The Roomba I7 is iRobot’s latest and perhaps their greatest robotic vacuum to date.
iRobot’s latest Roomba now has what industry experts call “persistent maps” which means the robot “remembers” the layout of your home so that it can be more efficient in subsequent cleaning sessions.
This upgrade also has other benefits as well. One of which is selective area cleaning. Once the robot has cleaned the whole house, you can ask it to clean specific areas.
Combine this with Alexa, and you can tell the robot “Roomba, please clean the living room.”
Another upgrade worth mentioning is the “Clean Base” dock that has its vacuum that will suck out the contents of the robot’s dirt bin.
It adds another layer of autonomy where you don’t have to pull out and empty the dust cup yourself.
To improve cleaning performance, this latest Roomba also comes with upgraded extractors that will provide better agitation, so performance is a little bit better.
All of these upgrades though come at a significant cost. Expect to pay close to a thousand dollars for this robot.
iRobot has long been a pioneer when it comes to robotic vacuums.
Even if they weren’t the first to introduce autonomous cleaners, they’ve been the benchmark that other brands chase and try to emulate.
With each update, iRobot has improved its product step by step, starting with the rubber extractors they introduced in the 800 series, efficient navigation and WiFi connectivity in the Roomba 900 series.
A quick look at the features of the Roomba I7
- Automatic dirt disposal system empties the robot’s bin for you (this feature is an optional $200 upgrade)
- Dirt collected from the robot’s bin goes into a disposable bag that can hold up to 30 robot bins
- Three stage cleaning system now has the upgraded dual multi-surface rubber brushes
- iAdapt 3.0 navigation with VSLAM technology
- Imprint Smart Mapping system saves the layout of your room
- Compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
- 1-year warranty
- Extended autonomy with the Clean Base station that empties the robot’s dust bin for you
- Persistent mapping stores your home’s map for more efficient cleaning
- Cleans a specific part of your home
- Hands-free operation with Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility
- Great option for cleaning pet hair
- Automatic dirt disposal system now has additional recurring costs to maintain
- Insanely expensive
What to expect from the Roomba I7?
To learn all of the features of the I7, please watch this comprehensive video from iCrackUriDevice.
Roomba didn’t change anything dramatically if you look at the exterior. Put the I7 beside the Roomba 980, and you’d think both are the same robots.
That’s because Roomba didn’t want to reinvent the wheel. The low profile, puck shape works great because it’ll fit under a lot of furniture – one of the biggest trouble spots in any home.
Most of the upgrades found in the Roomba I7 can be found within.
Empties the dirt bin for you
One of the most significant issues with robot vacuums is the bin emptying aspect of it. Sometimes we’re so busy that we forget to empty the bin.
We only find out that it needs to be emptied when the robot flashes an error code.
Well, say goodbye to those problems with the “Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal” feature.
First major upgrade and probably the most useful is the automatic dirt emptying feature.
Once the base detects that the bin is full, it sucks up dirt into a bag through a special port underneath.
iRobot says that the bag will hold up to 30 bin-fulls of dirt.
This feature is a game changer in a lot of ways because you don’t have to empty the dust bin of the robot physically.
And reviews show that this technology does an excellent job of emptying the bin.
The vacuum is powerful enough to remove most of the dirt except for a thin sheet of dust clinging on the filter and plastic shell of the dust cup.
You don’t need to worry about the filter clogging up because the app tells you when you need to change it.
The bag itself isn’t huge and depending on how much you use your robot; it’ll last maybe up to a month or more.
Very convenient feature if you ask me, but you’ll have to replace the bags so this will incur additional costs.
It does come with an extra bag.
Removing the bag will be easy. Just open the top cover and pull out the bag. Once you pull out the bag, it automatically seals. If you have any allergies, this is the robot you want.
Buying refills will cost around $14 for a pack of 3.
The automatic dirt disposal system is an optional feature that’ll be a $200++ premium.
If you feel that you can empty the bin yourself then skip this upgrade.
This charging base is enormous and fully sealed with a bag.
Surprisingly, iRobot wasn’t the first to invent this.
As early as 2012, the auto emptying feature was already seen in the CES, iRobot already had the patent at the time but only released it with the I7.
iRobot Home App upgrades
Another upgrade you’ll get with the Roomba I7 would be found in their smartphone app.
Persistent maps bring out a whole lot of possibilities with this robot vacuum.
The ability of the I7 to save the map allows the robot to clean more efficiently.
Having that data makes it possible to clean one specific room (or rooms) depending on your preference at a specific day (or days).
Once the robot has data of your home’s floor plan, you can assign names to every room and add dividers so the robot does not go over those boundaries.
Roomba I7 also has an “exploration mode” where it simply navigates around your home with the vacuum motor off to extend run time and to make the process faster.
It’s smart enough that you can place it anywhere inside your home and it’ll know exactly where it is and be able to do a cleaning cycle provide that there’s enough battery life.
You can also buy a second charging dock if you live in a multi-level home if you don’t want the hassle of moving the dock up or down.
Roomba I7 has better navigation
iRobot now uses the iAdapt 3.0 software with the latest vSLAM technology that means more efficient cleaning and adaptability to different home layouts.
The significant upgrade that the Roomba I7 has over the Roomba 980 is “persistent maps.”
