Along with the zombie apocalypse, the robot uprising is a real fear among the people that populate the internet. Blame it on Terminator if you want, but in reality, the mass-produced robots that have entered our homes have yet to come close to even the comically inept Rosie the Robot from The Jetsons.
Instead of autonomous robots running our households and raising our children, we have Roomba. The utility robot from iRobot has been sweeping our floors for 10 years, and while the basic task it performs has remained the same, the famous vacuuming disk has gotten smarter. Not smart enough to take over the world, or even the family room, but smart enough to keep the floors clean. Or at least clean-ish.The utility robot from iRobot has been sweeping our floors for 10 years, and while the basic task it performs has remained the same, the famous vacuuming disk has gotten smarter.
The new Roomba 790 series is the latest vacuum out of iRobot. The base functionality of the device is better than previous versions — in my testing, the 790 gathered more dirt and animal hair than my older Roomba ever did.
My home is a mixed environment of rugs, hardwood and linoleum floors, all of which the little robot deftly transitioned without skimping on cleaning of any of the surfaces. A rug with a transition of approximately one inch took the Roomba a few minutes to navigate, but it climbed up the wall of knitted cloth and gave the rug a proper robo-vacuuming.
Like previous Roombas, the new cleaner can be scheduled to operate at any time seven days a week. The included remote is primarily used to schedule the Roomba’s cleanings, but if you’re interested in some fun, it can also be used to remotely control the robot to chase your pets around.
The unit ships with three of iRobot’s Virtual Wall Lighthouse modules. These are small IR beam transmitters that have two modes. The “Virtual Wall” mode will keep the Roomba out of a particular room or area, and the “Lighthouse” mode will force the Roomba to stay in a certain room until the entire area has been cleaned. They’re helpful for high-traffic areas or rooms with perpetually dirty floors, like kitchens.
iRobot notes the Roomba 790 is especially suited to picking up pet hair along with the other standard allergens and types of dirt. I was able to test the pet hair claim in particular, as we have two cats (though they shed like four). The Roomba did a better job picking up dirt and cat hair than my old Roomba Sage for Pets 4170 did when it was new, and that’s a model made specifically for pet owners.
However, a quick push of a Dyson vacuum over areas that had just been cleaned by the Roomba yielded more dust and hair. It wasn’t a huge amount. But while the surface grime had been whisked away, the deep-down dirt was still there. And there lies the issue with the Roomba, it does a serviceable job vacuuming the home. But, it doesn’t replace a main vacuum cleaner, it only supplements one.
The hefty $700 price tag comes with enough Roomba supplies to keep the little robot sucking up dirt for years. Extra brushes, filters, edging brushes and cleaning tools all come in a tiny briefcase. Unfortunately, $700 is too much to pay for a second vacuum for most and possibly a main vacuum for those with light-traffic homes without animals.
WIRED The vacuuming power of the latest Roomba surpasses its predecessors. The virtual lighthouse beacons keep the robot in the high-traffic rooms, or keep them out of forbidden zones. Too small to harm its human owners during a robot uprising.
TIRED Expensive for a second vacuum for all but the most ardent Roomba fans. I still can’t get my cat to sit on it while it cleans the house.
Article by Roberto Baldwin (c) Product Reviews - Read full story here.