I have three robot vacuums that roam around my house roughly once a week, in theory, cleaning my home’s floors.
There’s the Roomba i6+, the first robot vacuum from iRobot to feature a dock where it can dump its debris, the Roomba i9+, an upgraded, more powerful version of the i6+, and the awful Dyson 360 Heurist that spends most of its time driving into a wall.
While I’m generally impressed with the i6+ and i9+, both pricey robot vacuums still get stuck on random objects on my floor, forcing me to perform a “pre-clean” which, in a sense, defeats the purpose of robot vacuums in the first place.
This is where iRobot’s new j7+ comes in.
Similar to past Roomba robot vacuums, the j7+ learns the layout of your home as it cleans, but now, thanks to a higher-quality onboard camera with a larger field-of-view, the vacuum is capable of identifying objects, including things like cords, pet waste and more. The company is so confident that the robot won’t suck up your pet’s poop that it offers an amusingly named ‘Pet Owner Official Promise’ (P.O.O.P) and will replace any Roomba j7+ that “doesn’t avoid solid pet waste.”
On the privacy side of things, iRobot says that all of the J7+’s video data is anonymous, though as with most smart home devices that feature a camera, you have to take the company’s word on that. Understandably, some people might be nervous about a robot vacuum roaming around their house with a built-in camera.
At the outset, the way the j7+’s camera works is different from most other robot vacuums because it allows the robot to see everything in front in order to better avoid objects. While past Roombas like the i6+ and i9+ also feature built-in cameras, the j7+ takes this concept a step further and offers a wider field of view.
Other new features are tied to the company’s Genius 3.0 Home Intelligence platform. For example, iRobot robots are now location-aware, allowing users to automatically begin and stop a cleaning based on when they leave their home with their smartphone. Smart Map creation has also been expanded with room name suggestions and sharing across multiple Roomba, though this feature only works on the same specific Roomba at launch.
However, iRobot says it plans to expand this to work across all of its smart mapping robots, including its Braava Jet m6 Robot Mop. Other iRobot Genius 3.0 features include cleaning time estimates and a new ‘Quiet Drive’ mode.
The Roomba j7+ comes with a Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal dock, just like iRobot’s other ‘+’ model robot vacuums. However, it features a slightly sleeker design that aims to help the device better fit in with the look of most people’s homes.
iRobot says that the J7+ isn’t a replacement for its high-end i9+ and instead is an alternative for people with cluttered homes — which, I guess given the difficulties I’ve experienced with the i9+, is me.
The Roomba j7+ with Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal is now available to purchase starting at $1,049 on iRobot’s website.
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