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Test of the iRobot Roomba i3 + robot vacuum: hands-free comfort, well almost

My experience with the first lockdown assured me that I had invested in a vacuum robot before the second Covid-19 lockdown. We had moved to a new home and needed all the help we could find or buy. I opted for the most affordable iRobot Roomba on the market and didn’t even regret the purchase. However, looking back, I think I should have bought something smarter, even if it came at an additional cost. I should have bought something like the Roomba i3 +.

The Roomba i3 + looks a lot like the Roomba 698 I have at home. The robotic vacuum cleaner has the same design, although it looks and sounds different. But what sets this new model apart is the charging station, which now comes with a tower in which the robot empties the bins.

The Roomba i3 + is also much smarter and doesn’t waste time cleaning areas it’s been in before. Plus, when he sees an obstacle, he stops for a second, almost as if he’s looking for his next move, and invariably plots a different route. On these two points, I have to say that the robot I own shows that I tried to save money by buying it.

The Roomba i3 + also appears to have much better control over the terrain in which it operates. (Image Source: The Indian Express / Nandagopal Rajan)

There is more. The Roomba i3 + also appears to have much better terrain control. For example, there is a fluffy carpet in the house where the older robot still gets stuck on the edge. But the i3 + also cleans the carpet and that too without sucking up all the loose threads.

But as he trudged around the room, I couldn’t help but notice how this robot had a much different drone than the one I had at home. This could be because the Roomba i3 + has much stronger suction than iRobot’s cheaper models. And that’s why he’s able to remove Lego pieces that had been lost in the fluffy carpet weeks before.

The i3 + ‘s USP, however, has to be the trash tower. When the robot has finished cleaning, it returns to the charging station. A moment after doing this for the first time, I was in shock. The tower then sucks up all of the robot’s garbage and in doing so makes everyone aware that something unusual is happening. My son ran out of his room and asked me if there was a robot uprising. Moral of the story, store the Roomba i3 + charger ideally in a balcony or an uncrowded part of the house.

The i3 + ‘s USP, however, has to be the garbage tower. (Image Source: The Indian Express / Nandagopal Rajan)

You can initiate this waste disposal process even by using the app. The app, like with other Roomba robots, also lets you start a quick cleaning job, create a cleaning schedule, and even end a cleaning job in the middle. It is all very convenient.

There aren’t any negatives with the iRobot Roomba i3 + other than the fact that it can get a little noisy at times, especially if it has picked up something like paper or caramel wrap on its outings. Plus, if that can’t wake you up from your Sunday afternoon nap, transferring the waste from the robot to the tower certainly will. Plus, it’s not as if the priority of the tower negates the need to deal with waste on your end. You just need to do it from the tower now and not the robot itself like before.

The iRobot Roomba i3 + is certainly one of the most practical robot vacuums on the market. But you have to pay extra for this convenience as the Roomba i3 + has a starting price of Rs 44,900, considering the current festive discounts. But for a lot of homes, it will definitely be a worthwhile investment.

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