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.