Houses are getting smaller, our time is more precious, and yet we still have to do the vacuum cleaning. Something's wrong we agree, and it is something that Dyson wants to fix with two new vacuum cleaners; the DC50 and the DC47.
The promise is this: a smaller, lighter, more powerful device than has previously been available from the company to let you clean your house, flat, apartment, boat, or whatever quicker and more easily than you've been able to before. But is it really that easy? We got to work cleaning Pocket-lint towers to find out.
The DC50 is the company's smallest upright vacuum cleaner yet and is incredibly small (1064mm x 280mm x 354mm). The design follows the same ethos as the bigger models the company makes, or has made in the past, but here everything has been stripped back to a minimum.
Design merits of upright vs cylinder aside, the design comes with the usual clever and innovative bits of trickery.
The key one on the DC50 is the lack of a foot bar to kick it in to cleaning mode. Pull the handle back towards you and the front cleaner head engages, ready to be fired into action. It's something that takes a little bit of getting used to (your leg might stupidly raise to find the bar out of habit), but it's one less bit to get in the way or, more importantly, break.
The downside to this new trick is that you can't wheel the Dyson around on its hind wheels. But the DC50 is so light now, that it's not really an issue. Just pick it up.
Other design elements worth noting are the easy to remove and clean bagless cylinder and the ball design for improved manoeuvrability. We've seen it before. We liked it then, and we like it just as much now. Getting around your living room has never been so quick. Well unless you've convinced someone else to do the cleaning for you.
The big selling point of the new DC50 is not one tier of Dyson cyclones atop of the cylinder but two tiers, creating more suck for your buck.
The 19 cyclones in total work in parallel across two tiers to generate high centrifugal forces, the company says, and that means - for those who love their specs - more microscopic particles as small as 0.5 microns are captured from the airflow.
"By making the cyclones smaller, the air travels faster - meaning we can extract more microscopic dust from the air," Sir James Dyson told Pocket-lint at the launch event. It also means that Dyson promises the DC50 has "the performance of a full-size upright machine", even though it’s a fraction of the size.
That's an impressive statement, given the size of it - it wouldn't look out of place in the hands of a 6-year-old - however in our tests we were impressed, rather embarrassingly so.
But it's not just about more cyclones to suck all that dirt in your house off your carpets or your floorboards. Dyson has also added a new cleaner head that seemingly sticks to the floor better, self-adjusting to adapt to the floor surface, providing constant suction at the cleaner head, whatever the floor type.
On carpets the stiff nylon bristles remove dirt. On hard floors the ultra-fine antistatic carbon fibre filaments remove dust.
Strangely enough you'll probably come away from your first whizz around the house thinking that it is too light, we certainly did. But then the moment you start moving it around, dragging it upstairs or elsewhere you'll appreciate the lack of weight. For those counting, it weighs 5.4kg. The first Dyson weighed more than 9Kg.
The Animal edition adds a new detachable cleaner head to the box and one that is suited for cleaning hair off your carpet in particular. Here, instead of a conventional drum that rolls, you get two heads that spin in opposite directions in a flat figure-of-eight design. It means that hair, carpet, or anything for that matter, can't get wrapped around the cleaning drum in the way you've probably experienced in the past.
It's clever, but only currently suited for spot cleaning rather than doing the whole house, as it's just an attachment for the hose.
As with all Dyson vacuum cleaners, the Dyson DC50 is expensive - like £360 expensive. However it works, works well, and is compact and bijou at the same time.
We cleaned a number of surfaces from original floorboards, carpets, fluffy rugs and slate tiles. Given that we had cleaned only a couple of days before with a previous Dyson model, we were surprised at how much extra dirt the DC50 picked up. If you like clean, this will get things clean.
What you are paying for here is the same performance as a massive vacuum cleaner in a package that you can fit in virtually any cupboard (within reason) in your house.