Shark Sonic Duo Review

This machine was one of the hardest machines I have ever had to review, It has so many functions, and does so many things right, yet at the same time fails at the thing it promises to do so well at. This machine will always have a place in my closet, and hopefully shark will learn from the failures of this model and craft a model to correct these problems.

In addition if you haven’t read my pre-review blogging of my experiences I would HIGHLY recommend you do that. It contains results from some of the tests I did with the sonic duo on many types of floors and in various situations. It can be found HERE.

Formula and Pads

At the heart of the Sonic Duo cleaning system is the Shark solutions and pads that are made for the machine. These formulas are concentrated (more on that later) and work with the reusable pads (that come with the refill formula). The system (at the time of writing) has four pads that can be used with it: Carpet, Carpet Stain, Hard Floor, and Polish. Each pad is unique and the pads are color coded to prevent confusion.

Here are the various pads that can be used with the machine:

Hard Floor Cleaning:

Shark Sonic Duo Hard Floor Pad
Shark Sonic Duo Hard Floor Pad
Shark Sonic Duo Hard Floor Solution and Concentrate
Shark Sonic Duo Hard Floor Solution and Concentrate

 

Hard Floor Polishing:

Shark Sonic Duo Hard Floor Polishing Pad
Shark Sonic Duo Hard Floor Polishing Pad
Shark Sonic Duo Hard Floor Polish
Shark Sonic Duo Hard Floor Polish

 

Carpet Cleaning:

Shark Sonic Duo Carpet Pad
Shark Sonic Duo Carpet Pad
Shark Sonic Duo Carpet Scrubbing Pad
Shark Sonic Duo Carpet Scrubbing Pad
Shark Sonic Duo Carpet Solution, Concentrate and Activator Spray
Shark Sonic Duo Carpet Solution, Concentrate and Activator Spray

 

Carpet Cleaning Performance:

When it comes to carpet performance this machine promises the moon, claiming to get your carpets “1.5 times brighter” and to remove ground in dirt from below the surface. When I first heard these claims I was quite skeptical as they sounded far too good to be true, but their “demonstration photos” showed a very large amount of improvement, so I gave Shark the benefit of the doubt, thinking of all of their previous success and hoping that they once again hit it out of the park. I eagerly got the floor vacuumed, the solution prepared and the pad attached, going slowly to let the machine try and get anything it could, waiting to see the carpets become bright and clean again, but the brightening never happened. Although I was disappointed by the lack of  carpet brightening I was very pleased to see that some of the tough stains that have been in the carpet for a great deal of time (and resisted many attempts to remove them) have vanished.

Overall I have changed my ideas on how the machine works, thinking of it as a machine that removes stains as opposed to a machine that can be used for maintenance cleaning and brightening. In this regard the machine is significantly worse than a Hot Water Extraction machine or HWE, which never fail to brighten my carpets, AND remove all the stains. To sum it up carpet performance is my only complaint about the machine, and I think there will be many others in the same boat with me, having complaints about the Sonic Duo on carpet.

For carpet cleaning I cannot recommend this machine, which is a disappointment.

If you are looking for a carpet cleaner check out the Hoover SteamVac

Hard Floor Cleaning:

On hard floors this machine kicks butt! The Sonic Duo is almost magic when it comes to cleaning hard floors, the dual heads vibrating their way to a clean floor. This system works by first spraying solution out onto the floor which loosens the dirt and acts as a suspension buffer to get the dirt off of the floor and into the pad. The pads are designed with three different sections on them, a smooth and soft section to absorb and buff, a scrubby section to scrub tough dirt and spots off of the floor, and a noodle section to get into all of the nooks and crannies while mopping up the dirt and solution mixture. The pad works quite well and is always dirty after I am done cleaning a floor with the Sonic Duo, leaving the pad dirty and the floor shiny and clean. Every floor I have thrown the Sonic Duo at has seen great results, with the lone exception being the granite, however the granite is almost impossible to clean.

The Sonic Duo makes the task of cleaning a hard floor very easy, allowing you to get the job done quite quickly and leave the floors absolutely spotless. The machine lives up to the claim of getting the job done in half the time of a mop and bucket. the results are also better than a mop and bucket, as the sonic duo does not spread dirty water over the floor, instead spreading new solution over the floor before picking up the dirty solution in its absorbent pad.

