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It seems all the recent uproar in the smart home robot vacuum world has been about the iRobot Roomba i7+. And while this fantastic little piece of machinery goes the extra mile by emptying your canister for you, what about its compatriot, the Roomba i7?
This robot vacuum resides at the top end of the industry and even though it doesn’t have the additional canister emptying feature that the i7+ offers, the i7 still offers plenty of innovate features and functionality. The i7 aims for new performance levels, along with making life easier for you.
While the i7 might look similar to its predecessors, it offers a whole new bevy of upgraded internals, smarter mapping capabilities, and improved pick-up and suction performance. These enhancements are just a few of the ways that the iRobot i7 plans to convince you to stick with a more refined and sophisticated robot vacuuming experience.
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If you simply take the Roomba i7 at face value, it looks just like every other iRobot smart vacuum that has come before it. However, this new model has been redesigned both inside and out. Awaiting you under the hood are an increase in RAM and an upgraded processor.
Additionally, the i7 offers a redesign of its cleaning head, which boasts power-lifting suction and two multi-surface brushes made of rubber. These features alone give the i7 twice the cleaning performance and ten times the air suction power of previous Roombas.
Embedded within the device are built-in sensors and cameras, which help to drive the i7’s smart mapping capabilities. This gives the robot vacuum the ability to learn the layout of your home. It stores an internal map of each floor and each room, which you can use to your advantage.
With the iRobot mobile application or Google Home or Alexa voice controls, you can tell your i7 exactly where you want it to clean, and it’ll do so. By referring to its map, the robot vacuum knows precisely where to go and will return to its base once it has finished cleaning.
Each time it cleans the i7 learns more about your home. By using a sensor on its undercarriage, the robot has the ability to detect which areas are high-traffic areas, and which areas attract more dirt than others. As it learns, it makes sure to give these areas a more thorough clean.
Roomba has redesigned its dustbin, which is now washable and can be cleaned out so it doesn’t get grimy and nasty. You may also notice that the typical Roomba manual controls and mechanical buttons have been phased out and replaced with a swanky new touch-sensitive option.
The Roomba i7 arrives in a large box that includes the charging station along with plenty of accessories. You should have a front-edge brush, virtual wall barrier, and an extra filter. The i7 doesn’t take very long to set up and get going. It comes completely assembled, however, you’ll need to charge it up before you set it out on its initial run.
While it’s charging, you can find and install the iRobot Home App for your smartphone. It’s supported on both the Android and iOS marketplaces. iRobot suggests you let the i7 charge for at least three hours before it makes its first run. Once that’s done, the i7 will automatically return to its base station whenever it needs to recharge.
When you set the Roomba i7 out on its initial run, you’ll discover that the robot vacuum is fairly quiet while it cleans. The vacuum has an integrated speaker that lets you know the status of the device, which means you can know what it’s doing without staring at your phone. iRobot does suggest, however, that you keep an eye on the i7 during its first cleaning cycle.
Its edge-sweeping brush requires the i7 to clean the edges of each room in several directions, which resulted in the device bumping into furniture and tables a little more often than one might expect. Despite these initial setbacks, the i7 handles breaks in flooring and rugs with ease and can free itself more often than not if it becomes stuck.
Where some robot vacuums provide you with a view of your floor plan as it goes about its clean, with the i7, you’ll have to wait until the cycle is complete before you’ll get the results. Even when the i7 is running low on juice and trundles back toward its base it continues to clean. Once it arrives at its base, your smartphone app provides an indication of how much time it will take before its fully charged and ready to go again.
After three cleaning cycles are complete, the i7 will create your map and provide the floor space for each room in your home. Creating a customized plan is simple. All you have to do is mark divisions on the map by making straight lines, then tap on each room and give it a name.
Once you’ve finished setting up your customized plan, you can tell the i7 to clean specific areas and rooms on an ad-hoc basis. You can also create a schedule for cleaning each room if you prefer to go that route. No matter which you choose, you’ll enjoy how easy to manage and simple the process is.
