iRobot- Is it a revolution?
IRobot have now launched the 800 series in Europe of their Roomba model that has been out in the States for about 6 months.
The key change is that they have got rid of the brushes claiming that this will eliminate the problem of brushes getting clogged with pet and human hair. The two cylinders they claim will eliminate the problem. I have only one comment to that as an iRobot owner who cleans hers with the aid of scissors when its brushes resemble a giant hair brush - Prove it.
Send me one on review and let’s see if it can really avoid my hair being tangled in there.
They claim that they have also revolutionised the suction with Aeroforce so that it is more effective with just a 50 watt motor. Compare that to a standard vacuum with a 1600 watt engine there is a power saving to be had. So it may too have some electric savings.
Are we ready in the UK to let a robot do the vacuuming? Personally I don’t think of it as a robot but an automatic vacuum. Do I think that it will do it all for me? Not yet the dusting and other jobs will still need time and attention. I however do think that it is a valuable time saver in that I can press the button and close the door and go out. So in the same way I would put on the washing machine and leave the building.
The cylinders are now easier to remove and the battery life has been improved. That was a noticeable issue on the 500 series. However they could also do away with the screws to access the battery compartment too.
There has been no change to the scheduling arrangements and no move to add in smart phone functionality. That though I am assured would be a simple step. However, as a woman it is not required by me, as one of the executives referred to it is "being cool to be able to drive your vacuum while you are at work" It is more for the "Heck I have visitors I was not planning on" moments. It could do the basics while I am on the way home. So a little female feedback this would be a useful feature.
The colours are all muted dark greys to nothing tacky but nothing eye catching either.
The vacuum identifies the areas of high dirt with the use of a microphone and a visual sensor for soft debris.
No changes have been made to the power lead eating habits of the Roomba I am told. Mine does have an affection for my mobile phone charger, my surface charger so do be aware to tuck those well away. It has managed to pull a table lamp off my bedside table but I have no idea how it managed that. The current product manager assured me it has not eaten his speaker wires over several months of testing. So will the "hair fix" have resolved the tendency to eat cables only a test will tell in a real house and not a pristine display stand!
The Scooba and Roomba now use the same battery so that will make life simpler and both can use the same charger
iRobot have obtained a link up with Currys now so will not just be in exclusive shops such as John Lewis but will that increase their market share in the UK. A hoover for £600 that does it for you or one you push around for say £100-£200 or even a much cheaper, albeit less sophisticated, Robot one as seen recently in B and Q:
The reality is that robotics are coming and they will through scientific research be able to do more and more in our homes saving us valuable time and energy. They will be able to get our homes to hygienically clean standards while we are out .
This is the update to the scrubbing Scooba. If you think about it the early version was the Scooba 300 which in the early days was quite a revelation. Clean water to clean your floors as opposed to dunking your mop in a dirty bucket or sink. Mine initially worked well but over time it got picky about whether it’s tank was on or not and the battery failed to keep charge and had to be replaced.
Then Scooba launched the 230. Like many others I perceived that this was just a smaller version of the original scooba. It however was not and lacked the vacuum ability and had static brushes. This was aimed by the irobot team at small pristine bathrooms and not dirty kitchen floors with ground in dirt. It was aimed at the lower end market but perhaps missed it’s target.
The new 450 does still have brushes!!! So watch out those of you who have long hair like me. It however does now have a new much simpler arrangement with an easy clip on and off tank and easier to fill than the old models. The brush arrangement has been changed to make this easier to remove and clean. However there is a self clean mode but I did not like to ask if that worked on the arch enemy of long hair and pet hair!!! Only a test will tell.
Again the mop and bucket are in fairness cheaper but the water will still be dirty! However what is the time saving and freedom to do more interesting things worth to you?