Etekcity Smart WiFi Light Switch review

REVIEW – We are smart home fanatics at our house.  We have almost every light in our house, including ceiling fans controlled by Amazon Alexa.  The few lights we don’t have under Alexa control are either lights we rarely use, or they are three-pole lights.  Three pole lights are lights that are controlled by two different light switches.  That means each switch has extra wires coming into it compared to a single pole switch.  Up until recently, there were no smart light switches available that handled three pole switches.  So when I was given the opportunity to review the Etekcity Smart Wifi Light Switch that can handle three poles, I jumped at it.  Let’s see how it works.

What is it?

Etekcity makes several smart products.  Two of which are smart switches.  One is for a standard single pole (ESWLO1) and the other for three pole switches (ESWLO3).  I received the ESWLO3.  Like I stated above, a three pole switch is a switch that can control a single light or lights along with another switch.

What’s in the box?

  • 1 x Safety Card – states that the device should only be used to control incandescent, LED, Halogen, and compact fluorescent lightbulbs.  You should only use the device indoors, and turn the power off while installing.  It also mentions contacting an electrician if you are in any way uncomfortable with installing the device.
  • 1 x Facebook group foldout card – asks you to join their Facebook group
  • 1 x Etekcitizen foldout card – will give you an extra year of warranty, free products, and exclusive deals if you join their Etekcitizen group.
  • 2 x packages of hardware to install two light switches
  • 2 x smart light switches including backplates.  I have one facing up and one facing down so you can see the wires coming into the back of the unit.
  • 1 x user manual

Hardware specs

The big thing to note about these switches is that they are specifically designed for three pole switches.  You have to have a neutral wire, ground wire, two traveler wires, and a hot wire in your box for this device to work.  Also note that even though they give you two switches, you only need to replace one of the two switches on a three-pole system for it to work.  So technically, you can replace two different three pole setups with a single box.

Setup

The first thing the instructions tell you to do is to separate the face plate from the main switch.  This was easily done in the picture above by just popping the switch out by pressing on it.

The picture above shows you the light switch I am replacing.  Its partner switch is part of another two switch bank that I did not feel like messing with.

I did not take pictures of the actual wiring.  There is a great video put out by Etekcity showing you how to install the switch.  I ran into two ‘issues’ when installing this switch.   My original switch had four wires coming out of it.  The two traveler wires, a ground wire, and the hot wire.   I had to dig into the back of the box to find the neutral wire already tied off to another neutral in the box.   So I ended up adding the new switch neutral wire to an already existing neutral wire pair to have a total of three neutral wires tied together.   The other issue was just the amount of wire I had to try and stuff back into the box.  I have large metal boxes for my switches, but I guess I have a bunch of extra wire coming into them.  I really had to stuff those wires back in order to get the large switch to fit flush into the box.   The video of the install you can find on YouTube here: Etekcity Three Pole Light Switch Install Video

The picture above shows the light switch installed. You just simply touch the power button area and the light will turn on or off.  You don’t feel any kind of switch movement.  It is a touch sensitive plate.  The WiFi indicator below helps you connect the switch to your WiFi and shows you if the switch is currently connected.

After installing the switch, the next thing I did was to install the Vesync app.  This is available for both Android and iOS.  In the screenshots above you can see the app first asked for an account or you can create an account.  I created one with my email address.  An email was sent to my account to verify it before I could continue further.   Once signed in, I was asked to add my first device.

As you can see from the screenshots above there are many products from Etekcity.  I chose switches and was then presented with two choices.  I chose the three-way switch.

The app then asks to make sure the switch is installed properly.  I tested this by being able to turn my lights off and on with the switch manually.  My next step was to press and hold down on the power button for five seconds.  After that period of time, the WiFi logo below started to blink on and off.

The app then instructed me to connect my phone’s WiFi to the switches WiFi.  You can see the Etekcity WiFi name in the screen shot above.  I connected my phone to that and went back to the app.

