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Summary : Favorite features include: A sleek 4-inch profile, The easy-to-clean HEPA filters, The iAdapt navigation system, Cliff detection, An internal clock
Too busy to vacuum, or is pet hair and other dirt overtaking your home? Enter the iRobot 780 by Roomba, the newest robot vacuum in the line. This top of the line model features many vast improvements over earlier incarnations, with upgraded navigation systems, HEPA filters and a sleek design that sings to the tech lover in all of us.
A trial run of the Roomba iRobot 780 reveals that this incarnation of the popular robot vacuum is a vast improvement over previous models. It came assembled, charged and ready to use right out of the box. I was a little concerned about noise, but the iRobot is the quietest model yet. I wouldn’t take a nap while it was making its rounds, but there’s no need to leave the house when it’s running.
- Improved navigation system with adaptive logic.
- Easily programmable – set it to specific times, areas and frequency levels.
- It doesn’t damage surfaces or objects in its path.
- Quieter than the competition, and quieter than earlier models.
- New technology results in better and more complete dirt cleanup.
- Two HEPA filters siphon the dust and pollen from the air as it runs.
- Preparation is key – you must still move objects and furniture to provide access.
- Small dust bin needs frequent emptying, especially in large rooms or homes.
- Ongoing maintenance to clean the sweepers and filters.
- Occasional manual vacuuming to ensure a deep clean is still necessary.
- The cost puts the iRobot firmly into the luxury item column.
Inside the circular black robot is new tech and sensors that greatly enhances performance. The iRobot 780 features “Dirt Detect Series 2” technology, which helps it seek out and destroy even the smallest crumbs that reach your floor. The acoustic sensor finds the small stuff like sand and cookie crumbs, while an additional optical sensor searches out the larger dirt particles.
The iRobot is no longer reduced to frequent, short cleaning sessions before it has to make its way back to the dock. The longer battery life gives it up to 90 minutes of cleaning time before it has to park and recharge. Fortunately, it can dock and recharge itself. This is plenty of time for the little robot to clean a large room as it makes its rotations. Basic settings give it 25 minutes to clean a room no matter the size, but you can adjust this to fit your needs. The longer battery life is counteracted by the small dust bin size. Frequent use helps minimize overfilling problems, and the simple unlatch and tip out emptying process doesn’t require too much hands-on time.
Robot vacuums really shine on hard floors, and the iRobot is no exception, but it does a suitable light cleaning on carpets and rugs. It may have trouble with thick carpets or those with heavy pile, not getting them quite as clean as a traditional vacuum would. With multiple programming options, from basic room-by-room time designations to the customizable “Light House” program, you can fiddle with the sleek touch panel until you get just the settings you need and desire.
Although the iRobot 780 is smart on cleaning, it still runs into some of the issues common to a robot vacuum. Multiple room cleaning can be cut short if it bumps a door shut and locks itself in. You must still move furniture if the iRobot can’t fit underneath, but its low profile does give it more access to more areas compared to previous models. If it does get stuck, it won’t sit there spinning its wheels. It will turn itself off until you can retrieve it, which can turn into a game of hide-and-seek depending on where it’s stuck.
A robot vacuum isn’t for you if you want a truly hands-free cleaning method. In that case, you are better off with a maid or cleaning service. The filters and brushes require cleaning after every three sessions, which can be as often as once a day in larger homes. You must also empty the bin after the daily cleaning, or even more often depending on the amount of dirt and the size of the rooms. Fortunately, you only need to program it once so maintenance is only after the iRobot does its job, and not before. You can still rush out the door in the morning and be assured clean floors await you upon your return.
The key to best performance is regular use. This isn’t meant to clean up after a house party, but for collecting dust and dirt from regularly cleaned surfaces. Take advantage of the simple program options to run it a few times a week, and you can likely reduce manual vacuuming to a once a month chore. Although pricey, it’s worth it if clean floors are high priority but your time is worth even more.
Favorite features include:
- A sleek 4-inch profile that fits under most furniture. No more coming home to your Roomba lodged under the sofa, spinning her wheels in vain.
- The easy-to-clean HEPA filters trap more dust from the air, making it a boon for allergy sufferers and pet owners. You can vacuum them clean or run them through the dishwasher for a more intensive cleaning.
- The iAdapt navigation system ensures the robot vacuum covers more ground and adapts to the changing dirt level on your floors.
- Cliff detection keeps the iRobot on the level and small steps in the home no longer pose a paralyzing threat to the robot vacuum.
- Whatever your floor type, the iRobot can handle it without damage to the unit or the floor. Hardwood, tile, carpet – you name it, the iRobot can probably clean it.
- The virtual Light House feature keeps the iRobot on track and out of the rooms you don’t want it to vacuum. No more wasted time and battery power cleaning rooms that don’t need, or having to remember to shut the door to keep the Roomba out.
- An internal clock that keeps track of the days and time so your settings stay set. The iRobot remembers so you don’t have to.
Even with all these features the iRobot 780 doesn’t require an engineering degree to operate. You can use it at its most basic settings to just get the room clean, or you can go wild and program every little nuance into its stored cleaning schedule. It may seem overwhelming at first, but once you have the simple settings mastered it only takes a few quick touches to the pad to make any needed adjustments.