Wyze Vacuum: Hit and Miss (Consistent Problems with the Vacuum)
The Wyze Vacuum has a number of performance issues that I wanted to document. Some of these many not be unique to the Wyze, but they are nevertheless issues that prevent the Vacuum from being a complete replacement for manual vacuuming:
1. Embossing Your Carpet
Your carpet will develop embossed lines around every wall, sofa, and table/chair leg.
Because of the repeated, reliable, predictable pattern the robot follows, the wheels will always track in the same location. Your carpet will develop ruts. Over time, these ruts will become permanent.
Solution: Add some randomness to the vacuuming pattern. And, if the wheels were inset within the coverage of the roller brush, this would tend to fluff up the carpet after the wheels pressed it down.
2. Gray boarders
Your carpet will develop gray colored boarders adjacent to walls and furniture legs.
Because the vacuum, cannot reach about 4” from any wall or leg, these areas will accumulate lint and dirt that will build up until they become gray color. Eliminating the gray color isn’t as simple as vacuuming these areas as they Weill stain and embed permanently into the carpet unless promptly vacuumed up.
Solution: Have the roller and vacuum moved to the edge of the vacuum disk, so that it can get closer. Most manual vacuums have found a way so that the roller brush and suction reach all the way to the baseboard.
3,Failing to Charge
The vacuum will frequently fail to charge and will need to be checked frequently.
It will usually return to the docking station. But because the station is very lightweight and is spring loaded, it may pop-up and disconnect the charger. While the robot may attempt to re-connect, it will often fail, especially on fluffy carpet.
Solution: Have the charger dock use taller contacts, have it be heavier and bottom heavy, and make the reconnection algorithm be more robust.
4. Trapping Itself on Stair Newels
The vacuum will become unnecessarily trapped on stair newels (the posts at the top of a stair.)
The vacuum frequently will become trapped when traversing a stair (cliff), especially when at the end of the cliff is a newel. All it would need to do is turn and it would clear the newel, but it seems to not recognize this condition, and so not is trapped.
Solution: When following a cliff and reaching a newel, the robot should simply turn away from the cliff. There is actually plenty of room to do so, and the cliff sensor on the other side of the robot can assure that it won’t fall in the opposite direction. This is clearly a case of poor programming.
5. Poorly worded, unhelpful notifications
Messages are often confusing, uncleared or unnecessary.
If you have more than one vacuum it is a guessing game as to which robot sent a notification since the messages do not identify which robot initiated the message. Some messages like “only 8% power left, return to charging station” are unnecessary because there is no user action required. Many of these messages are displayed even if the “Notification” setting is off for the robot. Some messages defy understanding because of poor translation from 简体中文.
Solution: Spend just a few moments actually caring about customers and reconsider all notifications. Don’t send them when notifications are turned off, identify the unit sending the message, and don’t send messages where there is no action needed. Also, if there is an action requiring attention that is cleared, send a notification indicating the clearing.
6. Uninformative App Listing (No Status)
When opening up the App, there is no hint given that a robot needs help, or is in an inoperative state.
The Wyze App lists your robot(s). But while other types of devices such as Cameras and plugs give a nice status icon on the right that shows if the device is on or off, the robot vacuum lacks these icons. So, you cannot easily or quickly see if a robot needs help. If you have multiple vacuums you must drill into each one of them just to check if they are OK. What a nuisance!
Solution: Provide an icon on the right for each robot in the App that lists all devices. The icon should show if the robot is Ready, Charging, Off, or needs help. Such a small, little enhancement as this would show some level of empathy for customers that need to keep their devices working.
7, Vacuuming Quality is Questionable
The quality of vacuuming is somewhat suspect by the things that are not vacuumed.
A thread on the floor will get run over and missed for days. As a test I picked it up and dropped it back onto the caret so that it wasn’t very stuck. Once again the vacuum could not pick it up. I am suspicious that the hundred years of experience vacuum manufacturers know has not been incorporated into the robot vacuum.
Solution: Treat the robot vacuum as a real product that is intended to really work. Study existing vacuums and make the thing actually work, and not just be a show-off-toy.
8. Anomalous Behaviors
The vacuum has a large number of anomalous bad behaviors, such as getting locked into an infinitely looping circle or failing to reach the charger before the battery runs out.
Poor behaviors from poorly tested and minimally debugged products are fine with show-off bleeding edge customers. But if this is to be a real product used by real people, it will need to operate with the same level of reliability as a real vacuum, or a toilet-paper dispenser. That is, it needs to actually work. The fact that the Wyze Robot Vacuum is as good as many of out competitors does not really mean it is a good product. It just means they can sell a bunch.
Solution: Robot vacuums needs to move to a quality and reliability and performance level of consumer household products.
9. The non-replaceable and already too small battery.
The vacuum is going to become unusable junk very shortly./
A small battery may not seem like a serious problem because the robot can just return back to the docking station to charge again, right? Wrong. The smaller battery means a high number of deep-discharge cycles and much more charging. That means a far shorter useful life for the product. But worse is that the 8% threshold where the robot returns back to the charging station isn’t going to be enough. So as the battery wears out, the robot is going to start stranding itself, rather than recharging. And, is a product that spends an hour recharging to be able to vacuum for 15 minutes really good anymore?
Solution: It is a poor design for the vacuum to have both a very small battery AND no ability to replace it. This type of planned obsolesnce is borderline unethical.
I had images prepared for each of these posts. But Wyze does not allow new users to clearly document their points with multiple photos…undoubtedly an effort at damage control; under either the guise of preventing spam (???) or COVID-19 (General Excuse #1 for everything.)