gadg-et-oid [gaj-it-oid]


1. having the characteristics or form of a gadget;
resembling a mechanical contrivance or device.

Samsung FlexiClean SU8860 Review

Okay, so I’m dipping my toes into household electronics. It’s an odd detachment for a gadget blog, but some of us really do like gadgets from all walks of life.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had the luxuary of using an upright vacuum cleaner. The wife thinks they’re noisy and cumbersome, and she’s right. But with these downsides comes a whole hell of a lot of cleaning power, a truly satisfying level in fact.

The FlexiClean is Samsung’s proudly touted, aesthetically sound and flexible entry into the crowded vacuum cleaner market. It’s an admirable attempt that delivers on cleaning power but not so much on its promise of flexibility.

What the FlexiClean does do is clean flat, downstairs floors extremely well. It’s extremely powerful and runs rings around our comparitively weedy pull-along-the-floor vacuum. Despite it’s gargantuan, “BFG”-esque bulk and, indeed, a striking resemblence to a plethora of sci-fi weaponry, it’s remarkably easy to power along the floor and with the brushes running and the variable power set to max it cuts a visible swathe through dust and dirt making it very satisfying to use.

I’ve been vacuuming an awful lot more, lately, and will be sad to see the FlexiClean go. It does, however, have its downsides.

When it comes to Flexibility the FlexiClean doesn’t quite deliver. It’s not great on stairs, and its not much fun to carry up them, either. The removable, extendable hose is great for getting at the cob-webbed corners of your ceiling and good for vacuuming upholstery, but the air-powered-brush attachment really doesn’t do a good job of stairs.

What the FlexiClean is missing, is a simple plastic, wide attachment for tackling stairs without the unecessary complexity of a large brush contraption which makes it difficult to get into the corners. This would be an easy and cheap addition, but missing it out means the “Flexi” in the name isn’t entirely justified.

Still, if you’re willing to alternate between the over-the-top brushing head and the classic too-small-to-vacuum-anything-much-but-corners plastic nozzle then you’ll get the job done, albeit with a bit more effort than I’d ever want to put into vacuuming.

The FlexiClean includes a “HEPA” micro particle filter, which is easy enough to remove and wash but not much fun to do. The main debris chamber is pretty huge, and doesn’t need to be emptied too often. This is great, because emptying bagless vacuum cleaners usually leads to a mushroom cloud of dust erupting from the bin. The varying power level (3 different levels) is great for picking a trade off between loudness and cleaning power, but at the end of the day a vacuum cleaner, no matter how quiet it tries to be, is still too noisy, so I generally opt for maximum power and get the job done quickly.

As I’m not one for reading instruction manuals or specification sheets, particularly for items as typically dull as vacuum cleaners, I only recently also discovered a neat little feature. The rotating brush on the main vacuum inlet will stop dead when it detects a jam, there’s a little red reset button which needs pushing to re-enable it. A handy feature, as I discovered, when you accidentally roll the FlexiClean over your tie. I wasn’t wearing it at the time.

Overall the FlexiClean is a good vacuum cleaner that triumphs in the looks department, I really like the metallic red colour, and is great for covering large areas of floor effortlessly. However it’s bulk makes it a little cumbersome to get up and down stairs, and equally so to store.

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010, Home Appliances.