The next step which I won’t show, was me having to place my WiFi password into the app.  I was then presented with the screen above that did a count up to 100% as it connected to my WiFi.  Once connected I was able to rename the switch to whatever I wanted to.  I chose the word Breakfast since it controlled the lights in my breakfast area.

The first screenshot above shows the main control screen in the app for my breakfast switch.  The app has several nice features where you can set a schedule to turn the light off an on (great for when you are on a vacation) and a basic timer.  The other screenshot shows the device in my Amazon Alexa app.  I simply added Vesync as a skill and logged into my account.  I then searched for devices and it found it.   In Alexa, I could add the light to my group ‘all lights’ or any group I wished.

Performance

The switch has been performing flawlessly for how we use it.  I have not tried any of the scheduling features.  I did notice there is a firmware update, so I will be sure to update the switch when I get next to it again with my phone.

What I like

  • The app is really easy to use.
  • Setup of the app and getting it to recognize the switch was a breeze.
  • I like how the switch is just a touch panel and not a toggle switch.

What I’d change

  • Please try and not make the switch box so deep.  I realize it may have a lot of technology, but it makes it difficult to install with all the extra wires.

Final thoughts

I can highly recommend this switch for anyone looking to convert a three pole switch to a smart switch.  I have installed several other smart switches and it was very easy to set up app wise.  Like I stated earlier, I just wish the switch box were not so big.  People with small plastic switch boxes in their walls will not be able to use this switch because it will be too big with all the extra wires involved.

Price: $49.98
Where to buyAmazon
Source: The sample of this product was provided by Etekcity.

Filed in categories: Reviews

Tagged: ,

Etekcity Smart WiFi Light Switch review originally appeared on The Gadgeteer on July 9, 2019 at 9:00 am.

Note: If you are subscribed to this feed through FeedBurner, please switch to our native feed URL http://the-gadgeteer.com/feed/ in order to ensure continuous delivery.

Hestan Cue Smart Induction Cooking System review

REVIEW – I’ve been curious about induction cooking ever since I saw a segment on a cooking show that lauded its benefits. I hadn’t really paid much attention to it but knew that it used magnets and electrical current to heat rather than using a traditional gas or electric burner as a heat source. The Hestan Cue Induction Cooking System has given me a great introduction to the process.

What is it?

The Hestan Cue is an induction “burner” with corresponding pots and pans with a wi-fi enabled cooking system that allows pre-loaded recipes to be made via step-by-step directions and video support on your connected smartphone.

What’s in the box?

  • Induction Burner
  • Instruction & Safety Manual
  • Induction Skillet
  • Instruction & Safety Manual

Design and features

The skillet and burner have a sleek modern design that fits perfectly into today’s kitchen, and especially ours with our stainless steel countertops. The skillet is stainless steel, while the burner has the plate surrounded by molded plastic. The skillet has a removable battery at the end of the handle, which also contains the wi-fi hub for communicating with the app on your smartphone. The burner connects via your standard electrical outlet and also communicates independently with the smart app.

Setup

Simply plug in the burner, download the Hestan Cue app and follow the instructions for connecting each piece to the app. Then select a recipe and start cooking.

Our first attempt was grilled chicken breasts. The app has you gather all ingredients first, then gives you step by step instructions for prepping the pan. Next, it preheats the pan to the required temperature and this doesn’t take more than 30 seconds to a minute.

As you hit “next step” it then starts cooking the dish at the required time and temperature.

It will tell you exactly when to flip the food, add more oil/seasoning/ingredients and then continue cooking.

Once complete, you remove the food and it gives you the option to make another batch and start the process all over. The chicken above came out moist and with a nice crust as well. Definitely an improvement on my grilled chicken attempts where I tend to dry it out, and without the strange texture I tend to get with my sous vide attempts. I definitely think this will be my new preferred chicken breast preparation method.

