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iRobot’s Roomba has dominated the robot vacuum space for a very long time. The Roomba is one of the first brands to come out with a robot vacuum, and it has continued to lead this space since the first Roomba came out in 2002. It helps that the company continues to research and innovate, introducing new technologies that improve their robots.
This is not to say that other manufacturers are not trying to unseat the Roomba from its throne. In fact, it is the opposite, with several companies trying to come up with their own features and functionalities, better-looking models, among others. Neato Robotics is one these companies that have been trying to beat Roomba in the best robot vacuum race.
A few months ago, Neato Robotics came out with the Neato Botvac D7 Connected. How does it compare to what was then iRobot’s best Roomba model, the 980? Let us first take a look at the Neato Botvac D7 Connected.
Contents (Jump to)
- 1 Neato Botvac D7 Connected: A New Look!
- 2 Next Up: Roomba 980
- 3 Comparing the Roomba 980 vs Botvac D7 Connected
- 4 Side-by-side comparison: Neato Botvac D7 Connected vs. Roomba 980
- 5 Final Say: Botvac D7 or Roomba 980?
Neato Botvac D7 Connected: A New Look!
The upcoming Neato Botvac D7 Connected (my full review here!) is designed for larger floor areas that need a deeper clean. Measuring 12.5 inches long, 13.2 inches wide, and 3.9 inches high, it can get under most furniture to clean. The width and the D shape of the robot vacuum cleaner also allow it to get close to edges while being able to clean more areas with a single pass.
The Botvac D7 Connected might have the same shape as the earlier Botvac Connected robots, but it has a metallic finish that makes it more resistant to scratches and dust. It also adds two more LED indicator buttons than the previous models. The new buttons make it easier for you to know what the problem is, the battery level, the cleaning mode used, and the Wi-Fi status.
Features of the Neato Botvac D7 Connected
The Neato Botvac D7 Connected has the following features:
- LaserSmart Mapping and Navigation. The Neato Botvac Connected scans your floors and creates a map of the entire room. This helps it plan the most efficient route for the widest coverage and for fewer missed spots. It also means that the Botvac D7 can clean your rooms faster than most other robot vacuums. The Botvac D7 will continuously scan your room to see if there are changes, like if you bring in a lounging chair into the room or if you rearrange your furniture. The robot vacuum is also able to move around obstacles, avoid stairs, and navigate inside a room with low light or in total darkness.
- Bigger brush. The Neato Botvac D7 uses a bigger brush than most other robot vacuum cleaners. This means that it can sweep more dirt up in a single pass compared to others brands.
- Virtual boundaries. You can use the mobile app to draw boundaries around your room, making the included magnetic strip physical boundary unnecessary. While you can easily lay out the magnetic strip, it is easier to just draw a no-go zone on a map displayed on the app.
- Spinflow Power Clean. The Neato Botvac Connected uses a combination of the spiral combo brush, ultra performance filter, a large dustbin, side brushes, and a powerful suction to clean your floors
- Spiral combo brush. The Botvac D7 uses the spiral combo brush, which can pick up most types of dirt and is best for those floors with tons of pet hair. Not only is this brush very efficient, it is also very easy to clean. The spiral combo brush works with different floor types and generates less noise than other brushes.
- Ultra performance filter. The Botvac D7 comes with an ultra-performance filter that can trap smaller particles of up to 0.3 microns. The filter will prevent the dirt and dust from circulating back into the air you breathe, making it a godsend for those who suffer from allergies and breathing problems.
- Automatic charge and resume. The Botvac D7 can now automatically find its way back to the docking station when its battery runs low. After it juices up, it will also automatically resume the cleaning cycle and pick up where it left off.
- Dual band. The Botvac D7 Connected is compatible with both 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi bands, which means that it can use the 5GHz band when your Wi-Fi network gets too crowded.
- Connectivity. The Botvac D7 connects to your Wi-Fi network. This gives it connected features that make it easier for you to operate your robot vacuum. For one, you can now use the smartphone app to start, pause, or resume cleaning and create schedules. Alternatively, if you have Amazon Alexa or Google Home, you can issue voice commands to tell the Botvac D7 to start cleaning. You can even use the Facebook Neato Chatbot to instruct your robot to clean. Lastly, you can use IFTTT recipes to connect your robot vacuum with other services and connected devices. For instance, you can have your Botvac D7 send you an e-mail when it has finished its job.
