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The smart vacuums you find on the market today do more than just clean your floors. Many can be controlled remotely through a mobile application, much in the same way you might control an RC car. Some have onboard cameras that let you see what your vacuum is doing, and some can integrate with smart home assistants like Google Home or Amazon Alexa.
What everyone wants to know is, how well do these robots work? In this article, we’ll take a look at the Botvac D7 and the Shark ION 750. We’ll evaluate and compare them side-by-side and let you know which is the better value, and let you decide which will work better for you.
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The Botvac D7, manufactured by Neato, is a connected robot vacuum with all sorts of features. It offers interactive cleaning maps, laser navigation, a mobile application, and integration smart home assistants. While the price is on the high-end when it comes to robot vacuums, its long battery life and excellent cleaning abilities make it a good choice for anyone in need of a smart vacuum.
Botvac’s D7 robot vacuum looks similar to its predecessors. It has the D shape which many Botvac robots have, which allows it to squeeze into tight areas. On top of the Botvac are four LED indicators, which let you view cleaning mode, battery level, and wifi status.
The D7 is a little taller than some of its competitors, but that’s due to the additional height needed for the cylinder that houses the navigation system on top of the robot. This turret also houses the camera that gives you a 360-degree view of the rooms within your home.
You’ll also find the dustbin housed within the robot, which is smaller than you would expect it to be, and not very easy to take out and put back in. On the bottom of the Botvac you’ll find a roller brush, a spin brush, two small wheels, and two treads.
Accessories for the Botvac D7 include a charging dock, an array of extra filters and brushes, along with a tool used to clean the robot. You’ll also receive a black magnetic strip that creates a barrier if that’s something you need. It prevents your robot from moving to another room if you want it be restricted to a different area.
Setup and Mobile Application
Setup of the Botvac D7 is simple and easy. The robot comes assembled out of the box, so you don’t have to mess with attaching any additional brushes or parts to it. To get started, just download the mobile application from either the iOS or Android marketplaces. Once you launch the app, just follow the guide through the setup process.
Botvac’s mobile application has the name of your robot on the main screen, along with its status. In the bottom left, you’ll see an indicator in the shape of a battery that will tell you how much power the robot has left. Below the battery indicator is the start button, and in the bottom right you’ll see a grid that shows cleaning history and statistics for the D7’s last twenty cleanings.
In the cleaning menu, you can choose between Manual, Spot, and House modes, with options for Eco and Turbo under the House menu. Eco is a longer, quieter vacuuming, while Turbo is used for a more powerful clean. You also have the option to select Extra Care, which is a gentle version of the default cleaning.
When you put your robot in Spot mode, you can set a specific cleaning area, which the robot will focus on. You also have access to a feature called My Floor Plan from the main menu screen. This allows you to set up No Go lines on the map created by your robot after its initial setup. No Go lines are lines that tell your robot where it shouldn’t go. Keep in mind that this feature isn’t available until you start your cleaning sessions in the application.
While in Home mode, the Botvac D7 will glide smoothly back and forth across your floor, navigating obstructions and moving around obstacles. The robot has the ability to handle different types of surfaces with no issues. Whether it’s tile, wood, or carpet, the Botvac D7 works like a charm.
You’ll also notice it has the ability to find its dock on its own, a common problem with infrared robots. Additionally, if you find that your D7 ever become stuck, you can use your phone to control it, much in the same way you might use a remote with an RC car.
If you’re wondering about cleaning power, the Botvac D7 has no problems sucking up hair, dirt, and anything else you might find on the floor of your home. While it may not have the most powerful motor on the market, it has more than enough suction to get the job done.
The battery lasts long enough, clocking over two hours when in turbo mode, so you shouldn’t run into any issues unless you have a very large home. Bear in mind that you will want to empty the dustbin before you start a long cleaning cycle since it isn’t as big as you would expect it to be.
A lot of the newer smart vacuums on the market today will work with Amazon Alexa, but the Botvac D7 raises the bar. It is not only compatible with Amazon Alexa, but can also interact with Google Assistant. It also supports with IFTTT (If This Then That), so you can set up your own rules. For example, you may want your Botvac to perform a cleaning when your phone is outside a predetermined geo-fenced area.
The Botvac D7 might be one of the pricier robot vacuums on the market, but its wifi support, integration with smart assistants, long battery life, and navigation capabilities make it a worthwhile investment. While it would be nice if the dustbin were a little larger, and the vacuum a little quieter, it does a great job of cleaning your home, and allows you to do so whether you’re home or not.
Shark ION 750
The ION 750 is Shark’s first venture into the robot vacuum market, and it shows. That doesn’t mean the robot isn’t worth purchasing, it just comes up a little short on features when compared other manufacturers that have been in the game longer. It does a fine job cleaning up dirt and debris, and avoids obstructions well. Let’s take a deeper look into the Shark ION 750 smart vacuum.
At first glance, the ION 750 looks an awful lot like a Roomba robot vacuum, which leave a lot to be desired in the design department. It is, however, nearly half an inch shorter than most other smart vacuums, which allows it to get under furniture easier.
