Roomba Combo j7+ could be the best robot yet to clean your home

Roomba Combo j7+ could be the best robot yet to clean your home

iRobot, best known for its popular Roomba range of robotic vacuum cleaners, has announced two big developments for 2022: a major OS update and a new model with a unique pop-up cleaning mechanism.

This news is the first major advance we have seen from the manufacturer since the news broke in August 2022 of its acquisition by Amazon. iRobot is also taking the opportunity to celebrate the 2002th anniversary of its first Roomba robot in XNUMX.

We spoke with Senior Product Manager Praj Shyamkant about iRobot's new platform, its latest combo cleaner, and how we should think about iRobot's new owner, Amazon.

The convertible of the robot vacuum cleaner market

The biggest announcement comes in the form of iRobot's new Roomba Combo device; the Roomba Combo j7+. The Roomba Combo j7+ will retail for €1,099 in the US, €999 in the UK and international markets will be available during Q2022 XNUMX.

It's not iRobot's first combo cleaner, but it drives innovation in cleaning technology.

The Roomba Combo j7+, with an attractive new mop design, offers "seamless change," with a top-mounted retractable mop that automatically lifts and engages when the machine transitions from a hard floor to a rug or rug, avoiding so wet dirt. To save time, the device can also vacuum and wash at the same time.

iRobot Roomba Combo j7+ Mechanical Retractable Trapper

(Image credit: iRobot)

This feature also means users won't have to regularly lift the robot off the floor to install mop pads when vacuuming is done. Plus, with pad detection and tank level detection, users only need to look for notification when it's time to refill the tank or replace the mop pad. If users cannot access the device in time to do so before the next cleaning, the Roomba Combo j7+ will intelligently switch to vacuum only mode.

In addition to this mopping mechanism, users will be able to control the integrated water pump, customizing the amount of liquid and the number of cleaning passes that the robot will perform room by room. The new integrated bin and reservoir means there's an easy-to-access place to empty dirt and refill cleaning solution, and the bin uses an automatic dirt removal system that doesn't need to be replaced for 60 days.

With all these features, the Roomba Combo j7+ looks like one of the simplest and most sophisticated robot vacuums we've ever seen, packed into a sleek and compact unit. We're interested to see how it performs in testing, so stay tuned for our review.

Smarter cleaning for a smarter home

Many Roombas will also benefit from a major platform update, which has already begun rolling out to devices.

iRobot OS 5.0 will add to the already long list of features found in the system, which includes everything from personalized suggestions to voice commands and object detection. Previous updates added the ability to identify and dodge animal droppings.

Based on the principle of "thoughtful intelligence", the new update, Shyamkant explained, will bring improvements to the existing functions of the operating system, especially for pet owners and families.

These upgrades include more detectable items like pet toys, bowls, and litter boxes, as well as family-friendly items like backpacks. This, Shyamkant said, addresses a big challenge many homes have with robot vacuums; the floor must be spotless before it can be cleaned.

Additionally, vacuums with the update will offer recommendations and improved cleaning around high-traffic areas of the home, including pet bowls and litter boxes and large appliances like stoves, washers and more, dishes and toilets.

iRobot OS 5.0 will also see the arrival of active room skip, which users can activate in the companion app or through Alexa, and the addition of more voice commands. The update will be available for newer iRobot devices as well as most older models, depending on hardware. This includes the Roomba 600 series, s9+, i3+, j7+, and m6.

An analysis

The growing intelligence of robotic cleaners like these allows users to be more self-sufficient than ever. Whereas in the past, using a robotic vacuum for regular cleaning required proactive management (and a lot more storage to reduce roadblocks), we're fast approaching the fabled future of fully automated, self-regulating homes—at least as far as it goes. when it comes to vacuuming and mopping.

However, news of Amazon's acquisition of iRobot is still relatively new, so the announcement of its smarter, more personalized robotic vacuums could set off some red flags among consumers concerned about more aggressive data-driven marketing. .

We asked Shyamkant about the company's position on data privacy, and she explained that users must give "explicit consent" when using iRobot's PrecisionVision navigation or one of iRobot's data-driven features. iRobot devices. In a press release, the company says it "does not and will not sell consumer data."

Shyamkant adds, "iRobot has always prided itself on being at the forefront of ensuring that consumer data is highly secure and reliable, and that commitment will not change."

"We will continue to provide transparency to our customers about how data is used and our services will always remain opt-in."

Although iRobot is Tüv Süd CSC (opens in a new tab) certified to the highest possible level, it is still a tough pill for skeptical consumers to swallow.

Home mapping brings both positives and negatives, especially for the elderly or disabled, and the kind of technology used here by iRobot could signal the beginning of the end decades in advance for the true smart home experience. As for the overall impact of the Amazon acquisition, we'll just have to wait and see.