Performance

I was very happy with the overall performance of the Cue system on most everything we cooked outside of steak, where I just don’t think there’s much competition to how tender a sous vide system will get a steak. It came out overcooked and with too much of a crust for my taste. Another dish I tried and loved was their recipe for “Toad in the Hole”. Again it was a simple process of following the recipe and cooking instructions in the app, flipping once the app said to do so and then pulling from heat once done.

The eggs came out just a bit runny like we had selected and preferred and the crust on the bread was very tasty.

The only other thing I think needs to be mentioned in terms of performance is the clean-up phase of the meal. The skillet isn’t the easiest thing to get clean, as with any item where you leave food on it to cook for a fixed duration, you tend to get a lot of build-up on the pan during the cooking process even when you use oil and butter as indicated in the recipe. The manual says that it is dishwasher safe but recommends hand washing. it may be my paranoia about putting electronics in the dishwasher but I felt better about hand washing it with a soft bristle brush, so I have yet to put it in the dishwasher.

Finally, you are able to use the burner with other induction pans however you won’t be able to use the guided recipes and will need to manually adjust the temperature throughout the process to ensure proper cooking of your meal.

What I like

  • Guided cooking with great recipes
  • Fast heating, cooling, and precise temperature control
  • Ability to multi-task and not have to “watch” the pan as the app provides prompts
  • Speeds up cooking time, allowing for more family time.

What I’d change

  • More recipes in the app, it’s growing and has gotten better even in the month we’ve had it – but really want to explore more possibilities.
  • Clean-up of the skillet can be tough, but that may just come with the territory.

Final thoughts

The Hestan Cue system has opened up a new avenue for cooking quality and tasty meals in a quick time frame. Whether it’s chicken breasts, french toast, hashbrowns or bananas foster the pan was versatile and created near restaurant quality food safely and conveniently. It’s a great addition to the kitchen for anyone who wants to improve their culinary skills and make great food for their family. The price point for the skillet and burner combo is $399.99 and you can add an additional “Chef’s Pot” for $299.99 as well. It does fall on the higher end of kitchen products, but I feel the tradeoff is worth it considering the great food you’ll be able to make and the time it saves you in the kitchen overall.

Price: $399.99 for the Induction Burner and Skillet combo.
Where to buy: Hestan Cue’s Website or Amazon
Source: The sample of this product was provided by Hestan Cue.

Filed in categories: Reviews

Tagged: , ,

Hestan Cue Smart Induction Cooking System review originally appeared on The Gadgeteer on July 6, 2019 at 8:27 am.

Note: If you are subscribed to this feed through FeedBurner, please switch to our native feed URL http://the-gadgeteer.com/feed/ in order to ensure continuous delivery.

Dyson Pure Cool TP04 purifying fan review

REVIEW – It’s clear by now Dyson is all about air movement, whether it’s sucking (vacuuming) or blowing (fans). Their vacuum cleaners—especially the newer Dyson cordless stick models—are practically legendary and the fans have also become quite popular. Now, Dyson has incorporated an air purifier into their floor-standing tower fan making air in a room more breathable—a good thing for allergy and asthma sufferers. 

The Dyson Pure Cool TP04 purifying fan replaces the original Dyson tower cooling fan. Its same look has not dated at all and still fits any decor.

What is it?

The Dyson Pure Cool TP04 purifying fan is a stylish 10-speed tower fan that purifies the surrounding air as it helps cool a room. It captures 99.97% of particle pollutants as small as 0.3 microns. According to Dyson, the TP04 will automatically detect and report air quality levels in real time on PM 2.5, PM 10, VOC and NO2. Dyson also claims that the TP04 is the only tower fan to clean a whole room properly. While I think that’s a bit of advertising hyperbole, using the fan will result in much cleaner air than not using one.

It comes in three color combinations: White/silver, black/nickel and iron/blue. It rotates an almost fully circular 350° and can be controlled by the free iOS/Android Dyson Link app. 

