Robot vacuums were once the very picture of the American luxury item. In recent years, however, more and more manufacturers have entered the market, offering budget-priced robo-vacs to compete with the likes of iRobot and Samsung, typically with a tradeoff between sticker price and overall functionality. If your family is looking to add such a vacuum to your smart home—especially if your house has lots of hardwood or vinyl flooring—I think you’ll find the dser RoboGeek 23T is the droid you’re looking for.
What’s In the Box
Going into this review, I was wholly unfamiliar with dser as a company, but upon opening my RoboGeek 23T, I was quite impressed with both the vacuum itself and its various pack-ins. The 23T is a standard puck-shaped unit about 12.5 inches in diameter done up in shiny black plastic. The same goes for its charging dock, a two contact-point charger that sits nearly flush with the floor, making it easy for the RoboGeek to properly align itself after each use.
Also included are all the standard moving parts: the main brush and side brushes (two to install immediately and two extras), a high-efficiency filter, a nicely-sized removable dustbin, and a brush cleaner for dislodging tangled hair and trapped debris. But there were also a couple of non-standard items included that quickly caught my eye.
First, the RoboGeek 23T includes a pack-in remote. That seems a little counterintuitive given the nature of smart home devices, but it’s a nice option for less tech-savvy users. I also discovered two sizable rolls of magnetic ribbon and adhesive backing and five sturdy hook and loop cable ties. While these are far from the usual fare, they soon proved useful enough in helping me set up boundaries and safely secure hanging power cords.
Setting Up the RoboGeek 23T
The initial setup and operation of the 23T were fairly straightforward. With any unnecessary packing tape removed, it was mostly just a matter of setting up the dock—it includes some built-in cord management for the AC adapter, which is always a plus—installing the brushes and bin, turning the RoboGeek on using its bottom-mounted power switch, and resting your new robot buddy on the aforementioned dock to charge.
The top-mounted power button can be pressed once to wake the unit and again to start its auto cleaning routine. You can also use the physical remote or the dserlife app on your smart device of choice. It’s definitely not the flashiest smart home application, but it works well, letting you connect your vacuum to your home network and then giving you access to stats like runtime and consumables, as well as aping the remote’s functionality.
The only problem I ran into was connecting it to my Amazon Echo. To do that, I discovered after some trial and error, you need to press your profile icon on the app’s home screen, then choose More Services before picking Alexa or Google Assistant, which walks you through the connecting to the relevant voice assistant.
What I Loved
The dser RoboGeek 23T isn’t the most advanced and feature-rich robo-vac I’ve managed to get my hands on, but it’s certainly no slouch. Its most impressive feature is surely its 2200Pa suction power, which makes short work of regular vacuuming. The 23T also uses a feature dser calls their “BoostGen” technology, which senses the relative pile of carpet versus the flat surface of hardwoods or laminates and kicks in the full suction power to take care of those hard-to-clean spots.
You can also use the Fan Regulate feature in the app to manually crank it up (if you’re the kind of person that craves power). Both the app and the remote have quick buttons for the device’s various modes—spot, edge, and auto—as well as manual cleaning controls. Yes, you can pilot your RoboGeek around like some dirt-destroying drone. I’m not sure who that feature is for, to be honest, but it’s a fun and novel offering.
There are some differences between the remote and the app, though. For example, the physical remote has dedicated buttons for single-room clean, which sets the vacuum off on a one-room adventure for 30 minutes, while the app alone includes a helpful Find Me button in case your 23T gets lost under the sofa. Also, while the remote has an easy-to-find cleaning schedule button, this is actually hidden in the app behind the ellipsis menu.
Cleaning controls aside, I also really like the little things the RoboGeek brings to the table. The dustbin is rear-mounted, so emptying it and putting it back without accidentally pulling the vacuum off the charging dock is a breeze. That’s a small feature that lots of rival manufacturers overlook. There’s also the matter of the included boundary strips. While these magnetic borders aren’t as fancy as setting up virtual borders, they are certainly effective, and dser includes enough to easily block off four or five doorways, stairwells, or similar obstacles.
Lastly, the dser RoboGeek 23T earns a gold star for largely avoiding one of my biggest pet peeves for robo-vacs; aside from its very first outing, the device has always managed to find its way back to the charging dock without human intervention!
What I Didn’t
My biggest knock against the 23T is simply its lack of active navigating. Unlike pricier vacuums, there’s seemingly no range-finding or GPS mapping. Instead, the RoboGeek just sort of pinballs around your house, slipping past obstacles with nary a care in the world. This certainly doesn’t make for an optimum cleaning pattern, but its 2600mAh battery gives it enough juice to ensure it gets the job done.
Similarly, it’s not much of a conversationalist. Instead of telling you when it starts or finishes, when it’s lost or stuck, the 23T just sort of… beeps at you… aggressively. Now, the manual includes some RoboGeek-to-English beep translations, but I would honestly prefer it if it used its words.
Lastly, while the glossy black of the vacuum and its matching remote control is handsome at first, it makes them magnets for dust and grime. In fact, by this point, I have begrudgingly accepted that cleaning copious amounts of dust off the top of the RoboGeek is simply a part of daily maintenance, like checking its rollers and emptying the bin.
Yes, I have become the vacuum cleaner-cleaner.
RoboGeek 23T – The Bottom Line
If you search “robot vacuum” on Amazon, you are greeted with page after page of seemingly identical black discs ranging in price from a couple of hundred dollars to a few thousand. At $219.99, the dser RoboGeek 23T is firmly at the lower end of the spectrum—and as I write this I notice that there’s also a $50 coupon available, knocking it all the way down to $169.99!
Honestly, at either price point, this machine is a steal. While it lacks premium features like virtual mapping, the 23T is a low-profile robotic workhouse that can navigate multiple flooring types, but I’ve found it especially makes short work of flat surfaces. In a house where cat hair and breadcrumbs abound, it has proven itself a valuable ally in my mission to keep things tidy.
In fact, I sleep well knowing that, whether it’s an abundance of beard clippings on the bathroom floor or a dry rice spill in the kitchen, my RoboGeek 23T is on the case. All I need to do is say, “Alexa, turn on Sir Beeps-a-Lot.”
Review materials provided by dser. This post contains affiliate links. No more Woodstock, but now you got Beeps-a-Lot.