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Why I’m Not Buying The Roomba 980 This Black Friday

iRobot is the best robot vacuum brand. The Roomba 980, in particular, has dominated the entire Roomba series as well as competition from the rest of the brands; Dyson, Neato, Shark, ECOVACS, Xiaomi and the rest.

To be honest, this robot vacuum set a new standard in the robot vacuum industry. Since its release in 2016 the Roomba 980 has remained the best robot vacuum in the market.

If I were out looking for a robot vacuum this Black Friday, the Roomba 980 wouldn’t be my priority. Perhaps you think it’s because of the high price tag. No. In fact, the number one robot vacuum in my wish list is slightly more expensive than Roomba 980. And it’s not Dyson 360 Eye or Samsung PowerBot but the all-new Roomba i7+.

iRobot recently unveiled two new Roombas models; Roomba E5 and Roomba i7 series. The E series is a mid-range vacuum that brushes shoulders with the likes of Roomba 675, 690 and maybe the 890. On the other hand, the I series is a top of the range robot vacuum that goes the extra mile to empty the bin automatically.

However, the vacuum is not yet in the market, but it’s available for pre-order. We expected it to be available in October, but from the look of things, it should be among the surprises of Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

Roomba 980 vs. i7+ costs

iRobot is a high-end robot vacuum brand, and that’s why Roombas are so expensive. But there’s one thing that is always consistent in all Roomba models; reliability. It’s one vacuum brand that delivers what it promises, unlike these cheap Chinese clones.

When it was introduced in the market, the Roomba 980 cost almost $1,500 but today, the price settled at around $900. The base model Roomba 960 will set you back around $700.

On the other hand, Roomba i7+ has a suggested retail price of $949 while the base model, the Roomba i7 has a suggested retail price of around $650. Note that the base model doesn’t come with the Roomba Clean Base Self Emptying System.

Well, as you can see, these vacuums are really exuberant considering models like Deebot N79s cost around $200.

Roomba 980

Roomba 980 boasts all the features you’d want in a robot vacuum cleaner. The first thing you want it for is the versatile cleaning it offers. The vacuum can handle all hard floors as well as carpets, including the long pile. Remember, the older models, Roomba 960 and below are not best for high pile carpets because they lack Carpet Boost. In this mode, the suction power is stepped up to 1,700 Pa courtesy of Generation 3 brushless motor.

The filters are true-HEPA which guarantee 99.97% efficiency. If you have pets that constantly leave allergens all over and bad odor, these are the best!

The brush is a dual multi-surface rubber extractor that doesn’t tangle and agitates dirt effectively from hard floors and carpets. The rubber material makes it ideal for delicate hardwood floors and is durable than bristle brushes.

Regarding navigation and maneuverability, this vacuum comes with iAdapt 2,0 navigation which uses a camera and sensors to navigate around your home accurately. Of importance is the floor mapping system that decides the pattern the vacuum will use to cover the entire floor area efficiently.

Roomba 980 is a smart robot vacuum and comes with extra app features than the Roomba 960. One of the extras is the advanced cleaning settings that allow you to adjust the number of clean passes. The vacuum is compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant, among many other 3rd party integration.

New Roomba i7+: iRobot Fixes Some of The Flaws

iRobot caught us by surprise when they released Roomba i7 when we were expecting something along the lines of ‘Roomba 1080’. But the i7 is just precisely what we thought 1080 would be regarding design, features, and performance.

Robot vacuums, including the $900 Roomba 980 can be scheduled and manage their power automatically, but homeowners have to empty the bin manually. The new Roomba i7+ comes with Clean Base which is a self-emptying dock where the Roomba will go when the bin is full. The Clean Base system then sucks the dirt from the cleaner’s bin and can empty it up to 30 times – that’s a whole month without you having to touch the vacuum. Typical vacuums will stall when the bin is full until you empty it, so this feature takes convenience to another level. Remember, only the Roomba i7+ comes with the Clean Base so don’t confuse it with the Roomba i7.

Another reason I’d wait for the Roomba i7+ is the advanced navigation system. This new vacuum has been engineered with the new iAdapt 3.0 system that is an improved version of the old iAdapt 2.0. In both systems, there is a set of sensors and a camera. The new feature in iAdapt 3.0 is Imprint Smart Mapping. According to the manufacturer, this floor mapping technology creates visual landmarks to know where it has cleaned and where it has not touched. There’s another feature called Clean/Schedule by room that gives homeowners the ability to instruct the Roomba to clean specific rooms or example the kitchen, bedroom and so on. This is simple as the Roomba knows all your rooms.

However, there have been concerns regarding the safety of homeowners now that Roomba has all the data of every inch of your house. The fact that it is Wi-Fi connected makes it susceptible to hacking.

Roomba i7+ comes with several top-of-the-range features, but unfortunately, there are a few compromises. First, it has a shorter runtime of 75 minutes, but that shouldn’t be a worry now that it has also been tagged with auto-recharge and resume function. Unless you have a huge apartment, this should be enough to complete cleaning an average two-bedroom apartment. However, on high pile carpets, the runtime drops because the Roomba will switch to Carpet Boost that has higher power consumption.

Should You Wait For Roomba i7+?

As mentioned earlier, the new models from iRobot are not available in the market. Pre-order is, however, possible with shipping scheduled from 12th September 2018. If you have been scouting for a robot vacuum, the Roomba 980 must have been the number one on your wish list. Indeed it’s a fantastic cleaner but not with the self-emptying Roomba i7 around. In as much as the Black Friday Roomba 980 deals may be enticing, the Roomba i7+ is worth the wait, and even the few extra bucks!

The new Roomba i7+ is a more practical robot vacuum than the Roomba 980 for one main reason; the former’s self-emptying feature. I understand that with the new Roomba, the runtime has been cut from 120 minutes to 75 minutes which is a huge drop. However, this wouldn’t influence my decision in the Roomba i7+ vs. 980 comparison. Most of the robot vacuums complete cleaning house in 45 – 60 minutes average. It’s clear that Roomba 980’s longer runtime isn’t a match for the all-new Roomba Clean Base the new i7 comes with.

The new Imprint Smart Mapping is also a plus as it is more efficient and will help you manage your cleaning efficiently. For example, you could tell the Roomba to clean the living room real quick before the visitors arrive but the older models will clean the entire house. It would be unfortunate if they start from the kitchen and you arrive before it gets to the living room. Even though the technology has some serious security concerns, it’s a feature you don’t want to miss out on!

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