The Dyson DC16 is the most masculine object I have ever owned. For certain values of owned of course, in that my girlfriend owns one, my parents own one, my friends own them, I do not. So I thought I would write a little about why I like it and why I think it’s a successful product.
The key to the allure of the DC 16 that it actually delivers on the promise of a handheld vacuum cleaner. That is, it’s a vacuum cleaner, in your hand rather than being an ineffective noisemaker and distinct step down on a dustpan and brush. This may be a pricepoint issue, the DC16 sits invitingly at £99 (about the same price as a Nano) which brackets it much more closely to the conventional vacuum market than the throwaway handheld you’d get in Argos. Whilst there are other things I will talk about that are important to the success of the DC16 nothing approaches this for significance. It works.
I describe the device as ‘Suppressed Power’. It seems barely constrained, bulging unexpectedly all over, with an aggressive profile and sub-machine gun heft. Rather than pincering the device like a remote control as you would with a normal handheld you have to shake hands with a DC16 as you would a man. A slightly scary man who would crush you just that little bit more than was necessary. Then bring in the long, positive trigger action where you have to really mean it to start it up. The long draw isn’t really that hard to keep pressed but it does create a more ‘bursty’ cleaning experience which fits nicely with the hunt and peck behaviour of a handheld and probably helps with the battery life as well. Of course you won’t want or need longer cleaning sessions because the DC16 actually cleans (see above) and thus your dirt will go away.
The final aesthetic point is aural. The start up whine is second only to a Jubilee line train’s acceleration noise for sheer industrial beauty. This is a noise that carries through on the promises made by the industrial design, that you’re strapped into something that looks more like RoboCop should be carrying it than should be present in a modern British home. Something that’s slightly out of control, that needs to be watched like a dog on a lead.
This is only a very little review, so you should just go on and buy one of the things to experience it for yourself. It’ll make you happy.