Hands on: Neato's iPhone-controlled Botvac D7 Connected

Posted:
in iPhone edited December 2018
The Botvac D7 Connected is the top-of-the-line robot vacuum from California's Neato, with nearly all of the features you could theoretically want to see in an autonomous cleaning device for your home. We're just starting our review, but here's an early glimpse.

Neato Botvac D7 Connected


In most respects you'll know what to expect if you've seen a robot vacuum before. Relying on lasers and internal mapping, the D7 gradually vacuums whatever floor you set it on, independent of any help. When it's done, it returns to a wall dock to recharge and wait for your command. You can control it with an iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Amazon Alexa, or Google Assistant, though maximum control demands one of the first two.

A distinguishing feature of Neato's vacuums is their "D" shape, which lets them reach into corners a round robot like a Roomba might miss. The D7 adds features like a side brush, a 120-minute battery, and a turbo mode for debris such as pet hair.

In an initial cleaning session the vacuum seemed to be a champ at tackling different surfaces, switching from tile to rugs and even a Christmas tree mat without too much trouble, though it did hitch on the tree mat once. Its wheels are designed to lift when the vacuum encounters rough terrain.

You do need to make a lot of accommodations to ensure a smooth run. Any strings or cords that could get entangled in the D7's brush need to be picked up, and some furniture can be problematic. Our test unit kept trying to go under a low-slung coffee table, only to get stuck because of the dome on top of the vacuum.

You can create "no-go" lines for the robot using Neato's iOS app, but that requires a complete floor map, which we haven't been able to record yet because of the coffee table issue. The solution may be risers or simply a new table.

Neato iPhone app


Other software features include scheduled cleans, support for multiple floors, a "gentle" navigation mode, and the option to perform on-demand zone work that targets especially messy areas. If the vacuum runs into trouble, it'll stop and let you know via an iOS notification.

Noise-wise the D7 does seem to rattle more than we'd like, yet it's otherwise quieter than a lot of vacuums.

Expect a full review from AppleInsider in coming weeks.

If you're already sold, the Neato Botvac D7 retails for $830, but is frequently on sale at Amazon for around $700.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 6
    $700!?  Wow, I thought it would be $300 +/-.   Yeah, not an impulse Christmas gift.
    StrangeDays
  • Reply 2 of 6
    There's got to be like fifty robot vacuums on the market, and just one robot mop (iRobot Braava). Annoying. 

    (okay there's the scooba which I think is discontinued, and the ozmo which I think is also gone, but anyway)
    edited December 2018
  • Reply 3 of 6
    larryalarrya Posts: 533member
    I’m still not sure why I would buy this over a Roomba. It’s the same argument as Android- why buy a knockoff that gets stuck under furniture, especially with no price advantage?
    StrangeDays
  • Reply 4 of 6
    larrya said:
    I’m still not sure why I would buy this over a Roomba. It’s the same argument as Android- why buy a knockoff that gets stuck under furniture, especially with no price advantage?
    I had a Roomba 980 and just got the D7 last week. Roomba needs some sort of light in order for its navigation to work as it uses a camera to map out the room, where neato uses a laser so it can work in a pitch black room. As far as price the Neato series goes on sale very frequently, I was able to get my D7 for $549 at Bed Bath and Beyond where iRobot wont allow any coupons or sales on its new i7 model. Overall they are both GREAT vacuums. In my test the Neato picks up WAY more dirt and hair than my roomba ever did, However the neato gets stuck on my shag rugs where the roomba would glide right over it. Roomba also doesnt have the no go lines as of right now so you still need the light house/invisible walls which sucks. (An update is said to come Q1 of 2019). 
    williamlondon
  • Reply 5 of 6
    Hi everyone -

    I have owned two different LG Robokings, a Roomba, a Scooba and the Neato D7. This is by far the best robot vacuum I have ever owned. Once you have your house mapped and you set up the no-go areas, it’s incredible. I had to remove all the obstacles (wife’s drapey stuff hanging over chairs, shoes, cables) for its first pass to get the map built. Then when you set up the no-go areas, it avoids the obstacles every single time. Roboking and others used to jam themselves between the wall and the toilet or get caught on a stray power lead. I set this baby and forget it. It’s vacuuming ability is phenomenal. As a CatGenie owner, litter tracking is a big deal. This eliminates all of this.

    It may be a bit pricey but it is worth every penny.

    Anthony Beckett, Australia

    williamlondon
  • Reply 6 of 6
    larryalarrya Posts: 533member
    larrya said:
    I’m still not sure why I would buy this over a Roomba. It’s the same argument as Android- why buy a knockoff that gets stuck under furniture, especially with no price advantage?
    I had a Roomba 980 and just got the D7 last week. Roomba needs some sort of light in order for its navigation to work as it uses a camera to map out the room, where neato uses a laser so it can work in a pitch black room. As far as price the Neato series goes on sale very frequently, I was able to get my D7 for $549 at Bed Bath and Beyond where iRobot wont allow any coupons or sales on its new i7 model. Overall they are both GREAT vacuums. In my test the Neato picks up WAY more dirt and hair than my roomba ever did, However the neato gets stuck on my shag rugs where the roomba would glide right over it. Roomba also doesnt have the no go lines as of right now so you still need the light house/invisible walls which sucks. (An update is said to come Q1 of 2019). 
    abeckett said:
    Hi everyone -

    I have owned two different LG Robokings, a Roomba, a Scooba and the Neato D7. This is by far the best robot vacuum I have ever owned. Once you have your house mapped and you set up the no-go areas, it’s incredible. I had to remove all the obstacles (wife’s drapey stuff hanging over chairs, shoes, cables) for its first pass to get the map built. Then when you set up the no-go areas, it avoids the obstacles every single time. Roboking and others used to jam themselves between the wall and the toilet or get caught on a stray power lead. I set this baby and forget it. It’s vacuuming ability is phenomenal. As a CatGenie owner, litter tracking is a big deal. This eliminates all of this.

    It may be a bit pricey but it is worth every penny.

    Anthony Beckett, Australia

    Interesting. I got a Roomba a 960 last year and my wife and I absolutely love it. Having lights on or running in the daytime doesn’t cause me any concern, but I am intrigued by the no-go zone ability in the app. I agree - the Roomba lighthouse thing totally sucks. 

    Does this one systematically clean each room like the high-end Roombas, or are there a lot of random passes like low-end Roombas?
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