iRobot is excellent, more affordable Roomba i3 robot vacuum received a firmware update this week that gives it new powers. Existing users and anyone who purchases the $349.99 Roomba i3 can now use smart maps to tell their robot exactly where to clean.
This feature, which allows you to send the bot only to vacuum a specific room or rooms instead of anywhere it can get to, was previously only available on the more expensive s9, j7, and i7 Roombas in iRobot’s top range.
The update fulfills iRobot’s promise that its iRobot Genius Software will make your robot smarter at no additional cost to you. Smart mapping, done without a camera, allows the vacuum to learn the floor plan of your home, so it can tell you specifically where to clean using the iRobot Home app or a voice assistant, like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Before the update, the i3 could map your home to show you where you cleaned on your journey, but it couldn’t remember the maps and use them for future cleaning.
However, Exclusion Zones and Clean Zones (areas created within rooms, such as “in front of the couch”) are not included. Therefore, users will still need to use the iRobot Virtual Wall Barriers sold separately to prevent the robot from going into places where it shouldn’t. Or just close some doors.
This update makes the distinction between models a little thinner. Plus app-enabled Keep Out and Clean zones, $800 Roomba j7 Plus adds smart navigation that lets you recognize and avoid household items like cords, shoes, and yes, dog poop.
the $1,000 Roomba s9 Plus it has the most powerful suction in the line, plus a D-shaped bot that helps you get into corners better, but not the smart navigation. All three models can team up with iRobot Braava Jet M6 robot mop and send it to mop after they have finished vacuuming.
The i3 is the least expensive robot vacuum sold by iRobot that is powered by the company’s clean-base automatic dirt removal technology, which empties the robot’s bin for you. the i3 is $349.99 and the i3 Plus is $549.99 for the robot and the clean base. The i3 also has a new name in addition to the new features, i3 EVO.
The other “i” in the lineup, the i7 Plus, is no longer for sale in iRobot.com. It is the most similar in function to the i3, although it works with Keep Out and Clean zones.
The i3 model is also sold at various retail stores such as Costco under the name i4 and i4 plusand these robot vacuum cleaners will also receive the firmware update.