Ultenic T10 robot vac/mop hybrid review: Great cleaner, clunky app
The Ultenic T10 is the latest in a small but growing pool of self-emptying robot vacuums. It can vacuum and mop simultaneously, map your home for more efficient cleaning, and customize cleaning schedules based on your habits.
Aside from its less-common white finish, the T10 design is pretty standard with a pair of buttons—power and “home”—on the top, adjacent to a turret housing the vacuum’s 360-degree laser scanner. On the underside are a rolling brush and a single spinning edge brush, along with various wheels and sensors. A 2-in-1 dustbin and water tank slides out from the back of the vacuum.
This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best robot vacuums, where you’ll find reviews of the competition’s offerings, plus a buyer’s guide to the features you should consider when shopping for this type of product.
The T10’s dust collector doubles as its charging dock. When the vacuum comes to rest against the charging pins on the front of the unit, the contents of its dustbin are sucked into the dust collector through a small port on its front. Once the dust bag is full, you open a lid at the top of the unit to remove and replace it.
You control the T10 with the Ultenic mobile app (you can also use the included physical remote or Alexa and Google Assistant voice commands, but you won’t get all the benefits of the mapping feature), which you connect during setup. The app is functional but unpolished and, at times, clunky. Its shortcomings were apparent as soon as I tried to connect the vacuum to my Wi-Fi network. Blocks of text overlap each other in the setup wizard, which made it maddeningly difficult to read the onscreen prompts and click the appropriate fields to advance the setup to the next step.
There was a firmware update to download once the setup was complete, and the app struggled with this as well, hanging on the progress screen for nearly 15 minutes until I finally rebooted it, only to find the file was successfully installed.
During the first cleaning job, the T10 scans its surroundings and builds a map of the floorplan. Unlike some similar vacuums that take a stab at dividing the space into its constituent rooms, the T10 map is rendered as one big space. You can manually divide this space into individual rooms and areas, but here again, the app doesn’t deliver the best experience.
To spilt one room into two or more, you must first click the map, select the “split partition” button, then draw a dividing line freehand. If you don’t first click the map to select it, you will simply move the map image up and down the screen with your finger when you try to draw that line, as I found out through trial and error. Even when you get it right, it’s hard to draw a straight line with your finger and it inevitably comes out looking like a child’s scrawl—though the app tries to smooth out the curves—so my room divisions weren’t very terribly precise.
Adding areas to a room map is a little easier. Here, you just place a boundary box on the map and resize it to the appropriate dimensions. Using the same method, you can set virtual boundaries to keep the vacuum out of areas where you don’t want it to go.
All of this brings a high level of customization to your cleaning. You can tell the T10 to clean one room or area and ignore others. You can let it work unattended without worrying it’s going to, say, plow into your dog’s bed or food dish. You can also schedule it to clean certain rooms at different times. And because the T10 supports multiple maps, you can create a separate map for every floor of your home and use each without it erasing the settings for all the others.
That would mean little if the T10 didn’t clean your floors well. Fortunately, it does. I used the vacuum for daily maintenance of my downstairs—and highest-traffic—floors. It did a great job of cleaning the small messes of dust, tracked-in dirt, pet hair, and food crumbs that accumulate there throughout the day. Mopping, which uses a microfiber cloth attached to the bottom of the water tank, was adequate for removing small spills and streaks from my vinyl plank floors and generally keeping them presentable until I could do a more thorough manual mopping on the weekends.
The T10 also navigates well. It cleans in a methodical up-and-down pattern and skirted around furniture and other obstacles without any problem. It easily got over floor thresholds and different types of flooring.
Although the app isn’t the most elegantly designed, it puts the T10’s controls in an easy-to-understand layout. The current floor map is displayed on the main screen. You choose a type of cleaning job—auto, mop, broom, area, or spot—from a scrolling bar at the top. A pop-out menu under the map reveals controls for setting virtual boundaries, adjusting water volume for mopping, and toggling suction power. The current battery level, cleaning time, and area cleaned are displayed along the bottom. Other features including cleaning records and a tracker for the lifecycle of the vacuum’s brushes and filter are easily accessed from a three-bar menu in the top corner.
At $599, the T10 competes favorably with similarly priced self-emptying vacuums like the Deebot Ozmo N8+ and the Proscenic M7 Pro in terms of features and performance. The X-factor here is the Ultenic app. In addition to the peccadilloes mentioned above, the app also had a predilection for crashing and being slow to load when reopened. It was a cumbersome experience that largely negated the app’s merits. Fortunately, these things can be cleaned up with future updates, but for now, they’re enough to knock half a point of this otherwise impressive vacuum’s rating.