mwarrenus wrote:Not cat compatible! The rider will blind Neato's LIDAR turret; the blind 'bot would probably stop, cry for help, and then the bored cat would walk away.
Yup, you'd need a really small pet to perch perfectly atop the turret hat without interfering with the laser aperture. A chinchilla would be about the biggest I'd expect could ride it.
I've owned mine almost a year, and yeah, it's worth every penny. It goes under the kitchen cabinets, under the beds, under the chairs, gets all the places that were a PITA to get with the regular vacuum, plus it does the wide-open floor areas. But then, any robot vacuum does that.
What the Neato does, better than any of the competition, is navigate the whole house without extra hardware. There are no lighthouses, no gates, no navigation beacons of any sort. It maps as it works, keeping track of where it's been and where it hasn't. When it finishes a room, it moves to the next, until the whole house is done.
For fun, I've blocked doors and arranged obstacles to make the house completely accessible, but absurdly serpentine. The Neato meticulously cleans every inch, not fazed at all, before declaring victory and zipping back through the maze to its charging base. It's phenomenally entertaining to watch.
Edges and corners. It's not great about corners. There are some hints about a side-brush in the latest firmware, even though none of the current hardware has a side-brush, so it's safe to assume one is in development. I figure that's why they're clearing out this model. If you can stand the notion of taking a manual broom to the edges of the house once in a blue moon, this is no big deal. Personally, I hate brooms, and plan to pick up the new model when it comes out.
Getting stuck. Once in a while, mine will just get incredibly confused and declare itself lost. It always seems to be smack-dab under the center of the bed when this happens, never anywhere easily accessible. Robot vacuums seem ideal for humans with limited mobility, until this happens. If you're giving a disabled relative a vacuum, expect to visit once in a while and retrieve it from somewhere stupid. That being said, it's quite rare, only happened 3 or 4 times in the year I've owned it.
Filter cost. There are plenty of DIY and aftermarket filters with greater surface area than the stock filter, which is good not only because they flow more air during operation, but also because you can use them more times before they get hopelessly clogged. Still, when you figure the cost per square inch of filter area (even multiplied by the number of times they can be whacked clean and reused), they make good ol' bagged vacuums look like a phenomenal deal.
Fire-and-forget cleaning. Typically after I start a run, I'll walk around the house and grab the obvious obstacles: Cords and power bricks on the floor, laundry that missed the hamper, etc. This takes about 30 seconds, and then I can go do something else, reasonably confident that the Neato will do its own thing without intervention.
Adorability. It's just mesmerizing to watch, and I've literally had visitors ask if they can play with the vacuum.
Thoroughness. It gets under all the stuff I could never be arsed to clean under.
Automatic charging. Competitors charge a lot for their automatic charging bases, but the Neato includes it, and it's flawless every time. The butt-wiggle docking maneuver is hilarious too.
Easy serviceability. Long hair gets wrapped around the beater-bar, same as any other vacuum. Neato made it incredibly easy to open the mechanism and clean this out, to the point that the entire beater bar and bearing assembly comes apart without tools. I wish other vacuum makers would take a page from this playbook!
Hackability. There's no Create model from Neato, but there is www.neatorobotics.com/programmers-manual for ya. Enjoy!