HWM (Singapore) - - TEST -

Well-de­signed app. Clev­erly adapts to avoid ob­sta­cles. Pow­er­ful suc on. S ll drops down small ledges. Ex­pen­sive.

The iRobot Roomba 980 stands out for how easy it is to use, with or with­out its app. It also has pow­er­ful suc­tion that cleans very well, and is one of the few ro­bots that can ac­tu­ally han­dle car­pets with­out get­ting stuck.

The Roomba 980 ships with the most well de­signed app among the ve. The UI is easy to un­der­stand, and you can set up a ex­i­ble clean­ing sched­ule for specic tim­ings on in­di­vid­ual days. A clean­ing log lets you see at a glance how much of your house the Roomba 980 went through, and if it missed any ma­jor spots.

iRobot’s iA­dapt 2.0 sys­tem even seems to learn; af­ter get­ting stuck a cou­ple of times un­der my sofa, the bot now avoids it. It’s also the only bot in this shootout that had no prob­lems with most of my car­pets and rugs, even ones with tas­sels. How­ever, no car­pet es­capes a bot un­scathed, while the Roomba 980 didn’t get stuck on them, it still pushes and crum­ples my rugs around.

But while it man­ages to avoid ob­vi­ous drops, like the step from my din­ing room into the kitchen, it kept dropping into my toi­let, which has a much smaller ledge, and it couldn’t climb back out again. I al­ways had to re­mem­ber to close the toi­let door be­fore leav­ing the house, or I’d come home to a stuck Roomba.

The Roomba 980 com­ple­ments its smarts with pow­er­ful suc­tion, which man­aged to suck up most of the big de­bris in my con­trolled test­ing as well as a good amount of our. When it de­tects a big­ger mess than usual, the Roomba 980 clev­erly ramps up power to in­crease suc­tion. The bin is found in the front, in­stead of in­side the main body, mak­ing it easy to de­tach and empty out with­out mak­ing a mess.

I’d eas­ily rec­om­mend the Roomba 980 ex­cept for one caveat. Reuters re­ported iRobot CEO Colin An­gle say­ing the com­pany may sell map data of cus­tomers’ homes to third par­ties, but a few days later, he said he’d been mis­quoted and that iRobot would never sell cus­tomers’ maps. Even though iRobot now in­sists it’ll never sell cus­tomer data with­out their con­sent, it does raise an ugly pos­si­bil­ity.

The Roomba 980 has a clean, if in­dus­trial de­sign, with good con­trols.

The bin is one of the eas­i­est to empty out with­out mak­ing a mess.

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