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iRobot Roomba i7+ vacuum cleaner review: Roomba gets smarter and better

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Earlier this year, iRobot launched iRobot Roomba i7 series in India.
  • iRobot Roomba i7 costs Rs 69,900 in India.
  • iRobot Roomba i7 costs Rs 89,900 in India.

What is one thing that people in good old days used to have but we - people like you and me who work from morning till night, and sometimes even all night long - don't? Time. Time to cook food. Time to shop. And time to clean up our houses. We don't have it. Gradually, we are finding alternates to these tasks that help us accommodate more in less. There are food delivery apps and shopping websites that help. And as far as cleaning is concerned, which still largely remains a hands on job, we have Roomba.

iRobot, the company that manufactures Roomba, earlier this year launched the next-generation smart vacuum cleaners iRobot Roomba i7 and the iRobot Roomba i7+ in India. While Roomba i7 costs Rs 69,900, the Roomba i7+, which is the star of this review, comes at a rather price of Rs 89,900.

This, as you must have guessed by now, is dearer than the Apple iPhone XR. But hey, iPhone XR cannot do what Roomba i7+ can, which is remembering your floor plan - not just for one room but for up to 10 rooms - and wiping it clean with the press of a button or your smartphone or maybe a one-liner command to Alexa. Best of all you can even schedule your Roomba to clean the house while you are away working in office, so you come back to clean floors in evening.

You see what I mean... There is more to Roomba i7+ than its hefty price tag.

Roomba gets a facelift

What is one thing that annoys you about your old vacuum cleaner, smart or not? Probably the fact that your hands get dirty as you try to empty the bin of the cleaner, and occasionally it turns up dispelling more dust in your immediate environment. Well, iRobot Roomba i7+ solves that problem for good.

The trick that this newly launched vacuum cleaner uses is pretty simple. Unlike Roomba e5, which I reviewed last year, Roomba i7+ comes with a brand new design. While that doesn't mean that Roomba will suddenly go to being a square shaped dummy from being a hockey-puck shaped cleaning robot, it does mean that the buttons on top and its charging dock get a complete facelift.

Unlike Roomba e5, which had physical buttons, the iRobot Roomba i7+ doesn't come with physical buttons. Everything happens - like before - through the iRobot app, except that this time you don't need to press any buttons to connect the robotic vacuum cleaner to your phone or to your home's Wi-Fi.

Next comes the docking station. The dock in case of Roomba e5 was a simple pedal like structure with a sensor on which Roomba would mount for charging or when not in use. However, the docking station in case of iRobot Roomba i7+ has more utilitarian purpose. It not only serves as a charging point for Roomba i7+ but it also serves as a dustbin. Yes, you got it right - a dustbin.

The docking station not only serves as a charging point for Roomba i7+ but it also serves as a dustbin.

The docking station of Roomba i7+ comes with a bin like structure, which stretches itself on the ground to make base for the vacuum cleaner to sit on. Inside the bin there is jute bag where all the dust particles etc get collected every time Roomba finishes a cleaning mission. There are two sensors on the base of the docking station that serve as a guiding light for Roomba i7+ to mount. Under the base of the docking station is a special suction mechanism that automatically pulls all the debris from the vacuum cleaner and put its inside the dirt bag. This dirt bag can hold up to 30 bins of debris and once it is all filled, all you need to do is throw the bag out and replace it with another, one of which is a part of the iRobot Roomba i7+ package.

Robo pup gets smarter

While reviewing the iRobot Roomba e5 last year, I described it as robot puppy that could clean. Well, I am happy to announce that this year the robo puppy has matured into a smart, more aware and more accurate vacuum cleaner that takes command of the cleaning area and gets the job... I mean the cleaning done.

This means no more bouncing from wall to wall in the hopes somewhere in between the floor would get cleaned. Roomba i7+ is more accurate and precise in its movement once its maps your floor plan. Watching Roomba i7+ do its thing is almost as watching a line-following robot in work, except that Roomba i7+ isn't one. Of course, first you need to help the robotic vacuum cleaner to map your house, room by room, and floor by floor, which in itself takes three to four runs per room.

But once it has mapped your house, it cleans the area to the last dust particle leaving nothing but a clean house - more specifically floor - behind. All of this is possible using the iRobot app. Of course, you can also ask Alexa, like I did, to indeed ask Roomba to clean your.

Then there are features like scheduling the Roomba cleaning session once and for all. This means that once you have scheduled the cleaning session using the app, you won't have to lift a finger again.

It can dance for long

Battery is one critical area in case of robotic or smart vacuum cleaners. Thankfully, iRobot Roomba i7+ comes with a big battery that lasts for long or should I say long enough. Roomba i7+ takes 2.5 - 3 hours to charge completely. You can monitor the charging progress via the iRobot app or determine the status from the LED light on the docking station, which glows as long as the Roomba i7+ is charging.

It takes Roomba about three cleaning missions - depending on your floor area - to drain out its power completely. One good thing about Roomba i7+ is that it automatically runs towards the charging station when its battery is about to run out. It resumes the cleaning mission without any prodding once it is all charged.

Should you buy iRobot Roomba i7+

If you have deep pockets, then yes. The iRobot Roomba i7+, as I mentioned before, is available for nearly 90 grand in India. Needless to say that it is not for everyone. But it does come with better cleaning capabilities and a special bag, which ensures that you never have to touch a single particle of that dust or debris ever again.

Having said that I do believe that Roomba i7+, despite all its advancements comes with a fundamental limitation that it only cleans the floor and carpets. You cannot use it to do dusting in other parts of your house. Like you can't clean sofa with it, whereas with a regular vacuum cleaner you can. Given that you spend nearly Rs 90,000 on it, you do expect a bit more from it.

However, if you are looking for a vacuum cleaner that would just mop your floor without you having to lift a finger then the iRobot Roomba i7+ is one of the best in the market right now.

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