My Roomba 780 Thoughts / Mini Review

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My Roomba 780 Thoughts / Mini Review

Postby Bocks » April 30th, 2011, 12:31 am

I received my Roomba 780 unit yesterday. I let it charge overnight and set on about 4 missions today. Here is my mini review / opinion / personal take on the new 700 series.

Here is a little background on my Robot Vac experience:
I currently have 2 Lighthouse Aerovac 560 Units that are about 3 years old. Before these I had 1 570 that I purchased at the launch time of the 500 series and then 2 535 units to be able to cover the house in 1 run with all 3 Roomba's. Those Roomba's worked well but the maintenance required really bothered me. Last fall I sold both 535's & the 570 for a Neato XV-11. I liked the XV-11 as I had it for about 90 days but due to a few known issues (clock reset issue, RPS errors, hair getting wrapped around the belt motor, not as good picking up my Lab's hair on the rugs and carpet) I returned it and figured I would wait for whatever new Roomba line iRobot came out with. Only had to wait a few months and iRobot announced the 700 series. During this waiting time I purchased the 2 560's above so I had something to do the vacuuming for me instead of pushing around the Dyson all the time. On Monday of this week I ordered a 780 and that brings me to today.

First, the build quality is on par with the 500 series units. Inside they share many of the same parts with the 500 series (wheels, spinning side brush motor, caster wheel. The 700's have a different CHM but the basic idea remains the same as it has from the 500 series. In terms of cleaning effectiveness between the 700 series CHM and 500 series CHM I notice no noticeable difference. I think the big change here is that the 700 series CHM may be less prone to failure than the 500 series CHM. (Which is a very good thing and long overdue if that proves to be true)

The Aerovac Series 2 debris bin is very similar to the original Aerovac bin. The big changes are the HEPA type filtration and the fact that the suction on the brushes is spread out more towards the sides of the bin instead of the center like the original. My observation is that this was done to try and pull more debris and hair from the ends of the brushes so there isn’t as much to clean.

The first mission I ran was in the master bedroom where there is a lot of Labrador hair and long human hair. After the mission was complete I inspected the 780 closely. Here are my observations:
1. There is still A TON of human hair wrapped around the brushes and hardly any in the AV2 bin itself. The new CHM & AV2 Bin provide no noticeable difference compared to a Green CHM & an AV1 Bin when it comes to preventing long human hair from wrapping around the brushes. It’s just as much of a pain to clean the brushes on the new CHM as it is on the old CHM when it comes to human hair.
2. The Dustbin didn’t appear to have any more than when I run one of my 560's with the AV1 bin in that room. I will say that the debris and dog hair are more spread out in the bin but I don’t notice that in terms of amount of debris in the bin that there was much or any difference.
3. The battery in the 700 series is a Yellow APS 3000MAh battery (same as my 500 series units). The new power management in the 700 series is much better than the 500 series. After 2+ hours of running the battery was still ready for more. The batteries in my 500 units are both approx 4 months old so they are still new and have been well cared for but they don’t last nearly as long as the same battery in the 780 unit.

After mission one was done and about 7- 10 min of removing tightly wound long human hair from the brush ends I set the Roomba on the charger and let it charge fully. Once fully charged I set it off on my main floor and placed the lighthouses in the same positions as I do for the 560's. I break the main floor down into 3 large rooms Living room 12 x 12 medium pile carpet with 1 area rug, kitchen / entry way all sealed oak floors with area rug under table Approx 700 Sqft easy and family room medium pile carpet with 1 area rug approx 300 Sqft (total SQFT of 1st floor is 1100). In the kitchen and family room (high traffic areas with people and dog) the 780 multiple times did its back and forth motion when it encountered dirty areas. This is a very cool feature and seems to work well. Upon close inspection of the area it cleaned it did a good job but not any better than my 560's do.
Approx 2.5 hours later all 3 rooms were done and 780 found it way back to the original room and started to dock. Before it docked I stopped it and inspected it. Similar results as run 1. Debris bin had a good amount of stuff in it but no more than my 560's do after cleaning the same area. The brush ends again had a good amount of tightly wound long human hair wrapped around the ends. After ANOTHER 7- 10 min session of tearing hair off the brushes and emptying the bin I let the unit charge.

