Hands-on review: Proscenic P12 cordless vacuum cleaner
Image credit: Proscenic
Green, go! Light up your cleaning life.
Having previously reviewed a number of Proscenic's variations on the vacuum cleaner theme – from the robotic 850T to the cordless, mop-action P11, to the subtle design rejig of the i10 and the it's-not-really-a-Prosenic-honest-mate Vactidy Blitz V8 – we now have the next iteration of its familiar-looking handheld telescopic unit, the P12.
The P12 follows – as we've said before about other products – the irrefutable design logic of 'if it ain't broke, don't break it'. Whoever invented the concept first (and Dyson stans will rage until they're blue in the face about this), a small handheld motor body with a long telescopic pipe to the floor (or to any of its shorter, brushier attachments) is now standard among cordless cleaners, in much the same way that 50 years ago all so-called 'Hoovers' looked the same, no matter which company actually made them.
Style-wise, then, there's no real differentiator this time, although the two-tone smokey-grey finish is nice and on point for 2023. Where the P12 might turn heads (as much as a new vacuum cleaner is likely to turn heads, anyway) is with its upgraded anti-tangle roller, featuring a V-shaped guiding bristle and internal comb, 400W motor, 33kPa-strength suction, large 2500mAh battery, and the green 'Vertect' light (Proscenic's own trademarked term), which uses green detection headlights to illuminate small particles otherwise invisible to the naked eye.
This green light is more than a gimmick: it really does work, allowing the user to see dust and debris immediately. Combined with the high degree of flexibility in the swivelling brush head (90° vertical, 180° horizontal), you can pivot and steer the P12 under any furniture or skirting board and see exactly where the vacuuming need is the greatest. With a task as boring as vacuuming the home, anything that speeds up the process is very welcome. As a bonus, the green light even makes it a little bit more fun.
Of course, the green light action is only in the telescopic floor brush unit. With the other attachments – a shorter angle-nose unit for crevices, nooks and crannies and a brush unit for soft furnishings and lazy shelf-dusting duties – you're on your own in terms of spotting the dust. Both units do a good job, though, and the relatively light weight of the main body makes the P12 a solid all-rounder for everything from main bedroom to car interior cleaning.
Also included in the box is a spare filter unit for the P12, which is welcome, although you may also choose to carefully wash and dry the filters to eke out a little more life from them before purchasing further replacements. Certainly, the P12's 400W brushless motor, generating that 33kPa of suction power, can see the 1.2l capacity fill up in no time if it's been a while since you last gave your home the once-over. The P12 has the same one-touch emptying feature for the bin section, which is nice, although you'll probably want to also manually clear away the slabs of dust that have likely attached themselves to the filter.
The filter sections are tasked with capturing a lot of dust and micro-particles, so the P12's five-stage filtration system is crucial here. It features cyclonic dust separation and two HEPA filters to lock in a claimed 99.99 per cent of dust particles, down to 0.3-micron in size, expelling non-allergenic purified air instead (kind of like Proscenic's A9 air purifier). There is a noticeable side-wind when using the P12 on account of this filter action, so you can expect loose papers, photos etc on bookshelves to be wafted about.
The touchscreen of the P12, situated on the main body directly in the user's eyeline, gives easy acesss to tapping between the four suction modes, as well as providing feedback on other key data, such as the dust collector being full, the floor brush being clogged and the battery level.
During our testing, we didn't often feel the need to vary the intensity of the motor/suction too much, just the occasional turbo boost to persuade the more stubborn particles to get up the tube.
On that note, the trigger of the P12 is surprisingly sensitive: an observation, not a criticism. It doesn't have to be held continuously; just a light touch for on and off. Accordingly, there have been many times when we've accidentally turned it off mid-session, as we were absentmindedly resting a finger on the trigger. There is ample room for your fingers beneath the trigger, so this is only a minor learning curve.
Another initially mildly disconcerting behaviour is that when you switch the P12 off, the motor actually revs up for a second, so you think you've accidentally kicked things up a notch instead of turning it off, but then it immediately decelerates to shut down. Again, just an initial learning curve thing.
The 2500mAh battery is beefy, but inevitably the manufacturer's claim of "up to 60 minutes" of cleaning – in its quietest mode – is on the optimistic side. It's more like a good 40-45 minutes of continuous runtime at a normal mid-pace operating level, deploying the occasional boost when necessary. If running flat-out on max power, you won't get more than 15 minutes out of the battery. Naturally, Proscenic sells spare batteries.
Recharging is not rapid: around four to five hours from 0 to 100 per cent. It's a process: do your home work, then plug it in to top back up. There are fewer things in life more disappointing than finally dredging up the necessary enthusiasm to do the vacuuming, only for your machine's battery to die a few minutes in. A clip-in wall mount is included in the P12's box, should you wish to set up a permanent installation where you can tidily hang up the entire machine to recharge. Otherwise, just plug in from any wall socket.
The P12 is another fine machine to clean from Proscenic. Plenty of power and flexibility, sufficient battery life to get around the house in one charge (within reason), that green Vertect light is more than a mere novelty, and it's appreciably quiet, too – not whisper-silent, but you shouldn't have to turn the TV up much while someone vacuums around you. That you're also getting a handheld machine as well as the full-size model allows it to do double duty – and being cordless, that can be anywhere you need it. The RRP is fair and competitive, but offers abound online to help you keep even more cash in your pocket. If you need a new vacuum cleaner, this one may well get – and give – the green light.
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