So we bought one of these, an aspirator robot, an LG VR1229B, which is a French model, probably only slightly different from the one you might buy in the UK. Ours speaks French, comes with a French manual, and you can’t programme it to speak any other language.
It was €699, which puts it towards the top of the range. What do you get for that? A robot vacuum cleaner that claims it can learn your space and thus become more efficient, one that can be programmed to work in a variety of different cleaning patterns. It’s also very quiet. It comes with a remote control, allowing you to change it’s cleaning pattern or tell it to return to its home base without leaving your seat.
Before buying it, we borrowed one from my wife’s uncle, which had apparently cost €1500. It was quite noisy but it worked quite well for us. The uncle didn’t get on with it, but then their house is extremely cluttered with all kinds of old shit, whereas ours is relatively sparse. Depending on your space, you might need to carry it from room to room. When it’s running, you get the weird sensation that there’s someone else in the house.
So if you have the kind of space that allows a robot to work happily without getting stuck under furniture too often (it happens), you too might get on with it. You can even set it to run when you’re out of the house, on a daily schedule.
This LG has sensors to prevent it bumping into stuff, or falling downstairs, and it also has a top camera so it can “learn” the space, even in the dark. It can tell the difference between hard floor and carpet and can move between the two, flipping itself into “turbo” mode for carpet. Instead of a bag, there’s a plastic box to empty occasionally, and tools to clean the various brushes (spares were also supplied in the box). It plays a tune when it’s finished, or when it’s stuck, and it mumbles away in French a bit. The brushes are quite efficient, and it also has an optional (dry) micro fibre cloth, which cleans the floor quite effectively. You get two of these, and you just rinse them in cold water, dry them, and swap them over occasionally. They’re removable, so you don’t leave them on for rugs and carpets.
What else? Oh yeah: the cat hates and fears it.
Well, we ended up returning the LG to the shop, and after much negotiation swapped it for a Roomba 880.
The LG Hom-Bot worked perfectly for about three weeks, and then started to get flaky. It would clean for 30 seconds, then declare the job done and return to its base. Or it would just go around in circles in a small area. The manual suggested cleaning the sensors and switching it off and on again. A couple of times, this worked, but then the thing (much more quickly) would get flaky again. Finally, even cleaning the sensors and switching it off and on again didn’t work.
The problem seems to be in the software. I have read online that other people have had the same issue. It seems to be something to do with the robot’s memory of spaces, which it updates on the base. It supposedly learns your room so that it can clean much more quickly. But, if you use it in multiple rooms, this obviously confuses it.
Anyway, the retailer didn’t want to give us our money back, and offered store credit instead. The Roomba was €30 more expensive, so we negotiated a straight swap, with the €30 discounted.
Look out for a Roomba 880 review to follow.