Hardware specs

  • Diameter: 8.8 in
  • Cord length: 6.05 ft
  • Height: 41.5 in
  • HEPA filter
  • Glass HEPA media
  • Weight: 10.98 lbs

In the box

  • Fan
  • Remote control
  • Inner carbon filter
  • HEPA filter

Design and features

The Dyson Pure Cool TP04 purifying fan Can be as invisible or intrusive as you want, depending on where it is placed in the room and how high the fan speed is set. Usually we have it where we’ve kept all our tower fans through the years—in the living room between the TV and fireplace. It’s probably not as effective as it would be sitting in the middle of the room, but you only see those scenarios in advertising photos that showcase the product. I’m talking real-world here.

Dyson is really good at design. They use the “form follows function” ethos, meaning that their products are functional and easy to use. That’s certainly true here. The TP04 is way better looking than most tower fans available today And I have yet to look at the manual—it’s that simple to operate. 

It was also easy to put together. The filters fit together only one way and snapped into place with no tools required. The filters are easy to replace when it’s time to do so. The on/off button is within easy reach. There’s a small, circular window that continually reports air/pollutant conditions as well as fan speed. Dyson includes a small remote with easy-to-understand pictograms illustrating functions, such as rotate, fan speed, etc. This remote magnetically attaches to the top of the fan to help prevent misplacing it. If the app is downloaded, then the circular info window and remote kinda become useless. The app will perform every function and give reports in real time.

The TP04 fan can be remotely controlled using the app by WiFi, bluetooth and is Alexa compatible (what isn’t Alexa friendly today?). The fan can be controlled from anywhere. I’ve been tempted to play with the fan while at the office to freak my wife out, but thought better of it. 🙂 

The TP04’s cooling fan is good, not great. Yes, it cools and can be either directional or stationary, but the power of the fan’s breeze isn’t as strong as other fans we’ve owned. That’s not to say that it doesn’t cool—it does that well. It’s just that some less expensive basic tower fans (albeit missing purifier functions or wifi or bluetooth or Alexa or … ) will cool quicker and better. Note that the TP04 is totally safe. There’s no way you can touch the fan blades.

There are 10 fan settings on the TP04. Once you get into the 7-10 setting, noise becomes much more pronounced. I usually have it set at 8-9 during the night to provide air movement and also white-noise, which helps me sleep. If you require complete silence while sleeping, the TP04 (or any other tower fan) may not be for you if used in the bedroom.

One cool feature (pun intended) is that during days with cooler temperatures, the TP04’s fan can be redirected to the side vents for air purification without the cooling effect. This is great for those winter months when you want to preserve heat, but still want cleaner indoor air.

The Dyson Pure Cool TP04 purifying fan traps these pollutants: PM 2.5/10, VOC and NO2. I suspect most customers won’t bother to look up what all that means, so I did. Here’s the CliffsNotes version … 

Particulate Matter (PM 2.5/10)
Airborne particulate matter (PM) varies in its composition and size. PM10 and PM2.5 particles are of major current concern. They are small enough to penetrate deep into the lungs and potentially pose significant health risks.

Nitrogen dioxide (NO2)
Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) causes detrimental effects to the bronchial system. NO2 is emitted when fuel is being burned e.g. in transport, industrial processes and power generation.

Volatile organic compounds (VOC)
Volatile organic compounds (VOC) are compounds of hydrogen, carbon and other elements. VOC displays a wide range of properties. Some—such as benzene—are carcinogenic, some are toxic and some are harmless.

Note that these are extremely simplified descriptions. The bottom line is that the Dyson TP04 will trap a lot of bad stuff before it gets into your lungs. My wife has asthma and the purifier function of the TP04 has helped her somewhat, but has not reduced her number of attacks. But as I said earlier, it’s better than not using one. The TP04 has been certified asthma and allergy friendly by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

The TP04 keeps a record of air quality on board and in its app. The app shows  this info dating back to when it was first turned it on, so it’s easy to keep track of air quality progress through the weeks in use. It also shows the current humidity and temp of the room its in—good information in hot and humid Florida where I live. The TP04 also keeps track of filter life—yes the carbon and HEPA filters will eventually need to be replaced.

