Trifo has been around since 2016 and this still quite young company specializes in household robots and smart home devices with artificial intelligence. How about a vacuum cleaner robot with AI, surveillance camera, laser pointer, air freshener? What a combination! The Trifo Ollie is supposed to offer exactly all that – as a vacuuming robot especially for pet owners. And at a price that’s not outrageous! My cats are ready for the test of the Trifo Ollie.
Specifications of the Trifo Ollie
|Suction force||3000 Pa|
|Operating time||Up to 120 minutes on a full charge|
|Dust container capacity||600 ml|
|Camera functions||Photo, video, image transmission, surveillance camera, location detection, night vision|
|Climb threshold||2 cm|
|Features||Carpet detection, laser pointer, air freshener, cleaning continuation, map creation|
|Remote Control||Trifo Home App (Android, iOS)|
|Price||€ 279.99 *|
Packaging and scope of delivery
- Few plastic parts in packaging material
- Special package with pet focus
The packaging of the Trifo Ollie is made entirely of cardboard, with the individual components still in a plastic bag. Overall, however, most of the packaging is kept eco-friendly with several layers of corrugated cardboard. In addition to the actual robot vacuum cleaner, the scope of delivery includes the charging station with a power supply suitable for the European market. Furthermore, the laser pointer with air freshener function. Since the usual brush rollers on vacuuming robots like to pick up some hair and get blocked by it over time, there is the “pet hair extractor” for hairy pets, which you can use as an alternative. Last but not least, the manual is included. At the front of the device there is a white foam strip for transport protection, which you should remove before putting the device into operation. The surfaces are not covered with protective foils.
- Little effort to prepare the hardware
- Cable can be routed out of charging station on both sides
Before getting started, the charging station must first be set up. A cover on the bottom must be loosened, then you can connect the power supply and, depending on spatial conditions, can be led out on the right or left. Now the Trifo Ollie with the charging contacts is placed on it and the system boots up. Its battery is precharged, but should be fully charged before the first use. In principle, you can start now. For more precise control, one should install the accompanying Trifo app. The printed manual is multilingual, but overall quite concise and only helpful to a limited extent. I can imagine that especially less tech-savvy users will quickly reach their limits. However, the instructions refer to the Trifo Home app between the part names.
The Trifo Home App
- Paper instructions not really helpful
- App is not very easy to set up
- Account required, but free
The app is the first way to get to most of the features of the Trifo Ollie, which is important for further testing. To find it on Google Play or in the App Store is really easy. The reviews initially write off a bit with the very sad 2.3 stars on Google Play at the time of the test. But good. The installation is done quickly and first you have to create a free account and log in with it. Now the first hurdle: Connect the Trifo Ollie to the WLAN to access it at all. Everything is explained here in small videos, but the setup did not go quite smoothly.
First, you have to enter the network name and password in the app. I found it a bit irritating that you could not select the name of the network from a list, but had to write it out completely. Now a QR code is created, which you have to hold in front of the Trifo Ollie’s camera after pressing the Wi-Fi button with the top down. It confirms that it has read the QR code and tries to establish the network connection based on the data it transmits. In the first two attempts, the Trifo Ollie was unable to establish the connection in my case and aborted, and only on the third attempt did it work – despite the identical procedure.
- Remote control only via app
- Trifo Home app functional, but not fully developed
The Trifo Ollie robot vacuum cleaner can now be controlled using the Trifo Home app. You can also update the firmware once you select the Trifo device you want to use. At the bottom, you get four things displayed: cleaning, charging, start video (=monitoring camera) and other functions. The surveillance camera gets the info displayed in Germany that it cannot be used due to regional laws. Thanks for the info – one feature is hereby checked off.
Under “More functions” you can start some more detailed controls for the Trifo Ollie, most important here the manual control and the suction setting. Here you can choose between Maximum for carpet, Turbo for hair, Standard for dust and Still for fines. Wait. What? Fines? A classic auto-translate error. The English word “fines” can mean both “fine parts” and “fines”. Unfortunately, the wrong term has been chosen here. At the top right, you can access the settings with the typical three dots. Here you can change the robot’s language, set a schedule for when the Ollie will automatically begin its cleaning trip, and more.
- Moderate image quality
- Unusual feature for the price range
Yes, as we already know, the Trifo Ollie’s function as a surveillance camera cannot be used in Germany, so no test is possible here. What does work, though, is displaying the camera image during the cleaning process. This is possible for both automatic cleaning and manual control. In addition, there are buttons for saving a video and taking pictures. This is a very fun feature, gives interesting views at times and you can see where Ollie is at the moment. However, you can take higher-quality pictures with most smartphones nowadays. Nevertheless, it is a cool feature. However, the image is transmitted to the app with a slight delay, which does not make it easy to control in manual mode. A bit of practice is needed here.
Works with Alexa
- No instructions included
- Setup is simple
According to the packaging, the Trifo Ollie can be controlled via Alexa and Hey Google. On a practical note, no direct instructions are included for this. For the full Trifo Ollie test, the connection was made anyway. Here’s how it works: First, you have to have the Ollie activated in the Trifo Home app. Then, you can add a device in the Alexa app. To do this, click on Vacuum Cleaner, then select Trifo and enter the credentials of the Trifo Home app. Now the accounts are linked and Alexa can access the robot vacuum cleaner. It is now controlled with the commands “Alexa, turn on device Ollie” to start and “Alexa, turn off device Ollie” to send the Trifo Ollie back to the charging station.
