Top critical review
Great vacuum, terrible app software reliability
April 29, 2017
The vacuum itself is impressive. It did a great job on its first go around my ground floor, covering around 2000 sq ft going between tile, carpet, area rugs, kitchen memory foam mats (which sometimes it couldn't get up on, but it did go around) and even navigating under table chairs. It ran throughout the night to do the job, docking to charge a couple times in between. After 3 successful runs it did get caught up in-between the sofa and coffee table, reporting a "lifted" state to my phone via the Wi-Fi; I'm not concerned with that considering its ability to maneuver throughout the home so well and I can move the coffee table a couple inches to prevent in future. The rectangular front end allows the vacuum to get into corners very well. Its front sensor also does a good job; it approaches obstacles at full speed, then slows as it gets close, and then just barely touches the boundary before backing up and changing course.
The suction is good, and it did a pretty good job picking up everything it went over, including fine dust and dirt. We have a short hair dog, and the fur did manage to clog up the canister because the ejection point doesn't have much clearance from the top of the container, so hair bunched up and really got packed in. . See photos. I'd give the vacuum itself 5 stars.
The main reason for the mark-down is their software. At this price point I expect setup to work relatively well. This is a Wi-Fi model, so you must install the Samsung Smart Home app. My wife and I both have Android 7 phones, and the app has bugs at the access-point entry page (a Google search will return results to the Samsung forum on the issue - there are reported issues on other versions as well). In short, to get around it you need an older Android device (I fortunately had a tablet running Marshmallow) to add it to your Wi-Fi. Then for each phone you have that you want to use you need to go into the app and hit the 3 dots menu and under "Edit Home", "Add Device". It will then ask you to authenticate by holding the recharge button on the included remote. I had a number of challenges getting this to work, but power cycling the vacuum seemed to fix that and I was able to add it to both my Pixels and my Samsung SmartThings hub. However getting around all the bugs took about 3 hours for the setup. In general, all Samsung apps I've used (SmartThings, their TV remote app, and now Smart Home) are all very buggy and it's very disappointing since the products themselves are usually great.
I called customer service and got a helpful rep; once I was able to convince her it wasn't something I was doing wrong and that there were forum reports of the app compatibility issue, she took the time to search her database and confirmed that many people have reported this issue. She struggled finding the proper department to forward the issue to: she was home-appliance support, which doesn't make the app (made in South Korea). After about an hour with her trying very hard and talking to a variety of supervisors, they think they found out how to forward the issue on. Since I was able to find a workaround, I'm more interested in finding out Samsung's plan on resolving the bug and see what their commitment is to product sustainment and reliability. I'll post updates as I receive them.