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Roborock S8 MaxV Ultra review: Man’s new best friend

BRB getting a tag and a collar

Roborock S8 MaxV Ultra
Roborock S8 MaxV Ultra
Our Rating
4.5 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Expert testing
4.5 out of 5 stars

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Anula Wiwatowska
May 22, 2024
Icon Time To Read5 min read
Quick verdict: Roborock S8 MaxV Ultra

The Roborock S8 MaxV Ultra didn't just renew my faith in robot vacuum cleaners, it may just be man’s new best friend.

pro Minimal intervention needed. Ever.
pro Flexi-arm and Extra Edge Mopping work a treat
pro Excellent mapping
con Some hair related quirks
con I’m not sure who asked for Video Call & Cruise features

Like many other automated pieces of technology robot vacuums have been in the puppy stage - over promising and under delivering. You’d need to pre tidy your floors, unwrap hair from rollers, and perpetually clean the vacuum inside and out. For years it felt like it really was easier to just pick up the old stick vacuum than deal with a petulant robotic pet. I get it, I’ve struggled with it myself, but just as you’re losing faith in robot vacuum cleaners, the latest Roborock hits maturity.

Its smarts make it the most reliable robovac we have tested, and some new features aim to take out those perpetual pain points. With self cleaning, self emptying, an extendable mop arm, and more efficient rollers, the Roborock S8 MaxV Ultra is the most hands-off vacuuming experience to date. Although thanks to a little quirk with the rollers, the line between robot vacuum and pet has only blurred further.

Roborock S8 MaxV Ultra

Roborock S8 MaxV Ultra: Performance

Whether it is intentional or not, we tend to connect with our robot vacuum cleaners like another member of the family. I have written about the domestication of tech at length and it always comes down to the same point - we can empathise with its little quirks. Maybe not enough to call a robovac a child per say, but certainly enough for it to feel like a pet that sleeps 20 hours a day and bugs you when it needs something. Roborock’s S8 MaxV Ultra has inadvertently taken that feeling up a notch thanks to its dual-roller system.

As seen in the Q5 Pro, the S8 MaxV has Roborock’s latest DuoRoller Brush system which is said to ensure less hair tangles than a single roller device. Rotating in opposite directions, it should also push the mess away and flick the debris to the internal waste bin, resulting in less blockages. Couple this with the Carpet Boost+ System which has a 99.5% hair pick-up rate and the vacuum should be able to handle a household of two long-haired humans and one highly shedding dog. Technically the claims hold true, the S8 MaxV Ultra picks up more hair and fur than any other robovac, but then it spits it back out again in cylindrical clumps. It literally coughs up fur balls.

Faced with the alternative of untangling mountains of fur from a roller brush, I would happily take these furballs any day. They are nowhere near what you’d get from a real life puppy - they’re compact, dry, and easy enough to scoop into the bin without taking psychic damage. As far as I’m concerned, it is an improvement to previous designs even if the result is a bit odd.

Roborock S8 MaxV Ultra mini mop

Furballs aside, particle performance is excellent on both open floor and wall edges. I only experienced one roller jam when the vacuum sucked up a broken toy from the floor, and even then the problem was easily diagnosed thanks to the app connectivity. Even in places where robot vacuums tend to miss like internal corners, and along wall edges the S8 MaxV Ultra performed well thanks to the FlexiArm side brush, and Extra Edge Mopping. Both the vacuum and mopping functions include an extendable arm that pushes out to reach closer to walls than previous models. The mini mop is rated to clean closer than 1.68mm from walls, and frankly I don’t think the corners of my house have actually ever been this clean.

Admittedly this additional attention to detail does make cleaning take longer than other robot vacuum cleaners. On average a full vacuum and mop takes 56 minutes including returning to the mopping station to clean itself every 15 minutes. Typically this would be enough to send even the fittest of pets in for a nap, but battery power hasn’t been an issue in the slightest. Even on Deep Clean cycles which take about 10 extra minutes the S8 MaxV Ultra hasn’t needed to take a time out. Talk about a high drive animal.

