Review: Neato Botvac Connected will turn you into a neat freak

Neato’s new vacuum robot will turn you into a neat freak [Review]


Botvac Connected is the world's most thorough cleaning bot.
Botvac Connected is the world's most thorough cleaning bot.
Photo: Buster Hein/Cult of Mac

My dog has a new archenemy, and its name is Botvac. 

Neato’s tiny automated robotic vacuum stirs my dog into a fit of worried anger every afternoon I send it out for a round of sweeping and vacuuming. It’s so magical my dog doesn’t trust it. 

I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords. Mostly because I’m too lazy to be bothered with tasks like vacuuming.

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It’s not like I live in a luxurious mansion that requires tons of housekeeping, but chores have never been my strong suit. Now that I’ve been using the Botvac Connected for a few weeks, my floors look consistently clean of dog hair, which scores me points with the wife, while allowing me to spend time doing things I’m better at, like napping.

Embracing the bot

I didn’t think a robot vacuum would be able to handle the nastiest stuff that my floors had to offer. Circular vacuum bots I’ve tried in the past failed to impress me. However, the Botvac Connected has a slew of features that make it robust enough to actually replace your regular vacuum, plus it’s super smart.

Getting started with the new Botvac is fairly straightforward. It’s practically ready to go right out of the box. First you set up the home base that has two big inductive chargers so you never have to fuss with batteries. Once you plug it in and turn on Botvac it learns where it is and will come back to the base to charge after every use.

Neato recommends that you put the charging station along a wall with three feet of clearance on both sides so the bot can easily come back home. I didn’t do that. Instead I put it in a horrible spot — underneath my desk with my chair and the one desk leg as obstacles on both sides. To my surprise, Botvac had absolutely no problem finding its way back home through the narrow obstacle course.

The Botvac also comes with a Neato app for iOS and Android that allows you to control the robot from wherever you are. Say you’re at work and find out you have guests coming over later. Just pull up the app to send your Botvac out for a cleaning. You can also set schedules so you never have to worry about it.

Connecting the robot to my iPhone took a couple tries, but once it finally linked in, it was even easier to use than the controls on the top of the Botvac that are kind of clunky.

Precision cleaning

Botvac Connected is the most methodical cleaning robot I’ve ever encountered. Rather than cleaning rooms by wandering around aimlessly for hours, Neato added LaserSmart mapping and navigation that creates a digital floor plan of your house for the bot. Once its checked the surroundings and mapped out the area, it thoroughly cleans each area more like a human would by going back and forth in neat rows.

You can choose to have Botvac clean a specific spot where you are, or clean the entire house. It also comes with two cleaning modes: Eco mode, which is quieter and provides two hours of cleaning time. And Turbo mode for extra-powerful suction and brushing in a shorter time period.

As far as cleaning power goes, I’ve been really impressed by the Botvac Connected. It sucks up pretty much everything from dog hair and lint to bugs and chunks of dog kibble (sorry, my floors get gross). The D-shaped body makes it easy for the bot to comb along walls and reach dirt in tight corners.

Once you set up a schedule you pretty much never have to worry about the robot, except when it’s time to clean out trash bin or filter. Sometimes it does get stuck in odd spots or tries to swallow a sock. When it does it sends an alert for you to come and save it.

Having a Botvac Connected in the home feels like a taste of living in the connected home of the future. It still comes with some hiccups, but if cleanliness is next to godliness, Botvac is ready to turn slobs into Zeus.

Buy From: Amazon

Neato provided Cult of Mac with a review unit for this article.