Samsung Navibot SR8845
“Domestic robot” sounds like a science-fictional concept, but robot vacuum cleaners and mops have been whirring around many homes since the early 21st century. The Samsung NaviBot is the latest to enter the market; we put it to the test on carpet and hard floors to see how well it cleans and how good it is at navigating a room.
The NaviBot looks much like most other robot vacuum cleaners: it’s round, weighs 3.6kg and has rotating brushes on its underside to collect and sweep dirt and fluff into its dirt receptacle. It’s very easy to use, being fully operated via its remote control. The robot moves about easily and effectively detects and navigates around most obstacles. A supplied “virtual guard” accessory can be used to create an invisible barrier, which is useful for blocking off open doorways or other areas you don’t want the robot to enter. It can also be used to prevent the cleaner leaving a room until it has covered the entire floor area in that room.
The dirt receptacle is easy to empty, and when the battery charge is low (it can run for about 90 minutes on a full charge) the cleaner finds it way back to the charger and docks automatically.
Unfortunately, it’s not so great at actually cleaning floors, despite its clever camera-based dirt detection system. While it’s OK on hard floors and does a good job along edges (though it can’t fully clean corners due to its round shape), it performs poorly on carpet, picking up only a very small amount of dirt. Robot vacuums simply don’t generate enough suction to extract much dirt from carpet. It doesn’t manage pet hair very well either and is fairly noisy too, although generally quieter than most standard vacuum cleaners.
The best use for robots such as the NaviBot is for everyday operation to keep dust and dirt to a minimum in a single-level home with mostly hard floors, so that only an occasional thorough clean with a standard vacuum is necessary.
Easy to use and clever at navigating around rooms, the NaviBot is still no replacement for a traditional vacuum cleaner. For the same price (or $999 for the deluxe model SR8855) you could buy a good standard model and have change left over – though of course, you’d still have to do the vacuuming yourself.