Aside from the Roomba comparisons, it's difficult to talk about the Hovo's design and features without comparing them to those of the QQ5, as most of the things that the Hovo gets right are really just former flaws that Infinuvo has corrected. Brushrolls that were a pain to remove from the QQ5 now come out of the Hovo fairly easily. The QQ5's shaky cliff detection kept us nervous whenever we tested it, but the Hovo's works perfectly. There's a common refrain here: unlike the QQ5, the Hovo gets all of the basics right.
Design and features
As appearances go, the Hovo isn't terribly interesting to look at. With a boring, all-black, hockey-puck-like design, it lacks the aesthetic touch of other robot vacuums -- even the QQ5 is a nicer looking machine. The sparse build might suggest that Infinuvo diverted all design energy toward function and spared none of it for form -- and perhaps that was necessary in order to fix what wasn't working. Still, given the obvious existing comparisons to Roomba, whose latest model, the 880, is black, it would have been nice to have seen Infinuvo do more to try and set itself apart.
One of the QQ5's biggest dealbreakers for us was its almost absurdly impractical bin, which featured a bizarre design that spilled more than it held. With the Hovo, Infinuvo ditched that bin in favor of a more traditional design, one that you can actually use without creating more of a mess than you were trying to clean up in the first place. The old bin was essentially enough to disqualify the QQ5 altogether, so getting rid of it is a big step in the right direction for Infinuvo.
I'm pleasantly surprised to say that Hovo 510 earned the Infinuvo brand some robo-redemption. Although the QQ5 wasn't a terribly difficult act to follow, the Hovo is a significantly better robot vacuum in every single way, and at a budget-friendly price point around $200, it's good enough to merit consideration alongside the likes of recent, pricier favorites like the and the . It isn't nearly as smart as those two, and like its predecessor, it can't handle pet hair, but for basic cleaning, it does the job -- sometimes as well as or even better than machines that cost hundreds of dollars more.