BotVac Connect is Neato’s first robotic vacuum cleaner with WiFi connection and a smartphone app. This means that you will have access to this bot even when you are not physically present at home.
You can say that this is Neato’s response to the Roomba 980 and their quest to dislodge them as No. 1 in this niche in terms of market share.
At the time of the 980’s launch, they were among the few to offer a WiFi app and Smartphone app.
Now Neato has gone down the same path with BotVac Connected. Let the robots start the wars of the void.
There are two big promotions here. The first is the WiFi connection that allows you to access this bot via a mobile device.
The second upgrade is the lithium-ion battery which improves runtime and battery life.
This robot will run longer with more linear power range than previous generation Roombas.
According to Ry Crist of CNet, this might be the best robotic vacuum money can buy not only because of the WiFi connection but also because of the performance.
Although it isn’t cheap, all of the mentioned improvements as well as other features that you’ll see in this review don’t come cheap.
At around $700, this machine is one of the most expensive on the market but is about $200 cheaper than the Roomba 980.
If you want the same functionality but can’t stand it, you’ll be better with older BotVacs like the BotVac 80 or D80.
Quick look at the features
- WiFi Enabled – You can use your smartphone to start, stop and control all the functions of this robot vacuum cleaner
- Now comes with a Li-ion battery that lasts longer and has less fading compared to NiCad batteries
- It comes with two cleaning modes – eco mode (this option provides quieter operation and extends runtime) and turbo cleaning mode.
- The motorized wide brush and D-shaped design (along with the side brush) will get close to corners and clean them well.
- It uses a laser-guided system (with real-time object detection) that will avoid objects instead of crashing into them
- The new lithium-ion battery will work for 120 minutes in eco mode and 90 minutes in turbo mode
- Eco mode will give you quieter operation compared to Turbo mode (You can use Turbo mode on carpet if you need some cleaning power)
- Enabling WiFi means you can use your smartphone to control this (this eliminates the need for a separate console)
- Great for cleaning pet hair
- You can use the app to control multiple BotVac devices if you are lucky enough to have more than one
- Wide brush roll, cleans more in one swipe than Roomba
- It can navigate even in sharp black rooms because it uses a laser-guided system
- This is an expensive piece of machinery but at least $100 less than Roomba
- Doesn’t do well at picking up sand when compared to Roomba 980
- Reflective surfaces such as a mirror or furniture with a chrome finish cannot be ‘see’
What to expect from a WiFi enabled cleaning robot
The robot wars have just begun.
At first it was the Dyson 360 Eye, then the Roomba 980 and now the BotVac Connected.
What am I talking about? Well, these 3 robot vacuums are the first in the market with WiFi connectivity.
This simply means that you can download an app and then use it to control the bot.
No more separate remote controls. No need to point the remote control at the robot to turn it on or activate it.
When there is WiFi connection, you can basically control the robot from anywhere. At home or at work using an app provided by Neato (yes, it works on both Android and IoS devices).
This is what the Neato BotVac app looks like…
Image courtesy of lint pocket
This app is the control center for the bot which means you can schedule it to clean it up or manually control it like a remote control game using your phone which can be a bit tricky to say the least.
You will need to download the app from the Play Store, register your account for an account, and then enter your BotVac serial number.
Next, you will need to connect the application to the robot and give it its name, if you know the basic functions of android or IoS applications, it will take no more than 10 minutes to find out.
Here’s a preview of the connection process (photo from CNet)…
After connecting the bot and the router, you will see the interface that tells you the status of the battery and the status of the dirt box – whether it is full or not.
In terms of functionality, it’s pretty basic. It won’t tell you its exact location in your home or why it’s not working. For the latter, you will have to scan the screen on the bot.
I hope future versions will bring these features into the app.
Here are step-by-step instructions from Neato…
The cool thing about it is that you don’t need to be in the same room as the bot, you may be in another room and it will wake up your phone. Heck, you can be outdoors and he will alert your phone if he needs any help.
You can also schedule the cleaning times (once a day, seven days a week) and the cleaning patterns you want.
Speaking of cleaning modes, unlike previous Neato Botvacs that only had one cleaning mode which is the turbo, the BotVac Connected also comes with an Eco mode which has less noise and extends the run time by about 30 minutes.
To see all the features please watch this video by Neato…
This device uses the same navigation system found inside older BotVac robots and is a laser-guided system that detects obstacles that the sensor (located on top of the robot) can see.
The advantage of this system over a camera-based system is that it can “see” even in dark conditions.
So there is no need to leave the lights in the house on to use this device.
But the downside is that it can’t see obstacles above the laser which means if there’s a bump above the sensor that it can’t see it will hit it at full speed.
He also has difficulty seeing reflective furniture such as a mirror or chrome. Consider yourself cautious.
Like previous Neato robots, this machine uses a predictable back-and-forth grid pattern, something Roomba eventually adapted to the Roomba 980.
