That said, there’s a caveat – though there’s a reasonable sized dirt bin, a couple of times the Neato stopped picking up more not because the bin was full, but because the pipe leading into it became clogged with fluff, or larger bits of debris; that probably won’t be an issue for most, unless you have a lot of animal hair around. Some hair, in fact, managed to wrap itself in clumps around the brush, but then, it was a pretty tough challenge.
Fnarr, fnarr: the small display shows warnings and other helpful messages
Another issue was the performance in corners - with no side brushes, the Neato didn’t clean right to the edge, so you’ll need your usual vacuum for that.
Although it managed to navigate bedroom obstacles pretty well on the whole, there were times when it became a bit confused, beeping that its path was obstructed, when revisiting a section that it had previously cleaned, on some occasions necessitating manual intervention several times just to finish the room. My bedroom is admittedly somewhat chaotic, and perhaps the plastic storage bins confused the guidance system, but it still shouldn’t have done that. Again, the new firmware notes that improvements have been made with navigation too.
Takes care of those dogsbody duties
Neato’s XV-15 works pretty well; it has powerful suction which can help pick up fluff and other debris, and the marking of boundaries is done in a much better way than some of the competition. It’s simple to use, and behaved well even with our extreme tests. But, while it avoided most obstacles fine it also demanded more attention than the competition in complicated, untidy rooms, yet it seems Neato has made tweaks to the very navigation system recently, so hopefully this is more hit than miss now. ®
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Shower powered radio
Neato Robotics XV-15
sucks... but in a good way.
As for robotic appliances, well I just cannot trust any untethered device to "go it alone" no matter how well it supposedly works.
Plus, pushing a good old upright vacuum cleaner around makes for a good workout, I mean I can't get the missus to go to gym or ride her beloved mountain bike, so the Dyson certainly has a dual role...
Good in theory...
...but in practice, these robotic vacuum cleaners don't really work that well. I have a Roomba and in my experience;
1) Perhaps it's because I'm particularly slovenly or because of my two cats but you have to empty it a lot. I dunno, but having to keep a watchful eye on the little machine to make sure it hasn't filled up seems a little beside the point to me.
2) It's good for a quick sweep around but doesn't have a particularly powerful vacuum so you need to vacuum properly now and then.
3) Because of 2), and the fact that the Roomba can't do stairs, you need another vacuum cleaner. I have one of those little Dysons, initially for doing the bits the Roomba couldn't but recently I just do the lot.
4) Occasionally cat hair gets in the little cogs and you have to do a full disassembly, clean, oil and rebuild job. iRobot make it quite easy but still, I've never had to disassemble any other hoovers I've owned.
5) My Roomba lacks the LCD screen that the Neato product has, which alas means you have to look up a lot of the little warning beeps and boops it makes when things go wrong.
6) Alluded to in this article, the Roomba sometimes fails to navigate properly back to the charging point or doesn't quite sit on it right when it gets there, meaning it dies and looks a little pathetic.
7) You have to keep your place relatively tidy, as alas it lacks a human's "hoovering around crap" skills and can easily get stuck on random objects.
Because of all this I've basically stopped using the Roomba and just use my little Dyson.
I really hope the technology moves on and one day there is a robotic cleaning machine that just gets on with it. Unfortunately we're not there yet.
I forsee the cat proudly bringing this to me - dead.
After all, when you have sufficient cats they'll gang up on anything..