iRobot Roomba j7+ review: The best in obstacle avoidance, cleaning power
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Category-leading obstacle detection/avoidance
Excellent mapping capabilities, with definable rooms and no-go zones
Top-tier cleaning performance
Precision navigation function dependent on ambient light
Self-emptying dock adds $200 to the Roomba j7 model (which comes with a conventional charging dock)
The Roomba j7+’s excellent cleaning performance and sophisticated obstacle recognition make it a great choice for most households, especially if your pet is accident-prone.
It’s clear that smart robotic vacuums continue to get smarter, but I can’t say I expected the latest evolutionary leap: the ability to recognize and avoid pet feces. While none of my pets are accident-prone, it’s not hard to imagine the disaster that would result if a robot collided with that particular hazard.
I hope, then, that there’s a welcoming market for iRobot’s Roomba j7+, which uses the company’s new obstacle avoidance technology to identify and avoid pet waste during its cleaning cycles. iRobot believes so much in its technology that it offers the Roomba j7+ with a POOP (Pet Owner Official Promise) guarantee: if your robot gets into pet feces within the first year of your purchase, the company will send you a new robot free of charge. position. cost to you
Dodging Fido’s crashes isn’t j7+’s only clever trick. It can detect and navigate around a host of common household objects, including power cords, toys, socks and shoes, based on their feedback. You can take advantage of your geolocation service to clean when you’re away. Responds to voice controls through Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant. And it automatically empties your trash can into its clean base, a combination charging base and dirt receptacle, after every cleaning job. This accessory is included when you buy the j7+ model for $849.99; You can buy the robot with a conventional charging base, the Roomba J7, for $649.99.
The J7 and J7+ are the first Roombas to use iRobot’s PrecisionVision navigation technology, which allows the robot to recognize and avoid obstacles in its path. As part of this innovation, iRobot has moved the camera from the top of the robot, where it was located on previous Roomba’s like the s9+, to the front to give it a wider field of view and allow it to see objects on the floor. . The camera has been paired with an LED that works like a headlight to illuminate the path in front of the robot.
This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best robotic vacuum cleaners, where you’ll find reviews of competing offerings, plus a buyer’s guide to features to consider when purchasing this type of product.
At the bottom, the J7+ looks a lot like the Roomba i3+, with a pair of multi-surface rubber brushes. a single brush to sweep the edges, two drive wheels, an omnidirectional wheel and various sensors.
The self-emptying Clean Base, on the other hand, has been completely redesigned. It’s noticeably stockier, standing just 13.25 inches tall, significantly shorter than the i3+’s towering 19 inches. While it still doesn’t blend naturally with your home furnishings, it’s much less imposing. A leather pull tab makes it easy to open the base lid and access the current dust bag, and storage for spare bags is built in.
To set up the j7+, simply plug in the clean dock and place the robot on the charging pins. You’ll need the iRobot Home app to control the robot, but the connection process is simple and prompt-based. The j7+ connected to my Wi-Fi network in less than a minute.
The first few times you run j7+, it will map your space for more efficient navigation. You can speed up this process by sending it in a mapping-only run instead of having it map while cleaning. You’ll also want to make sure the area is well lit, as PrecisionVision Navigation uses visible light to help you get around. As the J7+ generates a map it will attempt to create room divisions. This was pretty accurate even with the open floor plan of my ground floor.
You can edit the entire map by adding or removing boundary lines, labeling rooms, and creating no-go zones. Once the map is to your liking, you can clean individual rooms or smaller “zones” within them, schedule specific cleaning jobs (great for regularly tackling high-traffic areas like entrances), and customize your vacuuming.
The j7+ easily maneuvered around my living room furniture and crossed the thresholds between the living room, kitchen, bathroom, and entryway. He successfully navigated between power strips, device chargers, footwear and pet toys. (I couldn’t test its ability to dodge pet feces, but as mentioned, iRobot supports this feature.) When it finds an object, j7+ takes an image and sends it in a notification for you to review. You can mark the object as a temporary obstacle, not an obstacle, or add an exclusion zone around it. This allows the robot to continually learn about your space and adapt its cleaning as needed.
The robot was just as impressive in its cleanliness. It obediently sucked up dust, pet hair, food crumbs, and even kitty litter, leaving my floors noticeably cleaner. After each cleaning, the robot bases and their contents are automatically emptied into the cleaning base dust bag. The process takes about 10 seconds, during which you have to put up with some loud sucking sounds, about on par with older-model stand-up vacuums. But the tradeoff of not having to manage the vacuum cleaner dumpster is worth it. iRobot says that each bag of dust will hold around 60 days of dirt, but that will vary with how often you clean and how clean your floors are. roomba j7 app roomba
The iRobot Home app keeps a detailed history of each cleaning job, including the square footage you covered, the duration of the job, the number of obstacles you encountered, and whether or not you emptied the trash can. It also shows on the map where it was cleaned, so you can perform future cleanups accordingly.
All told, the j7+ is another Roomba winner. It performed just as well as the s9+, the only Roomba above it in iRobot’s product level, but its smaller clean base and obstacle avoidance feature, as well as its lower price, will likely make it a much better option. attractive to most users. For those same reasons, it also wins our editors pick.
Michael Ansaldo is a veteran consumer and small business technology journalist. He regularly contributes to TechHive and PCWorld.