It’s been a bit since anything has been able to unseat my pride and joy, the Dyson Eye, from its top floor-cleaning spot at the Karcz Household. Neato has come along and done it, though.
Long story short, the Botvac D7 Connected is everything you’ve always wanted robot vacuums to be…as long as you’re willing to put in a tiny bit of work.
The D7 Connected is nice looking for a robovac. The attractive chrome and black plastic bot is well-suited to navigating under all but the lowest of furniture, using the same low-profile D-shape Neato is known for. The shape reminded me a bit of the homicidal bot from Disney’s The Black Hole, so I named it Maximilian.
The cleaning power of the vacuum is impressive, so far filling up the bin with every pass in my house (the house that’s been cleaned daily by my Dyson Eye up until now). The only thing I’m not looking forward to is going back to disposable filters. Neato recommends a monthly replacement schedule – a considerable expense when compared to Dyson’s washable permanent filters.
“Old” Bot, New Tricks
But the $799 D7 does what my $1,000 Dyson Eye can’t do: clean my entire place without needing a rescue. When I first charged up the Botvac D7 Connected, it’s app had me start a special cleaning cycle so that it could learn the lay of the land.
Once the D7 had my floor plan mapped, I could go back into the app and set down “No Go Lines.” That dining room table that completely mired my previous Neato vac? Off limits. The cat’s water dish? Leave it alone. The curtains in my daughter’s room that seem to constantly be all over the floor? Virtually roped off. Even better, if you have a house with multiple levels, you can add additional maps and have your D7 trade off between them (just don’t forget to pick up an additional charging base so that your bot can charge up if it needs to).
The D7 does have one programming oddity – when I manually start a clean using the Alexa skill, those No Go Lines that I set are disabled. Luckily, they work as expected when performing a scheduled clean (which you can now set up through the app – no more janky onboard LCD to fiddle with).
A More Civilized Weapon
This is the least stress-inducing robot vacuum I’ve had the pleasure of owning. The impressive laser navigation I enjoyed with the D80 is present here as well. The D7 doesn’t ram into or carrom off of furniture (or the occasional sleeping cat). It sees obstacles well before running into them, using its bumpers instead to sense things at the edges of the unit. And while other vacuum bots swear by some algorithmic swarm pattern, it gives me absolute fits when I watch a bot repeatedly ignore an area right next to its current path so that it can go flying off in the opposite direction. Neato, on the other hand, has its bots vacuum like you do, more or less. They travel back and forth in neat lines through a room, sweeping out the corners with its square front nose and side brush. And with Eco mode turned on, it’s not so loud that it drowns out conversation, even if it takes a bit longer to clean.
But that’s not a problem because the D7 has the longest battery life of any robovac I’ve used. I’m sure that will change as the 2-hour battery ages, but at least I won’t be stuck waiting hours for the D7 to recharge fully, only to pop off the base, clean one square foot, then say it’s done and go back to the start. That’s because the latest app update lets the D7 determine how much charge it needs to complete a vacuum, then it only charges as long as it needs to before completing its cycle.
Which Bot Reigns Supreme?
Especially since Dyson seems to have mothballed the 360 Eye, the Neato Botvac D7 Connected is the current robovac war winner. But it would have won anyway – it’s performance, ease of use, and updateability all combine to create a robot vacuum that’s the platonic ideal. You can learn more about the D7 on the Neato website and grab one on Amazon for $699 ($100 off the retail price of $799).