Written by Tim Ribonee | 5 Comments | Last Updated: August 18, 2017
Proscenic 790T Robot Vacuum
- Strong cleaning performance
- Navigation system is more systematic than other robots
- Easy to use
- Scheduling function
- Decent battery life and automatic recharging
- Poor quality and unreliable app
- Mop feature is more a gimmick than useful function
- Manual is written in broken English and sometimes difficult to understand
- No virtual walls
How does the 790T compare to other robot vacuums though? And is it worth the money? Keep reading our 790T review to find out.
Disclaimer: Proscenic kindly sent us the 790T to review free of charge. This did not affect our opinions or rating of the vacuum cleaner – we have given it a fair and honest review after testing it ourselves.
Overview of the Proscenic 790T
- Fully automatic robot vacuum cleaner with extra mop cleaning function
- Four cleaning modes – automatic, area, scheduled and edge.
- Schedule the robot to clean at a specific time each day
- Advanced navigation system
- Automatically returns to base to recharge
- Two edge cleaning brushes
- Washable and HEPA filters
In-Depth Look at the 790T’s Features
We tested the 790T in several environments – including near stairs, in a large lounge and on vinyl flooring. We also tested the scheduling function, app, remote control and various other features.
Appearance & Design
Firstly, the Proscenic looks great. With a gold and reflective black cover, it certainly doesn’t look cheap. The downside is the black shows smudges quickly – although admittedly this isn’t a major problem for a robot vac.
When you first pick up the machine the cover feels “loose.” This is by design, as the front acts as a bumper to cushion impacts and prevent damage to walls and furniture. This is a useful feature as the Proscenic will lightly bump into things before stopping.
One issue we have with the 790T’s design is the size of the brush bar. As you can see from the picture to the right, the bar only covers approximately half the width of the robot. This means the Proscenic struggles to clean along the edge of walls.
Proscenic has tried to fix this by including two side brushes that bring in dust and dirt. They do a decent job on larger particles, but don’t make a huge difference to fine dust.
Moving away from the brush bar, there are two options for charging the vacuum. The first is to plug the charger directly into the vacuum. Once the vacuum has some charge, you can also instruct it to go to its charging base (it’ll also do this automatically when it finishes cleaning or runs out of battery).
One of the things we really like about the Proscenic is how easy it is to use. After initial charging (which can take up to 12 hours according to the manual), you can instruct it to start cleaning by pressing the “On” button. It defaults to “Auto” mode, which means it’ll clean whatever room it happens to be in.
The top of the vacuum has a digital display showing the time, along with four “touch” buttons for setting the current mode. These allow you to instruct the vacuum to go to the charging dock, start cleaning, begin edge cleaning or adjust scheduling options.
A drawback compared to other robot vacuums (such as the Aircraft) is the lack of a “virtual wall.” This means you can’t tell the Proscenic to only clean certain areas of the house. If there’s an open door, it’ll go through and clean the room unless you physically block it.
The bin size is also only 0.5 litres. This fills up quickly – especially the first time you use the vacuum to clean a floor. The bin size is around average for a robot vacuum though, so this isn’t an issue with just the Proscenic.
An additional feature is the voice system. The 790T will tell you when it’s starting cleaning, rebooting or charging. It’ll also warn you if there’s a problem – although you’ll often need to look at the display to get the exact error message. If you find the voice annoying, it can be switched off via the app.
There’s also a mop mode. A water tank and two mopping cloths are included, so you can tell the vacuum to clean a hard floor rather than vacuum it. While this is a bit of a gimmick – the main function of the 790T is vacuum cleaning – it’s a useful extra feature to have.
Suction Power and Cleaning Performance
The 790T is powered by Proscenic’s 1200Pa motor – and we were pleasantly surprised by how much suction it generated. It’s also not too loud, which is a bonus if you’re going to be using it while you’re in the house.
There are four cleaning modes:
- Auto – the vacuum will automatically clean its current room and any others it can access.
- Scheduled – same as auto, but the vacuum will switch on at a time selected by the user.
- Edge – the vacuum finds a wall and focuses on cleaning along the edges.
- Area – the vacuum cleans a smaller area. You can choose between 1, 2, 3 and 4 metres squared.
Most of the time you’ll probably use the automatic or scheduled modes. The edge mode is an option we can’t see many people using, as the 790T doesn’t do a great job of cleaning along edges. Area mode can be useful for spot cleaning dry spills – especially as you can use the remote to move the vacuum to the correct location.
Our first test was on carpet – and we were impressed by the amount of dust, dirt and hair the vacuum picked up in a short time. The brush bar does a good job of agitating carpet fibres and it picked up loose hairs along with larger debris. It struggled with fluff that was stuck deeper into carpet fibres, so it won’t be as effective on deep-pile carpets, but for short-pile carpets it does a great job.
It did just as well on hard floors. The combination of brush bar and suction power allow it to pick up everything from fine dust to broken crisps. It also didn’t have a problem moving over a rug.