Hard Floor Polishing:

If the Sonic Duo mad my hard floors shiny after they were cleaned, the polish makes them sparkle, after applying the polish my hardwood floors shined like they were brand new. This is a shine that they haven’t had for many years, but the Sonic Duo was able to do it. The polishing process starts by first going through the hard floor cleaning process and waiting 5 minutes for the floor to dry. After the floor is clean and dry the polishing pad is attached to the Sonic Duo and the polishing process begins. Polish is squirted onto the floor and the sonic duo rubs and buffs the polish onto the surface of the floor, making it shine and truly sparkle. Once you are done with the polishing process an hour should be given to let the polish dry before walking on the floor again.

Conclusion:

The Shark Sonic Duo is a great machine on hard floors, but overall it just falls flat when it comes to carpeting, getting the stains out, but not doing much more than that. I will be keeping the sonic duo in my closet, as it is an amazing hard floor cleaning and polishing machine, but will not be asking any more from it in terms of carpeted performance.

Overall, if you are looking for carpet cleaning, keep looking. If you are looking for hard floor cleaning and the occasional carpet spot removal the Sonic Duo is the machine for you.

Carpet Score: 4/10

Hard Floor Score: 10/10

Overall Score: 7.5/10

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Shark Sonic Duo Pre-Review

Please note: This is NOT a review, I am blogging about my experiences with the Sonic Duo around the house before I write a formal review.

 

Updated 5-14 for Stone Cleaning

Updated 5-16 for Hard Floor Polishing

Carpet Performance:

When it came to carpet performance I was not sure what to think. The Sonic duo made very large claims about its performance in it’s ads. When I tried it out on my carpet I found that although it had good performance at removing stains, it lacks performance in revitalizing the carpet and removing dirt. It did an exemplary job at removing stains that were set in for multiple months, however it failed to brighten the carpet as it claimed it would. The machine was easy to use, and very easy to push, however it did not do a very good job. There were still some stains that were in the carpet, and the carpet failed to get any brighter after the Sonic Duo was used as directed.

Here is a video of using the Sonic Duo:

Here is a video of the results after I used the Sonic Duo:

Hardwood Performance:

On hard floors, such as hardwood the sonic duo excelled and did an amazing job cleaning, requiring very little effort to do an amazing job at making the floors shiny and removing spots. The floors looked almost polished after I was finished, and only used the hard floor cleaner that came inside the box. The Sonic Duo required very little effort to use, allowing itself to be pushed along the floor using its Airglide technology without any real effort at all.

Here is a video of the Sonic Duo on hardwood:

Tile Performance:

On tile the Sonic duo does a great job of scrubbing away tough stains, using its weight, cleaning formula and fast moving heads together to form a great cleaning combination. The three all work together to power away most stains and dirt on the floor with just one or two passes. Some stubborn stains required a little more, and for those I just turned the speed up and held the Sonic Duo over the spot for a few seconds. When I did that almost every time the Sonic Duo would get the spot off of the floor.

Here is a video of the Sonic Duo on Tile:

Stone and Granite Performance

On stone and granite the Sonic Duo is quite good with the scrubby strip on the hard floor pad loosening the dirt and the noodle part of the pad getting into all of the nooks and crannies. Here is a picture of the Hard floor pad where you can see all three parts of the pad, soft, scrubby, and noodle:

The three work quite well and get a LOT of dirt out of the floor, which can make the pad quite dirty very quickly but gets the floor SPOTLESS! The stone was amazingly clean after I finished cleaning it. The granite on the other hand got streaky after I used the formula, however I do not blame the Sonic Duo as the water is quite hard here, and the granite gets streaky with almost anything.

Here is a video of the Sonic Duo cleaning stone:

 

Hard floor polishing performance:

Although the sonic duo does a good job already on hard floors and gets them quite shiny, Shark sells a polish that can be used on the floors to make them shine even further. I picked some up (my Sonic Duo didn’t come with any) and got to work. The Sonic Duo does a great job at doing all of the work for you, and allowing the floors to get out their true beauty. The process is very easy, makes the floor spotless, and does not make the floor slippery, like some waxes and polishes. The polish is a great value, and I highly recommend picking some up if you have a Sonic Duo.

