Vax Air3 multi-cyclonic upright vacuum cleaner pictures and hands-on

We have all sorts of things land in the Pocket-lint offices and, although this one's far from a pocketable gadget, the Vax Air3 U88-AM-B's multi-cyclonic promises serious suction.

This dust-munching upright has orange-coloured brushes that spin to help whip up the grime - though on hard floors it ups the noise output a bit. Pop it on to a carpet and the Air3's power feels like a dog tugging on a lead: it will almost lead you around the house.

The Air3 is built around a pivot between the hammerhead-shark-shaped base and the upright part which makes going around corners nice and easy too.

When fully upright the suction is redirected via the hose, which can be handheld to get into those tighter corners. There's a nozzle to get the dust up from around the skirting and an extra brush attachment.

Although the plastic tube is tightly coiled it "pops" out, ring by ring, to extend without tugging at the main vacuum itself. Then, just like a tape measure, it pings back into its original from for an effortless return.

The Air3 is bagless, with everything stored in the two-litre transparent plastic perma-bin. The only thing between the dust and here is a H12 HEPA filter for those extra fine dust particles. But if you get a noticeable dip in suction power then it's probably time to get the filter out and give it a rinse - it's good that this can be done without immediate replacement, but its impact on suction without a full payload of dirt can get in the way.

Construction is a bit plasticky. It's not like we were expecting polished brass and sparkling diamonds or anything, and our experience of vacuum cleaners is much the same across many brands, though it is this construction that also keeps the weight down. At under 5kgs, it's not a bother to lift and maneouvre the Air3 in and out of the store cupboard or up and down the stairs.

The Vax Air3 costs £249, but this includes a six-year guarantee that may  outweigh buying a more budget vacuum that'll could possibly conk out and die within a year. Of course we've not had the Air3 for more than a couple of days now, so it's hard to give a true comment on its longevity.



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