Not only will the Roomba I7 scan the room, but it also remembers the layout and saves ten of these maps on iRobot’s cloud servers for later use.
Ten may not sound a lot, but most homes only have two levels at most, so it’s more than enough.
This feature helps the robot become more efficient in subsequent cleaning sessions because it has data of your home’s layout and can plan a more efficient route.
Another benefit would be being able to clean a specific part of your home. For example, you want to clean the master bedroom, say “Robot, clean the master’s bedroom,” and it will do it for you.
You can use voice command provided that you have Alexa, but if not, do it through the app.
Unfortunately, the robot will not know your room’s layout out of the box. You’d have to run it at least once in your home. Once it saves the layout, subsequent cleanups will be more efficient.
However, the I7 can only save up to 10-floor plans at a time. It will not be an issue in most homes with three rooms and less.
Better cliff sensors
One major issue with nearly all robot vacuums is its inability to accurately distinguish between an IR-absorbing black rug/carpet and a cliff point.
It’s pretty much useless on dark carpet or rug as it would eventually get stuck on corners or edges thinking that’s it’s trapped.
The new cliff sensors found in the Roomba I7 solves this issue and will go over dark carpets/rugs without hesitation.
This feature may seem like a minor improvement but for homes with lots of dark rugs – hallelujah!
Alexa and Google Assistant compatible
What’s great about the app is the integration it has with Alexa and Google Assistant.
Once the maps are saved and named, you can tell the robot to clean “Jane’s room” or “Mark’s room,” and it’ll go straight to that room and clean it.
That’s the most significant advantage of persistent maps.
Talk about convenience.
If you look at the robot up top, it looks almost like the Roomba 980 with some minor differences.
In front of the robot is the IR sensor that helps it detect and avoid obstacles. At the middle is the large, clean button that activates the default cleaning mode.
Flanking the clean button are the home and spot cleaning buttons.
By the way, all the buttons now are touch sensitive which makes it easier to toggle. It also has an LED light that tells you the status of the robot.
However, if you have Alexa or Google Assistant, you may not need to press any of these buttons.
The recessed part below the buttons is the camera which is the primary “eyes” of the robot and sends all the data to the vSLAM software for navigation purposes.
In terms of design, nothing much has changed with the Roomba. It has a single side brush system that helps with cleaning edges.
One significant upgrade would be the counter-rotating rubber brushes (or extractors). The latest design has upgraded grooves for better agitation and cleaning performance, especially on low pile rug and carpet.
iRobot says that the I7 is very capable of cleaning up pet hair.
New bin design
iRobot also makes bin emptying more sanitary. The high-efficiency filter is now removable without having to open the bin.
If you opt for the Roomba I7+, you don’t have to continually remove the bin because the vacuum on the charging base does it for you.
Removing the bin will not be slightly different versus the older Roombas. Instead of just sliding it out, you press a button at the side of the bin and pull it out from one side.
The new dirt bin is now washable since the motor is no longer inside it.
One thing to note that the Roomba I7 bin is smaller than the Roomba 980 because iRobot had to tweak the design to make it work with the new charging dock.
However, the dust bin size is irrelevant if you get the Roomba I7+ because the clean base charging station will empty the bin for you.
Is the Roomba I7 worth the high price tag?
If you buy the top-of-the-line Roomba I7+ with the second vacuum, it will cost you over $1,000!
It is a substantial amount to pay for any vacuum cleaner.
But what you are paying for is the convenience upgrades of the second vacuum cleaning up the robot’s dust bin for you and the iAdapt 3.0 navigation that remembers your home’s layout.
The battery and run-time remain the same so don’t expect much of a difference in terms of cleaning performance even with the upgraded extractors.
The Roomba I7 is the most autonomous robot vacuum ever when you combine the Clean Base and persistent maps (a.k.a. iAdapt 3.0).
You can go on extended periods without touching the robot, and it’ll still keep your floors clean.
iRobot CEO Colin Angle says that the Roomba I7 “delivers the original vision when they embarked on building robotic vacuums 20 years ago.”
You should buy this robot vacuum if you:
- Want a robot that’s autonomous for more extended periods: The persistent maps and Clean Base allow this robot to remain independent for extended periods without human intervention.
- Don’t mind paying for technology: One thousand dollars for a robot vacuum is a lot of money to spend, but for the willing individual, it can be a time-saving tool that keeps their home clean.
- Have Alexa: With Alexa, you can command this robot to clean a specific room.
Where can I buy this?
You can buy the Roomba I7 in Amazon but without the Clean Base for just under $700. And it’ll be eligible to their free 2-day shipping if you join Prime.
If you want the top-of-the-line Roomba I7+, you’ll have to spend a few hundred dollars more!
The Roomba I7 is a considerable step up from the Roomba 980. It has a lot of convenience features that will make life a lot easier.
Opting for the top of the line I7s will give you a second vacuum that’ll suck up the contents of the robot’s bin into a bag that’s very hygienic to empty. There is no allergen exposure.
It also has the upgraded iAdapt 3.0 navigation that is more efficient and stores your home’s layout in iRobot’s cloud servers.
Combine that with the Alexa or Google Assistant, and you’ll have a hands free device that’ll clean any part of your home at your command.
All these premium features though will be costly.