Dyson Absolute V11: Is it worth the price?
Review: The lastest offering from Dyson is easy to use and manouever and is, almost, idiot-proof
The new V11 has some smart sensors that detect factors such as the floor texture and adjusts the power accordingly
Product name: Dyson V11 Absolute
Where to buy: www.dyson.ie
Just over a year ago, James Dyson unveiled the V10 and declared the corded vacuum cleaner was dead. The founder of the company that had made its name on bagless cylinder vacuum cleaners was drawing a line in the sand: cordless was the future and Dyson would no longer develop the traditional plug-in version.
It was a bold move, but Dyson felt the technology was at a point where the cordless cleaners could do as good a job if not better than the traditional version. And also that consumers were willing to pay the extra for the cordless technology.
Twenty-five-year old me was still slightly incredulous that I actually cared about vacuum cleaners enough to think that it merits the price tag that comes along with the Dyson. My first vacuum cleaner was chosen based on price (it was under €60).
It’s hard to make vacuum cleaners interesting to most people. They have one job: suck up the crud that daily life grinds into the carpet. There’s only so much you can do with that.
And yet, 30-(cough)-year-old me is interested. There’s no coming back from that.
Maybe it is the way everything fits together on the Dyson machines. It doesn’t feel like a boring vacuum cleaner. It feels like a toy, snap the parts together and off you go.
The new V11 has some smart sensors that detect factors such as the floor texture and adjusts the power accordingly. If you take it from a hard floor on to carpet, you’ll hear the difference in the motor as it adjusts to the new floor surface, working harder to clean the carpet.
That will also be reflected in the run-time, as it would with all Dyson’s cordless cleaners. But the latest Dyson has one obvious difference: it has a small display that gives you a countdown of how long you’ll get out of the battery.
In the past, you had to make an educated guess about how long you could get out of the battery. On one hand, you had the maximum battery life the company put forward; on the other, you had the tendency to stick the cleaner into boost mode and just hope you finished before the battery ran out around 10 minutes later. The first indication you’d get that the battery was struggling was when the vacuum cleaner switched off.
The V10 brought in indicator lights for the battery and a filter blockage alert. But it was more of a broad hint than an exact number.
The problem was that the battery life could be affected not only by the mode you had the cleaner in – the Max boost wound things down incredibly fast – but also the type of cleaning head you had on the machine. Motorised heads drew more power from the battery, unsurprisingly. So your educated guess at battery life suddenly became a race against lithium ion.
That is all gone now. And it’s such a simple thing, it makes you wonder why Dyson took so long to include it. The display shows the different run-time you’ll get in three modes: eco, auto and boost. If you have it in auto, you’ll see the impact changing floor type has on the battery. Move to the carpet and the battery life will decrease automatically as the sensors in the V11 take over.
That 60 minutes of cleaning time can be used efficiently: boost it when needed, auto mode the rest of the time, and you’ll get quite a lot done in between charges.
That screen also comes in handy when there’s something up with the V11. If there’s a blockage, it tells you. If the filter needs cleaning, the screen will alert you. It’s almost idiot-proof.
Is it worth its price tag though? That’s the important question. At €650 for the top of the range version, it’s a lot to spend. But it is much easier to use and manoeuvre, there is no dragging a heavy vacuum up the steps and it can get to the higher up places much more easily than its traditional corded rivals. If that sounds like something worth paying for, then the V11 may be for you.
The digital display takes the guesswork out of using the V11. No more estimating the amount of time you have left to vacuum in between charges; now you can see it as it drains away.
The not so good
If you aren’t great at remembering to charge things, you might want to skip this. You can’t use it while its plugged into the mains, so if it’s dead, you’ll have to put your feet up and wait for it to charge. What a shame.
The charging and storage cradle for the V11 is yet another size, so if you have an older Dyson cordless device, you’ll have to swap it out. The Absolute comes with plenty of tools for tackling your household chores, plus a plastic holder that snaps on to the tube to store extra tools when you aren’t using them. And speaking of plastic, Dyson has removed the meaningless plastic wrapping from the components of the vacuum cleaner, replacing it with paper.
The verdict: 4 stars
I still don’t enjoy doing the vacuuming. But the V11 makes it a little easier to cope with.