As technology advances, we are speedily moving towards the time when domestic robots will be a common thing. I recently got the chance to experience one such domestic robot. It is iRobot’s Roomba 671 robotic vacuum cleaner. Besides the thrill of trying out a robot, I was actually quite impressed with its performance.
Here’s my review of Roomba 671:
When you hear the words ‘floor cleaning robots‘ you might imagine a robot with little legs to walk around the room and arms to sweep and mop the floor. Well, Roomba is nothing like that. It is black in colour and has a disk shape. It is only 9.2 centimeters high and measures 34 centimeters in diameter. This small size and low height helps it to navigate around and under the furniture. It can easily go under beds, sofas etc. to clean under them. It has an RCON sensor on one side to help it find its dock. The Bin Release button is on the opposite side of this sensor. Pressing it releases the dust bin with the filter.
Between the sensor and the bin button, the faceplate of the Roomba carries the three control buttons for Clean, Dock, and Spot. The Clean button starts or pauses the cleaning process. The Dock button makes the Roomba return to its dock. The Spot button makes the Roomba focus the cleaning on a particular area.
There is a handle on the top of its faceplate to carry it around from one room to another, if needed. It weighs only 3.0 kg, so carrying it is not a problem.
Overall, Roomba 671 looks sleek and is designed for efficient cleaning even in hard to reach places.
iRobot Roomba 671 uses a 3-stage cleaning system:
- It has an Edge-Sweeping brush near one side which sweeps the debris away from the edges of the room.
- It has Multi-Surface Brushes that lift dirt, dust, hair etc. from floor and carpets.
- Once all the debris is brushed out, the Vacuum Suction sucks it into Roomba’s waste bin.
I tried Roomba 671 over several days. It worked very well in vacuuming the floors and carpet. It is fast, efficient, and does a good job at cleaning hard to reach places and the corners of the room. Fibers, hair, dust particles, it sweeps up all and sucks in efficiently. But it cannot clean liquid spillage or big debris like broken glass.
Roomba uses the iAdapt Navigation technology to help it navigate the area while cleaning. This technology helps Roomba to navigate around furniture, avoid stairs and other drop-off danger areas. Roomba is also equipped with a Dirt-Detect Technology. When it detects more dirt in a certain area, it automatically does a Spot cleaning there.
When I started trying Roomba 671, it wandered around like a lost soul for a couple of days. I actually felt sorry to see it so helpless in finding its way. But that improved quickly and in later days, Roomba started navigating around my rooms more efficiently.
I did notice its continuing trouble while docking itself. If the Roomba was near its dock, docking was achieved easily. But if the dock was at some distance, Roomba took a long time in finding it. Also, sometimes, if it arrived at the dock from the side, the dock got pushed away. And then Roomba wandered around the whole room before finding it again.
It cannot detect an obstruction in its way without bumping into it. Only after the bump does it change its direction.
User can remotely control Roomba Robots by smartphone apps and virtual assistants like Alexa. Roomba 671 is also compatible with iRobot HOME app and Alexa and IFTTT. When I tried, controlling my Roomba with the phone app and Alexa, I experienced no problem at all. Using the app, I could also setup upto 7 cleaning schedules. The device and the smartphone need to remain connected to Wi-Fi for the scheduling to work. The app allows the user to choose different cleaning times for different days of the week. It also displays cleaning status and reports.
Cleaning the Cleaner:
Roomba 671 made vacuuming the floors and the carpet very easy. But this robotic vacuum cleaner requires regular cleaning too. It uses brushes to sweep up dirt, dust, hair etc. Like its dust bin (0.6 bin) and filter, users can remove the brushes for cleaning. You can remove even its front wheel to clean its socket. Dismantling filter, brushes and the front wheel from Roomba’s bottom side is easy. The user manual gives clear instruction for it. However, removing the hair entangled on the brushes took a long time. The Roomba 671 did not come with any cleaning tool. I had to use a pair of scissors to cut away the hair to remove them from the brush. It took about half an hour to clean the Roomba.
Overall, I enjoyed using Roomba 671. Operating it is very easy. It has only three control buttons. Even a child can use it. Carrying it from one room to the other is easy too. Its Lithium Ion battery charges in about two hours and discharges after about an hour of cleaning. There’s much scope of improvement there. Roomba’s return back to its dock has scope of improvement too. As for the cleaning, Roomba 671 proved itself to be a very quick and efficient vacuum cleaner. Maybe someday it will learn to clean itself too! But even as it is now, it can take the hassle and labour out of vacuuming. However, this convenience is not cheap. The MRP of Roomba 671 on Amazon is INR 37,900. It is currently available at the price of INR 26,900.
Check out Roomba 671 HERE.