Samsung NaviBot SR8855
Meet Samsung's new robotic vacuum cleaner!
- Convenient, feels solid, lots of features
- Expensive, ineffective at times
The Samsung NaviBot is an expensive but awesome gadget for your home. You could buy a very good vacuum cleaner for less money and get a more thorough clean, but that would require vacuuming the manual, old-fashioned way. If you have a grand to throw around and have just fired your house keeper then the NaviBot is for you.
Price$ 999.00 (AUD)
The Samsung NaviBot SR8855 is a clever little robot vacuum cleaner that wants to navigate its way through your home and into your heart. It can do all the grunt work while you either control it from the couch or let it clean automatically — even while you're out doing your shopping. Indeed, the future of housework is looking great not only for the busy and the disabled, but also the just plain lazy.
The Samsung NaviBot is similar to the iRobot Roomba. However, unlike the Roomba, it uses a ‘visionary mapping system’: it has an integrated camera that shoots at 30 frames per second to create a virtual map of the room to be cleaned. This virtual map allows the NaviBot to know its exact location in a room, where furniture is and the path the vacuum cleaner needs to follow to clean the room and navigate its way back to the charging dock.
Two circular sweeping arms on both sides of the NaviBot spin as the vacuum rolls forward, sweeping up dust, dirt and debris into a chamber with a 600mL capacity. Meanwhile, a larger (and more robust) bristled brush combs over the floor. It can tackle lighter debris such as pet hair and fluff, also depositing it into its chamber.
A bumper sensor has been fitted to the Samsung NaviBot to help it detect and avoid obstacles while a ‘cliff’ sensor monitors what's going on underneath the NaviBot to make sure it doesn’t fall down a flight of stairs and break it’s little robot neck (if it had one). During our tests, we found that although the bumper sensor works most of the time, if the NaviBot bumps into something a few millimetres taller than itself, the body becomes wedged and it's unable to remove itself.
We sat the NaviBot on a small table to test the cliff sensors and to our delight (and amusement) they did the job extremely well; every time the NaviBot reached the edge of the table it would stop, turn and continue on cleaning. We wish we could say the same for the anti-tangle sensor though; Samsung claims the three anti-tangle sensors automatically unwind any cords caught while the unit is in operation, but more often than not the NaviBot would succumb to cords and require help from its human overlord. Our advice for someone thinking of purchasing the Samsung NaviBot would be to make sure you don’t have loose cables lying around where you want it to clean.
Two 'virtual guards' come with the Samsung NaviBot SR8855. These create invisible barriers that the NaviBot won't go past so you can stop the NaviBot from entering areas you don't want or need it to clean.
The NaviBot tries to achieve cleaning efficiency by not going over the same spot twice in one cleaning session. However, we found that on occasions the NaviBot would fail to pick up 100 per cent of the mess on the floor before returning to the charging dock; so although it never goes over the same spot twice, it may leave behind little spicks and specks here and there.
Attempts to make its way back to the charging dock are sometimes successful and sometimes quite dismal. According to Samsung, the NaviBot has a 99 per cent success rate of returning to the charging dock; however, in our tests we found this to be somewhere closer to a 70 per cent success rate.
Several cleaning options are available to choose from: auto mode, max, spot, edge and our favourite — manual. The manual mode lets you control the NaviBot via a remote control that ships with the unit. Just imagine lying on the couch, ridiculously hung-over or tired after having a dinner party the night before; you would be able to direct your robotic house keeper (with the supplied remote control) to all the little crunched up bits of potato chips that your messy guests left behind on your lovely carpet.
The NaviBot has a programmable timer and a HEPA filter which can be removed and cleaned.
The Samsung NaviBot vacuum cleaner plays host to some impressive technology, and even though it got tangled in extension cords and wedged under the shelves in our Test Centre, we still think it’s pretty damn cool. Unfortunately, the $999 price tag is a big drawback for a vacuum that doesn’t perform as thorough a cleaning job as a conventional vacuum cleaner, and the 600mL capacity chamber requires frequent emptying (especially on carpeted surfaces).
Samsung's environmental policy
Samsung's environment policy states that the company has "designated economic, environmental, and social responsibilities as the key elements of our sustainable management. We are committed to continuing to identify our various stakeholders, build positive relationships with them, and ultimately enhance our value for both the company and the stakeholders."
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