Published on September 28th, 2016 | by Greg0
Neato Botvac Connected: A Vacuum With Brains (And Wifi!)
Even before the connected lifestyle and the automated home became modern buzzwords, the first robotic vacuums came out. They might not have been as smart as smartphones, but they certainly became popular enough to firmly lodge themselves in the popular imagination. And the newest versions have expanded on the basic functions, bringing models into the wireless world with app-enabled features.
The top-of-the-line and most sophisticated robot vacuum we’ve seen is the Neato Botvac Connected, which can be controlled from anywhere in the world. Like it’s older siblings, the onboard lasers and other sensors do a great job of mapping out the space of your home, apartment, or office. But now you can use your phone as a remote control and to configure your device, something missing from previous generations. The unique D-shape looks fairly similar, and includes accessories like a spare roller and spare filter, but there are some noticeable interior changes- the Connected is a little wiser, a bit more thorough, and now it can even notify you when it’s finished cleaning. It’s still got a charging dock which you plug into an outlet, and it will automatically find it and recharge as necessary.
Another upgrade: 4,200mAh lithium ion batteries over the former nickel metal hydride cells. This means it can run longer between charges, up to 120 minutes depending on your settings- though if you are like most people, you likely set it and forget it as it runs while you’re away at work. There are two cleaning mode options now, with the default setting being a ‘Turbo’ mode, but Neato has also added a battery-saving and slightly quieter ‘Eco’ mode as well. There is even a spot cleaning option, which can focus on an area that needs attention (perhaps during a party, where you don’t need the entire cycle to run but just want some crumbs picked up, and your guests to be impressed).
A couple of years ago, we tested out the excellent Neato XV Signature Pro, and it’s been helping keep the offices tidy since. The Botvac Connected is more powerful still, with plenty of suction power. Scheduling and setup can still take a bit to figure out- download the free Android or iOS app, make sure the Botvac is charged, and then connect it to your wifi network (which may take a few tries). Then, you’ll be able to literally press Play and watch it do it’s thing, or control it in manual mode. Note that, like with any vacuum, you should probably pick up any bigger items first- shoes, clothing, anything that might obstruct the poor vacuum. You may also want to use the included magnetic tape to create custom borders that the Botvac will notice and obey.
The future is clearly at our doorstep, if a cleaner home, fewer chores, and less hassle are all part of your vision of the Internet of Things and home automation technologies. Especially if you have pets, litter and food and hair are scattered everywhere, all day and every day, and a robotic vacuum is the best solution. Granted, you’ll have to spend a fair bit- but considering the price of a maid, and depending on the value of your time, it can pay itself off quickly. Whether you need the smartphone and wifi connectivity is a different question, as it does increase the price- but the Neato Botvac Connected is a great value compared to the competition, and is fast, efficient, cute, and easy to use- everything you want from a domestic robot. Available now, online and in stores, expect to spend around $699.