Robot Vacuum Worst-Best Sucking Things Up

To avoid all my worst-writing and get straight to the pseudo-review, just scroll down a bit. Otherwise, good luck.

This consume-to-survive world/life is gettin’ to me, covid n’all. You too, dear worst-reader? I mean. Just the other day, after purchasing another one of them fancy-pants robot vacuum cleaners, after my previous über-expensive robot vacuum cleaner stopped working, I thought: what will be the last thing I ever buy? I mean. You know. Before I die, what will be my last purchase of this life? Which begs the worst-question: should it be something big and exuberant and gaudy? Even though the thought of buying a sailing yacht as a last purchase has crossed my mind, I’m starting to reconsider. For you see. Don’t you know. The dream-purchase of a yacht is two fold. First, it would be used to sail out to the middle of the Atlantic, once and for all. Once there I would hang out for a few days dancing and prancing in a state of glorious inebriation. After that I would pull the plug. You know, the plug at the bottom of every boat’s hull. And while the boat is filling with water, I will dawn my scuba gear and jump over board. While still on the surface, I’ll watch my last life-purchase sink and shed my last tears. Just as the hull breaches the water’s surface I commence to join it by grabbing the mast but continue breathing with my scuba gear as we go down. Now. Get this, dear worst-reader. This is my death fantasy combined with my last consume-to-survive purchase. And so. I commence a rapid descent along side my yacht and thereby watch my depth gauge. Once I surpass forty-five or so meters I then give way to my fate and submit to nitrogen narcosis, which, in my case, as I learned during a fifty meter dive in the Red Sea in 2010, sends me into a hissy-fit of giggling. Of course, since I enjoyed all those dreams of yachting across oceans for so long, it’s my hope that those same dreams will accompany me as my body submits to rapture of the deep. Without struggle or stress, the chemical imbalance of oxygen in my blood stream, at depth, sees to it that the lights finally go out and time stops and the misery that is a life that can give way to the likes of #Trump and #MAGA and the demise of my beloved & missed united mistakes of #Americant… to fascism… is finally over. Good night sweet prince.

All kidding aside. Since I ain’t never gonna afford no yacht, how ’bout we make my last purchase something akin to a last meal. But would mine include ice cream? Certainly not. It would be all about blue popcorn and watching the tale of a salamander as it wiggles (and giggles) hanging out of the beak of a horned rabbit… with Monty Python pointy teeth.


Today, dear worst-reader, we pseudo-review our new robot vacuum cleaner, the Neato D7. It is replacing our old iRobot 866 which we purchased in early 2016–or was it late 2015? Needless to say, I was very disappointed that our iRobot died. I’ve since ticked it away via that online auction service as “defect”, don’t you know. Good riddance. In fact, after a few years of use and being a device that I thought would hold up for a few more years, I can gladly admit that iRobot is on my shit-list. Indeed. The one good thing about being able to afford consume-to-survive purchase like this, is that I can also express my deep, deep disappointment in the corporate misnomer that some stuff that you think is quality ain’t really so. More on that in a sec.

The Neato D7 cleans better than the iRobot. It’s also quieter and is easier to maintain. The most important thing, though, is the Neato is much, much smarter than the iRobot. Although the Neato software sucks buckyballs, I’m slowly adapting to its inadequacies. That’s what software is all about, or? It’s never about what software can do. No. It’s always about the compromises made when using it. Am I wrong, Microsoft, Apple, etc.? Anywho. As of the writing of this worst-post Neato’s software cannot be used by multiple devices, i.e. two separate iPhones. Also. The iPhone app crashes here and there. The app interface reminds me of lost Windows 95 sys admins who may or may not have jumped ship. But before I get too far off subject. The first downer I noticed about the inadequate software is that it doesn’t run on two different iPhones. Well, it does. But then it breaks things. That is, when my wife tries to control the robot with her iPhone and then I try to access it later with my iPhone, the device becomes disoriented and is unable find its home base. Another downer about the software is that room mapping on multiple floors only works if you have multiple home bases, i.e. charging stations on each floor. WTF!