As we mentioned earlier, the 790T struggles with edge cleaning. This is partly because of the circular shape of the machine, but also because the brush bar is relatively narrow.
The Proscenic is built with an iPNAS navigation system. This is designed to map the room and clean logically rather than randomly. Did it live up to expectations though?
To test how the navigation system performed, we started with a small hallway at the top of the stairs. While the vacuum appeared to clean randomly to start with, it soon got into a “back and forth” pattern. The vacuum struggled a little with getting around doorways, but managed to clean the entire area relatively quickly (aside from one corner that it missed). It had no trouble sensing the top of the stairs either.
We then let the Proscenic loose in a larger room with lots of furniture and tables. Again, it performed well, with the navigation system attempting to clean in a logical pattern whenever possible.
One thing we noticed is that the vacuum rarely cleaned perpendicular to walls. While it usually managed to identify the wall and get into a “back and forth” cleaning pattern, this was often at an angle. This didn’t matter too much though, as the vacuum is clever enough to break out of its pattern after a time and clean another area.
A problem in the small room was the vacuum didn’t seem to know where its home base was during cleaning. This meant it repeatedly drove into the base, which caused it to move into a position the robot couldn’t access for charging. While we don’t think this is likely to be an issue in a bigger room, it would be better if the vacuum knew to avoid its base.
The 790T got stuck twice during our testing. The first time was our fault, as we started it too close to the top of a step. It moved forward and instantly got confused, before the voice feature asked us to move it to a safe place. As long as you don’t start the vacuum by a step, we don’t think this is likely to happen, as every other time the vacuum identified a step and turned around.
The second time was on the corner of fireplace fitting. There’s a rug in front of a raised slab, so the vacuum went up the rug and got caught on the corner. Again, this is unlikely to happen – and could be solved by moving the rug slightly away from the fireplace. It’s also worth noting the robot cleaned this area several times without getting stuck again.
Aside from these minor issues, the Proscenic 790T does a good job of navigating around obstacles without getting stuck. It also doesn’t just turn around when it finds an obstacle such as a chair – it uses a curving pattern to try and clean around it. This isn’t always successful, but means it cleans more effectively than robot vacuums with simpler navigation systems. Occasionally it gets temporarily stuck between two objects, but it’s nearly always able to turn around eventually.
It also finds the home station when it needs to charge. The vacuum doesn’t seem to “remember” where the charging station is, but instead travels along the edge of a wall until it comes into sensor range. It doesn’t clean during this time, presumably to save battery, but it didn’t seem to have a problem finding its home even in a large room.
There are two filters included with the Proscenic. The first is a washable primary filter which is located inside the dust bin. This prevents most dust and dirt from escaping.
Like the Roomba 880, there’s also a secondary HEPA filter. Fine dust or allergens that passes through the primary filter is caught by the HEPA.
We don’t recommend it for people with severe dust or pet allergies though. The canister is only sealed with a small flap, and when it’s full the flap becomes wedged open. This could allow allergens to escape.
App & Remote Control
There are three options for controlling the 790T: the on-board touch panel, remote control and app (iPhone and Android). While you can access almost every setting via the robot’s buttons, the remote and app are more convenient to use.
The remote is relatively basic, but shows the current time, allows you to adjust scheduling and select the cleaning mode. The arrows also allow you to directly control the robot – although it won’t clean when you’re moving it manually.
We found the remote simple to use and very responsive. It quickly became our control method of choice.
Unfortunately, the app wasn’t such a success (we only tested the Android version though). It took several tries to connect to the robot – and during this time the app crashed twice. Once connected, the app was simple to use, but kept crashing whenever we tried to view the current cleaning pattern.
One of the only benefits of the app is that you can set a different cleaning schedule for each day of the week. You can also view the current battery life and turn-off the voice function. Aside from these options, you’ll probably use the remote.
Maintaining the Proscenic is relatively straightforward. The dust canister can be removed from the top of the machine when full, although you’ll need to detach the HEPA and primary filters to empty it fully.
The primary filter is washable, and we recommend doing this regularly to maintain suction power. The HEPA filter shouldn’t be washed, but Proscenic supply a brush for removing the worst build-up. You should replace the HEPA filter after approximately 24 months.
One of the most impressive features of the 790T is the price. Considering it currently costs less than a third of the price of the Dyson 360 Eye, we think it provides excellent value for money.
It’s true that there are plenty of cheaper robot vacuums, but not many with the same advanced features.
Summary and Verdict
Overall, we think the Proscenic 790T is a great robot vacuum cleaner. It has strong suction power and decent cleaning performance, so it gets rid of a surprising amount of dust and dirt. It also has a range of features that are often only found on more expensive robot vacuums, such as daily scheduling and even the mop mode.
It’s not perfect though. The navigation system sometimes gets confused – and don’t expect it to replace your full-size vacuum. But for keeping your floors clean of the worst dust and dirt throughout the week it does a great job.