Missions 3 & 4 were in smaller bedrooms and bathrooms. Not as much traffic in those rooms so it picked up mostly carpet fuzz and some light dog hair as well as a few human hairs that of course wrapped around the ends of the brushes.

After these 4 runs I have determined that I am not going to keep the 780 and am going to send it back to iRobot under their 30 days risk free trial.
Here is why:
1. No major improvements in cleaning of pet hair and human hair from carpets / rugs. I still think the Roomba's are superior to the XV-11 in this regard. It’s just the 780 isn’t any / much better than the 560 is.
2. The SAME 7 - 10 minute cleaning is required on the 700 series after each run to rip the human hairs wound around the brush ends.
3. My observation is that the AV2 Bin seems to lose suction more easily than the original AV1 bin while running. I ran both the 560 and 780 side by side and both my wife and I agreed that the 560 was blowing more air out the back than the 780. There appears to be less filter area volume with the 2 hepa type filters than the single standard filter on the AV1 bin and therefore it seems to lose suction quicker while running. Now, both units with clean filters the AV2 bin seems to have close if not the same airflow as the AV1 bin.
4. There is nothing here that warrants a $599 price tag. (I know there are cheaper 700 series units but none of them have the lighthouse capability and that’s a MUST for me.) The touch controls are very nice and the unit overall is very modern and sleek looking.

My bottom line:
If you have no Roomba's today there is nothing wrong with getting a 700 series as they are excellent units. If this is your first Roomba purchase a 700 series is an excellent choice.
If you already have a 500 series unit(s) that are working well I see very little reason to spend the $$$ and get a 700 series.

I am sure I missed some details but I hope my thoughts help others and again this is just my opinion / take on this new line of units. I am a big fan of iRobot and the Roomba's. Just kind of dissapointed that the 700 series isnt the huge leap forward that I was hoping it would be.
Thanks,
Lance
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Re: My Roomba 780 Thoughts / Mini Review

Postby Fraggboy » April 30th, 2011, 12:52 am

Excellent Review!!! Thank you for sharing.
Chris

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Re: My Roomba 780 Thoughts / Mini Review

Postby sageman » April 30th, 2011, 2:53 am

fantastic review will surely help some people in their decision to got one or not
400/disco disassembly's (everything down to the PCB)
http://www.robotreviews.com/wiki/400disco-disassembly

one day many years from now a person will say "right I'll just ROOMBA downstairs" instead of hoover
oh wait I already do :)

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to sell (one day): roomba sage and silver (both 400's)
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Re: My Roomba 780 Thoughts / Mini Review

Postby piokrza » April 30th, 2011, 6:44 am

Thank you for this very DETAILED review! :) Now, I have no doubt that I will remain on my XV-11, instead going for a new 700-series ;)
past: Samsung SR8855 (bad sw) Samsung SR8895 (bad rotor) Neato XV-11/XV-15 Roomba 780 (bad battery) Scooba 385 Roomba 530 2x Scooba 230 (broken bladder), Samsung SR8980, Samsung VR10F71
current: Roomba 620 (bad CHM; repaired u/warranty) Scooba 330 Scooba 230 Hobot-168
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Re: My Roomba 780 Thoughts / Mini Review

Postby Bocks » April 30th, 2011, 9:43 am

Thanks everyone. Let me know if I missed something or have questions about my review / thoughts..
Thanks,
Lance
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Re: My Roomba 780 Thoughts / Mini Review

Postby Tobor » April 30th, 2011, 10:00 am

Very nice. I'm guessing piokrza doesn't have a pet hair problem though. I went with Roomba after researching which reasonably priced options could address this issue without daily intensive maintenance. I'm not seeing the long hair problem that Bocks is seeing, but maybe someone in his house needs a haircut or a better conditioner. :)

I also agree that the battery life is fantastic. After the first couple of uses, my 780's battery seems unstoppable.
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Re: My Roomba 780 Thoughts / Mini Review

Postby Xamindar » April 30th, 2011, 12:01 pm

Thank you for your very detailed review!

I'd like to mention something about the AV1 (on my 560) vs the original bin that I think does not warrant a new thread. I run my roomba every weekday at the same time and have been using the AV1 bin in it. I only clean the brushes once every two weeks, 1 week at most, and even then they are never clogged up enough to cause any issues yet. I decided to use the original bin on Thursday just to test and see what the brushes got on them. After the run was over I checked the brushes and they had more hair wrapped around the ends in that one run than they ever got in the two weeks with the AV1 bin. So it really does make a difference to have that bin. My house consists of me (short haired male), my wife (long hair asian), and a kitty (short hair).
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Re: My Roomba 780 Thoughts / Mini Review

Postby piokrza » April 30th, 2011, 12:43 pm

Tobor wrote:I'm guessing piokrza doesn't have a pet hair problem though.


