IROBOT ROOMBA 880
Basic LCD and LED indicators. It’s low tech
BUILD QUALITY Light but robust, it’ll
take a kick or two without complaining
ADDITIONAL FEATURES HEPA filters trap tiny dust particles, which is great for
Sweeping the competition aside
iRobot makes bomb-disposing military hardware – and vacuums. The Roomba brand has been around for decades, but the flagship 880 offers something totally new. Instead of a traditional brush bar it has two soft rubber rollers or ‘extractors’, the idea being that the AeroForce System picks up more pet hair, never gets clogged and offers better suction.
Navigation also differs from the rest, and unlike the Neato’s regimented mapping the 880 iAdapt system seems decidedly scattergun; albeit one driven by complex algorithms and a bucket full of sensors. As a result, it takes an age to clean a room, and bumps into furniture rather than preempting obstacles and taking evasive action. But it does clean right up to the edge of the wall and can just about get into the corners using its long sweeper arm.
Programming is a cinch, and unless you play RC Vac with the remote, you’ll just set the day/time schedule and forget about it. It also comes with two ‘virtual wall’ sensors, which create a barrier the 880 won’t cross.
Our only serious gripe concerns the charging station. The mains cable can only plug into the left-hand side of the charging base. This isn’t a big deal, but because the base has to be flush against the wall it does severely limit your choice of location.
Unlike the Samsung, which accurately maps out a floor plan, the 880 estimates the approximate size of a room and decides how long it needs to run in order to get it clean. It’s not as cutting edge, but the results speak for themselves. Assuming you set it to clean while you’re out you shouldn’t care how long it takes, and you can reap the rewards of a thorough clean. Great at picking up pet hair and exceptionally good on carpets, we were astonished – and horrified – by the amount of debris it collected. LOVE Impressive pet hair performance. Efficient carpet cleaning. Simple programming HATE Docking station drives us nuts. Small dust container. Slow if you’re sad enough to sit and watch it T3 SAYS… It might lack tech spec, but you’ll not find better performance on the market
CAPACITY N/A (0.5-litre estimate) BATTERY LIFE 1 hr CHARGE TIME 2 hrs COVERAGE PER CHARGE
NOISE (DB) 57dB POWER/SUCTION n/a FILTERS HEPA
MODES 3 COLLISION SENSORS “Multiple”
STEP CLIMB 13mm
HEIGHT 90mm DIAMETER 350mm