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Proscenic M8 Pro review: An affordable self-emptying robot vacuum and mop

Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
499
inc VAT

Proscenic has thrown everything at the M8 Pro, the company’s flagship robot vacuum cleaner, which is terrific value for money

Pros 
Great value for money
Resplendent with features
Good at cleaning
Cons 
App only stores one map
Combination water tank and collection bin
Doesn’t detect carpet when mopping
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Robot vacuum cleaners often come with one special feature or another, but the Proscenic M8 Pro has a whole raft of them. Not only can it operate as both a vacuum cleaner and a mop, it also comes with a self emptying charging station, which sucks the robot’s collection bin empty when it’s finished cleaning. It has a sophisticated smartphone app that you can use to control and schedule cleans and there are no obvious omissions from its extensive feature list.

This isn’t the end of Proscenic’s magic, however, because it’s also managed to keep the price of all this down below £500, making this a very compelling package for the price.

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Proscenic M8 Pro review: What do you get for the money?

There are essentially two parts to the Proscenic M8 Pro: the robot itself and the emptying station, which is also where the robot goes to recharge. The emptying station is a tall unit, measuring 282 x 202 x 361mm (WDH) and is fairly unusual amongst such devices in that it doesn’t have a base. Instead the robot reverses into position to align the emptying cavity of the collection bin with the suction port of the emptying station. The contents of the bin are then sucked in by a powerful (and noisy) vacuum into a bag that’s held at the top of the unit.

The robot is a standard puck-shaped affair, measuring 350mm across the diameter. It stands 98mm tall, including the LiDAR (light detection and ranging) turret that extends out of the top. I found this was just slightly too high for it to get under the low shelf of my coffee table, which robots that don’t have a LiDAR turret can usually manage.

Underneath the robot are two main drive wheels and between those is a 170mm-wide aperture containing a single roller brush. This is adorned with alternating rows of brushes and rubber fins.

The collection bin is a multipurpose affair, used both to collect dirt and to hold clean water for the mop. However, to activate the mop you also need to add a further cloth attachment to the bottom. The bin is a relatively small 280ml of dust and dirt, however, since it’s able to empty itself via the charging station, that barely matters.

Proscenic doesn’t state the capacity of the charging station’s waste bags but, by the scientific method of filling one with water and emptying it into a measuring jug, I can confirm that it’s 3.6l. This is equivalent to around 13 times the capacity of the robot’s dust collection bin; however, if you send the robot out regularly, you should get many more cleans than that from a bag because the collection bin won’t fill to capacity on every run.

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Proscenic M8 Pro review: What is it like to use?

There are three ways to control the M8 Pro. The simplest method is to simply press the start button on the top. The robot will head out, vacuum everywhere it can find, then return back to base for emptying and charging.

There’s also a remote control, which you can use to drive the robot into a particular position, and set off on various cleaning jobs, such as spot cleaning and mopping. It’s also possible to control the power of the suction from here.

However, the best tool for the job is the mobile app. Available for Android and iOS, this brings a whole range of extra features to the device. The most important of these is the mapping. As soon as the robot starts its first clean, it uses its LiDAR room scanner to build up a map of the area. It doesn’t have to map everything before it starts, just enough of a space for it to section off and start cleaning a few square metres of space. Once it’s done this, it will go off and discover a new space it hasn’t covered yet, until the job is done. All this unfolds in real time on the app.

This is particularly useful, because it means you can start drawing no-go areas on the map as soon as the robot has “seen” the area you want to veto – you don’t have to wait for a map to be completed and analysed before you can start controlling it. Once the first full clean has been performed, however, there are options to give names to rooms and areas, which makes it easier to set schedules so you can clean specific places at particular times.

There’s one big omission from the app, however, and that’s the ability to store more than one map. This is fine if you only have one storey to clean, but if you live in a house with an upstairs, you can’t keep a map of the ground floor and take it upstairs for a quick whip round there without wiping the ground floor map, including all your no-go areas and having to start again.

Emptying the dust collection bin, fortunately, is less rife with problems. It happens automatically and emptying the charging station is simply a matter of lifting out the bag. A clever cardboard cover lifts into place as you do this, closing up the hole on the top so it can be safely transported to a bin without spilling its contents everywhere. Replacement bags are widely available on Amazon and cost around £2.30 each if you buy them in packs of at least 10.

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any technology in place to combat hair tangle, and we found a fair bit of this going on during our testing. This isn’t a terminal problem, as the roller can be removed and a hair removal tool is supplied but it’s a little ironic that, with a self emptying bin, you’ll probably have to clear hair more often than you have to empty the bags.

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The robot can operate as a mop, too. It’s a little different to most in that the collection bin also doubles up as a water tank, with a rubber seal on the top you can pour 300ml of water into. You also have to clip on a plastic plate to the bottom of the unit, which has a removable mop cloth attached. The robot can then drag this around behind it, dripping water onto the cloth to give your hard floor a wipe. There’s even a special mopping program, that moves the vacuum back, forth and side to side slightly as it covers an area, to provide a little more friction to the wiping motion.

There are a couple of problems with all of this, however. The first is that the robot doesn’t differentiate between floor and carpet, so you’ll need to do that yourself using the rooms and no-go areas feature. It is possible to set areas that are vacuum only but it’s a bit hit and miss getting this exactly right if, for example, there’s a rug in the middle of a hard floor.

The other problem is that you’re advised to empty and air-dry the water tank after use. Because it’s the same unit as the collection bin, this knocks your vacuum out of action while it dries out.

