Robotic vacuum cleaners are still a niche product in India. Availability of limited options coupled with lack of awareness about the product has further limited its scope of growth in the country. While there are companies such as Eureka Forbes and Haier, that offer a single device that can not only vacuum clean the floors but also mop them at the same time, few offer sensing capabilities that can detect the difference between pet poop and a pair of pyjamas. That is where the iRobot Roomba J7 Plus comes into picture.
The iRobot Roomba J7 Plus is a two-in-one robotic vacuum and mop that comes with a retractable mopping pad. It can not only vacuum clean the floor, but it can also mop it based on the surface that the robot is moving on. At a price of Rs 89,900, the iRobot Roomba J7+ aims to offer a one-stop solution for most (if not all) of the users’ cleaning needs. Now the question remains if the Roomba J7 Plus really delivers on its promise or not? We will try to answer that and more in the detailed review below. But before that, let’s take a quick peek at its specifications.
Noise level: 60-65 dB
Suction power: 10x more suction power compared to the 600 series
Technology and sensors: Imprint coupling technology, PrecisionVision navigation, dirt sensors, acoustic and optical sensors
OS: iRobot OS
Battery: 2210 mAh Li-Ion
Filters: HEPA filter
Tank size: 210ML
Dry bin capacity: 313ML
Price: Rs 89,900
The iRobot Roomba J7 Plus comes with a design that is quite similar to the company’s i-series robotic vacuum cleaners but with some subtle differences. It comes with a plastic body with the iRobot logo and the power button on top. This top also houses a retractable mop that docks itself at the back side on the bottom of the robot – a feature that is missing in the i-series robotic vacuum cleaners. The retractable mop comes down when the robot detects hard-wood flooring and it goes back up when the robot is done mopping a specific area of the floor.
On the front, the Roomba J7 Plus has a front-facing camera with LEDs that helps the robot to detect any obstacles that may come its way and at the back it has a removable storage compartment for storing a combination of water and the cleaner liquid that the company ships for cleaning floors inside the box. At the bottom, the robot has two roller brushes that rotate in opposite directions to lift the dirt up and avoid hair tangles, a rotating brush to push the dirt toward the dust bin, and floor-tracking and edge sweeping sensors.
This robotic vacuum cleaner-cum-mop rests on a docking station, also called the Clean Base, that not only charges the battery but it also collects all the dirt in special dirt bags that hold up to 60 days of debris and can be disposed of without any dirt or dust spilling over.
What I like about the Roomba J7 Plus is that over time, iRobot has significantly improved the build quality of its robotic vacuum cleaners. I have used a lot of the company’s robotic vacuum cleaners, especially from the i-series, in the past and I always found them to be a tad bit fragile, especially amid the constant bumping that took place while mapping and cleaning missions. However, that has changed completely with the Roomba J7 Plus as it offers a sturdier design and smarter tracking technology. More on that later.
In addition to the overall build quality, iRobot has also reduced the size of the Clean Base, making it shorter than the one available in the i-series robotic vacuum cleaner. The result of this design change is that the Roomba J7 Plus occupies less space in your house and that it easily blends in the environment, more so if you place it against a wall of darker background.
Now, let’s talk about the performance of the Roomba J7 Plus robotic vacuum cleaner-cum-mop or in other words, how well it is at cleaning the house.
iRobot’s vacuum cleaners have come a long way since the time the company entered the robotic vacuum cleaning market in India. The company’s older robotic vacuum cleaners were not as intelligent in mapping the floor and they had a constant bumping problem, which meant that the robot kept bumping into things even after completely mapping the area of your house and everything being exactly at its place every time. This issue has been largely resolved in the more recent products such as the Roomba J7 Plus.
The iRobot Roomba J7 Plus is smarter at mapping the floor and it doesn’t bump into objects such as legs of a chair or the bed. This is largely due to the company’s iRobot OS that uses the company’s PrecisionVision Navigation technology to identify and avoid common obstacles around a house. What this PrecisionVision Navigation technology does is that it uses the data from the front-facing camera and the front-facing LED to enable the robotic vacuum cleaner-cum-mop to accurately see and avoid objects on the floor, such as a wire or shoes or clothes during a cleaning mission after it has completely mapped its area of use. Essentially, this PrecisionVision Navigation technology gives this robotic vacuum cleaner the ‘vision’ to see the objects in front of it and then use that information in conjugation with the data from other sensors to adjust its movement, suction power and mode of operation and of course, not bump into things. This data also enables the robot to understand when it is moving on the hard floor and when it is moving on a carpet or a rug so that it can adjust the suction power and mopping capabilities accordingly.
In usage, the Roomba J7 Plus is quite adept at cleaning even some of the more notorious nooks and corners around the house. It also cleans trickier objects such as hair without letting them get entangled in the brushes, which remains a pain point in many households and many similar devices. What I like about it is that the robot has gotten incredibly smarter at avoiding obstacles such as wires and vases, something older robotic vacuum cleaners couldn’t do.
What increases the ease of use is the availability of the iRobot app on both Android and iOS. This app can be used for setting cleaning schedules, checking battery life, checking water level in tank for mopping and even deploying the robot to either vacuum clean or just mop the floor. And if you don’t like that, you can always ask Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant to order around the robot to clean your house or not clean specific areas by assigning Keep-Out zones. The app can also be used to teach the robot all the obstacles that it needs to avoid using an opt-in Obstacle Image Review functionality. Furthermore, the app also gives you access to features such as Child/Pet Lock and an in-app store that lets you buy accessories such as spare brushes and dirt bags.
That said, everything isn’t peaches and roses. The Roomba J7 Plus offers a limited runtime. While it can clean a house that has a carpet area of around 1500 sq feet in one go, you might find it running to get its battery charged if you live in a bigger house. Also, the tank in the robot is capable of hold enough liquid for one cleaning mission only.
The answer to this question isn’t exactly simple but not for the reasons that you might think. The iRobot Roomba J7 Plus is a smart robotic vacuum cleaner-cum-mop that doesn’t go around your house bumping into objects. The technology on-board is adept at navigating around even the most difficult areas of your house and the robot does a great job at removing even the more soiled areas with ease. To add to that, the auto dirt removal technology and support for voice commands acts as a cherry on top of the cake.
That said, the Roomba J7 Plus is far from perfect. It offers a limited battery capacity that may be enough for some households but not most of them, especially owing to users that the company is targeting. And if you can manage to look past that, there is the hefty price tag that can burn a 90 grand hole in your pocket. Sure, the Roomba J7 Plus is capable of handling almost all of your cleaning requirements and its intelligent sensing technology only make things better. But the price tag of Rs 89,900 makes it inaccessible to a lot, if not all, of the households in India.
Author Name | Shweta Ganjoo