Yeah, I don't own any pets, but my long-haired nieces visiting us quite often and left their hairs on this living room dense and thick rug...it is very hard to remove them without turbo-brush cleaning tool. This is why I stated that XV-11 need additional bristle brush accessory ;)
past: Samsung SR8855 (bad sw) Samsung SR8895 (bad rotor) Neato XV-11/XV-15 Roomba 780 (bad battery) Scooba 385 Roomba 530 2x Scooba 230 (broken bladder), Samsung SR8980, Samsung VR10F71
current: Roomba 620 (bad CHM; repaired u/warranty) Scooba 330 Scooba 230 Hobot-168
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Re: My Roomba 780 Thoughts / Mini Review

Postby Bocks » April 30th, 2011, 3:54 pm

Let me clear something up..
I have both the original Roomba 500 bin and AV1 Bins. Make no mistake I think the AV1 bins collect more debris and clean better. I also think they HELP with the hair wrapped around the brushes issue but not enough to enable me to avoid having to clean the brushes after each use.

Part of the problem is I like to keep my Roomba's clean, and I mean superclean. I tear them down at least monthly and clean them out with my Dyson.
Thanks,
Lance
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Re: My Roomba 780 Thoughts / Mini Review

Postby Fraggboy » April 30th, 2011, 4:50 pm

Bocks wrote:Part of the problem is I like to keep my Roomba's clean, and I mean superclean. I tear them down at least monthly and clean them out with my Dyson.


Same here. I tear everything down, and break out the air compressor and go to town.. ;)
Chris

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Re: My Roomba 780 Thoughts / Mini Review

Postby Tobor » April 30th, 2011, 5:10 pm

LOL. I bought a Roomba to reduce my time on this task. If I "went to town" I may as well get out the broom. If the brushes are clean, filters are reasonably clear, and bin is "empty" (dusty residue is fine), I'm good to go.
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Re: My Roomba 780 Thoughts / Mini Review

Postby Sc0rPs » April 30th, 2011, 9:55 pm

Thanks a lot for the review!

I can use a second Roomba so waiting on a few comparison reviews, still want to hear a few more of course. :)
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Re: My Roomba 780 Thoughts / Mini Review

Postby Draiko » May 3rd, 2011, 7:07 pm

I was wondering about the brushes on this series, supposedly they improved the barrier between the ends of the brushes and the brush gear box. I know you probably didn't keep it long enough for any major buildup, but can you say if it's enough of an improvement to keep hair and fur out of the gears completely or at least longer than the previous models?
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Re: My Roomba 780 Thoughts / Mini Review

Postby djos » May 3rd, 2011, 8:38 pm

Bocks wrote:
The first mission I ran was in the master bedroom where there is a lot of Labrador hair and long human hair. After the mission was complete I inspected the 780 closely. Here are my observations:

1. There is still A TON of human hair wrapped around the brushes and hardly any in the AV2 bin itself. The new CHM & AV2 Bin provide no noticeable difference compared to a Green CHM & an AV1 Bin when it comes to preventing long human hair from wrapping around the brushes. It’s just as much of a pain to clean the brushes on the new CHM as it is on the old CHM when it comes to human hair.
2. The Dustbin didn’t appear to have any more than when I run one of my 560's with the AV1 bin in that room. I will say that the debris and dog hair are more spread out in the bin but I don’t notice that in terms of amount of debris in the bin that there was much or any difference.
3. The battery in the 700 series is a Yellow APS 3000MAh battery (same as my 500 series units). The new power management in the 700 series is much better than the 500 series. After 2+ hours of running the battery was still ready for more. The batteries in my 500 units are both approx 4 months old so they are still new and have been well cared for but they don’t last nearly as long as the same battery in the 780 unit.


