Automating a chore is both brilliant and efficient because you can be productive with something less mundane. We’ve seen the revolution that was the dishwasher, and now there’s a smart device that promises to change lives.
In recent years, robot vacuum cleaners have entered the local market from global brands like iRobot to low-cost ones like Xiaomi. Then there are many more from brands you’ve probably never heard of.
Robovacs are smart devices that pair with a smartphone so they can be controlled and accessed via an app. It requires little maintenance and human intervention; It usually maps your house and cleans either by vacuuming or mopping – or both.
Some of the more expensive models are self-draining, otherwise all you have to do is drain and pour in water or detergent.
That Mail & Guardian tested Hobot’s new powerful Legee 7 model, which is a four-in-one vacuum cleaner. It scrubs and mops floors up to 900 times per minute with a wiping power of 1,800 g and a powerful suction power of 2,700 Pa, which is clearly no match for a human being.
It can vacuum, wipe dry, spray water and damp mop. It has features like smart AI spray; seven cleaning modes and one custom one, plus voice commands so you know what’s happening in real time. It pairs with Android and iOS and supports voice assistants like Siri and Google Assistant.
The Legee 7 also has advanced features such as the ability to map your house, divide the rooms, create virtual barriers and find the best route. It uses the Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) method to create a map when it is first run on your floors.
Its embedded memory stores map data for up to five maps for different floors in another building or floor in your home. Once the floors are mapped, you can merge or split rooms according to your preferences and cleaning schedules. They also prevent it from getting close to furniture or delicate objects.
It has a side brush that passes over a surface multiple times to ensure cleaning is thorough, and its AI Smart Spray ensures no residue is left behind. Unlike some other Robovacs on the market, the Legee 7 lets you add your own cleaning agent to mop; the others just take water in their tanks.
While the app isn’t a great user experience, the Legee 7 was easy to set up and pair with an iPhone. It tells you when to empty the trash can, fill the water tank and anything else related to its performance.
The voice prompts are a nice touch to let you know about updates and progress. When the battery is low, it returns to its base station and tells you that it is charging. It’s smart enough to pick up where it left off when a clean is interrupted by a charge.
Things that are lying around, such as cords and shoes, need to be cleared out of the way before cleaning. I also move my dining room chairs around so they are constantly clean. It is suitable for most hard floors, but will not clean carpets.
When I first tried a Robovac I wondered if I’d ever need one, but the amount of dust and dirt that gets trapped was quite a revelation – even more so if you have pets, allergies, or children. It also reaches difficult places like under sofas or garden furniture and penetrates deep into places that your broom might otherwise not cover.
As a smart device, the app allows you to control which room is cleaned after mapping and set barriers. It also has the option to schedule a cleaning and you can set a type of cleaning from 7 modes – pet mode for a living area, strong mode for the kitchen or buffing for the living room. The ability to vacuum your home remotely and return to a dust-free home after a vacation is grossly underestimated.
The Hobot Legee 7 falls somewhere in the middle when it comes to automated robot vacuums. It goes beyond just cleaning and mopping with advanced features and flexibility when you want it to be less noisy. The app can be buggy and only works on hard floors, not carpets. If you have allergies, pets, or a full house, that’s a no-brainer. It costs R8 250 from most retailers online and in store.