the M6; I reset the device and as a result lost the map! Fortunately, the error cleared itself and I was able to start the mapping process again once the M6 was fully charged. Strike 2.5!
Eureka! I ran the M6 in edge clean mode and after about 40-45 minutes; the lower level of my house was fully mapped. I was also able to loosely separate rooms (more in the app section) and add virtual barriers.
Since then, I can honestly say that the vacuum has performed amazingly well. The only final hiccup was I needed to set the time on the robot itself so that it ran at the scheduled times. It ran, but it was not according to the times I set in the app. I discovered that you need to use the included remote to set the time on the M6.
The app is visually appealing. Setting up Wi-Fi was a breeze and followed the steps that other devices use to broker exchange of Wi-Fi password. The only way I think set-up could have been easier is perhaps to allow QR code scanning to add devices.
The app allows you to remote control the M6, schedule cleaning times/days, review previous cleaning records, view/edit floor plan maps, create virtual barriers, adjust suction power, and toggle between vacuum, mop, or sweep and mop.
Within the settings menu; you are able to change the vacuum name, set quiet mode hours, turn on/off voice guidance on the M6, memory map on/off, breakpoint clean on/off, reset map, zero calibration, and view product consumables usage (e.g. HEPA filter). While most of the settings are self explanatory, it would be helpful if there were information buttons or descriptions available for settings such as memory map and breakpoint clean. Checking the online manual doesn’t offer any clarity either.
It would be really nice if you could import/export the floorplan maps so that you could upgrade from one vacuum to the next. Or in my case, back-up and save the map before needing to reset the device. I believe that the maps are only stored on the M6 vacuum itself.
The only ongoing negative opinion in my review of the app and the vacuum is related to mapping. The first one is easily addressed; include a quick start tip that instructs users with larger floor plans to run edge clean mode only the first time.
The second is separating rooms on the map can be greatly improved. For whatever reason, adding “virtual walls” to separate rooms snaps to seemingly random points. This creates weird separation in adjacent rooms where the “virtual wall” does not coincide with a real wall.
Because I schedule my living room to be swept separately from my home office, there are two areas of my office that are cleaned at different times. Seriously, my first-world problems are brutal. Nonetheless, it slightly diminishes from what I would otherwise consider a solid hardware and software product.
Overall, I’m very happy and impressed with the capabilities of the Proscenic M6 pro vacuum. The vacuuming capabilities are fantastic. It is methodical to the extent that even those with obsessions over carpet lines would be satisfied.
It easily transitions between carpet, tile and hardwood flooring and only got hung up once on the thicker, albeit smooth, anti-fatigue mat. To be fair, my previous Shark robot vacuum would consistently get stuck on that mat too. However, the Shark never required a complete battery drain to reset the device.
Even the mopping feature worked well in my tiled laundry room. I honestly can’t see myself using that feature often as it would require either setting up specific areas to mop or removing all area rugs, etc. Combined with the fact the vacuum can only hold about 6oz of water, the mopping capability is limited in my opinion.
Compared to similar robot vacuums with equal mapping and navigation capabilities, the M6 is a great deal. The M6 is available on Proscenic’s Amazon store for $369.99. A $70 off coupon brings the cost down to under $300. Or it’s available directly from Proscenic’s website for $429.