My quick Roomba i7+ impressions

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My quick Roomba i7+ impressions

Postby jdong » September 23rd, 2018, 10:07 pm

I got my Roomba i7+ from Bed Bath and Beyond on Friday, and spent nearly the whole weekend playing with it. At this point, I'm ready to start giving some initial impressions. I'll focus on the changes from the 980 as well as the Clean Base.

I will record some videos later this week to go with this review... I think my significant other was sufficiently annoyed by some of the experiments I already conducted that I didn't want to tempt fate by spending the rest of our Sunday making YouTube videos of a vacuum cleaner...

  • Preface: The initial unboxing experience involves a software update. The update will appear like nothing is happening for almost half an hour (including no network traffic). However, leave it alone, and within an hour you'll hear it chime/reboot and the update will complete. DO NOT SKIP THE UPDATE, the robot ships with a software version that can't do Imprint mapping. So, it's essentially a 980 until you update it.
  • First off, the Roomba itself is A LOT quieter compared to the 980. With Carpet Boost, the 980 was almost deafening to have in the same room. I would describe the i7 as slightly quieter than the 980 in Eco Mode. I was actually kind of paranoid that my vacuum motor was broken or something because it felt too quiet. I sprinkled a bunch of flax and chia seeds as well as embedding some dryer lint into the carpet (both of which the 980 struggles with in Eco Mode), and it was able to consistently pick those items up. Sooooo I think it's working properly, though I'd love for others to weigh in on the noise level too.
  • The Clean Base, however, is ridiculously loud. It's pretty much like running a Bissell carpet steamer. I wish there was a setting to only evacuate the Roomba bin when the bin sensors say it's full. It's kind of crazy that even for 5 minute directed cleaning jobs, it empties the bin.
  • Initial cleaning pattern felt a lot like the Roomba 980, except it tended to stay in the same room. It did, however, alternate between doing long strokes and nudging my furniture to attempt to edge-clean. Overall runtime was around 1h20m (which it did on one charge) to clean my 1200 sq ft apartment.
  • After the initial cleaning run, the Imprint Maps told me it was 70% trained. It was 100% trained by the second run. Note that until it's trained, you can't do anything special other than either perform training runs or vacuum the whole floor.
  • As an aside: Starting from the second run, the cleaning time dropped from 1h20m to 50 minutes in my place. Observing it, it spent a lot less time ramming into walls hoping to find a new room. It also switched to a behavior where it tried to do long strokes first, and edge-cleaning last. This is a huge improvement from the 980's often infuriatingly inefficient Edge Clean behavior.
  • Imprint Maps are super easy to use. You'll get a push notification once it's trained enough to start dividing rooms. For the most part, it generated reasonable room divider suggestions. However, if you don't like it, you can move existing dividers (including rotating them), add new dividers, or delete pre-placed ones.
  • From this point forward, the CLEAN button brings up a menu asking if you want to clean everywhere or specific rooms.
  • Selecting just my living and dining room (the two dirtiest) cuts my cleaning job down from 50 minutes to 15 minutes. This is gonna be my go-to setting for daily cleaning.
  • Note that even when you tell it to clean a specific room, it will often clean about 1-2 feet into each of the neighboring rooms before realizing it's not supposed to clean there. In other words, this is currently not a replacement for virtual walls and barriers. Assume that directed cleaning will also go into neighboring regions for one or two strokes, and place virtual barriers when that's not desired!
  • I rotated my coffee table in the living room 90 degrees to test furniture rearranging. It definitely confused the i7 a little bit, but it recovered. It actually initially went in, bumped into the coffee table, and then exited the living room before making a U-turn and going back (I guess it was regaining bearings from neighboring rooms to be sure that it was in the right room?). So, long story short, if you make any dramatic changes to your furniture, it might reduce the efficiency of the next cleaning job.
  • Bonus Feature: With Imprint Mapping, you can kidnap the robot to anywhere in your floor plan, press the HOME button, and it'll go home. It sometimes wanders around for a few feet as if it's lost, and then figures out where it is. It's a pretty cool party trick!


Well that's it for now, please let me know if you have any specific questions! Hope this helps some folks out there who may be on the fence about the Roomba i7. I think it's a winner -- it builds on top of a very successful formula (the 980) and makes it even better!
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Re: My quick Roomba i7+ impressions

Postby rotorwash » September 24th, 2018, 7:29 am

Thanks for the review...Do you think its as powerful as the 980?
I might be taking my 980 back for this one. I just am really stuck on that bin size. I have two Goldens and just the bedroom fills the bin and I vacuum every day.
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Re: My quick Roomba i7+ impressions

Postby jdong » September 24th, 2018, 10:20 am

rotorwash wrote:Thanks for the review...Do you think its as powerful as the 980?
I might be taking my 980 back for this one. I just am really stuck on that bin size. I have two Goldens and just the bedroom fills the bin and I vacuum every day.


Yeah I’m not noticing any sign that it’s not as powerful as the 980. If anything the rollers seem to work better on the i7!
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Re: My quick Roomba i7+ impressions

Postby marquesalan » September 25th, 2018, 7:46 am

Thanks for that great review!
Did you take a look at the battery? I have the 33000mAh battery. I was wondering if i used it in this machine (assuming it fits) if I would get a longer run time, like I get now with my 960, 2 hours. It can complete the house in one mission.
Can you post a pic of what the battery looks like or just let me know if it fits? I will sell this one instead of keeping it. Thanks!
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Re: My quick Roomba i7+ impressions

Postby mfortuna » September 25th, 2018, 9:02 am

Check this thread:

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=20652
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Re: My quick Roomba i7+ impressions

Postby marquesalan » September 25th, 2018, 9:54 am

Thanks, that sucks they changed the battery style!
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Re: My quick Roomba i7+ impressions

Postby justflie » September 25th, 2018, 6:57 pm

Great, detailed post, J! Thank you.
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Re: My quick Roomba i7+ impressions

Postby jdong » September 29th, 2018, 12:53 pm

Been noticing two things:

(1) dirt detect almost never activates for me. The only time I got it to trip was by literally dumping about a half cup of oatmeal on the ground. But that’s almost a good thing because the new dirt detect behavior seems to be to make 5 back and forth persistent passes really slowly over the area.

(2) a lot of very fluffy hair seems to have the potential of clogging the cleaning path, though it will eventually get sucked out by the Clean Base. This makes me wonder, combined with the smaller battery, whether or not the i7 is generating less suction and relying more on the improved rollers to agitate and sweep. I would be curious how this affects people with pets.

With that said, overall I would say the cleaning performance is better, especially on hard surfaces. Even on carpet it seems to leave much deeper carpet lines.


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Re: My quick Roomba i7+ impressions

Postby liam.wirecutter » October 5th, 2018, 10:29 am

Regarding the quieter performance, it's because the vacuum motor is inside the main body rather than the dust bin, like it was in older Roombas. Better sound insulation this way. No significant changes to suction I don't think.
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Re: My quick Roomba i7+ impressions

Postby rotorwash » October 5th, 2018, 10:49 am

jdong wrote:Been noticing two things:


(2) a lot of very fluffy hair seems to have the potential of clogging the cleaning path, though it will eventually get sucked out by the Clean Base. This makes me wonder, combined with the smaller battery, whether or not the i7 is generating less suction and relying more on the improved rollers to agitate and sweep. I would be curious how this affects people with pets.



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The pet hair is my question...I use my 980 every day and with my two Golden retrievers the dust bin is literally filled every day. I would love to be a test pilot for the new i7. I fear that the darn thing will be spending half its battery heading back to dump its bin
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