Roborock S8 MaxV Ultra: Intelligence

In some ways robot vacuums are dogs - goofy, needy, treat-motivated - but the best robovacs are cats - smart, and self sufficient. Recent trends have seen us need to interact with our robot vacuums as little as possible, but without sufficient intelligence this just isn’t possible. Devices need to be smart enough to avoid obstacles, to identify different floor types, to empty, refill, and clean themselves, and to come to you only when they really need to. In that sense Roborock’s latest is undeniably a cat.

In my time with the S8 MaxV I have only needed to save it once when it got stuck on a blanket. Otherwise it has been smart enough to not only navigate your usual hazards like shoes and cables, but mark them on the map in my home. It has reliably returned to the station, emptied, cleaned and refilled the mop water as needed without bothering me. When it does need something, the demand is subtle - simply turning the otherwise blue LED on the front panel of the base station to red, politely asking me to refill its water dish.

Roborock S8 MaxV Ultra station

Notably Roborock has also introduced two more interactive features; a voice assistant named Rocky, and camera monitoring. Rocky works like any other voice assistant, which is to say well enough. You can ask it to go to a specific room on your map, and it actually does it. Right now the functionality is quite limited, and not something I would put to use in my everyday life even as someone who yaps relentlessly at their dog. Personally I think there are too many VAs in the world as it is, but since the S8 also integrates with Alexa and Google Assistant you can work within your existing ecosystem all the same. There is no HomeKit integration, but you can use Siri on your phone or watch if you’re willing to go through that setup.

Monitoring ultimately uses the existing camera, microphone, and speakers to allow you to remotely control your device and use it as a walkie talkie. Similar features have been popping up across brands and I don’t see the use case. Previously I’ve used it to mess with my partner, but Roborock’s version sounds a periodic alert while the function is in use. I love this for privacy, but it does make it harder to sneak the vacuum up behind your partner and scare them through a crackly speaker.

All up the device is incredibly independent, and even though I may not have a use for some of the more hands-on features they are executed better than other devices. There is still some room for improvement however. As it stands the vacuum prepares the mop before every cleaning run, even selective room cleaning in a fully carpeted room where it is totally unnecessary. More smarts around this would be a welcome addition, but for the most part the S8 MaxV Ultra can just do its own thing, provided you remember to keep it hydrated.

How much does Roborock S8 MaxV Ultra cost?

Placed squarely in the premium end of the market, the S8 MaxV Ultra retails for $2,999. That is one golden retriever, or approximately ten shelter cats.

Sales may come up from time to time, but it is unlikely we’ll see any major discounts for a little while. The robot vacuum is available from a range of key retailers across Australia.

Harvey Norman

Prices are accurate as of the publish date. We may earn money if you purchase something through one of these links.

Is the Roborock S8 MaxV Ultra worth it?

I’m not sure if the Roborock S8 MaxV Ultra is a puppy, or if it is a cat, but I am sure that it is family now. The self-sufficient smarts coupled with clever corner cleaning feels like this may be one of the first devices to actually deliver on the promises of robot vacuum cleaners. Yes the price is astronomical, but people spend upwards of $10k on french bulldogs, so when you look at it that way it is almost a bargain.

Robot vacuum cleaners compared

Australia has a bunch of robot vacuum cleaners available on the market, starting as low as $300 if you can get a good deal. We have reviewed and rated more than 20 units over the past few years. Here are how the most recent robovacs compare.
Anula Wiwatowska
Written by
Anula Wiwatowska
Anula is the Content and Social Media Editor within the extended universe. Working in the tech space since 2020, she covers phone and internet plans, gadgets, smart devices, and the intersection of technology and culture. Anula was a finalist for Best Feature Writer at the 2022 Consensus Awards, and an eight time finalist across categories at the IT Journalism Awards. Her work contributed to WhistleOut's Best Consumer Coverage win in 2023.

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