Like many round robot vacuums, the ION 750 features a main eleven inch brush, which has self-cleaning bristles. It also uses a rotating brush on each side of the robot which allows it to pick up and capture any stray debris not picked up by the main brush.
Like the Botvac D7, the dustbin of the Shark ION 750 could be bigger, and requires emptying in the middle of cleaning. The bin empties jus like nearly any other robot vacuum. You press the button to slide out the bin, remove it, and empty it into the trash.
On top of the ION 750 are three hardware buttons that allow you to control it. One button is for cleaning, one is for spot cleaning, and one is for docking. You can use these three buttons, or you can download the Shark application from the Android or iOS marketplaces, which gives you more granular control over the robot.
We’ll talk more about the mobile application later, but it provides a more robust experience than you’ll ever get with just the three hardware buttons. The Shark ION 750 also works with both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, so if you want to have it start cleaning, all you have to do is tell it to.
Shark’s ION 750 robot vacuum navigates through the use of infrared sensors, which are great for helping the device avoid obstacles, but didn’t seem to encourage the robot to clean elsewhere. It does a great job of picking up dirt and debris, but often becomes stuck in a random pattern and has to be moved to the next room to get it to continue cleaning.
For the most part, the ION 750 can clean for sixty minutes before the battery runs out of juice. If it is still in the middle of cleaning, the robot knows that it needs to return to its dock and recharge before continuing. The ION 750 is quieter than its competitors when cleaning, and navigates around objects just as well as the Botvac D7. It does, however, have trouble getting stuck under beds.
Despite some of its shortcomings, the ION 750 does a great job of avoiding stray obstacles like cords and cables. It is also does great with picking up significant messes like cereal. No matter what surface it is cleaning, the ION 750 is able to clean up like a champ.
While it is great at picking up larger pieces of debris, it is not as efficient with small particles like flour, sugar, or sawdust. While it performs better than some of its competitors, it could do a much better job of picking up smaller materials. Another item to keep in mind is that it tracks many of the substances it vacuums up through the house, so you might find flour from kitchen in your living room.
The Shark ION 750 isn’t a bad robot vacuum, it’s just not quite up to the level of some of the higher end devices. It does a fine job of picking up debris and dirt, and navigating around obstacles.
You will find the mobile application for theShark ION 750 on both the iOS and Android marketplaces. Like many other mobile applications for smart vacuums, the Shark ION application provides a few simple controls for your robot.
For starters, you are able to tell your robot to start cleaning from the main screen of the application. You can also check its battery levels, and determine whether or not the unit is charging like it should. You’ll find a schedule tab as well, which lets you tell your robot when to vacuum, as well as a tab which shows a thirty day history of when the vacuum has cleaned.
Perhaps the most well-developed part of the application, the history tab provides a comprehensive readout of each cleaning. This includes recharging information, length of time cleaning, and actions that were performed during each cleaning.
You are given some links that will take you to additional settings and a troubleshooting menu that will help you solve any common problems. The mobile application also includes the manual for your Shark ION 750 robot. Unfortunately the app does not include a map to tell you where your robot cleaned, which is frustrating since as mentioned previously, there are times when the robot becomes stuck on a fixed spot.
If you’re looking for a smart vacuum that is going to clean up messes and offers a semblance of control, the Shark ION 750 is a good starting point. It isn’t going to blow you away like some of its more sophisticated and developed counterparts, but it is a good enough robot for basic cleanup.
While both the Botvac D7 and the Shark ION 750 are both robot vacuums, each have their own unique set of specifications and features. Here are just a few of the features each offer:
|Botvac D7||Shark ION 750|
|Battery Life||90 minutes in Turbo mode/120 in Eco mode||60 minutes|
|Filter||High Efficiency Particulate AIr (HEPA) Filter||High Efficiency Particulate AIr (HEPA) Filter|
|Cliff Sensor||Floor Planner||Cliff-Detection Sensors|
|Connected||Wifi and Mobile Application||Wifi and Mobile Application|
|Remote Control via App||Yes||Yes|
|Smart Assistant||Google Home and Amazon Alexa||Google Home and Amazon Alexa|
|Infrared Sensors||No – Camera sensors||Yes|
While these two robot vacuums have much in common, it is easy to see that the clear winner between them is the Botvac D7. It does a better job of cleaning up granular debris, doesn’t have a tendency to get stuck in random places throughout the home, and offers a longer lasting battery.
Basically, the only reason to go with the Shark ION 750 is if you want to save on money. However, as is often the case, you’ll get what you pay for. In nearly all aspects, save the size of the dirt bin, the ION 750 is inferior to the Botvac D7. If you’re in the market for a few robot vacuum, you’re better off going with the Botvac D7.
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Patrick Sinclair is a geek; make no mistake about that. He runs All Home Robotics in his spare time so he doesn’t have to think about his depressing cubicle and it gives him an excuse to buy expensive gadgets to review!