As often happens, the thing that killed my relationship with my Neato BotVac D80 wasn’t performance or stamina but bad manners.
No matter how many concentric layers of magnetic barrier I put down, no matter what kinds of furniture obstacles I placed in its path, every time I came home, the Neato would inevitably be stuck underneath my dining room table, mournfully beeping at me that it was stuck. And since the table is right next to its charging station, it was always the first place it went, which left the rest of the house an un-vacuumed mess.
That original Neato was replaced by the Dyson 360 Eye. But, in the way that most robovacs do, that unit has also developed its own set of annoying hang-ups (this time, involving the glass doors that lead out to my patio). Talk to owners long enough and you’ll find they all have a story of their robovacs miring themselves in places they have no business being. It’s especially annoying when your only options are to block the vacs off from a room or portions of your house just to avoid getting stuck.
Never Stuck Again
That’s why Neato’s latest, the BotVac D7 Connected, has me excited. The first time you fire it up, the D7 Connected will tool through your house in “Discovery Mode,” mapping out your home via the laser sensor on the back of the vac. Once it has a clear map, you can use the Neato app to mark out virtual “No-Go” lines that the D7 Connected will avoid–no virtual wall generators, no magnetic tape, no pillow forts. If it works as advertised, that’s enough for Neato to take a huge step forward in the robot vacuum game.
But Neato’s software engineers took things a step further. The entire Connected line of BotVacs is getting a smart home upgrade. The updated Neato app that will launch with the D7 and will bring IFTT functionality as well as connectivity with Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Apple Watch, and the Neato Chatbot for Facebook.
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The BotVac itself is updated with a more-durable metallic finish (which will hopefully hide scuffs better than the white finish of previous models). It retains the superb suction technology and unique D shape of its predecessors, both things that I praised when I reviewed the D80.
At $799, it’s going to be a pricey bot, but if the “MyFloorPlan” tech works as advertised, it might be the first robotic vacuum that really earns it. You can find out more about the BotVac D7 Connected on the Neato website.
I’m looking forward to giving the Neato BotVac D7 Connected a spin when it’s released later this year. The idea of not having to rope off the Christmas tree for fear that the robovac will destroy it has me a little bit giddy.