What I like

  • Design
  • Purifier works well
  • Wonderful app control
  • Easy filter replacement
  • Good build quality

What I’d change

  • Expensive
  • Increase fan speed

Final thoughts

This—or another well-made air purifier—can be a necessity for allergy and asthma sufferers. Dyson has managed to incorporate what’s important in improving indoor air quality and not over-complicate how to use it. Making something easy to use is itself not easy to do. That’s why so many products have convoluted manuals—not Dyson. 

It’s expensive (like most Dyson products), but few fans can do what the TP04 does and look this good doing it.

Price: $549.99
Where to buy: Dyson and Amazon
Source: The sample of this product was provided by Dyson.

Filed in categories: Reviews

Tagged: ,

Dyson Pure Cool TP04 purifying fan review originally appeared on The Gadgeteer on July 5, 2019 at 10:00 am.

Note: If you are subscribed to this feed through FeedBurner, please switch to our native feed URL http://the-gadgeteer.com/feed/ in order to ensure continuous delivery.

The BeepEgg Perfect Egg Timer sings when your eggs are boiled eggs-actly right

NEWS – I like hardboiled eggs, and over the years I’ve tried lots of different recipes and techniques including using an air fryer. However, I can never seem to get them right. The BeepEgg floating egg timer ensures that your eggs will turn out every time.

The egg-shaped timer actually lives in the fridge with your eggs and goes directly into the pot floating right alongside them. It’s temperature sensitive and belts out a tune when the eggs are perfectly cooked.

There are three different songs in total. BeepEgg tunes include “Oh Susana” for soft boiled. “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” for medium-boiled, and “Hail, Hail The Gangs All Here” for hardboiled. There’s even a Patriotic version that plays “Amazing Grace”, “Star Spangled Banner”, and “America, The Beautiful” respectively.

The timer works in all altitudes and can boil any number of eggs.

The BeepEgg Perfect Egg Timer comes in your choice of red, yellow, and patriotic (red & blue w/white stars). It’s available from The Grommet for $19.95.

Filed in categories: News

Tagged: , ,

The BeepEgg Perfect Egg Timer sings when your eggs are boiled eggs-actly right originally appeared on The Gadgeteer on July 4, 2019 at 8:14 am.

Note: If you are subscribed to this feed through FeedBurner, please switch to our native feed URL http://the-gadgeteer.com/feed/ in order to ensure continuous delivery.

Drinkworks’ Home Bar is a Keurig for your cocktails

NEWS – Everyone has a favorite beverage(s). That makes it particularly difficult if you’re having a party with lots of guests. You have a Keurig for coffee and tea but what about alcoholic beverages? What does everyone like? Which ingredients do you buy that will please the most people? That question is moot now with the Drinkworks Home Bar.

The Home Bar Drinkmaker device “uses precision on-board chilling and carbonation systems [using CO2 cartridges] to prepare quality cocktails, brews, ciders and more at the touch of a button.” And just like a Keurig, the Drinkmaker uses pods to make your favorite drinks. Each pod contains all that you need – the alcohol and natural flavors – to create each drink. Currently, there are only 22 drinks available but more are coming (see the list of the current pods available and click on each drink for the ingredients).

There is an internal chilling tank that keeps the water at 37° F (3° C) but the water will be chilled to the pod-specific recipe. The strength, temperature, and size of the drink (6.7 ounces for a beer while most cocktails are either 4 or 6.7 ounces) will vary according to what type of drink you choose. For more details about the Home Bar, check the Drinkworks FAQ section.

