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Infinuvo CleanMate QQ5 Plus vacuum review: Great if you like sweeping

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With a retail price of $349, the Infinuvo CleanMate QQ5 Plus is the least expensive of the robot vacuum cleaners we reviewed. It also performed worse than every other vacuum we tested. I can accept some drop-off in performance and features as you move to the lower-cost tiers of a product category. I can’t accept a product like the QQ5 Plus that, as we found in our testing, fails to deliver basic functionality. This is the only sub-$400 vacuum we’ve tested so far, so we certainly can’t write off the entire lower-price segment, but of the robot vacuums we've tested, the $450 Neato XV Signature Pro offers better performance in every way for a relatively reasonable price premium.

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5.3

Infinuvo CleanMate QQ5 Plus vacuum

Pricing Not Available

The Good

It won’t fall down your stairs.

The Bad

It won’t clean your house, either.

The Bottom Line

Because the QQ5 does not clean well in any setting, we cannot recommend it.

Build/construction
The Infinuvo CleanMate QQ5 Plus is a sturdily built machine and the latest edition in the Infinuvo line of robot vacuum cleaners. It weighs 6.8 pounds and has a diameter of 13 inches and a height of 3.15 inches, and it comes with a small remote that nests on top of the machine. When I first took the QQ5 out of the box, I couldn’t help but compare it with the iRobot Roomba 790, which I had just finished testing. Both have the appearance of giant hockey pucks, but whereas the Roomba 790 has a very sweet appearance to it, the QQ5 has a sterner cast -- it’s the Venom to the Roomba’s Peter Parker.

Flip it over and you'll see what looks like an impressive set of cleaning tools. The QQ5 PLus boasts two sweeping side brushes where most other robot vacuums have only one. Its roller configuration is also unique. Other robot vacuums have a single roller or pair of rollers running straight across the bottom; the QQ5 has two roller brushes angled toward one another to form a V shape.

Colin West McDonald/CNET

The QQ5 comes with a charging dock, which also serves as a command center for programming the robot to clean on a daily schedule. You will also find replacement filters, two replacement side brushes, and two sonic walls, which you can use to pen the QQ5 in a particular area.

The QQ5 is easy enough to use thanks to its clearly labeled remote control. Unlike the other robot vacuums, which can run until they decide for themselves when an area is clean, the QQ5 can only operate on a timer. Its default time setting is 80 minutes, but you can adjust it down by 10-minute increments, to a minimum of 10 minutes. In addition, the robot automatically runs on a “no-collide” function, which means that it stops within eight inches or so of any objects or walls. To clean near furniture or walls, you must disable this function via the remote.

Colin West McDonald/CNET

Once you power on the robot and select your settings, the QQ5 will leave the dock on its own and begin its cleaning cycle. It seems to move like the iRobot Roomba 790, tracking back and forth across the room, going over areas more than once, slowing down to focus on a particular area if it detects heavy dirt.

But where the Roomba’s erratic pattern is effective, the QQ5 lacks the suction power to pick up dirt or particles. The QQ5 roams around your room and scatters more particles than it collects.

Depending on the size of the space, the QQ5 may have trouble navigating back to its charging dock. It is best to confine it to one room at a time to ensure that it can navigate successfully and charge after each cleaning cycle. Arrow buttons on the remote allow you to control the direction of the QQ5 so that you can guide it back if necessary.

The QQ5 does have scheduling capabilities, and you can set it up to leave its dock and clean at a different time each day, seven days a week. The programming process is cumbersome, though, since you need to schedule a time for every day of the week in order for the programming to kick in. When you do program it, it at least sticks to those times reliably.

Colin West McDonald/CNET

Cleaning the QQ5 is one of the product’s low points. Removing and reinstalling the roller brushes to decrud them is unintuitive, but simple enough once you figure out that you need to push one end into the axle mount to free up the other end. Emptying the dustbin showcases some truly terrible product design.

The wedge-shaped bin is composed of two chambers, each opening on its own hinge. The inner chamber holds the dust filter, the outer chamber holds larger debris. Thanks to two large openings in the sides of the outer chamber, almost every step of the emptying process results in spilling the outer chamber’s contents. Almost as bad, the design of the outer chamber is such that any debris it does hang onto is difficult to clean out. Any particles trapped in the filter portion stay in place, but that’s the only good thing I can say about cleaning the dustbin.

