Customer Review

139 of 152 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like having my own housekeeper, 11 Mar. 2012
This review is from: iRobot Roomba 780 Vacuum Cleaning Robot (Kitchen & Home)
I purchased my Roomba back in December so figured its been long enough now to give a fair review of the vacuum. You'll have to excuse me if i refer to the vacuum as 'her', due to her female voice we decided to call her 'Rachael Roomba' in the household!

When you get Roomba, in the box you'll get the robot itself, along with two of the 'lighthouses', docking station, ac adapter, remote control, along with two sets of brush bars, filters and the spinning side arm, and the two cleaning tools you can use to maintain the robot. The lighthouses require two C size batteries each, and the remote takes AA batteries, none of which are in the box, so it'd be wise to make sure you have them before Roomba is delivered

The most basic setup would involve pulling the tab out from the battery and putting Roomba on charge, then pressing clean when you wanted to vacuum. You can schedule cleaning to be done automatically though, which I have done, having my Rommba clean my apartment once a day. The scheduling is very flexible, allowing certain days to be missed out and different times to be set per day (i.e setting cleaning later in the day on weekends)

On the front of Roomba is a bumper which she's uses to know when theres an obstacle with infrared sensors so she can detect and follow walls and go around corners. The 700 series also have rubber along the bottom of the bumper instead of just plastic so it won't mark anything. Also using the sensors Roomba detects when objects are ahead and slows down before bumping into them, though it doesn't always work, particularly with feet, but even at 'full speed' she's doesn't go fast enough to cause pain when bumping into you. There are also the edge sensors so she shouldn't fall off stairs, but i don't have any to test it with, I'm sure it works though.

Once you set the scheduling up you can decided if you want to use the lighthouses and where to put them. Lighthouses are small beacons that Roomba detects and uses them to both keep her confined to an area until she has cleaned it for enough time, and to guide her way back to the docking station to charge when done. Whilst there are two in the box, you can use as many as you want. You can also set the lighthouses to just act as virtual walls, which simply block Roomba off from areas. You can also buy just virtual walls which are cheaper if that is all you need. I bought one to stop Roomba going into a part of my living room where fragile items are.

Now I live in a two bedroom apartment with the docking station in the living room/kitchen and the two bedrooms down a hallway, so using the two lighthouses I've placed one outside the doorway leading from my living room to the hallway, then the other in the doorway leading into the master bedroom. Doing it this way, Roomba maps out the apartment as three cleaning areas with the kitchen/living room as one, the hallway and guest bedroom as two, and the master bedroom and ensuite as three, in that order.

I believe the cleaning areas have to be set out in a linear order for Roomba to be able to guide herself back to the docking station, which is back in area one, but you may be able to try out other ways of arranging the lighthouses.

Now you've setup the lighthouses and scheduling, it'd be best if you send her off on her first clean manually and observe her as she goes about the rooms. I did this firstly because I was interested in how she worked, but it'd also be a good idea to see if you need to make any adjustments to the lighthouses and obstacles/wires that may get her stuck. The 780 can untangle itself from wires and carpet tassels fine, but short wires not connected to anything (headphones) or shoe laces can get drawn into the brush bars and cause a jam.

Once you've overseen and 'Roomba-fied' your home, you can just leave it to go about its business. For me, I have to empty the dust bin every 3 days usually, and ill take this time to take the brush bars out and use the cleaning tools on them to get hair off them normally, and thats as far as maintenance goes. If you run Roomba less frequently and/or have pets that shed you will probably have to empty the bin each time its run and clean the brush bars more often. There is an indicator light that tells you when the bin is full so you could just keep it cleaning till it tells you the bin is full.

I have to admit I was skeptical when I purchased Roomba, but I am always amazed at the amount of dirt that is collected even though she is run daily, and have left my dyson in the cupboard since having her, and its always great to come home from work to find the house clean and Roomba happily sat on the station. Also when i am home when she goes out to clean, she's makes far less noise than my dyson does when its on, obviously its still a vacuum so it will make noise, but you can have a conversation whilst she's running and can still hear the doorbell and phone no problem.

There are a couple of small niggles, for one the dust bin could do with being a bit bigger, just so it doesn't have to be emptied as often, and also whilst it looks very nice out of the box, mine has got scuffed and the glossy touch panel on top has got scratched, mainly from going under my bed and tables, but these are only cosmetic and don't affect operation at all. Also for the most part you do have to keep the floor clear of 'stuff' so you don't come home to find Roomba stuck in the middle of a room, but its made me be more tidy, so that can't be a bad thing!

Sorry this has been a very long review, but I think I've covered all the features and what living with Roomba is like. In summary though its a brilliant robot and has made my life a lot easier!
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 28 Mar 2012 10:22:09 BDT
Mariusz says:
Excellent review, many thanks. Made me want to go for a 700-series.

Posted on 9 Apr 2012 20:16:53 BDT
Soap says:
Thanks for that great review. Very helpful. Can you give me some idea how fast/slow it cleans? How long does it take to do a room size ..x...?
Also, I don't understand what the lighthouses are for. If you have multiple rooms (for me, living room, hallway, kitchen etc) then why not leave the doors open and it will clean all? Why schedule it to do room by room? How noisy is it? (I work from home)
Really hope you can answer these. Thanks!!

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Apr 2012 14:22:23 BDT
Hector Bruce says:
Thanks! Well I've got quite funny shaped rooms but lets say the living room/kitchen is about 20' square, the bedrooms are about 10' square. Setting off at 9:45am usually she'll be back by around noon, this can go up and down a bit day by day, but its a decent average.

The thing with the lighthouses is because of the random way Roomba's clean they don't really have knowledge of what the rooms are shaped like and how to navigate them, so in my case it might be able to get to my bedroom from the living room, but its very unlikely it would be able to find the station to dock once its done and would run out of battery in a room somewhere so it needs the lighthouses as markers to guide itself back.

Also as they clean an area, after a certain amount of time they will mark the area as 'cleaned' and go to looking for the station, unless they see a lighthouse, then they'll go 'I'm not done yet, so i can't go back to the station' and clean the next area. Without the lighthouses it'd be quite likely my bedroom wouldn't get cleaned as Roomba would go looking for the station in the middle of my hallway.

Obviously all this is only necessary if you want your Roomba to clean your home completely automatically, some people just set them to clean one room, then pick them up and do the next. Hopefully that makes sense...

Noisewise, if its in the same room, you can hear a bit of a noise, so if she's in the living room ill turn up the tv a bit to hear better, but once it leaves the room to do the next I can't hear it at all. I'll say if you're on the phone, unless Roomba is right next to you, it shouldn't cause any disruption.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Apr 2012 11:34:13 BDT
Soap says:
Thank you so much for that info. I assume you mean 20' by 20' which would be 400' square. Plus the bedrooms takes nearly 2 hours...that's not so bad. How does it know it is finished?
So the lighthouses are a help in guiding its way back `home' more quickly if it is quite far away from it. And also to move into the next room....
Thanks for all the info. I am quite tempted to get one either the 770 or the 780.....

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Apr 2012 14:28:33 BDT
Hector Bruce says:
Yeah, that is an average, it can be quicker/slower usually depending on how many things I've left on the floor for it to bump into. I don't really know how it thinks its finished, i assume its mainly just based on time but I think it also has a rough estimate at how far it has traveled too using the black and white wheel at the front.

I've added some photos of my Roomba just to show how it looks after a few months use and not much TLC.

Posted on 25 Mar 2013 19:26:53 GMT
Xrissy says:
That's so funny... Ours is a boy!
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