Published on April 23rd, 2014 | by Greg0
Neato Robotics XV Signature Pro: An Affordable RoboVac
Despite the promises and potentials- and serious warnings from science fiction writers- the robot revolution hasn’t yet hit home. We’re still far from having robot companions, and androids aren’t yet a threat to even the most menial job. Industrial robots are certainly here to stay, and some other businesses like restaurants might see an occasional additional application for robots. But the Jetsons seems far, far away, leaving any good technofuturist looking at more limited models.
Of course, one of the most prominent current uses is the robotic vacuum. Vacuuming isn’t a favorite task, as it’s repetitive and constant, especially if you have pets. The Neato Robotics XV Signature Pro is designed for exactly that scenario, and perfect for an urban cat or dog owner with a single-story space and a desire to minimize housework. Part of a line that includes a few even less-expensive models, the Signature Pro still comes in a budget-friendly price, far easier on the wallet than the major competitor that you’re probably familiar with.
And, in our tests, it’s better at picking up pet hair as well (at least cat hair, as tested). We primarily tested on wood and tile flooring, not carpet, but most robotic vacuums aren’t made to handle deep-pile carpets anyway. Much like others, this one features scheduling so you can set it and forget it, and at only four inches high, is low-profile enough to fit just about anywhere you need. It’s louder than some, but quite powerful, and that’s a trade-off we’re happy to make (since you probably won’t be around during cleaning time anyway). It’s also heavier, at about eight and a half pounds, though felt sturdy and durable. Though it moves a bit more slowly and seems to take it’s time, the Neato XV is impressively efficient- it maps out a path and the space first, and then decides how to conquer it intelligently, instead of random pathing. Watching it move around obstacles and navigate layouts is a lot of fun actually!
The box also comes with an interesting addition, a small strip that you can use to create a virtual boundary. No batteries needed, it’s simple to use, and worked well. We missed the cleaning modes, though, found in some more sophisticated models- this one felt pretty simple, and less “friendly” than some others, and lacks a remote control. There are a pair of brushes included, a spiral one for carpet and one for flat surfaces, but they seem fairly good at handling either type, so it’s not a big deal if you forget to switch them out. We loved how easy it was to clean out the bin; though small, it was very accessible, and has a filter to prevent dust and dander from escaping when you empty it. Expect a 30 or 40 minute cleaning time for an average NYC apartment, but with a battery life of 90 minutes or so, it can certainly handle larger spaces too. And, yes, it automatically docks and charges.
Overall, the Neato XV Signature Pro is easily the best value in robotic vacuums that we’ve seen- effective, efficient, and smart. Available now, for under $450 online and in stores.