- Design – D-Shape with CornerClever. The Botvac D7 retains the D shape that Neato is known for, with straight sides that enable the robot vacuum to clean the edges more efficiently. The D shape also makes way for a broader brush than the ones you see on Roombas. The D7 brush measures 10.9 inches wide, allowing it to cover a wide area in a single pass. The Neato Botvac D7 measures 13.21 x 12.56 x 3.92 inches. These dimensions enable the robot vacuum to get under your furniture and clean the area.
- Pricing for the Neato Botvac D7. Neato gave the Botvac D7 Connected a price tag of $698. Considering that you get some of the best technologies, such as laser-based navigation, powerful suction, and IFTTT compatibility, having to pay less than $700 is a bargain.
The Mobile App Get’s Updated!
Neato has updated its mobile app for the D7 Connected. You can download the app for iOS or Android, and then pair it with your Wi-Fi network.
The new app is very intuitive. The main screen will show you the current status of your robot, the battery level, the start button. You can access the cleaning history and cleaning map. You can also view statistics for the 20 most recent sessions. You can also choose cleaning options.
The app allows you to choose between House Mode, spot cleaning mode, manual cleaning mode, and Extra Care mode. If you choose spot cleaning, the app will also allow you to specify the area that you want to clean thoroughly.
Furthermore, you can set up virtual boundaries just by drawing on the map you see in the app.
Integrations: Works on Your Apple Watch (wow!)
The Botvac D7 Connected works with both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. It is also compatible with IFTTT recipes and you can use an Apple Watch to control it.
Things I Love About the D7 Connected
Even just by looking at it, you would see that the Botvac D7 cleans very methodically, going back and forth and missing no spots.
But you do not have to rely on just your observation; you can check the cleaning maps on the app and confirm that the robot vacuum was able to go over every inch of your floor.
Furthermore, the Botvac D7 really shines when it comes to cleaning performance. It can suck up every piece of dust, dirt, and hair from your floor.
You can also steer it when it gets stuck, or if you want to direct it to a particularly dirtier area.
What Could be Better? Noise and Boundaries
The Botvac D7 Connected is one noisy worker. You cannot watch TV with it running in the same room, or at least you would need to turn up the volume.
I also have “some” lingering concerns about the mapping technology, particularly as it relates to boundary mapping. Personally, I much prefer the Lighthouse / virtual wall approach that iRobot takes with the Roomba.
Laying down magnetic tape for boundary marking still feels SO 2015, right?
Next Up: Roomba 980
The Roomba 980 needs no introduction. Apart from being the flagship model of the Roomba series, it has also been out in the market since late 2015. The Roomba 980 has all the technological innovations that iRobot has come out with.
The Roomba 980 (read my full review here!) has a circular body that measures 13.8 inches in diameter and stands 3.6 inches tall. It combines the tangle-free debris extractor, side brush, and powerful AeroForce suction to clean up dirt and debris off your floors.
The Roomba 980 also packs in an onboard camera that helps it navigate better. With the use of a variety of sensors and vSLAM technology, the Roomba 980 can create a map of your floors and then use this to go around your floors. The sensors will help it avoid stairs, go around obstacles, and even detect dirtier patches of your floor.
Furthermore, the Roomba 980 uses a lithium-ion battery that gives you two hours of cleaning. It will automatically go back to the charging dock when it needs to recharge. When the battery is full, the Roomba 980 will also automatically launch itself off to finish cleaning.
The Roomba 980 will connect to your Wi-Fi, allowing you to control it from your smartphone, and control it even when you are out of the house. The mobile app will allow you to customize cleaning preferences, as well as to see a map of where the robot vacuum has cleaned.
Lastly, if you have carpets, you will appreciate how the Roomba 980 has the carpet boost feature, which gives it more suction power when working on carpeted surfaces.
Features of the Roomba 980
The Roomba 980 has the iAdapt 2.0 navigation technology, which uses an onboard camera to scan your floors and create maps. Like the D7’s navigation system, the Roomba 980 also uses this map to move around your floors and calculate the best cleaning path. Also, it uses AeroForce vacuuming technology. AeroForce makes use of a brushless debris extractor that can sweep and loosen up dirt more effectively than bristle brushes. The debris extractor also means that you do not have to worry about tangling, which is very important if you have pets in the house.
The best things about the Roomba 980, aside from its cleaning power, is its mobile app. You get great features with the Home app. It does not only allow you to start or stop cleaning, but it also allows you to set your cleaning preferences, such as what you would like it to do if the bin gets full, or whether you want the two-pass cleaning. The Roomba 980 also has the Carpet Boost feature that gives your carpets a more thorough clean.
Among all Roombas, the 980 has the longest battery life. One full charge can give you two hours of cleaning time. The Roomba 980 can also give edges and walls particular attention if you invoke the special edge cleaning mode.
