Advertisement

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Advertisement

Miele Scout RX3 Home Vision HD review: Full of promise but fails to deliver

Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
767
inc VAT

The Miele Scout RX3 is well made and cleans thoroughly, but it’s let down by imperfect navigation and a frustrating app

Pros 
Good physical design
Performs well in technical cleaning tests
Look around your home when you’re not there
Cons 
Infuriating app
Prone to getting stuck
Fails to find its way home
Advertisement

Plenty of robot vacuum cleaners come with multiple functions, but the Miele Scout RX3 Home Vision HD doesn’t perform the standard extra tricks of emptying itself into its charging station or following up its vacuuming session with a quick mop.

Instead, like the RX2 before it, this robot vacuum cleaner can double up as home security. The cameras on the front of the device aren’t just there to help the machine navigate its way around. You can also look through them from the app, driving the vacuum remotely as you view, to check out what’s going on around your home. If you have a pet or child you want to check on while you’re out, or just want to keep an eye on your property while on holiday, you can use this robot vacuum cleaner to patrol the premises.

Buy now from Amazon


Miele Scout RX3 Home Vision HD review: What do you get for the money?

I had high hopes for the Miele Scout RX3. The standard version costs £759, which is a top-end price for a robot that simply vacuums without any self-emptying or mopping functions. I reviewed the Home Vision HD model, which takes the price up to £859. There’s a superficial difference in the rose gold finish of this more expensive model, but it’s the ability to control the robot while seeing through its cameras that appears to be the main reason for the price hike.

On the surface, there’s a lot of promise. There are similarities between the RX3 and the superb AEG RX9.2, beyond the letters used in its model name. Both have a collection bucket that sits under a flip-up lid on the top of the robot, which can be cleanly lifted out with a handle. Also, both have front-mounted cameras, although the Miele has two cameras while the AEG relies on a single unit.

Unlike the AEG, however, the Miele largely follows the standard puck design used by most robot vacuum cleaners, measuring 304mm across the diameter and standing 85mm tall. However, it slightly bends the rules with the inclusion of two sweeper brushes that, unusually, are made with two lengths of bristles, with a greater concentration of brush around the centre.

When they’re spinning, this gives the illusion that the outer bristles are moving slower, and this lighter touch appears to help guide particles under the vacuum, rather than scattering them out of reach. The brushes are mounted on retractable bumpers, which are extended out far enough to reach right into corners when cleaning normally, but can be pulled in again when navigating tight spaces.

The underside is slightly different to the norm, too. It has the usual three wheels and a rotating brush bar, which has both bristles and fins to agitate dirt for sucking up through its 195mm aperture, but it also has a second suction aperture, located further back, which doesn’t have a brush bar but gives the robot a second chance at picking up residual dirt the the brush bar might have left behind.

If there’s a truly unique element to the vacuum, however, it has to be the doubling up of its front-mounted cameras as a security device. If you select the Home Vision button on the smartphone app, a robot-eye view appears on your screen, alongside some basic controls at the bottom for controlling it remotely (forward, left and right).

You get a surprisingly good view of what’s in front of the robot, albeit from a very low angle, right up to the ceiling. I’m struggling to think of a genuine practical use for this, even though a real-time security camera that you can move around your house does sound like a reasonable idea. There are no extra security features such as motion sensors here, though, it’s just a remote-controlled camera. Whether that’s worth an extra £100 on an already expensive robot vacuum cleaner is debatable.

Buy now from Amazon


Miele Scout RX3 Home Vision HD review: What’s it like to use?

There are three ways to control the Miele Scout RX. You can use the bank of buttons on the top of the vacuum itself, the supplied remote control or the smartphone app (available for Android and iOS). The robot’s controls and the remote can set the robot cleaning, either to carry out a full floor clean or just a 1.8m² spot clean.

Opting to use the app lets the robot build a map of its surroundings as it cleans. This isn’t a sophisticated LiDAR map as you might expect to find on a robot at this price. Instead, it’s a more basic affair, built up by touch as the robot covers ground and bumps into things. It’s not particularly accurate, so can’t help the RX3 navigate out of trouble. However, when I tried making a map and placing the robot in a different starting position on a later run, it does contain enough information for the robot to look around and know where it’s starting from.

This means that, once you have an initial map saved, you can start to mark out specific areas for cleaning and block out problem areas to avoid. This is done by placing a box on the map and dragging its corners until it’s covering the area you want to avoid or label.

The biggest problem with the app is that saving maps is unreliable. For starters, you can’t save a map until a clean is complete. This is fine with small areas but can be frustrating with larger, more complex floorplans, because if the robot gets stuck at the last minute it will fail and you’ll have to start again.

