Robot vacuum cleaners are suddenly becoming all the rage with those of a busy lifestyle. Cleaning the floors, it seems, is just another of those tasks that many people would sooner do without spending time on, and if there is a gadget that promises to do half a job for you then that is way better than not getting the job done at all. Luckily, for those for whom half a job holds some appeal, there is the Infinuvo Hovo 510, which does just that – half a job!!
On the face of it, making a robotic vacuum cleaner isn’t that onerous; you just need to design a product that is capable of pulling a decent vacuum, depositing the gathered crud in a specialist hopper, and have the intelligence to manoeuvre itself around the obstacles placed in its path. With all of those done, you have yourself a product. Unfortunately, Hong Kong Company Infinuvo hit the market stumbling with the QQ-1 CleanMate 365 – a product that got stuck on carpet so many times and required rescuing that you might as well have pushed it around to clean anyway!
Add to this not being able to adequately fill its fundamental purpose, it suffered from poor sensors, dubious controlling software and a bin that fell apart and just dumped all the gubbins back on the floor when you came to emptying it. From those less than impressive starts, you would hope that the company would have learned from their mistakes, and the good news is that they have, just not as much as you would have hoped. The following is my Hovo 510 review, after owning it for 2 months.
Contents (Jump to)
Introducing the Infinuvo Hovo 510
Coming in at the budget end of the robot vacuum market, this is one critter that gives you exactly what you pay for. If you have thick carpets and or pets then don’t expect to get your house cleaned as well as you would like, because unfortunately the 510 isn’t really up to the job.
It has got all of the potential – automatic charging, spot cleaning ability, and virtual wall recognition – that puts it on a par with other makes in the field, but the sum of the good parts don’t quite counteract the various downsides to it.
It comes fitted with a Ultra Violet source for deep down bug killing but it might be better if Infinuvo concentrated on fitting a more powerful vacuum pump to pick up more dirt rather than decontaminate the floor.
Despite having a large side brush, one of the main issues with the Hovo 510 is that it doesn’t clean right up to the sides properly, leaving a path around the area that is uncleaned and a haven for dust to build up. The side brush itself is also a bit of an issue as it rotates rapidly, hitting against one of the underside wheels, which soon starts to inflict wear on it. It doesn’t take many outings for the wear to become serious, leaving you with the headache of trying to source a new one – a task in itself and possibly fruitless, even when going directly to the manufacturer!
Hovo also seemed to have problems with orientation and recognition to, frequently crashing into furniture and ornaments in its way, though obviously not going right up to them, as we know it’s not capable of doing that. In fact, moving around and covering an area is another of the Hovo’s weak points; all robot vacuum cleaners are a little random when it comes to choosing a path to follow and a tad unpredictable, but they generally manage to cover all parts of the area they have been assigned. Not so with Hovo which takes randomness to levels that would impress Schrodinger’s famous feline. In fact it’s so random that it generally cleans the same spot several times and then ignores others in a weird ballet of orderless movement. This means that it can miss places where you were hoping that it would spend a little more time altogether, and results in fairly sporadic cleaning.
But this has another, more worrying aspect too, particularly when it comes to finding home. Normally, the Hovo 510 squats on its base station charging and waiting to be summoned to clean certain parts of your floor, and once done, it should return to the base to clean another day. But in many instances, if Hovo doesn’t have a clear and straight line of sight to its base, it simply loses its bearings and has to be taken back.
If it’s cleaning task involves venturing off to the farthest reaches of a room, or even going into another room, good luck with getting it to return. Whether it would simply wander around aimlessly until its battery died completely is anyone’s guess, but I’m not sure I’d want to test the point.
The Infinuvo 510 isn’t programmable but does come with a remote control unit to add the growing pile on remotes controls that you already own. The remote control allows you to start up and stop the Hovo 510 whenever you like, which sounds neat but is, in reality, a pure case of technology gone too far as it simply takes the place of a large button on top of the device marker START/STOP! It does have one of those as well, but to be fair the Hovo’s remote control lets you speed, spot cleaning, and duration as well as demanding it go charge itself – if you can figure out when that is.
The virtual blockers work quite well, but not as well as others on the market but its cliff sensor is efficient and it is unlikely to fall down the stairs, but then this is just what you would expect from any vacuum product rather than an enhanced facility.
Pros & Cons of the Hovo 510
|Can be used on many different surfaces.||Gets confused where it has been.|
|Fairly powerful vacuum action||Leaves a neat strip at the edge completely uncleaned.|
|Spot cleans very well – when it finally finds the spot.||No automatic height adjustment.|
|Good sized dust bin.||No HEPA filtration.|
|Good battery life.||Can’t handle stairs.|
|Can clean where it can get to, including under furniture||No battery level indicator.|
Overview of the Core Features
|Infinuvo Hovo 510|
|Specifications||Diameter x Height -12.6” x 3.6”, Weight – 6.8 Lbs (empty)|
|Applicable surfaces||Hardwood, Tile, Linoleum, Carpet|
|Main features||2-stage cleaning system including duel-rolling brushes, and side brushes forDirt-detection sensors for concentrated cleaning.Responsive cleaning system cover’s areas multiple times for deep-down cleaning.|
|Other features||None worth speaking of.|
|Supplied items||Infinuvo Hovo 510 Robotic Vacuum cleanerCharging StationRechargeable BatteryAC Adapter for the battery chargerVirtual BlockerRemote Control (for programming)|
3 x Air Filters
2 x Mopping Pads
Conclusion: Is it Worth it?
Let’s not overplay this; the Hovo 510 isn’t a terrible product but it just doesn’t have the same abilities as other products in the field. With that said, it is substantially cheaper than many of those and that might be its redeeming feature. This is a case of getting what you pay for and if you want a cheap robot vacuum cleaner that will do a fairly decent job but has some notable downsides then you will be in vacuum heaven with this one. If you prefer to pay a tad (as in a couple of hundred dollars) more and get something that can be programmed, that will clean right up to the edges, and won’t knock all of your priceless Ming Dynasty vases over, the Hovo 510 won’t be top of your list. I’d recommend going with something like the Neato XV-21 for just $100 more (read the full review).
The Hovo’s direct competitors include the Kogan Robotic Vacuum cleaner, and the Hoover Classic. All three perform in much of the same way so there’s actually little to pick between them at this end of the market and much of your decision will come down to personal preference or product loyalty. These are good products for entry level and if you have a greater extent of wood or other hard flooring in your home you will get pretty good cleaning out of them, but if you have pet hair in thick pile carpeting, you may want to look elsewhere. If you are on a very tight budget, it’s not the worst investment. I’d just rather go with something more proven and reliable. You get what you pay for, in this case.