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Proscenic M8 Pro review: Is it good at finding its way around?

Moving around the house is one of the things that the Proscenic M8 Pro is very good at, almost to the point of faultlessness. In my tests the robot didn’t get lost or stuck, despite tackling a range of spaces and obstacles that have trapped rivals in the past. It builds its map very quickly and accurately, and it constantly adapts and updates it, so shifting furniture around has very little effect on the robot’s navigation skills.

When it approaches obstacles, such as table or chair legs, the robot slows down and nudges into them very gently. It then manoeuvred itself around the obstacle neatly. It’s doesn’t do this with as little contact as the gentle AEG RX9.2, which backs away from furniture before bumping into it, but it’s easily a close second. It certainly doesn’t charge at delicate furniture like more aggressive rivals such as the iRobot Roomba j7.

The Proscenic M8 Pro is also very good at climbing low obstacles, such as raised thresholds and thick mats, which it charges at and mounts like a commando on an assault course. The only downside to this is that it ignores paltry obstacles like cables and socks and can get into a bit of a state if it attempts to vacuum such items up. That means you really need to keep a clear floor if you’re planning to use the vacuum on a schedule. If you can’t, the iRobot Roomba j7 is a better bet as it’s designed to be able to dodge these obstacles.

When cleaning, the robot follows a sensible pattern of carving out an area to clean, which it does by travelling around the perimeter, then filling in the space in the middle in stripes from one corner to the opposite one. Once the initial mapping has been completed and rooms are assigned, the robot becomes even more efficient, tackling each room one at a time.

In my tests it covered 59 square metres in 57 minutes. It isn’t quite as fast as the Eufy G30 Edge, which knocked another five minutes off that time but it’s still faster than most. The only blot on its navigation record card is its inability to store more than one map.

Proscenic M8 Pro review: How well does it clean?

Spot cleaning can be performed using the remote control, or you can drop a pin on the map in the app. The robot then cleans a space of two square metres around the pin.

It cleans the area in the same way that it tackles a room, by tracing a path around the perimeter, then moving backwards and forwards across the area, moving up slightly on each pass until the whole area has been covered. It then repeats the main clean a second time but at a 90 degree angle to the first pass.

The system worked well when collecting our measured rice spill on both carpet and hard floor. It performed best on carpeted surfaces, with the robot collecting enough of a 50g rice spillage to measure 50g on our kitchen scales. It wasn’t quite as perfect as that sounds, with a scattering of grains visibly left behind but this is still an exceptional performance.

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On hard floor, the M8 Pro coped with the rice cleanup almost as well, with only 1g of rice not making it to the collection bin. The scatter was wider here, and there were a fair few grains remaining on the floor, but again, it’s a superb performance.

The only robot we’ve reviewed that comes close in this test is the AEG RX9.2, which also only left 1g of rice behind, although it was the carpet test that proved most challenging. I suspect the AEG only performs better in the hard floor rice test because its clever spot clean algorithm demands that it be placed directly on top of the spill, and then spirals out of the centre with its brush on the outside edge, minimising scatter.

The M8 Pro found our flour test a lot tougher. On hard floor, it collected 40g of a 50g spill, which is slightly below average. It struggled with flour on carpet, though, collecting only 13g. The spot clean pattern didn’t help here at all, collecting flour on the wheels and spreading it around before the suction port got near it.

The mop also performed well, with its floor wiping action doing as good a job as a human could do with a cloth, some water and minimal elbow grease. It isn’t going to tackle stubborn stains but can wipe up a light footprint or kitchen spill if it isn’t too sticky. The mop let out a reasonable amount of water, enough to see that it was covering the surface well, but not so much that it wasn’t dry again within minutes.

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Proscenic M8 Pro review: Should I buy it?

There are two good reasons why the Proscenic M8 Pro should be high up your list of potential robot vacuum cleaner purchases: the price and the features. Rolled together, Proscenic is offering a phenomenal value package here, with vacuuming, self emptying and mopping bundled together in a product that costs less than £500.

What’s even better is that, considering the price, this is an advanced and sophisticated product. The navigation is great, the mapping is good and the cleaning works well.

However, there are a couple of foibles that stand in the way of the M8 Pro getting an Expert Reviews Best Buy award. The main one is the app’s inability to manage multiple maps. This is an annoying oversight in an otherwise capable and sophisticated app. If you live in a single storey flat or apartment then you could overlook this, but few people will want to fork out for a second robot to manage upstairs.

The second is that mopping feels like a tacked-on secondary option. It actually mops rather well, but with the water tank being built into the main collection bin, and there being no way of easily avoiding carpet in rooms that have rugged areas on hard floor, it falls short of being the perfect vacuum and mop combination.

If you can live with these, arguably minor, flaws the M8 Pro is undeniably good value for money, with most self-emptying models costing several hundred pounds more – the humble iRobot Roomba i3+, for example, costs more than £660 on Amazon at the time of writing, and that doesn’t mop or store a map.

A better option if you want to vacuum multiple floors is the AEG RX9.2. This doesn’t have the mopping or self-emptying features, but it can be used on multiple storeys. You could also get better obstacle avoidance from the iRobot Roomba j7, which is ideal for anyone who can’t guarantee a clear floor every time the vacuum is scheduled to clean up. However, adding in the Roomba self emptying station takes the j7 up to £900. Perhaps, for a £400 saving, you can live with the M8 Pro’s limitations.

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