This happened to me often. Sometimes it would be my fault, because I’d failed to pick up a loose cable or created a furniture trap it couldn’t escape from. However, there were also multiple occasions during my testing where it brought itself to a halt, usually because a wheel was raised off the ground. I saw this happen on curved chair legs, in enclosed spaces and because of an ill-judged dismount of a thick rug. None of these has presented problems to other robot vacuum cleaners I’ve tested, even far cheaper ones.

Even when a map appeared to be produced and finished, its presence in the app could be transient. I thought the answer might be to patiently map out my floorplan room by room, saving the map as I went, then opening a new room to the robot to let it explore further. This worked up to a point but, even then, I found newly explored areas randomly disappearing on subsequent cleans, despite the fact that the map had saved itself and I’d marked out troublesome zones for the robot to avoid.

READ NEXT: Best vacuum cleaner

Miele Scout RX3 Home Vision HD review: Is it good at finding its way around?

Unfortunately, the app isn’t the end of the Miele Scout RX3’s woes. Watching the robot trying to find its way around is almost as frustrating as trying to get it to save a map.

It’s particularly weak navigating its way home to charge itself. Some robots can trace a previous path back to their charging station, while others sensibly follow a wall around until they get home. The Miele did neither of these, instead seemingly choosing to bumble around distant rooms until it became time to admit defeat and send a failure message back to the app.

It also spent an extraordinary amount of time struggling around things such as table and chair legs, especially if they were located in tight corners. During testing, I didn’t notice it ever get so irreversibly trapped that it couldn’t escape a cage of chair legs, but it was prone to spending an extraordinary length of time butting against them in a seemingly repeated pattern until it stumbled across an escape route.

The way it navigates a room is just as painful. It tends to clean in long straight lines, turn when it hits a wall and come back on a parallel course. But if it hits a table leg it will also stop and turn, often leaving the area behind it untouched as it continues on its path.

It may come back to these spaces later but it won’t stop to efficiently cover nearby spaces that it’s missed before moving into another room, if the new room happens to be in its path. This is because it doesn’t have the spatial awareness to realise what it’s missed, at least until it comes back to investigate them at a later time. Compared with robots that cover an area of a room and ensure the entire region has been passed over before moving on to the next, it’s an inefficient system.

Miele Scout RX3 Home Vision HD review: How well does it clean?

Spot cleaning is tackled a bit more sensibly. Place the robot down in the centre of a mess and it will switch on its vacuuming suction before rolling away for about 90cm straight ahead. It then trundles back and forth in stripes over the first half of a 1.8m square, before returning and completing the other half.

It isn’t quite as efficient as a robot that spirals around a mess, which the AEG RX9.2 is champion of. However, it does the job of catching a decent amount of mess before it even starts moving, which is a sensible approach to this kind of task.

This was clearly demonstrated in our spot clean tests, where it was particularly effective at cleaning up rice. In both hard floor and carpet tests, the edge brushes cleaned up most of the grains without scattering them too much, and most grains that did escape were swept up later. The biggest problem was that some rice was trapped in tubes or other internal spaces, and escaped during emptying. However, the results were still good, with the RX3 collecting 96% of the rice spilled on carpet and 88% of that spilled on hard floor.

Our flour test is a tougher task but the RX3 still performed well on hard floor, collecting 88% of our spill. What was left behind was spread across the entire area, however, creating a significant visible dusting. On carpet it picked up 70% of the flour. To be fair, few robots perform well in this test, with only the AEG RX9.2 and the iRobot Roomba i3 bettering it in recent tests.

Buy now from Amazon


Miele Scout RX3 Home Vision HD review: Should I buy it?

If the quality of a robot vacuum cleaner was simply about its ability to spot clean and the solidity of its build, I’d have no hesitation in recommending the Miele Scout RX3.

Alas, there’s more to a good robot vacuum than this, and here the RX3 falls short. The app is surprisingly basic and mapping is frustratingly transient. The robot struggled endlessly to find its way around my home and frequently found itself stranded, unable to return home. As a result, I can’t recommend the Miele Scout RX3, especially at this price.

For a masterclass in mapping, look to the Eufy RoboVac X8 instead. Externally, you’d struggle to differentiate this robot from other Eufy models, yet the link between app and robot is a joy to use. Similarly, the AEG RX9.2 is much better at finding its way around, particularly when it comes to troublesome furniture legs.

Alternatively, there’s the iRobot Roomba j7. This is a little pricier than the AEG (although still cheaper than the RX3) and also creates a comprehensive map in its app. However, the truly amazing thing about this model is that you don’t need to worry about it running into cable nests and dropped socks, because its front mounted camera recognises such obstacles and dutifully avoids them.

Read more

Reviews