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Dyson DC44 Animal: The ultimate in hand vacs gets an upgrade and a price bump

Dyson's latest and greatest hand vac offers some nice improvements over the Digital Slim DC35, but it costs a whopping $400.

The DC44 Animal Digital Slim vacuum offers improved battery life and suction but costs $399.99. Dyson

Last year, Dyson released a very high-tech -- and pricey -- hand vacuum, the Digital Slim DC35. That model started out at $350 but has since come down to $300.

Now Dyson is serving up a new hand vac, the Digital Slim DC44 Animal, which improves upon the earlier model, offering better battery life (20 minutes of "fade-free" power instead of 15 minutes), increased suction, and an upgraded attachment for sucking up pet hair (there's an Animal version of the DC35 that costs $329). While those are certainly welcome upgrades, I'm not sure they merit a price increase to $400, but that's what it'll cost you to pick one of these up -- at least in the short term.

As with the earlier model, you get a wand attachment that allows you to clean up high or connect the motorized floor tool to clean down low (in other words, you can use this much as you would a standard vacuum). And, as with the DC35 models, there's a "max" button within easy reach of your thumb that boosts suction. Engaging that button does hurt battery life (you get 8 minutes of boost suction, which is up from 6 minutes).

The Digital Slim DC44 Animal comes with several attachments, including a wand and motorized floor tool. Dyson

Call it the Porsche or Rolls-Royce of hand vacs, the DC44 is obviously not one that everyone can afford. That said, many a pet owner swears by these Dyson Animal vacs, and for some, it's worth shelling out that kind of dough (and it does come in handy for cleaning your Porsche, if you have one).

Of course, I would have preferred if Dyson had brought the DC44 out for the same price as the DC35 when it was first released, but at least DC35 owners won't feel quite so bad that they didn't wait for this newer model that has some important improvements.