The SpeedPro Max Aqua is essentially an upgrade of Philip's cordless handstick vacuum cleaner from last year of the same name, bar the "Aqua" moniker.
The Aqua gets its name from its vacuum-and-mop nozzle that lets it, well, vacuum and mop at the same time.
This consists of a regular vacuum nozzle magnetically attached to the front of a rectangular mop module which has a small water tank on top. It works by sucking up dust first, then mopping the just-vacuumed area in the same action.
On one side of the mop module is a pedal to control water release, while the other side has an opening for topping up water and detergent.
Before using it, you have to attach a mopping pad to the underside of the mop module. Two microfibre cloths are included, with one having a slower water flow rate.
It still has the 360-degree suction nozzle of its predecessor, the SpeedPro Max, which vacuums when being glided forward and backwards, unlike most others that can do so only during the forward movement. There is a smaller turbo nozzle for vacuuming beds and sofas.
Design-wise, it looks similar to the SpeedPro Max. This means it is not as futuristic-looking as some of its competitors. But it now comes in an aqua blue accent, instead of its predecessor's red.
On the top of the handle, there is a small display panel that shows the battery percentage. Below this panel is a lever that gives you the option to switch between three cleaning modes - intensity one, two and turbo. This means you do not need to continuously press a trigger to vacuum.
• Powerful suction •Non-trigger mechanism
•Integrated brush on the wand stick
• Small water tank
• Leaves water marks
BATTERY LIFE: 4.5/5
VALUE FOR MONEY: 3.5/5
The digital motor powering the SpeedPro Max is sited below the handle, while the cyclones - conical containers that remove particulates from the air stream - and the dust bin are in front of the handle.
Thus, it has most of its weight centred on its handle. This makes it easy to manoeuvre regardless of the cleaning attachments fitted to it.
Setting up the Aqua is a cinch. You attach the wand stick to the main handle unit and the cleaning nozzle to the wand stick. I like the wand stick's integrated brush. You just need to detach the cleaning nozzle, flip this brush up and you can vacuum your television console, tabletops and chairs.
Having been impressed by the 360-degree suction nozzle when I tested the SpeedPro Max last year, I decided to vacuum my 90 sq m flat with this nozzle first before switching to the vacuum-and-mop nozzle.
It was just as impressive this time around. The Aqua picked up most of the dirt and dust on my floor.
I then switched to the vacuum-and-mop nozzle and gave my floor a second run. The two runs took 30 minutes each and left my floor fairly clean. There was about 20 per cent battery life left after, which is about right as its advertised battery life is 75 minutes.
So in an hour, I vacuumed my house twice and mopped it once. This is the time I usually take with my industrial-grade Rainbow vacuum cleaner, which costs about $3,000.
However, there are several downers. The capacity of the water tank is pretty limited at 280ml. I found myself having to top it up in the middle of the vacuum-and-mop run.
Plus, with the vacuum nozzle being in front of the mop, it means some corners of the house cannot be thoroughly mopped.
Also, I did not find a use for the mop pedal as the water seemed to flow quite quickly even with the slower-flow microfibre cloth.
There were some visible water marks on the floor after mopping. These were more visible on the parquet than the ceramic tiles of my flat. In fact, it is probably more efficient to use a conventional mop, especially so as I can control the intensity.
Still, the Aqua is worth checking out for its undeniable convenience and ability to save time.