NEATO BOTVAC 85
BUILD QUALITY This is a gentle giant that is built tough but doesn’t
like it rough
SCREEN Low-res colour LCD screen will make you long for an
ADDITIONAL FEATURES Magnetic strip included to prevent escapes, plus spare filter and brush bar
It’s cheap(ish)! It’s got lasers! Shame about the noise
A bargain (of sorts) but Neato, like LG, hasn’t scrimped on the tech. BotVision, Neato’s navigation software, is actually based on SLAM (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping), the same technology used by the Google selfdriving car. It also has a laser scanner which, aside from being good at dodging furniture, is pretty darn cool. Domesticated robots with lasers – it’s the future today!
Botvac has a severe case of OCD. Instead of clumsily bumping into stuff and taking its time to cover every inch of floor, it works out the most methodical path and gets the job done. And fast. According to Neato, it is four times faster than the Roomba, but in reality that isn’t particularly difficult.
As for cleaning, the square-nosed design has an extra-wide brush bar and tiny – almost pointless – sweeper arm for edges. The brush itself has standard bristles and rubbery strips that help cling onto pet hair. There’s also a second brush bar with only rubber for extreme pet moulting. The combination works well, and while not quite as effective as the Roomba on hard floors, it picks up more pet hair on carpets. It’s also full-size vacuum loud, but lacks the suction power of the Samsung.
The colour LCD interface is simple to use and despite being woefully low-res it does everything you need it to. Day/time scheduling is quick and easy and it notifies instantly of any clogs or issues (a bit too frequently if we’re being picky). It does, however, take an age to power up, but again, assuming you’re at work when it does, this should only inconvenience the cat.
But we were thoroughly impressed with Botvac’s performance. It outperformed the Miele, worked faster than the Samsung and, if it wasn’t quite so methodical (repetition reaps rewards!) it could have kept up with the Roomba, too. LOVE Larger capacity. Impressive dust collection. Pragmatic approach to vacuuming. Almost affordable HATE Louder than the Samsung. Gets confused and clogged easily. Tiny sweeper arm T3 SAYS Laser-guided tech-laden dust bot without the scary price tag
CAPACITY 0.7 litres
BATTERY LIFE Up to 4.5 hrs
CHARGE TIME 2-3 hrs COVERAGE PER CHARGE Up to 250m²
NOISE (DB) 69dB POWER/SUCTION 40W FILTERS 3 MODES 2 COLLISION SENSORS N/A
HEIGHT 100mm LENGTH 321mm WIDTH 335mm WEIGHT 4.1kg