iRobot has started a new marketing campaign, which coincides with the re-design of their website. It features a contest on YouTube where you can submit a video of yourself dancing like a robot to a song you download from their site (song is available here). The company will be giving away 20 Roomba vacuum cleaning robots to winners, and will also be giving three of the finalists a limited edition trophy. We’re hoping that they’ll be giving away the Roomba 780. You can enter here. Entries must be less than a minute long and be submitted before May 13.
This morning iRobot announced the newest addition to the Scooba line of mopping robots, the Scooba 390. As of this morning, the 390 replaced the 380 and 385 in the iRobot online store, while the diminutive Scooba 230 (see our review, here) remains. According to iRobot, the new Scooba comes with “simplified design and longer battery life.” From comparing the specs to the older 380 and 385 models of Scooba, this looks like the only difference. So unlike iRobot’s Roomba 700 series, it would appear that the new Scooba isn’t much of an upgrade over previous models. The Scooba 390 is available from from Amazon.
iRobot Scooba 390 Features
As with older Scoobas, the new one cleans with a four stage process, prepping, washing, scrubbing, and using a squeegee to wash the floor. The robot has two separate internal water vessels, one for clean water, and the other for dirty, so it does not re-use the water as it cleans, which is actually pretty cool. One advantage that the 390 has over the 230 is that it does vacuum the floor as it goes, so there is no need to sweep the floor before using it.
iRobot suggests using the Scooba 390 for kitchens and larger rooms with hard floor surfaces such as stone, vinyl, linoleum, tile, and sealed hardwood floors. The robot can clean over 400 square feet with a full water tank. You can use it with iRobot’s own “Natural Enzyme Formula”, with water, or with a little vinegar added. Besides just sweeping and mopping your floor, iRobot claims that the Scooba will remove up to 98% of the bacteria on your floor when “…used as directed, laboratory testing results indicate removal of Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus bacteria after two passes of the Scooba floor washing robot. Individual results may vary.”
The new Scooba uses iRobot’s iAdapt cleaning technology, which is how the robot gets around the room. Like a Roomba, the Scooba uses different behaviors in a random way to cover all areas of a room (as opposed to mapping the room). So it will do wall-following, spiraling, bouncing around in random directions, and other behaviors until it calculates that it has covered the entire floor surface three times.
Other things that bear mentioning: The Sooba has cliff detection sensors that keep it from driving off the top of stairs. Maintenance is simplified with all the parts that need to be cleaned being marked with colors. Also, Scoobas work with iRobot’s virtual walls so the robot won’t venture out of the room it is currently cleaning.
Included with the Scooba 390 is: the robot itself, rechargeable battery and charger, a suction bulb, four sample packets of the Natural Enzyme Formula cleaner, and one Virtual Wall. Not included are the two D cell batteries needed for the Virtual Wall. The robot mop comes with a one year warranty on the robot, and a six month warranty for the battery.
Find more information on the Scooba 390 at iRobot’s website.
After almost a year of being on the market, iRobot’s flagship robot vacuum, the iRobot Roomba 780 is going to be available from mega retail site Amazon.com. Currently Amazon is selling the 780 at a discounted price, over $100 cheaper than you can get it from iRobot themselves, and it is available with free shipping, of course. The 700 Series Roombas went on sale in May of 2011. For a long time, the Roomba 760 has been available from Amazon, but not the 780 or the 770. As of this writing, the 770 is still not available.
About the Roomba 780
As noted on the Amazon product page, the Roomba 780 features a new cleaning head, which does a better job of picking up debris like dirt, dust, hair, and pet dander. The vacuum comes with HEPA filters, which capture smaller dust and pollen particles and so makes the Roomba friendly to people who suffer from allergies. The 780 comes with on-board scheduling, a remote control, and new power management so that the robot has a longer battery life. The great thing about onboard scheduling, is that you program the robot to clean the house when you’re gone. Programming the Roomba is done using the new touchpad control which is built into the top surface of the robot, which is actually quite slick.
What comes in the box: the robot itself, 1 battery, 2 AeroVac Series 2 HEPA filters, 1 bristle brush, 1 side brush, 1 beater brush. a self-charging home base for the robot, power supply, IR remote control, 2 brush cleaning tools, an extra set of the brushes (bristle, side, and beater), an extra set of the AeroVac HEPA filters, and 2 virtual wall Lighthouse modules. The Lighthouse modules require 2 C batteries, which are not included in the box.
According to iRobot, the Roomba 780 removes up to 98% of the dirt, pet hair, and dust in your room. Roombas navigate using what is now called iAdapt technology, which is the traditional Roomba way of cleaning a room by crossing a room in random directions, doing wall-following behavior, and also spiraling. If you watch a Roomba, it really will get every single spot on a floor before it’s done. The engineers at iRobot have made sure of that. The vacuum will also get places that may be hard to reach with a traditional vacuum, be it upright or tank style. Finally, Roombas have dirt detect technology, which makes it so that the robot will find the dirty areas of your floor and spend extra time cleaning them up.
The included Lighthouses keep the robot in one room until the Roomba has finished cleaning it, at which point they will let the vacuum procced to the next room. It’s a clever way to get your whole house clean with as little intervention as possible.
We’ve tested the Roomba 780 against older Roombas, the Neato XV Series robots, and even Mint Robot cleaners, and we really think that the 780 is the number one best robot out there for anybody with carpeted floors. Amazon 780 Product Page Link