Ever since they appeared on cheesy infomercials about ten years ago, Australians have been fascinated by automated, robotic vacuum cleaners.
But in the early days, they were clunky, unreliable and fell short of what everyone was hoping for: a completely autonomous, highly intelligent cleaning machine.
The iRobot Roomba 980 comes very close to making this dream into a reality, but it comes at a price.
$1499 AUD to be precise.
We got our hands on one to try out at the Techly offices and were frankly blown away at how good it was.
Let’s start with its primary function: cleaning.
The Roomba 980 cleans like an absolute monster. For a relatively small, lightweight device, she packs plenty of punch.
To our surprise, the floors were as sparkly clean as our more powerful, larger domestic vacuum.
It uses rubber rollers instead of brushes, allowing the 980 to collect everything from dust to small objects.
The other big improvement on other models of robotic vacuum cleaners is the level of intelligence.
All you need to do is set the virtual walls where you want it to clean and then just let it do its thing.
The Roomba has sensors to stop it falling off raised surfaces (tables etc), as well as a camera to help it navigate through your rooms without bumping into stuff or getting itself stuck.
Oh, and it even puts itself to sleep, guiding itself back to its charging point when it’s finished.
You will still have to clean up cords if you’ve got them on the floor which was a bit of a pain in the butt for an office with 20+ computers, so there is a little bit of prep work needed before you send it on its merry way.
The Roomba 980 also comes with an app that actually works really well, something that can’t be said for a lot of devices these days.
As long as you have a Wifi connection you can put your little buddy to work remotely using the very intuitive and easy-to-use app.
It’s kind of weird to say but you do actually become pretty attached to your Roomba. All its little ‘bleeps’ and ‘bloops’ are pretty adorable to be completely honest, and it sort of feels a bit like having a pet around.
We even named ours.
The big question is, is it worth $1500?
I guess that’s a question only you can answer, but it certainly does everything it promises and is a complete replacement for your old, hand-held cleaner.
$1500 is a lot of money though, and will likely price most of us out of the market – if you do decide to splash out though, you won’t be disappointed.