The $449.99 Samsung Motion Sync Bagless Upright Vacuum with Fully Detachable Handheld -- model number VU12F70SHAF/AA -- finished first in our sand and sawdust tests and last in our fruity Cheerios tests. The nozzle is simply too low to the ground to let any big stuff pass through and you can't adjust its height. Also, the over-sized, angled wheels compete with one another, creating the universally-despised wonky wheeled shopping cart effect (particularly on bare floors). These design flaws really hurt this model's performance and usability, making it hard to recommend. If you want a more consistent high-end upright, consider the $650, but the $299.99 and the $399.99 still hold the highest overall scores out of the 12 upright vacuums we've reviewed so far.
Design and features
This upright has a black finish with deep red accents -- Samsung calls the color "refined wine." It's a pretty traditional-looking upright with a few quirky design elements. The wheels are one obvious departure. They are much larger than what you'd find on a standard upright and they have a positive camber, meaning the top of the wheel is slanted outward and the bottom of the wheel is slanted inward. This model is named after its "Motion Sync Design" that's supposed to enhance maneuverability. The larger-than-average angled wheels make up a large part of this feature.
You may also notice a second dust bin jutting out from the back of the vacuum. That's because Samsung incorporated a detachable handheld vacuum into this design. Many of the other uprights we've reviewed have hoses with various brush attachments, but Samsung's fully detachable handheld has its own motor and can operate independent of the upright.
This Samsung vacuum has a width of 12.7 inches, a height of 44.1 inches, and a depth of 15.2 inches. Without the brush, this model weighs a hefty 17.9 pounds. I thought the Electrolux Precision Brushroll Clean was on the heavy side, but it weighs 17.2 pounds with the brush.
There's a brush roll on/off button on the left side of the vacuum so you can transition between carpets or rugs and bare floors without causing damage and the dust bin has a large 2.32-quart capacity. The detachable handheld comes with built-in crevice and dusting tools so you don't have to bother with accessory storage. Its separate dust bin has a 0.32-quart capacity.
While the separate handheld vacuum is a neat feature that we haven't seen on the other 11 upright models we've tested, this Samsung vacuum is also missing a key element. The Electrolux Precisions Brushroll Clean and Hoover WindTunnel 3 have manual height adjusters so you can lift or lower the nozzle depending on where or what you want to clean. The Oreck Touch adjusts its height automatically to account for different floor types. I would really expect a $450 vacuum to at least offer manual adjustment -- especially one that sits so low to the ground.
Uprights tend to be heavier than most of the other types of vacuums widely available today. They have cords and can be downright cumbersome to navigate around a house. Usually, stronger suction and an abundance of features (compared to, say, a stick vacuum) make up for their fairly awkward nature. Unfortunately, that isn't the case with this Samsung vacuum.
Not only did I not experience enhanced maneuverability from Samsung's Motion Sync Design and those large, cambered wheels, I was met with nothing but resistance from them. They squeaked and squealed and fought me every step of the way on bare floors. They did better on carpet, but still didn't feel smooth. This was particularly bad between cleaning sessions when I wanted to move the vacuum from one room to another -- I ended up carrying it everywhere instead.