Great review, I know some folk weren't happy with my criticism of the 700's based on my analysis of the pre-launch pics and specs, but your real world experience confirms all of my predictions and more - hey at least for the extra money the batteries seem to be managed far more effectively which means it may now be worthwhile dropping in 3500mah and bigger batteries for those with large area's to clean.
Current Robot's:
Neato XV-11 w/ Pet Brush-bar & Filter, 3500mAh Batteries
iRobot Scooba 380

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iRobot Roomba 562PE w/ Aerovac Bin & Sealed-bearing CHM
Evolution Mint 4200
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Re: My Roomba 780 Thoughts / Mini Review

Postby djos » May 3rd, 2011, 8:46 pm

Fraggboy wrote:
Bocks wrote:Part of the problem is I like to keep my Roomba's clean, and I mean superclean. I tear them down at least monthly and clean them out with my Dyson.


Same here. I tear everything down, and break out the air compressor and go to town.. ;)


As much fun as it is for us Robot Junkies to tear down and service our Bots, it is not good for everyday Joe who doesn't realise they need to do this - iRobot really needed to address the high maintenance issue with the Roomba and it's incredibly disappointing to me that the 700 series wasnt a clean sheet design or at least a major re-think of the Roomba design. I think this partially because I love to see the latest innovations and partially because I think the floor cleaning space needs some super healthy and fierce competition to drive Floor cleaning robots forward as a whole.
Current Robot's:
Neato XV-11 w/ Pet Brush-bar & Filter, 3500mAh Batteries
iRobot Scooba 380

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iRobot Roomba 562PE w/ Aerovac Bin & Sealed-bearing CHM
Evolution Mint 4200
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Re: My Roomba 780 Thoughts / Mini Review

Postby Tobor » May 4th, 2011, 12:35 am

The only thing stopping me from using schedules at this point is I still need to Roomba-proof the house. I need some power cord management in the bedroom, a tray to put pet dishes on so they aren't bowling pins for my 780, a shoe rack and an entry rug with a heavier backing by the entryway--stuff like that. All in all, I'm happy with my Roomba so far--I just need some minor adjustments to the environment to take full advantage.
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Re: My Roomba 780 Thoughts / Mini Review

Postby jonvoigt » May 9th, 2011, 11:01 pm

Hi, I have a 570 and find it constantly runs out of battery when I leave it out on a schedule. My place isn't to large, 850 sqft but it does have lots of little rooms so it h as to jump between places more I guess. Do you guys think if I get a new 700 series that it will help my problem of it having enough battery to get back to my charging station?

Thanks in advance!!
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Re: My Roomba 780 Thoughts / Mini Review

Postby djos » May 9th, 2011, 11:34 pm

^^^ you really need to use Light houses to break your house up into sections that can be cleaned in 25min blocks - unfortunately the 5xx series cant reliably do more than 2 large LH sections on a charge - the 7xx series should improve upon this but no-one has yet been able to verify how many LH sections a 7xx can reliably do (better battery mgmt should allow for 3+).

Also only the 2 most expensive 7xx models have LH support making the other models useless for anything other than a single area (could still be multiple rooms in that area).
Current Robot's:
Neato XV-11 w/ Pet Brush-bar & Filter, 3500mAh Batteries
iRobot Scooba 380

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iRobot Roomba 562PE w/ Aerovac Bin & Sealed-bearing CHM
Evolution Mint 4200
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Re: My Roomba 780 Thoughts / Mini Review

Postby mfortuna » May 10th, 2011, 6:44 am

As far as maintenance is concerned I think some people overdo it. Just my opinion. I have run three 400 series bots for years. After each mission I clean the brushes and yellow bearings, pull out the "dust blanket" from between the brush deck and top, and tap out the filter. Two of the bots did have brush deck issues and since had bearings installed, but it wasn't hair that killed them. The gearboxes were pretty clean after 3+ years of use.
Mike
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Re: My Roomba 780 Thoughts / Mini Review

Postby piokrza » May 10th, 2011, 8:06 am

djos wrote:Also only the 2 most expensive 7xx models have LH support making the other models useless for anything other than a single area (could still be multiple rooms in that area).


Really 2? I thought that only 780's brings LH's mode... ;)
past: Samsung SR8855 (bad sw) Samsung SR8895 (bad rotor) Neato XV-11/XV-15 Roomba 780 (bad battery) Scooba 385 Roomba 530 2x Scooba 230 (broken bladder), Samsung SR8980, Samsung VR10F71
current: Roomba 620 (bad CHM; repaired u/warranty) Scooba 330 Scooba 230 Hobot-168
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