Neato first introduced its Botvac series of robot vacuums last year and significantly expanded its product lineup for 2015 by introducing new products and adding functionality to existing product lines under the Botvac name. Like last year’s models, the primary difference between the D80 and its big brother, the D85, is that the D80 doesn’t come with extra filters (not really a big deal, in my opinion).
The newest feature of the D80 is an ingenious new brush system that is much quieter on hardwood floors. This is great news because the previous version of the D80 could get very loud when in use (up to 66 decibels in some cases). Despite the new brush design, the rest of the unit remains mostly unchanged and features a combination brushroll and side-spinning brush and a high-tech laser-guided navigation system to get around the room while successfully steering clear of obstacles.
Unlike many of the D80 competitors such as the iRobot Roomba 880 (see review here) and the Samsung PowerBot VR9000, the Neato vacuum does not include a remote control unit. While some consumers may see this as a drawback, the effective navigational system as well as the unit’s ability to return to its charging dock automatically make the use of remote largely unnecessary.
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Overview of the Botvac D80
The two-piece combination brush on the undercarriage of the unit is specifically designed to pick up pet hair and has been made much quieter – especially on hard floors including tile and wood. Neato’s patented laser-guided system scans the entire room before methodically cleaning each room before moving onto the next room.
Controls/Display: The touch sensitive LCD panel provides an intuitive menu that makes changing settings very easy. Routine cleanings can be setup and modified using the touch controls as well as spot cleans in specific areas. When the D80 needs to be recharged, it will automatically return to its charging station and pick up where it left off cleaning once charging is complete.
Navigation System: At the heart of the D80’s navigation system is Neato’s QNX Neutrino operating system. When combined with laser technology, this operating system is fully responsive to the environment – capable of mapping a room and avoiding obstacles in its path with the ease and efficiency one would expect from a high-quality robot vacuum. This is made possible by Neato’s patented Botvision technology – combining laser scanning, room mapping, and real-time obstacle detection to clean rooms faster than most other robot vacuums in this price range.
Magnetic Boundary Markings: Another impressive feature of the Neato D80 is the ability to create boundaries where the vacuum should not go using magnetic boundary markers. Each boundary marker is 13 feet long and can be cut as needed to place near doorways, around pet food and water bowls, and anywhere else the robot shouldn’t clean can be marked quickly and easily using these magnetic boundary markers.
Battery: The D80 comes with nickel metal hydride batteries that recharge quickly and provide hours of vacuuming on a single charge. Weighing in at 9 pounds, the unit is 12.7” x 13.2” x 3.9”. The distinctive D shape of the D80 allows the unit to clean edges and corners much more efficiently than robot vacuums of different shapes and sizes. Featuring a sleek, modern design, the D80 also looks good as it cleans the home.
The new SpinFlow power cleaning system uses brushes that are 50% larger. This enables the D80 to suck up dirt, debris, pet hair, and crumbs more efficiently while significantly reducing the noise output of the unit. Also part of the SpinFlow system is a newly designed side-spinning brush that cleans near the edges of a room more effectively.
Larger filters have also been outfitted to the new D80 to capture more dirt and debris between cleanings. Under normal circumstances, these filters should require changing once or twice per year although the amount of dirt in the area and how frequently the D80 is run will impact the lifecycle of these filters. Although the D80 only has one filter (the D85 has three), the high performance filter design captures extra fine dust particles including pet dander that may cause an allergic reaction for some people.
Although the D80 is designed to pick up any and all debris in its cleaning path, Neato’s product line is especially adept at removing pet hair from both carpeted and hard surfaces. Like the D85, the D80 is designed to automatically adapt to different floor types while cleaning and its larger, more powerful brush system lets the unit clean faster than the previous D80 while being quieter and more energy efficient.
Neato’s original line of D series robot vacuums introduced a host of new features that immediately set the D80 apart from other robot vacuum models. The company has maintained many of the features that made the original D80 a popular choice in home robot vacuum technology while improving upon some of the features that didn’t work so well. Namely, an improved brush system that is quieter and more efficient helps to ensure that the new D80 continues to be a strong contender as the best robot vacuum money can buy.
- Improved brush system us quieter and more efficient
- Fixed the “non-sealed” ball bearing problem that caused hair build-up in the older Botvac series
- Larger filters need to be replaced less frequently
- Laser-guided navigation system effectively maps out and cleans a room while avoiding obstacles
- Intuitive touch interface makes setting up a cleaning schedule easy, even for a novice user
- “D” shape is designed to clean near edges and in corners better than the competition
- Extremely good at cleaning up pet hair, dust, and dander
- No remote control
- No WiFi control options (like the new Roomba 980)
- Although significantly quieter than previous models, the new D80 is still rather loud compared to some of the competition
What’s the Final Result? Is it Worth it?
The lack of a remote control is surprising as many of the D80’s competitors (including significantly lower-priced models from other manufacturers) do provide remote control functionality. That said, the D80’s intuitive touch screen interface makes setting up cleaning routines and modifying vacuuming settings extremely easy. Also, since the D80 automatically returns to its charging station and resumes cleaning once charging is complete lessens the need for a remote control in the first place.
Overall, the Neato D80 is a powerful robot vacuum capable of cleaning a variety of floor types and surfaces without any interaction from its owner. From pet hair to dust to crumbs and other debris, the D80 is up to the challenge and will impress users with its intelligent navigation and collision avoidance technology as well as its ability to actually pick up dirt around the home – even in those hard-to-reach corners and along the edges of rooms.
Truly a robot with a “brain”, the D80 knows where it’s going, where it’s already cleaned, and how to navigate an entire household without any input from the homeowner. The Neato D80 brings new meaning to the home automation and is definitely a product worth checking out when shopping for robotic cleaning technology for the home.
In short, I personally think this is the best Neato robot yet. It doesn’t have some of the fancy new WiFi capability like the Roomba 980 or the remote control options, but it DOES clean very well. The competition between Neato and Roomba has become very tight indeed. I’d recommend checking out pricing here first.