Samsung NaviBot S robot vacuum cleaner (preview)

Samsung’s newest robot house-slave gets smarter

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Samsung NaviBot S
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Pros

  • Auto-emptying
  • Smart room mapping
  • It’s a robot

Cons

  • High price
  • It's a robot

Bottom Line

Samsung's newest and smartest robot vacuum cleaner has some new user-friendly features. It comes at an increased price and we're still unsure as to how capable it is compared to a human, though.

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Yesterday, Samsung launched an updated version of its NaviBot robot vacuum cleaner — the NaviBot S. We’re assuming the S stands for ‘slim’, or ‘sleek’, or ‘smart’ (or maybe ’Skynet’), because the NaviBot S promises some interesting upgrades and more user-friendly features.

The NaviBot S is noticeably smaller than the previous model. At only 80mm tall it sits very close to the floor, sweeping away unobtrusively — it’s not as chunky as the Roomba 577 or Roomba 530, and its glossy plastic and smooth curves make it look more like the rest of Samsung’s generally attractive home appliance and consumer IT products.

Like the previous NaviBot, the S works with virtual guards to block off difficult areas (stairways, tables and chairs, and so on) so it won’t get stuck or lost. This system would take some setting up initially, but once you’ve got your robot house-trained it should do almost as good a job as a good ol’ fashioned human being — and at a fraction of the cost.

Visionary Mapping Plus

Samsung says the new NaviBot S is a ‘visionary cleaning device’, but we’re guessing this refers to the vacuum’s integrated camera rather than its ability to predict the future. In conjunction with its Visionary Mapping Plus system, the camera lets the NaviBot S build a visual map of your house through photos of your rooms’ ceilings.

This map lets the NaviBot S work out where walls and obstacles lie, and plot the best possible cleaning courses across your floors. Samsung doesn’t profess to say that the mapping is perfect — the vacuum will only try to avoid obstacles — but it’s better than a robot vacuum with no camera.

The camera and map setup also lets the NaviBot S remember where it finished cleaning last time, before recharging or emptying its bin, so it won’t clean spots again unnecessarily.

Dust Sensor Cleaning

Another touted feature is the NaviBot S’s ability to sense areas that are dirtier than others — when it is collecting a larger than normal amount of dust — and to give them extra vacuuming and sweeping attention.

It’ll boost its vacuum power in dustier and dirtier areas, so it should handle houses with mixed carpet and wood or tile floors without much fuss. We bet this will impact battery life, but with smart recharging this shouldn’t cause a problem.

Auto Dust Emptying

The more expensive of the two NaviBot S models in Australia will have an auto dust emptying feature — a first for a robot vacuum cleaner. The charging dock for the NaviBot S also functions as the add-on dustbin, with a 2L capacity. This boosts overall capacity to 2.6L, so the high-end NaviBot S won’t need emptying nearly as often as any other robot vacuum. When it gets full, the NaviBot S will return to the dock to empty itself — minimal human intervention required.

Models

There are two NaviBot S models now available in Australia: the NaviBot S SR8950 for $1099, and the NaviBot S SR8980 for $1299. The higher-priced model includes the Auto Dust Emptying function.

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

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