Power and Volume
- Good suction
- Adjustable strength
- Tendentiously high volume
When the Trifo Ollie is in the charging station, the first thing you notice is that it makes a continuous low noise when doing so. This sounds like an office PC in idle mode, like a running hard drive without write access. Not really obtrusive, but I did not want to have the charging station in the bedroom. As soon as it starts operating, the suction noise and the voice are relevant. The volume of the voice can be controlled in the app settings. The volume of the vacuum depends on the set suction power. However, the Ollie tends to go in the louder direction and the rather high frequencies are also quite penetrating. Especially with pets, which are sometimes very sensitive to noise after all, I would have been happy with a slightly softer sound.
In terms of performance, however, there is nothing to complain about in the Trifo Ollie test – the suction power is very decent. Hair, cat litter, sand and dust were sucked up without any problems. Only the carpet is, as for pretty much all vacuum cleaners, a special challenge. Here, the Trifo Ollie is still more effective than my Tesvor X500, but when it comes to hair in the carpet, the performance still falls short of a simple pumice stone.
No Tangle Pet Hair Extractor
- Less maintenance required due to tangled hair
- Lack of information on optimal use scenarios
Yes, the usual brush roll tangles hair. The alternative insert for the Trifo Ollie is designed to avoid this and hair is vacuumed directly into the dust bin. This saves labor after the fact, but may reduce performance in some circumstances. Since the brush usually also loosens somewhat more stubborn dirt from the floor, its use is recommended as soon as not too much hair is expected. More detailed instructions are not included with the No Tangle Pet Hair Extractor. That would have been good for application examples, for which this attachment would be optimal.
Other features and characteristics
- Single edge cleaning brush
- Dust container not accessible from outside
On the one hand, it is noticeable that the Trifo Ollie only has an edge cleaning brush on one side, whereas many other robot vacuum cleaners are equipped with it on both sides. I could not determine a negative effect in this regard in the test.
The dust container is removed from the top. For this, the flap must be folded up at the top, so that you can get to the container. What in principle is not a problem, becomes more difficult if you store the charging station, for example, under a dresser – then you have to pull out the Ollie beforehand or empty the container before Ollie goes back into the charging station.
- Intensive camera usage for AI leads to frantic looking movements
- Fast movement
- Advanced capabilities can be enabled in the app
The Trifo Ollie rotates a lot in our test to orient itself. That is, he looks around and analyzes the environment. Otherwise, the usual tactic is to drive down the area to be cleaned in strips. So less of a chaos principle than a reasonably tactical approach, which nevertheless deviates from the expected driving style every now and then due to the AI control. The cornering is interesting. When Ollie doesn’t rotate, but drives straight ahead, he is surprisingly fast. Edges are not his specialty – but we recommend activating the option “Turns on edges” in the app’s settings.
Speaking of options: Here, you can activate a carpet boost mode. This means that when the Trifo Ollie is running regularly, it can vacuum more quietly and then revs up when it thinks it detects a carpet. This is quite a handy feature, but sometimes Ollie then revs up unexpectedly without a carpet. Artificial intelligence is not perfect after all. Ollie manages the drive to the charging station quite quickly. Thanks to the AI and the saved map, Ollie finds the different rooms and the paths to them quite well, whereas other vacuuming robots in the price range tend to drive down the same room several times now and then or leave the room too quickly in an unplanned manner.
Laser pointer and air freshener
- Air freshener is inefficient
- Laser pointer works well out of hand
- Mounting on robot vacuum cleaner not very efficient
These two features are together in an optinal usable add-on. First, you have to open this at the bottom, which is quite difficult. Here I have searched again in the manual after a first attempt, whether there is a trick or a special lock. But no, you just have to use a lot of force to open it. Now the included battery can be inserted and one of the three included citrus scented air freshener sticks. Now this sounds like a super feature, but on the one hand the air freshener is so weak that you could have just left it out. It simply causes the laser pointer to smell a bit like lemon. As soon as you’re a meter away, the effect is gone.
The laser pointer works. My cats love it. You can use the laser pointer out of your hand on one hand. This works without any problems. If needed, you can also clip it to a couple of fixed positions on the ollie. In principle, a fun idea, the point but drives through the area and should keep the cats motivated. The problem with this is that Ollie always drops the laser pointer when rotating on edges. A supplied solution is supposed to be the Velcro strip. Then you have to decide on a fixed position. A second problem here is that Ollie often rotates very quickly, quickly catapulting the dot out of the cat’s field of view. And some cats have a decent respect for the noise of a robot vacuum cleaner.
Positive things that stood out in the Trifo Ollie test were the many features in the app, the high suction power and especially the value for money for this overall package. On the negative side, the Ollie seems hectic and quite loud during operation. Furthermore, not all features work in Germany (keyword: monitoring function). Overall, however, the positives outweigh the negatives because the possible features exceed the average of the competition in this price range. Apart from the robot vacuum cleaner itself, there is also a conclusion about the Trifo Home app. Here, I was initially concerned due to the poor reviews, but aside from initial setup issues and a few formulations, this app ran as intended for me. Both firmware updates and settings entered went smoothly.
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