Trifo Lucy Robotic Vacuum Overview: Eyes the place security takes priority over cleansing

Trifo robot vacuum cleaner

“The Trifo Lucy can keep an eye on your home, but it may not do a good job cleaning it.”

  • Useful surveillance camera function

  • Good at avoiding most obstacles and clutter

  • Terrible mopping implementation

  • Not efficient at cleaning

  • Jerky navigation in tight spaces / edges

Trifo’s Lucy robotic vacuum first caught my interest during CES 2020 and was one of the first robotic vacuums ready to take the category in a new direction. What sets it apart from the crowded field is its ability to see its surroundings with an embedded camera right in front of the bot – with the promise of avoiding trippy wires, challenging furniture corners, and the dreaded droppings on the floor.

In addition to avoiding obstacles, the camera is designed to provide peace of mind when you are not there, as it also acts as a surveillance camera. Hence, it will pay attention to your every move and notify you if something is wrong. While we’ve seen other interpretations over the past year, I’m curious to see if it offers a more practical solution. However, that doesn’t matter if it doesn’t clean well.

An example of the superiority of lidar

Read the specifications of the Trifo LucyIt seems like a promising bot that does double duty as a cleaning lady and babysitter. While Artificial Intelligence (AI), 1080p HDR video, Alexa integration, night vision, and 3D obstacle avoidance have a lot of technical jargon, I can’t help but mention that all of these technologies don’t take my attention away from the fact that this is it is not as efficient at cleaning.

Trifo Lucy Robot vacuum on hardwoodJohn Velasco / Digital Trends

Sure, moving my hardwood floors up and down in open spaces isn’t a problem, but tight spaces and narrow hallways are a challenge despite all of the technology on board. The most obvious thing is that it does not use a lidar (light detection and ranging) sensor which is used by many medium to long range robotic vacuum cleaners these days. Instead, the Trifo Lucy’s navigation depends on a combination of the front-facing 1080p camera, the cliff sensors below, and the depth sensors.

The performance is a clear example of why lidar-based vacuums are so effective. While it does a good job of avoiding clutter, including loading cables on the floor that still plague many bots, it’s puzzling to see jerky movements when trying to hug walls to get in a straight line clean. To make matters worse, it’s a tight-knit navigational battle – it just moves in random directions. However, it avoided the false poop I put on the floor. At least you know it’s smart enough to avoid that!

Maintenance is a must

The cleaning performance is average at best. It’s nowhere near the most efficient or proficient at vacuuming. First, it is not so good with carpets, despite the suction force of 3,000 Pa. This is mainly due to the bristle brush on the underside, which catches tufts of hair in the process. While superficial debris is picked up, carpets never feel this clean. Meanwhile, the side sweeping brush also suffers from tangled hair – frequent grooming is required to keep it in tip-top shape.

Trifo Lucy Robot vacuum floorJohn Velasco / Digital Trends

Fortunately, it works better on hard floors as the side sweeping brush doesn’t turn too fast – so dirt and debris aren’t flung in all directions when you sweep. Surprisingly, the Trifo Lucy’s wheels can easily handle bumps and partitions, but I still had to rescue them so they wouldn’t get stuck under a bedside table.

With the Trifo app, I appreciate the way a map of my apartment is displayed along with icons that indicate obstacles it encountered while cleaning. However, I would really have liked to have seen an accompanying photo of these obstacles – similar to the Roborock S6 MaxV. And finally, it took three separate cleaning sessions for Lucy to create a correct map layout of my apartment that could later be used to set up restricted areas that act as a virtual barrier.

All in all, it’s an average performer who may take a few passes before you can be sure it’s clean.

Don’t worry about wiping

Yes, there is a wipe function with the Trifo Lucy, but it’s a ridiculous implementation. This is due to the small water compartment and the disposable pads that you have to use. Because of the holder for the pads, it never seems like the pad is touching the floor while wiping. In addition, there is no way to adjust the water flow on the pad. Rather, it is simply based on gravity.

Security guard when you are not home

If there is any salvation grace for the Trifo Lucy, it has to be its safety function. This is basic for sure, especially considering that the camera detects all movement – regardless of what it is – and doesn’t classify it in the app.

The cleaning performance is average at best.

Unlike other robotic vacuum cleaners, you need to be more careful with the placement of the charging station. That’s because it can sense movement while it’s charging in the base, even in the dark because it offers night vision. If you have placed the base so that the robot can see the front door, it can therefore detect anyone who enters.

Trifo Lucy Robot vacuum camera close-upJohn Velasco / Digital Trends

You can view all recordings through the app. What is missing, however, is two-factor authentication to really reassure home privacy. I hope this will be available in the future. Another missing feature I’d like to see is an option for some sort of patrol mode where the Trifo Lucy can patrol a given path. It’s a decent secondary feature that’s actually handy, but it’s still difficult to overlook the other shortcomings.

Our opinion

I had high expectations for $ 500 Trifo Lucy. In the year since its launch at CES 2020, we’ve seen a few other robotic vacuums showing us the next evolution in robotic vacuums. Unfortunately for Lucy, the inability to clean efficiently makes it a difficult consideration when you have other bots doing better – while also providing that security camera functionality. Ultimately, the success of a robotic vacuum cleaner depends primarily on its cleaning performance. I cannot say with complete confidence that the Trifo Lucy is capable of this.

How long it will take?

Frequent maintenance is essential here as the brushes can easily get tangled. Cleaning the sensors and cameras also helps. There is a one-year limited warranty on parts only.

Is there a better alternative?

You’ll need more than $ 700 for that Roborock S6 MaxV, but it’s very similar to the Trifo Lucy in that it’s a 2-in-1 vacuum combo that wipes, offers lidar-based navigation, and an AI-powered camera for superior obstacle avoidance. And oh yes, its vacuuming and mopping performance is superior in every way.

Should you buy it?

No, although the security camera feature is a tempting package. If it can’t clean well, its purpose of being a robotic vacuum is pointless.

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