For this I will refer to the CNet Controlled Test. On the hardwood deck, the BotVac Connected was able to pick up every grain of rice and every hair that was on the hardwood (although some ended up on the brush roll and not inside the trash).
It struggled a bit in terms of picking up sand on hardwood with the Roomba 880 I beat but it was way better than the more expensive Roomba 980.
Here’s a time-lapse video to show you how to perform BotVac cleaning on hardwood.
Again to point out the same test, it still outperformed most robots at picking up rice and pet hair, but it really struggled (as with most robots) at picking up sand on low and medium pile carpets.
The Roomba 880 was a top performer when it came to catching sand on carpet.
Pet hair removal
While this machine performed well in terms of picking up pet hair (especially on hardwoods and low-pile carpets), I picked up less than the BotVac D85 and not all of the pet hair ended up inside the box.
Some are wrapped around the motorized brush…
Here’s a short video by Ry Crist on how this captures pet hair on a hardwood…
Here’s a pet hair test interval. Most cleaners have a very easy time with them on wood floors. pic.twitter.com/pRPr5tFwkh
– rycrist October 26, 2015
Are you going to clean the stairs?
Unfortunately, a robotic vacuum cleaner cannot do the job (yet).
Like previous BotVac bots, the scheduling feature is available once a day. You can also schedule the cleaning at different times during each of the seven days.
It takes 2 hours to fully charge this robot.
You’ll need to regularly clean the sensors, motorized brush, and clean the wheels to keep the BotVac in peak operating condition and here are the videos on how to do it.
Clean the sensor (especially the drop sensors on the bottom).
Cleaning the wheels (although the video shows you how to clean the wheels of the XV, it should be a similar process to the BotVac).
the show length
Unlike older BotVacs that only had one cleaning mode, this one has two – adding an economy cleaning mode to the default turbo mode that increases runtime to around 120 minutes. In turbo mode, this number drops to 90 minutes.
All Neato Robotics vacuums come with a 1 year warranty on the robot and 6 months on the battery.
|Battery Type||lithium ion|
|charger type||charging station|
|Shipping time||2 hours|
|the show length||Eco mode: 120 minutes
Turbo mode: 90 minutes
|Door Crossing||Approximately. 5/8 “|
|net weight (with battery)||9 pounds|
|Purchase weight||15.5 pounds|
|an offer||13.2 inches|
|bin full indicator||
|Cleaning sessions per week||7|
|brush cleaning tools||
|What’s in the box||High performance robot vacuum cleaner
Blade Spiral Brush
Integrated charging base
Brush and filter cleaning tool
Consumers mostly liked how this vacuum cleaner performed and also liked that it had an app that you could download to a smartphone and use to schedule this robot.
Connecting the bot and the app worked smoothly for the most part (I’ve already shared this earlier in this article) and even if your phone somehow crashes, reconnecting it to another phone isn’t a problem as long as you remember your login details.
In terms of cleaning performance, according to consumers, this robot has more suction power than Roomba 980 and better performance in terms of cleaning walls due to its shape.
But the problem arises when navigating through the narrow spaces between the legs of the chair. There is a tendency for this robot to immobilize itself if it is too tight.
You’ll still need a can or a hand-held vacuum to clean nooks and crannies.
It’s also able to go over thresholds about 5/8 inch without any issues, the problem is that this robot is trying to climb any slope like the chassis and that’s where it has a problem. Also if you have any reflective furniture that has any chrome – this robot will have trouble “seeing it”.
In terms of cleaning performance, consumers say this robot often performs better than the 980 especially at picking up pet hair on the carpet. This robot is very good at picking up surface dirt.
Consumers check the 120-minute runtime in Eco Mode. And they liked how it wasn’t as noisy as in ‘turbo mode’.
Neato app works well. Shows you the battery status and when to empty the dustbin. You can also schedule the bot to clean independently once a day throughout the week at different times. It will notify you if the bot is stuck somewhere.
However, compared to the Xiaomi robot vacuum, the features of the application are lacking.
Neato has come a long way with the launch of the connected BotVac but they still have their work cut out in terms of ironing out kinks with the app and navigation but in the right setup, this bot (flat spaces with minimal clutter) will do a great job.
Where can I buy this?
Amazon also sells an extended warranty of up to 3 years if you want even more peace of mind.
Neato manages to make BotVac even better thanks to WiFi connectivity and a lithium-ion battery.
This WiFi connection and app allows you to control this from literally anywhere as long as you have an internet connection.
The lithium-ion battery extends battery life and reduces power fade throughout the charging cycle giving it better overall cleaning performance.
And while all the improvements look good on paper, they still had some issues with sand cleaning especially on the carpet and navigation (there are still reports of it getting stuck between chair legs and not seeing well chrome furniture).
Although it may not be perfect, the improvements make it an overall better performance than previous BotVac D series vacuum cleaners. But the real question is – are you willing to spend $700 on it?
If you really want to get the WiFi feature and the app, go for it. But if you don’t want to spend a few hundred extra dollars on a chicken Neato BotVac D80 or 80. It will give you roughly the same performance for less.