“Convertible wiper” iRobot Roomba Combo j9+ automatically refills cleaning water
After Ecovacs and Dreame, iRobot, another important manufacturer of vacuum and mopping robots, is sending new flagship models from the upper class into the cleaning race. The Roomba Combo j9+ is a vacuum and mopping robot that comes in a set with a self-cleaning station. Not only does it empty the robot’s dust compartment, it also automatically refills the water tank for the first time on an iRobot product. However, unlike top models from other manufacturers, there is still no washing function. You have to rinse and wring out the robot’s wiping cloth yourself.
As with the Roomba Combo j7+, two metal arms lift the wiping cloth onto the top of the robot when it registers the transition from hard floor to carpet. This way it only vacuums the decorative fibers, but doesn’t accidentally water them. Because the robot lifts the wiping module so high into the air, even high carpets are spared.
As a second upper-class cleaning device, iRobot brings the Roomba j9+, a pure vacuum robot without a mopping module. Accordingly, the included self-cleaning station only has a suction function. Both robots can regulate the suction power in several stages depending on the amount of dirt. The use of two solid rubber brushes is intended to ensure a highly concentrated air flow and thus thorough cleaning.
The dust bag contained in both stations should be able to temporarily store the yield for up to 60 days. The manufacturer does not mention the exact filling quantity for this – but for the water. The fresh water tank of the combo station is three liters. When designing the home bases, iRobot placed emphasis on a homely character. The surfaces look like wood. Because the maintenance access is at the front, the cover plate can serve as a usable area for decorative items. When emptying dirt and refilling water, the stations are designed to work more quietly than previous models.
iRobot OS 7 scrubs more powerfully and remembers problem areas
Both robots appear with the new operating system iRobot OS 7. It is able to adjust the cleaning settings to suit the level of dirt (“Dirt Detective”). On the one hand, the software is based on the stored room categories. On the other hand, it reacts to measured values from optical sensors that check the density of the dirt flow at the suction nozzle, explained iRobot boss Colin Angle to heise online. The cleaning protocol is also incorporated into the planning. The software anticipates rooms that have not been cleaned in a long time as the dirtiest ones and prioritizes them. Only the bathroom always comes last so that any dirt from there doesn’t get into other rooms.
With the “Dirt Detective” function, the two new iRobot vacuum robots clean the dirtiest rooms first and adapt the cleaning settings accordingly.
In addition, you can increase the wiping intensity manually with the new software. The robot then moves the wipe faster, both forward and backward, while applying downward pressure. This “SmartScrub” function comes to both the Roomba Combo j9+ and subsequently to last year’s j7+ model.
Navi camera with TÜV certificate
The j9 robots continue to navigate through space and around obstacles, like the j7 model before them, with a forward-facing color camera. Their use has come under criticism because of leaked recordings from private households. With reference to the “highest” encryption standards and a TÜV certificate for cybersecurity, iRobot wanted to refute doubts in an interview with heise online. But the fact that the technology may be sufficiently shielded from the outside world does of course not protect against any negligent behavior within the company and among contracted companies for AI development.
The ongoing takeover of iRobot by Amazon also raises reservations when it comes to data protection. The robot manufacturer excluded questions on this topic from the media discussion.
Market launch and alternatives
The Roomba Combo j9+ and the Roomba j9+ can be pre-ordered starting today on the iRobot website. They will be available there and in stores from the end of September. The combined vacuum and mopping robot then costs 1,400 euros, the pure vacuum robot costs 1,000 euros.
This puts the manufacturer at the upper end of the price spectrum, where there are some alternatives. The high-quality models Dreame L20 Ultra, Ecovacs Deebot X2 Omni and Roborock S8 Pro Ultra offer, in addition to almost all of the functions presented by iRobot, automatic washing and drying of the mopping module.
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