It wasn’t very good, but at least I got a fairly accurate map of my house. It automatically detected which surfaces were carpeted and which were wood, and I could designate no-go and clean areas in the app, especially dirty or high-traffic areas. The mopping arm descended reliably into the kitchen, even if the first few passes were always dry, and the arm doesn’t clean as reliably as the Shark or Ecovacs versions. I checked after every cleaning and never found a wet carpet.
Overall, as you might have guessed from my mapping session, its navigational capabilities were disappointing. This came as a shock as iRobot honed its abilities by designing robots. for the military. While I’m testing robot vacuums, iRobot vacuums consistently come out on top, but unfortunately companies like Roborock and Shark quickly caught up.
When I check the Combo j7+ history in the iRobot Home app, it is dull. Four of the last seven daily launches had errors or stops of various kinds. In past years, I may have apologized for this – after all, my house is big, with different surfaces, full of sloppy children and lots of animals. Vacuum robots occasionally close doors in front of them and lock themselves in the bathroom – that’s just part of the game.
However, I ran the Combo 7+ at the same time as the Roborock Q5+ and Roborock effortlessly ran through the clean cycles that the Combo j7+ experienced repeatedly. When I tried to see what the problem was, sometimes the app just crashed.
The increased functionality also meant that battery life was reduced. The water tank is so small (only 212 milliliters!) that it had to be filled to clean my medium-sized kitchen – about 20 feet by 12 feet. I also appreciate iRobot’s auto-clean trash feature, which means the vacuum goes back to the dock to empty itself instead of dragging dog hair all over the floor. However, with a trash can with a capacity of only 0.3 liters (most trash cans have at least twice that capacity), this means the battery is often drained before any cleaning is completed.
Most cleaning cycles take about four or five hours, which means I forget when a cycle hasn’t been completed. From time to time, we all get scared to death when we sit down to dinner, and the vacuum cleaner, which I thought was asleep, suddenly wakes up and leaves to complete the cleaning that I started at noon.
It doesn’t help that iRobot’s auto-clean feature loud. I measured the auto empty volume at about 95 decibels – 15 to 20 decibels louder than other robot vacuums when they empty automatically.
In the end, I found the experience of using the iRobot app annoying enough to recommend Shark instead. That’s not to say the Shark is perfect – $600 is still too much for a vacuum mop where you still have to change the bin, you can’t mop and vacuum at the same time, and you often have to hand wash your rags. . However, the $1,100 iRobot doesn’t double the vacuum in any way. I still recommend the cheaper (and no camera) iRobot 600, 900 or i3 and i5 series, but this one is too expensive to be that unreliable.