Here is a video of me polishing the floor with the Sonic Duo:

Shark Sonic Duo News

To read my full review click here

 

Update 5-12-13

You can read my pre-review blog where I post my findings and videos as I am still doing my tests for a full review.

To read my pre-review and see the videos click here.

Update 5-9-13

I got my new Shark Sonic Duo in today! I made a small teaser video for it, and will be getting more videos up soon. For now have a look at my teaser video below!

OLD NEWS BELOW!

Hello readers,

I have news on the Shark Sonic Duo, I will be getting one very soon so be on the lookout for my unboxing video, then my review video and blog post! In the meantime I will be putting up some more articles soon, but not exactly what you might be expecting.

Stay tuned, things are going to get exciting soon!

Logdog321 for VacBin signing off!

HAAN SI-70

As you may or may not know I have hard floors in addition to carpet, both in my house and in my testing areas. These hard floors get dirty just like the carpets and also need a thorough cleaning like everything else. I previously used a Bissell machine to clean my hardwood, tile and linoleum until my hard water broke the steam release valve and steam started shooting out the side and the unit died. After an autopsy was conducted and the machine was buried I went on the hunt for a new one.

Hard Floor Performance

The HAAN SI-70 has a pretty good trick up its sleeve compared to many other machines on the market in that the steam unit can be pulled out and used as a handheld unit. This is great (and I have a whole section talking about it later) but most people are buying this machine for its performance on the floor. This machine does a good job on the floor, using 212 degree steam to clean the floors and microfiber pads to scrub the floor and absorb the water left behind. This steam dries very quickly and does a very good job at cleaning, although some stubborn spots persisted and I had to take out the hand unit to blast them away. This machine had a few troubles getting coffee spots off of hardwood, but outside of that did a very good job.

Carpet Performance

The HAAN SI-70 also has a carpet attachment that can be put on the unit for steaming your carpets and area rugs. This is nice for sanitation purposes and to get even more dirt out of the carpet. When I tried the carpet steamer I was able to remove more dirt after I steamed than after I just vacuumed. In addition the steamer was able to remove a large amount of smell in the carpet. The steamer also snaps on easily and can be ready to use in just a few minutes.

Attachment Performance

One of the coolest features of the machine, and something that isn’t available with other machines is the unique ability to use attachments. This feature is quite easy to use as you just have to squeeze two buttons and the steam unit detaches from the main body. After the steam unit is detached it can be used to steam off stubborn spots on your floor, or an attachment put on. In the box there are attachments for a small cleaning head, a grout cleaning brush and a 90 degree elbow. All of these attachments just slide onto the steam unit and are ready to use instantly. All of these attachments work pretty well at cleaning, with the steam unit generating a very powerful stream of steam.

Overall

With the average price of the unit being $129.99 the machine is a good buy, with sales being able to drop the price down to $99.99 a wallet friendly price. Although this machine isn’t the cheapest in the steam mop field, it does a great job and has AMAZING build quality compared to its competitors. While most other machines creak and flex the HAAN stays solid. I feel the machine does a great job on my hardwood and tile, getting most of the dirt. On linoleum the machine also cleans quite well getting everything I put down and let dry. To say it bluntly, this machine works. This is a machine where you don’t work for a good clean, a good clean works for you.

Score 8/10

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Kirby Vacuum Review

This machine is tough to write a review of, on one hand it is one of the few models made mostly of metal and will last you a long time, but on the other hand being metal means it is quite heavy and hard to carry. This machine is not like any other machine on the market, and in many ways has some great advantages, but in other ways it has some big drawbacks.

Floor Cleaning

In one word, Wow. This machine has a LOT of power and does not hold itself back when put to cleaning. This machine employs a dirty fan system, with the fan being less than three inches from the floor, causing the airflow on this machine to be tremendous at the point of floor contact. The motor is also VERY powerful, and at times this can be a bit of a problem (think sucking up a smaller rug). The machine is raised and lowered manually through two pedals on the front wheels. This must be done to set the height every time you wish to vacuum your floors. Although the brushroll on this machine is a softer one (a stiffer version is available for those with pet hair) the airflow at the floor head more than makes up for it, creating amazing cleaning power. This brushroll is connected to the main motor shaft (that also runs the fan and transmission) through a belt and the BeltLifter. The BeltLifter is a bit complicated for those who haven’t used a Kirby vacuum before, but it is a great feature as it will properly load the belt and twist it for you as needed.

