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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 Dyson DC41 Animal Complete , but the $299.99 Electrolux Precision Brushroll Clean and the $399.99 Oreck Touch still hold the highest overall scores out of the 12 upright vacuums we've reviewed so far.
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.
Aside from that, it's pretty easy to use. The dust bin isn't hard to remove or empty. You don't have to stoop over to reach the power and brush roll on/off buttons. The separate handheld vacuum doesn't take too much effort to remove and it's very easy to operate. I had a little trouble opening the handheld dust bin, but it wasn't a major issue.
To test the Samsung vacuum, we scattered 1 ounce of fruity Cheerios, 0.2 ounces of pet hair, and 2.5 ounces of a sand and sawdust mixture onto hardwood, mid-pile carpet, and low-pile carpet. We also scattered long synthetic human hair to see how the brush handles potential tangles. We compared the Samsung's results to the Oreck Touch , the Electrolux Precision Brushroll Clean , the Shark Rotator Pro Lift-Away , the Eureka AS1104A SuctionSeal Pet, the Hoover WindTunnel 3 , the Dyson DC41 Animal Complete , the Bissell PowerGlide Deluxe , the Dyson DC50 Animal, the Dyson DC40 Origin , the Panasonic MC-UL429 JetForce , and the Dirt Devil Dash .
The Samsung vacuum's score is largely due to its low-lying nozzle. While a lot of Cheerios clung to the outside of the nozzle (indicating powerful suction), it was much too close to the ground to let them pass. So instead, it pushed the Cheerios around the floor and occasionally, some would make it to the dust bin. I tested the detachable handheld here to see if it could act as a supplement. Things went well at first, but it got jammed with sticky cereal bits pretty quickly. I spent the majority of the time coaxing sugary Cheerios clusters out of its narrow vacuum tube.
Once again, I turned to the handheld vacuum to see if it could act as a backup. And it did very well with small clumps and small quantities of pet hair. If you have a shedding fiend, though, I'd opt for a broom on hardwood instead -- or a different vacuum.
The Samsung upright excelled here, picking up 100 percent of the sand and sawdust on hardwood, 88 percent on mid-pile carpet, and 96 percent on low-pile carpet. That's the best overall sand and sawdust performance score out of all 12 vacuums. This demonstrated the suction potential of the vacuum, and those Cheerios would have been goners if only you could adjust the nozzle height.
We also scattered some synthetic human hair on all three surfaces to see how much it would tangle and how easy it would be to clean. The hair didn't tangle much on the hardwood floor since the brush roll wasn't activated. Instead, it collected at the base of the brush and was easy to remove. On both carpet types, however, the hair got very tangled around the rotating brush. Still, I was able to remove it without much trouble.
It's hard not to feel ambivalent about this vacuum. Yes, it's heavy and the angled wheel design actually hinders maneuverability, but it got the highest ever sand and sawdust score. On the other hand, it only did okay on the pet hair tests, and got the lowest ever fruity Cheerios score. To a limited extent, the detachable handheld vacuum can help with these deficiencies, but it comes down to this: I expect more from a $450 vacuum. The $650 Dyson DC41 Animal Complete may cost more, but it's a high-end model with better usability and a more consistent performance. The $299.99 Electrolux Precision Brushroll Clean and the $399.99 Oreck Touch are worth a look, too -- they are the most well-rounded upright vacuums we've seen yet.