Right now, the Drinkworks Drinkmaker and its accessories are only available in Missouri. The Drinkmaker is selling for $299.00. It will be coming to Florida sometime this summer and then to California in April 2020.

When you purchase the Home Bar, it will “include complimentary coasters, cleaning tablets, CO2, and carbon filters” but pods will have to be ordered separately. Each type of drink that you order will come with four pods at a cost of $15.99 for cocktails and $9.99 for beer. The CO2 replacements contain two cartridges that sell for $14.99. Each cartridge should make on average about 12 drinks. The water filters go for $8.99 and should be replaced after 60 water tank refills. And finally, you can buy 12 cleaning tablets for $7.99. Each cleaning cycle uses three tablets. When you order these items, it will ask you to enter your address to check on the availability of the item.

Filed in categories: News

Tagged: ,

Drinkworks’ Home Bar is a Keurig for your cocktails originally appeared on The Gadgeteer on July 1, 2019 at 9:00 am.

Note: If you are subscribed to this feed through FeedBurner, please switch to our native feed URL http://the-gadgeteer.com/feed/ in order to ensure continuous delivery.

Yale Assure Lever Smart Keypad Lock YRL236 review

REVIEW – A few months ago I had the opportunity to review the Yale Assure deadbolt lock and jumped at the opportunity to review another of their great products. Like its older brother, the Yale Assure Lever Smart Keypad Lock doesn’t disappoint.

What is it?

The Yale model YRL236 is an interior door lock with an integrated keypad and wireless capabilities, enabling a homeowner to lock or unlock a door using multiple, user-programmable codes, Bluetooth, Cellular or Wi-Fi.

Hardware Specs

  • Installs in standard doors in minutes
  • Door Thickness: 1 3/8” – 2 ¼”
  • Back Set: 1 3/8” – 2 ¼”
  • Face Bore: 2 1/8”, 1″ Diameter
  • Edge Bore: 1″ Depth, 1″ Diameter
  • Cross Bore: 1″ Diameter, Round Corner
  • Latch bolt Type: Adjustable Latch to Accommodate a 2 3/8″ or 2 3/4″ Back Set, reversible
  • Strike Front: Round Corner
  • Strike Dimensions: 1 1/9″ x 2 3/4″
  • Certifications: A156.36 ANSI/BHMA
  • Temperature range: -22F to 140F
  • Warranty: 1-year electronics, Unlimited Lifetime on Finish and Mechanical
  • Power: 4 AA batteries, 9V Battery can be used as a backup
  • Battery life: Approximately 12 months with regular use
  • User Codes: 25 User codes, 250 User codes with an optional Yale Smart module
  • Works with Amazon and Apple Home Kit
  • Available Finishes: Satin Nickel, Oil Rubbed Bronze, Polished Brass

What’s in the Box?

  • Yale Assure Lock
  • Two Academy Levers
  • Mounting Screws
  • Door Template
  • 4 AA Alkaline Batteries
  • Installation Manual
  • Yale Smart Module
  • August Wi-Fi Bridge module and Bluetooth lock module
  • August Warranty card

Design and features

Setup:

Arriving in characteristically cardboard containment, Yale’s lock hardware was well protected from the ever-present tossing system embraced by our shipping friends.

Like all locks, some assembly is required, but it’s not much different than a standard lock with respect to the hardware.

Since I was replacing a current lock, I did not need to drill, but Yale includes a template should your situation warrant.

Graphic directions for assembly are excellent. I had no difficulty with form, fit or function.

I elected to place the magnetic door sensor into my door frame for a cleaner look.

Once installed, the August app must be installed and an account created. If needed, the app is excellent in walking through the hardware and software installation process and has some well-executed FAQs and troubleshooting features. Nicely done!

The app steps the user through connection and calibration features and goes so far as to provide step-by-step instructions for Amazon Alexa and Apple Homekit connections. I ran into one very minor issue during configuration – for whatever reason, my Homekit code would not register, but restarting my smartphone solved the issue.

