Occasionally more of the same can be a good thing, and it looks like Dyson knew not to mess with everything they did right the first time around with what we called the best pet owners hand vacuum available. We're going to have revise that claim with the release of the Dyson Digital Slim, a cordless cleaning tool which brings up the argument you might not need a full size vacuum at all...
On a day to day basis, we've been avid fans of the Dyson DC31 Animal hand vacuum; it's held up well under constant use and there's been little to complain about except for the limited battery time. Just recently the DC31 came to the rescue after we had to endure a grain weevil infestation, and the slim and powerful suction of the Animal vac helped extract embedded insects in dependable fashion.
It's no Miele, which we still depend upon for serious HEPA-quality, allergy busting cleaning. But the Animal is fantastic for quick cleanup duties, specifically around the bathroom, kitchen and anywhere pets reside, so we were curious to see how this update differed from its handheld predecessor. We still believe bag-style canisters vacuums is where its at for the ultimate in clean-exhaust performance, especially for allergy-sufferers, but Dyson definitely converted us in the handheld department.
Except for the colours and some labels, cosmetically the DC35 and DC31 look practically the same. The help phone number on the back of the unit has been replaced by a website (how digital of them), while the "65 AW" max mode button has been changed to MAX. Everything else feels the same while in use, but internally the DC35 has a motorized cleaner head connection, which works with the most distinguishing feature offered by the upgrade: a detachable long-reach wand and a motorized cleaner head.
Using the same cyclonic action Dyson is famed for, the Digital Slim is really just an Animal DC31 with a longer reach and carbon fiber floor brush tool. That being said, we discovered the inclusion of both of these update accessories, pardon the pun, extended the utility of the vacuum in day to day basis. Where we once had to crouch or lay down low to reach offending unwelcome particles under the couch or around corners, the extendable wand made life easier, while the ball-style articulating motorized floor tool did more than capable job of cleaning our FLOR carpet tiles of lighter debris and pet hair (when we attached the older DC31 unit without the motorized action connection, cat hair stayed put, illustrating how effective a rotating brush can be). In combination, the Digital Slim's wand and head combo has let us keep the full-size vacuum stored away for longer periods of time.
With a bin capacity of just .09 gallons, you're going to have to empty the unit regularly; we recommend emptying outdoors to prevent dust feedback.
The unit's fade-free lithium ion battery afforded us a marginally improved amount of operational time; the Digital Slim is rated for 15 minutes of regular power use or 6 minutes of MAX power. We almost never use the regular mode, as MAX mode performance distinguishes these Dyson's from similar handheld competitors. You still have to hold the trigger the whole time while in use, so we're hoping the DC3X model offers a trigger lock so we the issue of cleaner's hand cramps caused by constant trigger pull can be alleviated.
The Bottom Line: If you're a small space apartment dweller who doesn't have room for a full sized vacuum or want a secondary vacuum around the house for a myriad of cleanup duties, you'd be hard pressed to match the performance and features of the Dyson DC35 Digital Slim. It's part vacuum, part Ghostbusters weapon and one of the easiest vacuums to maneuver around the house.
Pros: The best hand vacuum gets better; addition of extending wand and motorized floor tool improves utility and ease; improved battery life; new dark blue colourway is nicer than DC31 cosmetically; quick charging time.
Cons: Even with improved battery life, sometimes can feel like a countdown trying to finish cleaning before battery dies out; no power "on" lock; expensive; not a HEPA quality replacement for severe allergy sufferers.
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.