Filtration

This machine is a bagged machine, and has a variety of bags that can be used in it for varying levels of filtration. The lowest level of filtration is a paper bag that restricts airflow quickly and leaks some dust but will get the job done and is pretty cheap. The middle level of filtration is a cloth aftermarket bag made by EnviroCare, this bag is pretty good at keeping in the dirt and dust but misses some fine particles. The top bag is the genuine Kirby Allergen Reduction Filter, this HEPA filter bag will capture an amazing amount of dirt, dust, allergens and more from the air being filtered through it. This bag is expensive, but does a great job at keeping the dirt in the bag and out of the air.

Attachments

When it comes to attachments there is no machine like the Kirby, bar none. The standards like a turbo brush, crevice tool and wand are done quite well, but if that’s where you stop you will miss so much of the value of the machine. This machine also has attachments for sanding/grinding, shampooing your carpets, buffing hard floors and even spraying (yep, the machine can paint your house)! Most of these are not included with the base price of the machine but they can be purchased separately, or bargained for at the time of purchase. One downside to these attachments is the amount of steps required to take off the floor head and attach the tool you want to use. This requires a bit of work to do and you have to attach the floor head when you are done using the tools.

 Ease of use

This machine is quite unique when it comes to usability, as it is a very heavy machine which makes it hard to use if you have more than one story, but also has features like a transmission to make it quite light to push. The machine will automatically apply forward or reverse motion to the back wheels when pushed forward or backward, lightening the amount of force needed to push. This really helps when the machine is sealed to the floor as it can get very hard to push when the transmission is not enabled. In addition the attachment system is somewhat hard to use and people that are new to the Kirby are often confused by it.

Conclusion

This machine is a great machine, combining durability, strength and an amazing array of attachments with a few negatives such as steps to use a tool, weight and the high cost of the machine. This machine is a great fit for those with messy environments, but no so much for those with more than one floor. Overall this machine has won the review team over, and we love the power of this machine enough to give it an almost perfect score.

 

See a video review:

Score 9/10

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Shark Rotator Lift-Away Pro Review

The Shark Rotator Lift-Away Pro is Shark’s latest vacuum cleaner, and in our tests the best one from shark to date. The original Shark Navigator was a smashing success, not in cleaning power (It was good but a bit lacking compared to the competition) but in performance to price ratio. The next versions of the navigator always found places to improve or innovate on the original but none like this. This was clearly a redesign from the ground up, and the fact that the name “Navigator” is not on the machine demonstrates that clearly. The engineers at Shark really pushed the limits of what they could do with the old ideas of the navigator, and this is a whole new paradigm. They took the best from the old series and combined it with new innovation to create an amazing machine for most users.

One thing that was a huge innovation on the old machines was the lift-away function, and it comes back better than ever on this machine. The new design is not without flaws though, with the base occasionally sticking to the motor unit when the lift-away mechanism is activated. This is a rare problem, but unfortunately must be mentioned, as in our tests (as well as everyday use) the machine will fail to lift away, and must be shaken to detach properly. When this bug does not appear (about 85% of the time) the lift-away function works wonderfully. The machine is quite easy to carry in lift-away mode, and the many attachments work quite well. In addition the lift-away caddy is another great new feature, allowing the machine to be pulled behind you as you clean. The attachments on this model are also quite robust, comprising of a: wand, crevice tool, dusting brush, turbo brush, and a bare floor tool. These all are easy to use and have a storage place, either on the machine or on the caddy.

The cleaning power on the floor is also improved over previous models, with a new extra-large floor head compared to previous models. This new floor head has the signature strong shark brushroll, and a new feature to the shark brand, Headlights! This floor head is also quite large and features the swivel steering controls like previous lift-away vacuums. The swivel steering makes it easy to move around and keep control of the vacuum, while allowing you to still get into tight places. The strong suction provided by the motor unit also allows the vacuum to keep up with the brushrolls ability to dislodge dirt from the carpet fibers. This new floor head also seals to the floor like the Dyson DC41, which allows for very strong pickup performance on carpet. Like older shark brushrolls this machine still has overload protection, and the brushroll will stop when jammed before damage is caused to the floor, the machine or the item caught in the brush.