Curiously, those with an existing August bridge will still need to install another to enable all of the functions of a second lock. Yale’s online documentation states the bride modules and bride modules are ae a 1:1 ratio – curious, but far from problematic.

Performance

Once everything is connected, calibrated and copacetic, operation was flawless. Correct codes were always accepted from the keypad and it’s a blast to use Siri or Alexa to lock or check the status of my doors

This lock does not talk as my other Yale lock does, but has beeping as feedback.

An activity log provides a record of when and how the door was opened

What I like

  • Quality manufacturing and workmanship
  • Outstanding installation documentation and illustrations
  • Easy hardware and app installation
  • Plenty of locking options
  • Excellent variety of connectivity options

What I’d change

  • Lower the price

Final thoughts:

This Yale’s Assure Lever YRL236 is my second connected lock in my home and is a very welcomed addition. Quality and workmanship are excellent, installation and configuration were simple, and in the future, I hope to equip all of my home’s outer doors with Yale locks. These locks are so fancy I need to consider replacing my crappy doors!

Price: $279
Where to buy: Amazon
Source:  The sample for this review was provided by Yale.

Filed in categories: Reviews

Tagged: ,

Yale Assure Lever Smart Keypad Lock YRL236 review originally appeared on The Gadgeteer on June 27, 2019 at 8:00 am.

Note: If you are subscribed to this feed through FeedBurner, please switch to our native feed URL http://the-gadgeteer.com/feed/ in order to ensure continuous delivery.

Eliminate throw away guilt with these reusable silicone food storage bags

NEWS – I use plastic bags for just about everything. It’s not only bad for the environment, but it can get costly too. Especially if you use them like they grow on trees like I do. Enter the EcoLifeMate reusable silicone food storage bags.

Made from food-grade silicone these bags are not only reusable they also stand up, making them easier to fill. The bags are sealed using a plastic slider. This not only makes the bags airtight, but it also makes them leak-proof. Perfect for storing liquids like soups and sauces. Try doing that with a typical plastic bag.

And they’re extremely versatile, they can go in the oven, microwave, sous vide and freezer. You can even write on them with a dry erase marker. 

When they need cleaning, just toss them in the dishwasher.

The EcoLifeMate reusable silicone food storage bags come in a set of four 1 quart bags for $22.97 and are available from The Grommet.

Filed in categories: News

Tagged: ,

Eliminate throw away guilt with these reusable silicone food storage bags originally appeared on The Gadgeteer on June 26, 2019 at 9:00 am.

Note: If you are subscribed to this feed through FeedBurner, please switch to our native feed URL http://the-gadgeteer.com/feed/ in order to ensure continuous delivery.

Roborock S6 robot vacuum review

REVIEW – Robot vacuums have come a long way since I first got one of the originals over 10 years ago. With the advent of smart phones, the ability to control, monitor and even maneuver the vacuum has become easier and provided quite a bit more value to these devices. The RoboRock S6 is the newest addition from RoboRock into a crowded market as evidenced by the many types of these vacuums that we’ve reviewed on this site.

What is it?

The RoboRock S6 is a smart vacuum with docking station that interacts with a smart phone app to provide customized cleaning in your home.

What’s in the box?

  • Robot Vacuum
  • Power Cord & Docking Station
  • Extra Filters
  • Disposable Mopping Pads
  • Cloth Mopping Pads
  • Water tank attachment for mopping
  • Mopping mat attachment for Dock
  • Instruction Booklet
  • Removable dustbin with cleaning tool

Design and features

The RoboRock S6 provides both a vacuum mode and mopping function. With the accompanying app, you are able to map your home and designate different rooms and/or zones for cleaning. As you can see below, each color designates a different room and you can tell the vacuum to only clean specific rooms or the whole map. As it performs its work, it shows the track it went via the white lines you can see in the screenshot – so that you can see that all areas have been covered by that particular cleaning.

