Anyone at all familiar with robot vacuum cleaners has heard of Roomba, and probably for several years. It might make you wonder what iRobot could possibly create that’s new. The look is settled, the function is clear. What could they add or improve to justify the new Roomba 980, especially one that’s definitely on the high end, price-wise?
Trying to compare the new iRobot Roomba 870 to the newish Roomba 880 is a puzzling task. The 870 just IS the 880, minus a couple of features. Are those features worth spending an extra $100 for? Ah, that’s the question…
It’s a little mysterious why iRobot chose to produce the Roomba 870 vacuum cleaner at all. It’s so similar to other recent models you have to wonder where they thought the market niche might lie. Still, if you look at the details, the answer becomes – if not plain, at least plausible.
iRobot has been in kind of a rut lately. They still make great robot vacuum cleaners but there hasn’t been anything radically new for quite a while, just gradual improvements. Until now, that is. That’s all changed with the introduction of the Roomba 880. This is, to use the cliché, a game changer.
iRobot has, after a two year gap, finally released a new version of their robotic floor cleaner: the Scooba 450. So, how does it stack up against the two previous offerings: the Scooba 230 or the Scooba 390? I’m not sure I’ve ever had a tougher call to make. There are lots of similarities, of course. But there are a few differences that might make some stand up and take notice of the new scrubber.
I openly confess I’m a fan of robot helpers and of iRobot products in particular. As a long-time techno-geek and all-around lazy person when it comes to housecleaning, I love them. So, it’s with some enthusiasm that I observe the launching of a new one: the Scooba 450. However, in this case, my joy soon turned to confusion. Here’s why.
There are subtle, and some not-so-subtle, differences between the iRobot Braava 320 and the Braava 380t. One of the most obvious is the price. Currently, the list price for the 380t is about $100 higher. Is it worth the extra cash?
iRobot has long been a leader in robot vacuum and floor cleaners. They’ve added to that lineup in a new way this time around. In 2012 they acquired rival robot maker Evolution Robotics and its Mint line – now renamed Braava for all products. That has allowed the company to bring robot floor mopping technology not available before into the fold. The result – the Braava 380t – will give both iRobot and Mint lovers something to cheer.
The Braava 320 bears many close similarities to Evolution Robotics’ Mint robot floor cleaner. That shouldn’t be surprising since iRobot acquired the company not long ago and renamed their products. There hasn’t been time to make too many changes. What’s here performs well, though.
Maybe it’s mundane to say there’re many similarities between the iRobot Scooba 230 and the Scooba 390 floor washing robots. Well, sometimes, life is mundane. But even those similarities can be interesting. And when you examine the differences things get downright exciting.