Robotic vacuum cleaners may seem like a mere novelty, but they can be incredibly useful in a busy household, a house with a pet hair problem, a robot fancier's automated home, or for people with decreased mobility. The iClebo Home from Korean brand Yujin Robot is the best robotic vacuum cleaner to have passed through our Test Centre so far. It can be used on carpet, wood floors and tiles, and you can let it do all the work while you're out of the house.
iClebo Home: Design and features
Our first impression of the iClebo Home when we unboxed it was that it looked more attractive and sturdier than the other robot vacuum cleaners we've tested (such as the iRobot Roomba).
The circular LCD screen on top of the iClebo displays information including mode (auto, climb, spot or mopping), countdown timer setting (60 minutes), battery life indicator and whether the unit is meant to be running or stopped. If you choose to program the iClebo Home with a schedule, it will display the time when it's going to start vacuuming. If the iClebo encounters a problem, the unit will display an error code on its LCD (for example, E0). A list of error codes is available on the underside of the dust bin cover; it will tell you what caused the error and how you should handle it.
Below the display sit three silver buttons: power, mode and play/pause. Just below these buttons is the slide-off cover for the dust bin. Around the front of the iClebo Home is a soft rubber bumper sensor. In our tests, the iClebo Home rarely bumped into anything.
A micro-fibre cloth is included with the unit, and it can be attached to the base of the iClebo to wipe grime from a floor.
iClebo Home: Performance
The iClebo Home has a far more powerful direct drive motor than the iRobot Roomba vacuum cleaners we've tested and we were absolutely gobsmacked at how quiet it is while it operates. The iClebo could vacuum your bedroom while you sleep and it probably wouldn't wake you up.
We thought that since the iClebo Home has two side sweepers it would get caught on power cords lying on the floor (like the Samsung NaviBot did during our tests), but this wasn't a problem. When the iClebo Home encounters an obstacle, the side sweepers automatically stop and the iClebo moves to a better spot and starts cleaning again.
When it comes to actual cleaning, the iClebo's results put other robotic vacuum cleaners we've tested to shame. The iClebo Home does a thorough job of cleaning floors, so frequent emptying of the dust chamber is required. Compared to the Roomba 577 and 530, the iClebo Home was more successful at picking up dust, dirt and dander; every time we emptied the iRobot Roomba dust chambers the contents were mainly superficial carpet fluff whereas the iClebo dust chamber contained not only carpet fluff but spicks and specks of everything the Roombas missed.
The iClebo uses four filters — HEPA, anti-bacterial filter, mesh and anti-static filters — to make sure dust that's picked up doesn't get back out.
In our battery rundown test, the iClebo Home's lithium-ion battery lasted four hours before it had to go back to the charge base. This allowed for the entire house it was tested in to be cleaned thoroughly. If the battery runs out during a cleaning cycle the iClebo Home will return to its base, charge its battery and then get back to work.
Cliff sensors, like those employed by the Roombas and NaviBot, are part of the the iClebo Home's arsenal and they work well. When the iClebo Home encountered a ledge, it stopped, corrected its path and kept on cleaning. In our tests, the iClebo Home made its way back to its dock with an almost perfect success rate — it was better than the Roombas and significantly better than the NaviBot in this regard.
The only problem we have with the iClebo Home is that the rubber bumper sensor. Although necessary for the unit's operation, it at times interfered with cleaning. Its porous and grippy surface sometimes made the unit get stuck when it encountered common household objects. For instance, in our tests it managed to get stuck between a leather couch and a coffee table; it was there for several minutes before it got itself out of trouble. Perhaps if there was a hard plastic strip only a few centimetres wide that clipped on to the top rim of the bumper sensor, it wouldn't get stuck as much.
The iClebo Home's virtually silent operation, along with its thorough cleaning performance, excellent filtration and ease of maintenance, make it a winner in our opinion. Currently iClebo robot vacuum cleaners are available for purchase online from Alpharobot.com.au. The Alpha Robot Vacuum store is offering an 18-month warranty on the iClebo Home unit. If you're in the market for an iClebo Home for Christmas, you can take advantage of a holiday discount — $699 including delivery plus bonus filters.
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