Neato Botvac D7 Connected Robot Vacuum Review
Tell this robot where, when, and how to clean—all from your phone
In theory, robot vacuums should be the sort of appliance that you set and forget. However, all too often, stairs trips them up, throw rugs ensnare them, and pets get infuriated when their water bowls get overturned.
Fear not, Neato has come up with an innovative solution: No-go lines. The Neato Botvac D7 Connected (available at Amazon) has the ability to create a digital floor plan of your home. You can then draw lines on that map via your smart phone, declaring where the D7 can and cannot go. It's a brilliant solution to an age-old problem of robot vacuums going where they shouldn't. On top of this all, the Neato kept its eyes on real goal of getting your floors clean.
Performance at a glance
- Above average pickup
- 10-15 minutes per room
- Makes a map of your home
- Good for pet hair
- Can get caught on throw rugs
After spending a week with the D7, we noticed that it has powerful pickup, quick cleaning cycles, and navigational issues.
When it comes to dirt pickup, Neato has always been in been up to the task. The Neato's D-shaped design allows the unit to get flush with walls, and the 10.9-inch brush gives it a wide cleaning path. On average, the Neato picked up 9.6 grams of dirt per run. To put that in perspective, if you set the D7 to run automatically every day, that equals 67 grams of dirt a week–on par with a light cleaning from a full-sized vacuum.
What's the deal with No-go lines?
We think No-go lines are the most interesting feature the D7 has. In a nutshell, you start off by running a mapping cycle, in which the D7 goes around your house, pinging your walls with infrared beams. That map is uploaded to your phone, allowing you to draw lines where you don't want the D7 to go. You can draw as many lines as you'd like, meaning you can cordon areas around delicate furniture or entire rooms.
If you don't want to hook your D7 to wifi, this unit comes with a magnetic strip that can also be used as a barrier.
If you install the app and hook your D7 up to wifi, Neato will have access to your day-to-day metadata. In plain English, that's when you start your vacuum, if you schedule it, how long you run it for, and any error codes that come up. However, Neato does not have access the maps of your home that your D7 creates.
Should you want, Neato will destroy any of your personal data, just shoot an e-mail to email@example.com.
We give praise for the D7 being a stepping stone in the evolution of robot vacuums. That's not something we bandy about lightly, but once the No-go line technology filters down to lower-end models, it will change the way we think about what robot vacuums should do. However, given its high price, we'd reserve our recommendation of the D7 to pet owners and people who want to be on the cutting edge of robot vacuum technology. With its wide brush, powerful suction, and easy-to-use virtual barriers, this robot vacuum can be tough on pet hair while being gentle on water bowls and puppy pads.
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