To mop, you don’t have to tell the vacuum any different directive, just simply attach the water tank to the underside of the mop with either a disposable or cloth cleaning pad attached and select “clean” from the menu. We keep a relatively clean house, so we were pretty surprised at how much the initial mopping was able to get clean.

Once the device has mapped the area and cleaned it fully, it will return itself to the dock. Then simply lift the back cover and remove the dustbin to dump out the collected dirt. You can also use the cleaning tool to cut out any hair that has been wrapped around the rotating brush on the underside.  I highly recommend doing this regularly, as I have found that hair accumulation around rotating parts tends to be the downfall of a lot of vacuums in my time.

One of our bigger concerns was the ability of the vacuum to maneuver down and back up over the tile-to-hardwood ledge between our kitchen and living room shown below. It is about 3/4 of an inch and the S6 navigates this on a daily basis with absolutely no trouble. Additionally, it has sensors that detect dropoffs and hasn’t had a problem whatsoever with our open stairway down to the basement.

Additionally, in our living room, we have hardwood floors with a rug under the coffee table. The vacuum gets up onto the rug effortlessly and switches mode to higher suction while on the carpeted rug – then switches back as it goes back onto the hardwood.

Additionally, you can place the vacuum in an area and press the spot clean button on the device and it will clean a small area and then return back to the dock to charge.

Setup

Very easy to set up and get going – less than 20 minutes of actual set up to get it started charging and communicating with the app. Initially, it will need to vacuum the entire house, building its map of the area. Once this is done, it will return to the dock and communicate with the app to verify the area – you’ll then be able to go in and designate zones and or add invisible barriers if there are areas that you don’t want the vacuum to travel into.

Performance

The vacuum works great and does exactly what we wanted it to do and more. The mopping function saves us a lot of time in effort in keeping the kitchen floors clean on a daily basis. For the map I provided screenshots of, it takes about 40 minutes to vacuum completely.

What I like

  • Mopping function is highly useful and not complicated for attaching.
  • Easy to use – map building feature allows for easy and quick selection of cleaning areas
  • Very quiet, we can keep the TV on just a slightly higher than normal volume while it does its work.
  • Navigates all the obstacles of our home – tile drop off, around kitchen table legs, under furniture.
  • Side spinning brush helps grab even more dirt into the suction head.
  • Sensor for major drop offs works great (stair recognition).
  • App shows the percentage of filter use for easy look up to see when maintenance needs to be performed.
  • Easy clean up of dust bin and mopping pads.

What I’d change

  • Occasionally we get a notification on our phones in Chinese rather than the English setting – bug fix in the app would remedy this.
  • Needs a large area around the dock to have room to return – which is hard to ensure in smaller homes and limits where you can dock the device.
  • Can get stuck on table legs some times, and will give a false error code before dislodging itself.
  • Would be nice to have separate maps for mopping and vacuuming, to be able to exclude carpeted rugs from being mopped.

Final thoughts

The RoboRock S6 has become a key appliance in our house, being run on pretty much a daily basis to help clean up the cooking mess that made it to the floor, the stray hairs and the pet dander/hair that accumulates in all the hard to reach places. We love using the mop feature in the kitchen, as it’s apparent that dirt doesn’t always show itself on these floors. With two humans and four 4-legged friends, we need to work to keep the floors clean so it’s very convenient to be able to hit one button on our smartphones rather than go through the hassle of getting the stand-up vacuum out on a daily basis. I would strongly recommend this vacuum for those who need a robotic being to clean up after them from time to time!

Price: $599.99
Where to buy: eBay
Source: The sample of this product was provided by RoboRock.

Filed in categories: Reviews

Tagged: ,

Roborock S6 robot vacuum review originally appeared on The Gadgeteer on June 26, 2019 at 8:00 am.

Note: If you are subscribed to this feed through FeedBurner, please switch to our native feed URL http://the-gadgeteer.com/feed/ in order to ensure continuous delivery.