Cleaning pet hair is similarly annoying. In the pet hair performance testing, I discovered that rather than landing in the bin, all of the hair was lodged under the roller brushes and under the front guiding wheel. This required me to remove the brushes, remove the matted pet hair from the brush wells, clean the brushes themselves, and then reinstall them. I then tried to pull the hair out from under the front wheel, but the design prevented a completely thorough cleaning.

Performance

Rice (out of 2.5 oz.)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Medium-pile carpet  
Short-pile carpet  
Hardwood floor  
Neato XV Signature Pro
2.05 
2.33 
2.13 
iRobot Roomba 790
2 
2.32 
2.25 
LG Hom-Bot Square
1.85 
1.87 
2.13 
Infinuvo CleanMate QQ5
1.55 
1.8 
0.8 

Pet hair (out of 0.2 oz)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Medium-pile carpet  
Short-pile carpet  
Hardwood floor  
Neato XV Signature Pro
0.15 
0.15 
0.18 
LG Hom-Bot Square
0.083 
0.02 
0.08 
iRobot Roomba 790
0.047 
0.05 
0.17 
Infinuvo CleanMate QQ5
N/A 
0.02 
N/A 

Sawdust/sand mix (out of 1.25 oz)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Medium-pile carpet  
Short-pile carpet  
Hardwood floor  
Neato XV Signature Pro
0.42 
0.43 
0.92 
iRobot Roomba 790
0.3 
0.23 
1.12 
LG Hom-Bot Square
0.23 
0.27 
0.75 
Infinuvo CleanMate QQ5
0.15 
0.13 
0.07 

Let’s get this out of the way: the performance of the Infinuvo CleanMate QQ5 Plus is shockingly bad. As much as I was secretly rooting for the budget vacuum in the test group, I found that it fell short on every performance measurement. I often spent more time cleaning debris out of the QQ5’s rollers, and from the floor around it, than the QQ5 had spent cleaning the room.

With the QQ5, I set the timer for 10 minutes for all tests, which is as little time as it will allow. The other robot vacuums tested all ran in their default mode, which runs until their built-in sensors determine the space is clean. In the same test space, their run times ranged from as low as 4 minutes to as high as 20 minutes, although the Roomba in particular had big time swings from run to run.

In all of our debris tests, the Infinuvo QQ5 performed much worse than its companions. In some cases, it didn’t even pick up enough debris to weigh. It was never able to complete a full run picking up the washers and nuts without jamming and displaying an error message. It scattered far more rice than it picked up, ground the sand and sawdust down into the carpet or spread it around on the hardwood floor, and in the case of the pet hair, barely a clump landed in the dustbin.

Colin West McDonald/CNET

In our cliff test, the QQ5 came dangerously close to falling off our long, rectangular test table, to the point that it was dangling off the edge. It stopped itself in the nick of time. It had no trouble staying safe around our more typical test area at the top of a flight of stairs. The other robot vacuums navigated both the tabletop and stairwell expertly though, and never came close to going over the edge.

Among the few things the QQ5 Plus does get right is the sonic walls. These battery-powered walls emit a virtual barrier for the QQ5, allowing you to pen it into a particular space easily.

Service and support
The Infinuvo CleanMate QQ5 Plus includes a one-year product warranty and a six-month battery warranty. Metapo, Inifinuvo’s parent company, has a customer service/technical support page that includes the warranty registration, but not much more than the registration and FAQ. All of the other robot vacuums in this test group included generous and comprehensive service and support pages on the manufacturers’ Web sites.

Infinuvo CleanMate QQ5 Plus doesn't get the job done -- at all (pictures)

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Conclusion
The QQ5 is cheaper than the other robot vacuums we’ve tested so far. You might find a sub-$400 model that’s worth buying, but this one fails to perform the most basic of vacuuming functions. You’ll likely spend more time cleaning up after it than you’ll save by letting it try to clean your home.

2013_07_29_2356.jpg
5.3

Infinuvo CleanMate QQ5 Plus vacuum

Pricing Not Available

Score Breakdown

Performance 4Usability 6Design 6Features 7