The big trend in the field of robot vacuum cleaners is wifi. In the CES 2016, you can see different manufacturers showcasing their models, all of which comes with wifi capbility. So, how does that improve their functionality and the benefits they bring to our homes? Let’s take a look at some of the best wifi robot vacuum cleaners for 2016.
Neato Connected review
Neato is one of the first robotic vacuum cleaner brand to introduce their wifi upgrade robots. Called Neato Connected, its basic upgrade is that you can now control the robot via your mobile devices, be it running IOS or Android platform. The benefit of this is that you can activate the robot even when at home so that your home is already sparking clean when you arrive home. You can even direct the robot movement using the app so you can make it clean whichever exact spot you want.
Another benefit of being wifi connected is that it is now easier to update its firmware. Users have noticed that the firmware automatically upgrades from 1.0 to 2.0 and to whatever current version it is at, when the robot is connected to the Internet. This constant upgrading is a nice way to improve the performance of the robot via more intelligent software.
Besides being wifi enabled, the Neato Connected has improved cleaning capabilities. According to their press release, this model is now twice as fast so you can either clean twice the space in the same amount of time or you can half the time cleaning the same area. This claim has been backed up by reviews on Amazon. From what I read, the time to clean 1800 feet is around one hour and 15 minutes using one charge.
In terms of cleaning performance, this is where the tire hits the road. According to the top reviews, the Neato Connected runs and cleans very well. It seems to have an learning navigation ability which makes the robot more efficient the more times he is activated. I don’t think this feature was available in older versions of Neato but it is definitely a great addition. Based on this observation, I would advice buyer to be less demanding during the robot vacuum cleaner’s first few runs as it is meant to improved once it absorbs more data on the layout and shape of the house.
Roomba 980 review
The powerhouse in robotic vacuum cleaner market has also introduced its own version of wifi robot cleaner: the 980 model. Like all wifi connected devices, the connectivity is the main selling point here. In this instance, the 980 doesn’t disappoint when you do a Neato Connected vs Roomba 980 comparison.
The app, besides allowing you to control the robot anywhere and directing its movement, has plenty of options that the Neato Connected is missing. For one, there is bin alert function that warns when the litter bin is filling up. It also has a cleaning preference mode that sets you set up stuff like how many runs you want the robot to make. There is even a scheduling feature to let you preset when your roomba 980 to clean. All in all, there seems to be more functions with the Roomba 980 app vs the Neato Connected.
Beside the wifi connectivity, another big improvement in this new model is the use of camera functions that at makes this on par with Neato’s laser assist technology. In the past, Roomba robot cleaners are seen just bumping around with no real ‘vision’. However, with the new camera now installed, the 980 is able to move in a more systematic and targeted way, which cuts down the duplication of route and cleaning timing.
Dyson 360 review
I have wrote about this model before it was released. My view of it was quite negative as it seems too tall and have no side brushes. However, after reading through the actual reviews coming in, it seems the Dyson 360 might be a winner in disguise!
Dyson 360 is probably one of the earliest to announce their wifi capability. The app is able to tell you how much of the home has been cleaned, the time it has taken, and other interesting numbers. It also has a cleaning schedule function as well as the mandatory remote activation feature.
The movement and the cleaning capability is what makes the Dyson 360 stand out. Let’s talk the movement first. Because it is mount with a video camera, it is more laser target in selecting its route, without the usual clumsy navigation like the roomba model. Coupled with a triangulation technology, it seeks to minimize the number of times it need to retrace its steps to save time.
Another great thing about the movement capability is the use of tracks on the side. With this, the Dyson 360 is able to mount carpets and uneven surfaces much more efficiently than the rest of the models featured here. And because it can overcome such obstacles easily, it doesn’t matter the cleaning pattern of the robot and slows it down.
Cleaning capability wise, it has also reinvented the way dirt is being removed. Most model with rotating side brushes tend to push the dirt away as easily as it pulls them in. The Dyson 360 avoids this situation by not using brushes entirely. Instead, its bristles and suction power ensure dirt is only sucked in, and not push up. In fact, the claim is that the Dyson 360’s suction function is 100 times more powerful than what the current brands are offering. This feature is what makes the robotic vacuum cleaner able to remove large amounts of dirt effectively off your floor.
The only downside to this vacuum robot is the price. It is currently selling in Japan for a staggering USD1,200. That makes it the most expensive among the brands so far reviewed.
The Samsung vacuum robot wifi devices have finally hit the public with its CES 2016 showing. The coolest thing about being wifi enabled is that the app will generate a map of your home which will also be stored in the Powerboto VR9350’s memory. What this does is to make you and the robot on the same page and controlling virtually becomes easier. For example, you can touch an area of the map and the robot will be directed to it for spot cleaning. The app also comes with the standard remote control and scheduling function but there seems to be no alert feature to tell you the bin is full.
Beside connectivity, Samsung also promises 40% more suction power relative to its previous models. Whether that is enough to beat Dyson 360’s incredible cleaning prowess is yet to be seen.
Pricing wise, the Turbo VR9350 costs the same as the Dyson 360, which is USD1,200. Whether US consumer are willing to bear this high cost given the lower price points of Roomba and Neato is something to consider.
With wifi now part of almost every new robot vacuum cleaner model in the market, I think it is safe to say we are going to be looking at some creative features being made available in the coming years. Stay tuned!