The Roomba 870 is the size of a large frying pan and removes dirt, dust, hair and debris from all floor types
My first encounter with a robot was the LG HOM-BOT vacuum cleaner a few years back. Strangely, even now the one functional robot you can bring home is a vacuum bot, and they are getting better. iRobot has been a leading player in vacuum cleaning robots in a host of models. While the small Indian market has predominantly been the domain of LG and local players like Milagrow, it seems iRobot now wants to make an impression here.
The iRobot Roomba 870 is the size of a large frying pan and stands about 3.6 inches tall and weighs 3.8 kg. So while the Roomba can move about on its own, it is not difficult for even a child to take it around if needed. Under the Roomba are tangle-free AeroForce extractors that can pick up pretty much anything on the floor. In fact, while cleaning up after the review, I saw quite a few pieces of my son’s building blocks. Yes, this is one powerful beast.
What is good?
Technology for me has to bring in convenience and not complicate life. That is what the Roomba 870 does. The vacuum robot just needs to be charged on its dock and as soon as you hit the clean button, it is off on a stroll around the house hoovering the dust and gobbling up dirt in its path. But the best thing here is that you don’t have to hit the clean button. Just schedule the time of the day, or night, when you want Roomba to do its cleaning rounds.
The Roomba is no dumb robot. It knows its way around the house and will not fall off the stairs or get stuck at the first obstacle. It finds a way around obstacles and since our cramped urban homes have a lot of sofa legs and chairs to negotiate, this is a good feature.
Here is where it gets interesting. The Roomba charges itself on a dock and does not have wires that go into it. So if there is a scheduled cleaning it can move out of the dock on its own and go about its job. But this also means when the cleaning is over, or when it is running out of battery it comes back to the dock on its own.
There is also a dock button on pressing which it finds its way back to the dock wherever it is. And it does find the way, even in a layout as complex as that of my house. This is what robots are supposed to do. You can also prevent the Roomba from venturing into no-go zones, like your baby’s play area using the Virtual Wall Halo that comes in
the box. Keep one of these in the no-go zone and the Roomba will avoid it during cleaning.
What is not so good?
For something that works so effortlessly, I wanted the Roomba to be a bit quieter. In fact, this one is as loud as a regular vacuum cleaner and there is no way I am going to let it run when everyone is asleep. The noise levels mean it is better to schedule this for when there is no one in the house.
While Roomba does not have wires to get entangled in, but it can get entangled in other cords of which there is no dearth in our homes. So be careful and secure those loose wires if you have a Roomba prowling in your house.
The iRobot Roomba 870 vacuum cleaning robot brings to your home a convenience most of us can get used to in our busy urban lives. There are other options that do the same, but at the moment the iRobot seems to be most feature rich and dependable. Go ahead and get one, especially if you house has a dust issue.
Estimated street price: Rs 62,900