My experience with the first lockdown ensured that I had invested in a vacuum robot before the second Covid-19 lockdown. We had moved to a new house and needed all the help we could find, or buy. I went for the most affordable iRobot Roomba out there and have not regretted the purchase even one bit. However, in hindsight, I think I should have bought something smarter, even if it meant an additional cost. I should have bought something like the Roomba i3+.

The Roomba i3+ is a lot like the Roomba 698 I have at home. The vacuum robot has the same design, though it looks and sounds different. But what differentiates this new model though is the charging station, which now comes with a tower for the robot to empty the trash into.

The Roomba i3+ is also much smarter and does not waste time cleaning the areas it has been to already. Also, when it sees an obstacle it pauses for a second, almost as if figuring out its next move, and invariably plots a different route. On both these counts, I have to say the robot I own shows that I did try to save money while buying it.

There is more. The Roomba i3+ also seems to have much better control over the terrain. For instance, there is a fuzzy carpet at home that the older robot always gets stuck at the edge of. But the i3+ cleans the carpet too and that too without sucking in all the loose threads.

But as it trudges around the room, I could not help but notice how this robot had a much different drone than the one I had at home. This could be because the Roomba i3+ has much stronger suction than the cheaper models from iRobot. And this is why it is able to pull out Lego pieces that had been lost in the fuzzy carpet weeks before.

The USP of the i3+, however, has to be the trash tower. When the robot is done cleaning it goes back to the charging dock. A moment after it did this for the first time, I was in for a shock. The tower then sucks up all the trash from the robot, and in the process makes everyone aware that something out of the usual is happening. My son ran out of his room and asked me if there was a robot uprising happening. Moral of the story, keep the Roomba i3+ charger ideally in a balcony or a part of the house that is not that frequented.

You can initiate this waste disposal process even using the app. The app, like with other Roomba robots, also lets you start a quick cleaning job, create a cleaning schedule, and even end a cleaning job in the middle. All of this is very convenient.

There are no negatives with the iRobot Roomba i3+ other than the fact that it can be a bit noisy at times, especially if it has picked up something like a paper or a toffee wrapper during its sorties. Also, if that can’t wake you up from your Sunday afternoon nap, the trash transfer from the robot to the tower certainly will. Also, it is not like the precedence of the tower negates the need for handling of the trash at your end. You just need to do it from the tower now and not the robot itself like before.

The iRobot Roomba i3+ is certainly one of the most convenient vacuum robots around. But you have to pay a premium for this convenience as the Roomba i3+ has a starting price of Rs 44,900, given the present festive discounts. But for a lot of houses, this will certainly be a worthy investment.

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