As mentioned previously, iRobot added more memory and processing power to the i7. That means you’re getting a faster, smarter, and more powerful device than its predecessors. With its additional processing power, the i7 offers users an improved navigation technology experience. The i7 provides power that is 50 times more powerful than the iRobot 900 series, which means you’ll get a more thorough clean throughout your entire home.
iRobot’s i7 is the first robot vacuum to use iAdapt 3.0 technology for navigation. Mapping technology has become a staple in high-end robot vacuums over the past few years, which gives the device the ability to create a map of each floor in your home. These maps are used to develop and establish a cleaning route throughout your home so the vacuum knows where it has and has not cleaned.
Additionally, these cleaning maps give the i7 the ability to pick up right where it left off in the event that the device runs out of juice during a cleaning cycle. This helps to alleviate the problem of scanning during each clean that previous models encountered. It would take several minutes to determine what needed cleaning before the robot vacuum would take off on its course. The i7 doesn’t have this issue.
The i7 has the ability to store up to ten maps in its memory, which means it can start cleaning immediately. That means the i7 has plenty of memory to store maps of the floors of your whole house.
In addition to the maps of each floor in its memory, you can now also use voice commands to perform targeted cleaning (we’ll talk more about this in a bit). Just tell your Amazon Alexa or Google Home which area you want to be cleaned and the i7 will head off in that direction.
To get a better understanding of how Roomba has improved the navigation of the i7 we’ll use the older navigation capabilities of the Roomba 980. The 980 employs iAdapt 2.0 navigation technology, which means the device has to scan your floor each time it starts a clean. The robot vacuum then determines the most efficient method of cleaning and heads out on its cycle.
With its Clean Maps feature, the 980 can also navigate back to its charging dock even if it’s on the other side of the house. With the Clean Maps, you can see everywhere the 980 has been just to confirm that all rooms have been cleaned.
The i7 can perform all these features and then some. With the new iAdapt 3.0 technology, the Roomba i7 now only knows where in your house it is, but can also identify and navigate to each room. That means if you want your master bedroom to be the only room that vacuumed, you can tell the i7 and that’s all it will do.
You can customize and name each room in our home. The mobile application gives you the ability to use default names if you prefer, or you can label and designate a name for your room, the office, the living room, etc. No matter what you name it, you can tell the i7 to clean it and it will readily obey.
We’ve discussed the ability of the i7 to clean either an entire floor, an entire area, or just a specific room. You can create this ability using the imprint maps in the smartphone application, which means you can cordon off specific areas you want the robot vacuum to avoid.
For instance, if your home has an open floor plan layout, you can draw lines on the map created by the i7 and tell it to avoid the “Kitchen.” Additionally, with voice commands, you just tell Alexa or Google to clean the living room, and off the device goes, ready to comply.
Don’t worry if you don’t have an Amazon Alexa or Google Home device. You can perform all these tasks in the smartphone application as well. Additionally, you can create a schedule for your i7 so it will perform a certain task each day at a certain time. This means you can set up the schedule and not have to worry about whether or not the i7 will clean the specified area.
Pros and Cons
Of course, no device or robot vacuum is perfect, and the Roomba i7 is no exception. While it does have many new and advanced features that make it a great robot vacuum to own, it does have a few drawbacks as well.
- High-quality cleaning performance
- Smartphone app available for both iOS and Android
- Easy scheduling and customization
- Single room cleaning
- Multi-floor mapping
- Voice control with Amazon Alexa and Google Home
- Device is a little larger than competitors
- One of the more expensive robot vacuums on the market
The iRobot Roomba i7 is a great robot vacuum that is perhaps only inferior to the i7+. This model allows you to set a schedule and not have to worry about whether or not your home is being vacuumed. Really the only thing you have to worry about it regularly emptying out the dustbin.
Roomba has beefed up the specs on the i7, making it faster and more powerful than other Roomba robot vacuums, while maintaining the same quiet clean that users have come to expect. The i7 also has the ability to store a map of every floor and room in your home. This helps to save time when you only want to clean a specific room or area.
Perhaps the best argument for the Roomba i7 is that it improves on a line of robot vacuums that is already impressive. However, you’ll have to decide whether or not these new features are worth the price tag. While the i7 isn’t as expensive as the i7+, you’re still shelling out a good amount of money for a robot vacuum. Whether or not these cutting-edge technologies are worth it is up to you.
For more information, read about The Best Roomba Models here.
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!