Feeds
30%

iRobot Roomba 560 robot vacuum cleaner

Clean quietly... or there will be... trouble

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

But how does it do at actually cleaning the floor? That mundane task is what it's supposedly for, after all.

In short: not very well. Roomba certainly didn't pass the wife acceptance test, and in this case we can see where she's coming from. The machine takes its time, going over every bit of floor repeatedly before it's satisfied, but the results after it eventually gives up are frankly unimpressive.

iRobot Roomba 560 robot vacuum cleaner

Inspired by The Fifth Element?

We saw best performance on a smooth tile floor, but even here an ordinary broom seriously outclassed the pricey robot - and you'll still have to mop tiles occasionally, if the 560 is your only robot. In some rooms, the time taken to get rugs etc out of the machine's way and put them back afterwards meant that an ordinary vacuum actually demanded less user time as well as doing a much better job. The only area where the Roomba really scored was in cleaning under beds, sofas etc.

As a plastic pal that's fun to be with, the 560 is great - as a way of cleaning floors, not so much.

Verdict

There are plenty of reasons to buy a Roomba. Buy it because you want to bring the day of the proper robot butler a bit closer; buy it because you like neat gadgets; buy it because you'd like to own a nice piece of animatronic artwork, which is elegant and fun to watch. Even if you live in a single-level house with smooth floors and no obstacles, though, £250 is a lot to pay for a distinctly lackadaisical cleaning robot which will still need frequent help from you.

All that said, if your current domestic situation is such that any cleaning at all would be an improvement (bachelor flat, perhaps?) the Roomba 560 could help. At least until the dirt tray fills up - or it gets trapped under all the pizza boxes.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

30%

iRobot Roomba 560 robot vacuum cleaner

As shiny and cunning as you could ask for - it just doesn't clean floors terribly well...
Price: £250 / $500 RRP

More from The Register

next story
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
Human spacecraft dodge COMET CHUNKS pelting off Mars
Odyssey orbiter yet to report, though - comet's trailing trash poses new threat
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.