Overall this vacuum is a strong upgrade from previous Shark Navigators, and a very strong machine on its own. This machine has been redesigned to be more user friendly while having greater performance in all areas.

See our video review here:

Score: 9/10

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Dyson DC33 Review

The Dyson DC33 vacuum cleaner was the machine that became the image of the Dyson name for years, and put the signature yellow color of Dyson in the minds of vacuum shoppers everywhere. Although this model claims to be a revolution, with “no loss of suction” our tests show otherwise. In our tests not have very good suction to begin with, a strong brushroll or easy to use attachments.

Attachments

This machine makes use of Dyson’s first generation attachment system, which requires many steps to get the wand out for use, and even more to disconnect the wand from the hose if you do not want to use the wand. Although the wand is comfortable to hold it is somewhat heavy and may be hard to use for extended periods of time. The attachments that come with this machine are also somewhat sparse, consisting of a crevice tool, a multi use tool and, on the higher priced animal models, a turbo brush. Dyson has a great deal of other attachments available for purchase that are compatible with the DC33 but the included ones are a bit lackluster. The machine is also a bit prone to tipping when the hose is stretched, such as when one is cleaning the stairs or draperies.

Floor Cleaning

This machine has an automatically adjusting floor head and a brushroll that can be disabled for cleaning the hard floors. The brushroll on this unit is quite weak and will only clean the surface of your carpet, in addition the airflow on this machine can be pitiful at times, requiring multiple passes over a spot to get something on the top of the carpet. The machine also has a terrible snowplowing problem due to the self adjusting head, this means that large debris will be pushed rather than sucked up by the machine. Medium to small sized debris don’t fare well either as the vacuum will pass over multiple times without picking up a thing. The bin does a great job of disguising this, as it fluffs up the dirt that was collected to make it appear like more was collected than there actually was. This fluffing action actually kicks up dirt within the bin that the filters must then attempt to remove, clogging them and requiring you to wash them.

Final Words

Overall this vacuum is quite disappointing for the claims it makes. In addition the high price of the machine is a huge detractor, as you are not paying for high performance in this case but beautiful design that does not perform well.

 

Check Out our video Review

Score 3/10 (more…)

Neato XV Robot Review

The Neato XV series of robot vacuums are a radical departure form previous robots that were sold as “vacuums” in the past. Other machines that were marketed as vacuums were just glorified sweepers that bounced around the room randomly. These machines were good at keeping the surface of your carpet clean, but failed to get ANY deep embedded dirt. I have tried various models from iRobot and other manufactures over the past few years but none have managed to actually vacuum, merely sweeping the top of the carpet. This machine is the first real robot that can be called a vacuum. This machine also does not randomly bounce around the room like others but instead employs a laser to create a map of the room. With this map it will plan out a path through the room and cover every spot in the room once. Also unlike previous robots the Neato does not bump into your walls and furniture  but will see them with its laser and not touch them. By not going over some spots many times and others once it can save energy and devote that extra energy to cleaning. This translates into a machine that has a powerful vacuum, in addition to sweeping debris off of the floor. Although the machine cannot replace a full sized vacuum it does do quite a good job at keeping the floors clean in between. The machine will also run automatically on a schedule so it can clean when you are away.

Although the machine will occasionally get stuck on things like a lamp or a chair leg, most of the time (98%) it will detect and avoid the obstruction. Even when it does get stuck, about 75% of the time it is able to free itself and continue cleaning. When it cannot free itself and continue cleaning the house. To keep the machine from going places that it might get stuck, or out of places you do not want it to clean you can place a magnetic strip down. This strip looks like a black threshold and acts like a wall to the robot. When the robot detects the strip it will act as if the strip is a wall that it cannot touch.

For arround $400 it can be expensive for a supplemental vacuum, but after you see how much work and time this machine saves you it is hard to go back to the old way of cleaning again. This machine will truly change the way you think about cleaning and will make your home much cleaner.