Furthermore, if you have either Google Home or Amazon Alexa smart speakers at home, you can just tell the Roomba 980 to start cleaning.
Pricing for the Roomba 980
The Roomba 980 has been edged out of iRobot’s official line up when the company introduced the self-cleaning Roomba i7+. You can no longer buy it from their official store, but you can buy it from other online retailers such as Amazon. Prices for the Roomba 980 range from $650 to $750.
How does Roomba 980 compare to other robotic vacuums?
Comparing the Roomba 980 vs Botvac D7 Connected
When it first came out, the Roomba 980 stole the show and changed how robot vacuums are judged. It was one of the very few robot vacuums with Wi-Fi connectivity and Amazon Alexa compatibility. Roomba already had this reputation of giving buyers the best robot vacuum for their needs and that cleans rather well. Plus with each new model, iRobot gave Roomba lovers something new.
On its own, the Roomba 980 is a great buy. And Amazon customers would agree. Reviewers on the site gave the Roomba 980 an average of 4.2 stars out of 5.0, with close to 2,000 people leaving their ratings. Verified users like how the Roomba 980 has a more predictable cleaning pattern, its Wi-Fi connectivity, and its long battery life.
Other manufacturers have copied the Roomba 980’s features into their own models. It has been three years since it was launched in the market so you can expect that some manufacturers have caught up with its technologies. One of these manufacturers is Neato.
Three years is a really long time in the tech world, and the Botvac D7 now offers more features than the Roomba 980.
As far as features go, both robot vacuums have scheduling, cleaning history reports, cleaning maps, and the ability to automatically recharge and resume cleaning.
You can leave both robot vacuums and they can clean an entire level of your home, no matter how big your house is. They recharge themselves when they run low on power and automatically resume work once fully charged.
Where they differ
- Design and dimensions. The Neato Botvac D7 Connected has a D shape that contrasts with the circular shape of the Roomba 980. This means that the Botvac D7 can be more efficient at cleaning corners and edges as it can get closer to the wall than the Roomba 980 can. However, the Botvac D7 is 0.3 inches taller than the Roomba, which means the Roomba 980 can better fit under furniture.
- Navigating the robot vacuum. The Botvac D7 allows you to direct it where to go, while there is no way to steer the Roomba 980.
- Integrations. The Neato plays nicely with others, at least when compared to the Roomba. The ability to use IFTTT recipes is something that Roomba 980 does not have. Not only that, Neato also has a chatbot that allows you to control your robot vacuum while on Facebook.
- Carpet boost. The one area where Roomba 980 fares better than the Botvac D7 is its carpet cleaning capacity. The Roomba 980 has the carpet boost feature that gives it more suction power to pull more dirt out of your carpets.
Side-by-side comparison: Neato Botvac D7 Connected vs. Roomba 980
To make it easier for you to compare these two robot vacuums, here is a side by side comparison:
|Model||Neato Botvac D7 Connected||Roomba 980|
|MSRP Price||$799.99 (Check out the latest prices here!)||$899.99 (Check out the latest prices here!)|
|Dimensions (l x w x h, inches)||12.5 x 13.2 x 3.9||13.8 x 13.8 x 3.6|
|Vacuuming technology||Spinflow Power Clean||AeroForce|
|LaserSmart Mapping and Navigation||iAdapt 2.0|
|Recharge and Resume||Yes||Yes|
|Clean Map Reports||Yes||Yes|
Final Say: Botvac D7 or Roomba 980?
If you can wait for it to come out, the Neato Botvac D7 Connected is a good robot vacuum for you to consider. It costs just about the same as the Roomba 980, and it has features you cannot find on the Roomba 980, like integrations with IFTTT, the ability to steer it with your mobile phone, and dual Wi-Fi band compatibility. What’s more, you can designate no-go zones without having to put up any physical navigation control devices, like you need to do with Roomba.
What’s more, you would be choosing a newly launched robot vacuum as opposed to the Roomba’s nearly three-year-old product.
It is kind of unsettling to see Roomba getting knocked out of the top spot when it comes to robot vacuums.
But if you think about it, iRobot has not really come out with new features for its robot vacuums in close to three years, while Neato has constantly been improving.
Bottom Line: There is no doubt that Roomba will catch up soon. But for now, Neato Botvac D7 Connected available here is probably the best robot vacuum available in this price range, beating even the Roomba 980.
Big Caveat: If you have lots of carpeting in your house (wall to wall variety), the Roomba 980 with its Carpet Boost mode still might be the better option.
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!