For many years, even the best robot vacuum cleaners weren't very good. In recent years, however, they have started to fulfil their promise of removing the drudgery of cleaning from our lives. Now, with the dawn of the Roborock S6 MaxV they have become almost dangerously intelligent, and pretty damn good at sucking stuff up, too. We love the S6 MaxV so much, in fact, that we are even handing it the winner's badge before it is available in our home land. We've had a MaxV for months, because we are so important and all, but it only goes on sale in the UK later this month – have your £699 ready!
• Buy Roborock S6 MaxV for $749 in the USA now (opens in new tab)
• Find out more about your new robot overlord (opens in new tab)
The S6 MaxV is an update to the S6, which was itself no slouch in the robot vacuuming department. It's real killer feature is the unprecedented speed and intelligence with which it moves about. The machine not only avoids obstacles, it even recognises what they are – shoes, power strips, pedestals etc – and flags them on a map, just to show off how clever it is.
Once it's been all round your home once, you have a map that can be quickly subdivided into rooms. Et voila: now your happy robot cleaning slave can be sent to only do the bathroom, or any selection of rooms. You can even specify the order in which it cleans rooms.
This mapping function is not unique to the S6 MaxV but it is by far the best implementation of the feature. The MaxV's obstacle evasion skills are second to none, but if there's something it really can't get past – a trailing cable, for instance – you can mark it on the map and the robot will henceforth never encounter it again. You can even have multiple maps; one for each floor of your home. Admittedly, like a Dalek, it can't go up and down stairs… yet. Maybe that'll be in the S7.
It's fast, too. Seriously, this thing can do my entire home in the time it takes most 'bots to potter about the lounge.
All this would be for nought if the MaxV didn't suck stuff up on its highly intelligent jaunts around your home. But the good news is that it has excellent cleaning power as well. Naturally it's not as good as a full-size vacuum cleaner, but it makes a surprisingly good job of dealing with major spills – you can easily set it to clean very specific 'zones' as well as rooms and whole floors – and for regular maintenance cleaning, it's excellent too.
Of course, the whole point of robots is that you can send them to clean every day, or even several times a day, while you put your feet up and chill out. Clean home, no hassles.
• T3 Awards 2020 – all the announcements so far.