Here is a video review:

Score: 7/10

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Dyson DC41 Review

When the DC41 came in we were excited, in the past we had not had good results with Dyson vacuums in our testing process. We really hoped that this would be the one they got right, and finally was worth the price. I am happy to preface this review with the fact that this is the first Dyson I would use in my house.

Review:

This machine is the combination of third generation Dyson ball technology and third generation Dyson cyclone technology, dubbed Radial Root Cyclone. The new ball is smaller, much easier to maneuver and more powerful that both of the two previous generations. The new ball also has the hoses between the bin and the floor head integrated into it, saving space and lowering the center of gravity. This makes it easier to maneuver around your space, and clean efficiently. The ball also works with the floor head to maintain a seal to the surface being cleaned. This seal helps the machine clean effectively by keeping the suction from leaking out of the brush chamber. This allows the machine to get great performance on fine dirt that is in the carpet, and effective cleaning in a residential setting.

The new cyclone technology is a HUGE step up from previous cyclone technology, as it now has smaller cyclones in addition to the large cyclones on previous machines. The large cyclones filter out larger particles, while the higher speed small cyclones filter out small dust and sand from the air stream. These cyclones work together to keep most dirt out of the filters and in the bin, a large step up from previous models. This machine will keep the filters and air cleaner than any Dyson before it, promising huge gains in performance.

The machine does not have many attachments that come with it, even though it has a great wand release system. For the high price a few more of the well designed Dyson attachments would have been greatly appreciated. That said the attachments that came with the machine performed quite well and are very nice to use. The machine also is very quick to convert from floor use to tool use, a large plus as some vacuums can take a great deal of steps and be cumbersome to the user. The hose offers good performance as well, being able to handle a large volume of debris being sucked up.

The floor head performs quite well, with a very nice brushroll that has the power to get deep into the pile unlike previous Dyson machines that were quite weak. This new design also ensures that the floor head creates a seal with the floor, keeping the suction concentrated and cleaning at a high efficiency. This does create a snowplowing problem, as when you try to pick up large debris the head will push them rather than allow them to enter the brush chamber and be sucked up. This is not as much of a problem as some others as you can easily detach the wand, suck up the large particles, and resume vacuuming your floors. This machine will also automatically adjust between different floor types, and can have its brush turned off for cleaning hard floors.

Overall this is a great new machine from Dyson, and I am happy to see that they are competitive with this machine in the marketplace. Although the price is high, the machine certainly performs quite well.

See our video review here:

Score: 9/10

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Shark Navigator Lift-Away Pro review

Navigator Lift-Away Pro Review

The Shark Navigator Lift-Away Pro vacuum is a great machine for most homes and needs. This machine is designed to be lightweight when you need to carry it, and get a deep down clean at the same time. One of the ways the machine stays light is by allowing itself to “Lift-Away” from the base, by that I mean push a button on the side and it pops off the floor head, becoming a handheld canister. This is great when you need to use the attachments as the machine is a bit top heavy and can tip over when used with the floor head. The attachments that come with the machine are quite robust, with the key that sets this model apart is the Dust-Away attachment, which is best described as a vacuum nozzle with a cloth behind it (think Swiffer but washable). This attachment allows one pass cleaning on hard surfaces, with the vacuum getting the larger particles, and the washable pad getting the fine dust from your hard floors. There are also other attachments in the box like the Turbo brush, dusting brush and a crevice tool.

When used with carpet this machine does a great job, picking up a great amount of dirt and making cleaning quick with it’s wide floor head. This floor head has stiff bristles that are designed to get into the carpet fibers and extract lots of dirt. This action, combined with the powerful suction allows the machine to extract lots of dirt, dust and even pet hair. In our tests the machine did an excellent job on short and medium pile carpet. The floor head also will automatically adjust between different floor types to keep the cleaning power maximized and the head sealed to the floor.

Overall this vacuum has great performance and is highly recommended, the only negative about it is it’s somewhat heavy weight. The bin on this vacuum is also very large, and the cord is quite long, allowing you to clean your entire home without stopping to empty the bin. the HEPA filtration will even keep dust in the vacuum and out of the air that you will breathe.

Check out our video review here:

Score: 9/10

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