Oh yeah. The price. The Neato was on a special end of summer offer for 370,-€. Compared to the dumb-device cost of the iRobot from 2015 @ 699,-… that kinda makes the Neato a frickin‘ steal. Another notch in the hate-gun of iRobot? Nevermind.

Back to software krapp.

Although initial setup of the Neato’s room mapping was a bit cumbersome, requiring two hard resets, where the ground floor of our house had to be mapped twice, I eventually reached the point of… fcuk-it. If all else fails, I’ll forget the room mapping and just let it clean without it. That’s what the iRobot did. The biggest difference to the iRobot was that the Neato works as though it can see where it’s going. And that’s a big deal. Considering iRobot’s latest product that can also see costs triple that of the Neato…? I can live with krappy software as long as it cleans and doesn’t just bang into stuff.

And clean it does, baby.

After a few weeks of use, just letting it do it’s thing, I’m not convinced that Neato’s mapping algorithm is fool proof. But I did get it working. Things like “no-go-lines” are a good idear, don’t you know. “No-go lines”, btw, you can set in the app, which has a virtual map of your house, and they’re supposed to prevent the device from slamming into, say, the dog’s water and food bowls or any other complicated floor areas, e.g. cables, floor lamp bases, etc. The only problem with “no-go-lines” is that you have to make sure that what’s ever in the lines is always in the same and/or original place. A bit of a cumbersome thing considering a real world floor doesn’t contain “no-go-lines”. Even though our older iRobot could see walls but couldn’t see furniture, the Neato seems to be able to see everything–with or without mapping. Which brings me to…

I was very disappointed when our iRobot stopped working. After searching and researching, I found out that the iRobot didn’t wear as well as I thought it would. That is, the build of the iRobot is better, more solid than the Neato, that’s for sure. On the other hand, the iRobot seems to be more complex. For example, before its demise, the iRobot kept indicating “Error 11”. I since learned that depending on the model, “Error 11” either meant bad battery or bad waste bin. I eventually bought a new (albeit third-party) battery for it. After one cleaning session “Error 11” returned and I was pissed that I might have just wasted my time replacing the battery. Turns out that the waste bin was also faulty. That’s when I found out (realised) that iRobot builds the suction fan into the waste bin. IMHO, after a few weeks with a new robot vacuum, iRobot might be stuck in that industrial mindset of not just over-pricing but also (aghast!) OVER-ENGINEERING.

Anywho. The Neato has a much bigger waste bin, cleans waaaaay more efficiently, is quieter and after (finally) getting the mapping thing going, allows me to clean room by room with a few taps of the app. If/when I want to clean the second floor of our house, though, I do so by just taking it up stairs and hitting the clean button. After that I have to take it back downstairs and manually put it on its home-base. Oh yeah. That damn home-base. Hold a sec. That’s another thing.

If you interrupt the Neato’s cleaning session by picking it up or moving it, it gets confused. That wouldn’t be so bad if I could just tell it to find its base. The problem is, removing it from its mapping seems to make it forget where the base is. The only way to get it back to the base is to manually put it there. Again: krappy software! I hope Neato will improve it with future updates. If not, compared to the 2015 iRobot, I’d still buy Neato. Reason? The most significant difference between these two robots is I no longer have to deal with one of them just banging into stuff.

As far as cleaning goes. The Neato wins hands down. Our hard wood floors are much freer of dirt and tiny particles now. For the price and compared to equivalent smart devices from iRobot, I’m throwing the Neato in with any great deal I’ve made lately. Even though the software kinda sucks, it does a good job of cleaning. Add to that it doesn’t get stuck…

Three years of krapp like this, baby. Replace it.

Get your shit together iRobot!

Consume and rant on, baby.