At Reviewed, we've tested our fair share of smart washers and dryers. Some of them can be started remotely, while others let you customize cycles down to the very last detail. However, even the smartest washers and dryers we've seen have had one fatal flaw: in order to move laundry from washer to dryer, they require a helping hand—yours.
But the Marathon Wash-Dryer Combo changes all that. Apple alum Glenn Reid took an old idea—washing and drying your laundry in the same machine—and made it smarter. The Combo can synch with your phone for remote use, plus it gives you feedback about energy use. Talk about an update to your laundry routine!
Washer-dryer combos have been around since the 50's, and they're still popular in Europe today. But when we checked out the Marathon at CES Unveiled, we found that it had some unique advantages.
Unlike washers from the 50's, the Marathon can sync up with your phone. This allows for some cool functionalities, like the ability to activate the camera inside the unit and see how your laundry is doing from miles away. The Marathon can even flash a warning that you left your phone in one of your pants pockets before it succumbs to a damaging accidental bath. And unlike washers of the past, the Marathon tries to be green. The updatable software gives you feedback on energy consumption and provides smart grid data to allow for off-peak cleaning.
When we took the Marathon for a spin, we found the user interface quite simple to navigate. The touch screen controls were quick and responsive. The user interface was clean and easy to understand, especially because cycles names clearly denote their functions.
After starting a cycle, the Marathon will tell you how long the cycle is and at what time it will finish. The Marathon's door is easy enough to open and close, although we prefer lips rather than handles. Still, there's a lot to be said for a machine that's this straightforward to use.
Many of the washer-dryer combos you'll find in homes across Europe are condenser dryers–which means that they're extremely slow. The Marathon, on the other hand, is a vented dryer, which gives it the speed you'd expect from a typical American dryer.
Also unlike its European counterparts, the Marathon is full-sized. The general size and shape reminds us a lot of a certain Whirlpool Duet.
Although the Marathon has some of the best laundry technologies around, we do see some potential pitfalls with this machine. The first big issue is that of volume. With a 3.8-cu.-ft. capacity, the Marathon isn't exactly large. You'd have a tough time fitting a king-sized comforter in there, which puts it in stark contrast to a Samsung washer that can fit two king-sized comforters at once.
When we ran our fingers along the drums, we found a diamond steel texture reminiscent of the Samsung WF42H5000AW. Unfortunately, no washer with this kind of drum has even broken the top ten of our ranks. However, until we've gotten a chance to test the Marathon in our labs, we can't know how well it will perform.
If you have a big family with lots of laundry needs, the smaller size will definitely slow you down. So will the fact that the Marathon is a combo. With a separate washer and dryer, you can throw a new load of laundry in the dryer while you start a second load in the washer. With the Marathon, you have to wait until both the wash and dry cycles finish before you can start on the next load. So in order to make the Marathon more time efficient, you either need to do laundry more often or just have less laundry to do. That's a tall order for large families.
The final big hurdle for a lot of consumers will be price. The initial run of the Marathon will cost you $1,199. For a segment of the population, that's more than they'd be willing to spend for a washer and a dryer. Others who can afford a Marathon may be persuaded to pay an extra $300 for a washer-dryer pair that's bigger and has a proven track record.
Fresh, But Unproven
We like the ideas that the Marathon represents. It shakes up the laundry landscape in ways we didn't foresee. For single people and couples that want to save space and have a full-sized washer, the Marathon is the solution they've been waiting for. This combo showcases laundry care technologies from throughout the ages. But there are plenty of people who will find that the Marathon is just not their jam. Large families who like to do multiple loads during a single laundry day may find the Marathon too slow. Also, its $1,199 price tag may be a big reach for a lot of consumers. All we can say for certain about this combo is that we can't wait until we get it into our testing labs when it ships in mid-2016!