The true meaning of convenience is having a robot vacuum that does everything while you are sitting on the couch.
That said, the Roomba 980 attempts to provide convenience but at a higher cost. The Roomba 980 is the excellent robot vacuum cleaner that offers various advanced features like Wi-Fi connectivity, smartphone app and several other features we are going to discuss further in this iRobot Roomba 980 Review.
Well, there’s no sense in spending this hefty price just for app control because you can find these features in Neato Botvac connected which is more less-expensive. Similarly, the Neato XV Signature Pro robot vacuum hits the sweet spots between price and features, but Roomba 980 does something that differentiates it from others, let’s see that.
Without further ado let’s get into the nitty-gritty of this robot.
Design and Features
Though it’s similar in looks with Roomba 880. But, it has 13.8 inches diameter, weighs around 8.7 pounds, and is 3.6 inches taller. For comparison, the Neato Botvac connected is not much different in the dimensions but has an advantage with it’s D shape over circular design. The Neato has all the features and settings on the LCD where the Roomba contains all its settings and features in the smartphone app.
The Roomba 980 has three buttons on the physical unit-a large, circular Clean button, a smaller Home button and Spot Mode button. The Clean button activates the robot where in the first press it jingles and in the second press, it starts cleaning.
The home button sends the robot back to it’s a docking station for charging. Spot Mode let the robot work in a controlled location.
Similarly, there are few LED indicator lights sitting right above the Clean Button. Wi-Fi indicates the network status; troubleshooting helps identify the problems with a computerized voice telling about the error. Battery lights indicate with the green lights that the robot is charging, Full Bin tells when the dirt bin is full, and Dirt Detect flashes in case of high-debris area identified by the robot.
On the other side of the robot (at the bottom), you’ll find a spinning side brush, removable dustbin (comes out by press the latch), the rotating side brushes can pick up pet hairs, debris from the floor, a floor tracking sensor, two main 6.2-inch rotating brushes.
Like it’s predecessor Roomba 880, it comes with two Virtual Walls. Basically, these are two battery-powered devices, small enough that they can be set to project a boundary across doorways or you desired areas to cordon off those areas for the Roomba. Similarly, a Halo mode creates a no-go zone in sensitive areas of your home like pet food bowls.
The robot is promised to last for about two hours in a single charge. But it barely lasts for about 90 minutes allowing you to clean the bedroom apartment, bathroom, dining area, living area, and an entrance hall.
Sometimes, it can repeat a specific area to clean it better. When the job is done or it’s running low on battery, it automatically returns to the dock to recharge. When fully charged, it starts the job where it left.
App and Control
As it lacks physical remote control, you can do anything using the smartphone app which is compatible with both iOS and Android and available on both Google Play Store and Apple App Store. First, download the app, connect the robot to your home network, you get all the instructions by the app making the process simple enough that it only takes few minutes to establish the connection and use the robot using your Wi-Fi network to start the cleaning job anywhere in your home.
After the connection, it’s time to use the app which is very easy. The main screen is the home of a big Clean button which is typically used to start the bot with a quick tap.
At the top left corner, an icon brings up a small menu that houses all other settings and information about the robot. Similarly, at the bottom of the row or three icons: Cleaning Preferences, Weekly Schedule, and More.
Cleaning Preferences further contains some options like Carpet Boost, which allows the robot to use full power when it detects carpets or rugs. You can set the robot to switch to Boost Mode when it encounters carpets, use the setting on all floor surfaces, or always run at the lowest power settings to increase cleaning time and work more quietly.
You can also program the Roomba to eliminate passes and cover all the areas in a single pass, to finish cleaning even the dirt bin is full, and to “edge clean”, which lets the robot clean around the furniture legs while avoiding the bumps.
However, it lacks the Eco and Turbo modes, which only consume more power in less time making the robot inefficient.
The weekly schedule feature allows you to configure the robot to start a cleaning session on the desired time and days. The more tab contains some extra miscellaneous items like settings, robot maintenance guide, and firmware/app update.
The Roomba 980 first builds the map of your entire home using several built-in sensors during cleaning. In the first attempts, it will bump into furniture, though gentler but will learn by the time to avoid them. The more it cleans the more it learns to keep track of everything in your home as it keeps mapping everything.
Following the Neato vacuums method, it works in parallel lines while running in an open area. While moving systematically, it can optimize the suction power by detecting the floor surfaces, which makes it more powerful on carpets and rugs.
When the bot is activated it starts cleaning your floors, scooting around the furniture legs and underneath the kitchen counters, and cleans hard-to-reach areas or under the tables with its side brushes, and sweeps out everything.
You will notice broad strokes, bumping in the beginning. But, after a few sessions, you will be amazed to see that the bot will avoid them as it already knows they are there.
So it can pick up cat hairs, avoid table lets, clean under the sofa, over the rug or pick up any kitty litter from your bathroom, stray hairs or leaves or dry cat food pellets.
If there are sensitive objects like cat food bowls or dog food bowls you can place Virtual Walls to avoid these areas by the robot. But you should clear the way from cat toys and wires because they can get stuck in the spinning brush, and require and untangling session.
The Roomba 980 is loaded with Wi-Fi, app control, allows you to schedule it anytime, anywhere. But when it comes to price, it’s very expensive, nearly a thousand dollars. Where it still leaves the debris behind and requires you to clean its way out of obstacles.
That said, the Neato Botvac Connected which is way cheaper but offers similar performance and features making it a pocket-friendly option for you.
Overall, the Roomba 980 is an expensive but high-end robot vacuum cleaner that brings app control for easy navigation, Wi-Fi connectivity and other advanced features but the price for convenience is much higher than ever.