Home cleaning and vacuuming robots have been with us since the early 1960s as a large part of science fiction, albeit with very amusing and even comical results. Science and technology have since caught up with us and a number of cleaning robots have indeed found their way into consumer markets.
Market research suggests that vacuuming robots still have years to go before they become even close to being viable house cleaning solutions. The most common problem appears to be the imaging or sensory technology used by these robots. The ability to identify which spots need cleaning or where the robot has finished is a constant problem for these products.
User reviews and consumer reports are unanimous in holding that this is where the Neato XV-21 Pet & Allergy Automatic Vacuum Cleaner really stands out. The 360-degree imaging system uses lasers to photograph a room from all angles and “remembers” the spots that need cleaning and which ones it has already finished.
- Three Operation Modes – Spot, Scheduled and Automatic
- Bag-less Vacuum System for tiles, vinyl, carpet, hardwood and linoleum
- 360-degree laser-guided Room Positioning Navigational System
- Includes docking station for charging, extra bristle brush and quick start guide
The Neato VX-21 in and of itself, is a marvelous piece of engineering. Users agree that for a vacuum its size, it certainly packs a lot of power, perhaps enough to rival more expensive manual models. As its name suggests, the unit does a good job to clean pet hairs from carpets especially during shedding season. It has proven to be a perfect solution for those who suffer allergies but would like to keep pets for companionship.
The Neato VX-21 comes with three operating modes, automatic, scheduled and spot cleaning. However, it has found most favor with consumers on the scheduled cleaning mode. Setting the timer is easy through the intuitive interface displayed on a bright LED screen. On the designated intervals, it will leave its docking station on its own and proceed to clean the room and will return promptly when it is finished. This feature seems to stand out on user forums and reviews.
The laser guided navigational system appears to be the product’s best selling point. The Neato VX-21 will take 360-degree images of the room and distinguishes between the spots it has cleaned. More importantly, the constant back and forth vacuuming motion aptly mimics that of a human, with stellar results.
The Neato VX-21 will work on any surface – carpets, hardwood floors, kitchen tiles, laminates and vinyl. It picks dirt, dust and pet hair with ease. Still, it has its limits.
Some users have found that the beige color is a big peeve. Neither inspiring confidence nor looking very modern, the Neato VX-21 could have been offered in slightly different colors.
Another drawback lies in the limited battery life. Consumers have no doubt on the Neato VX-21’s ability to clean, but it will struggle to work on larger rooms. Full charges take up to two hours and each one lasts about 90 minutes of good performance.
Finally, there is the price. Manual dry cleaning vacuums with decent performance, good vacuuming power and extra accessories will sell for much less than the Neato VX-21. But at its current price, the overhead cost of artificial intelligence in a vacuum is a bit too steep for some users.
The Neato VX-21 is wonderful piece of engineering, defying the findings of market research and exceeding the expectations of many buyers. Its flaws are certainly minor considering how far ahead the technology it offers stands in relation to other competitive in the market.
Still, the manufacturers can do well to issue an update with more color combinations, or at the very least, something that looks professional. If the Neato VX-21 is to be improved, a bigger, lighter battery or more efficient use of power is necessary. Prices will drop soon enough as the technology is developed further.
Overall, the price is a very small investment compared to its performance. Short of hiring house cleaning services, the Neato XV-21 Pet & Allergy Automatic Vacuum Cleaner is a solid investment to have floors that will never need cleaning again. Except for the occasional cleaning of its bag, this robot is here so users would never have to break a sweat again. It is the first truly smart vacuum and it is here to stay.
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