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Good review... Another very important point, last time I checked the Roomba couldn't work on dark floors. I had a black carpet and it would not be able to move above it. It was detected as a big hole and it would freeze... I don't know if they've solved it (I sent mine back for a refund), but it's worth checking before you buy.
Shame, but as an existing Roomba owner (though a predecessor to this model) I broadly agree with most of your points. I live in a rather unconventionally shaped flat with wooden floors and the roomba generally does a pretty good job of looking after things. However, when I watch it clean it does at times seem to be missing large areas of the room, and yet somehow they seem to get cleaned eventually. I think the Roomba often succeeds out of sheer tenacity - it takes around 1.5 hours to clear a floorspace I could do myself in about 10 minutes. The only item I would disagree with is the difficulty in finding its way back to the dock - I have never every known mind fail once and that was when it managed to get one of its wheels snared on my Blackberry charger. That said I do have a differwent model so perhaps the new one is worse in that regard.
The Paris Hilton comment has set me up for the day. I've got visions of a fleet of Roomba's circling her wherever she goes!
What a major disappointment, and I was about to get a 581. It's even worst than the Samsung, which wasn't great to begging with.
@Edward: Sounds like you have been very unlucky with your Roomba. Most the problems you outline don't appear to happen with ours. Like @Energizer pointed out, never had any issues with it finding the dock. I actually think the cleaning ability is also pretty good, considering how small this thing is. I believe also the idea of these is that you clean more frequently, and if used like this should keep your floors spotless. One thing that would be really handy for this to do, is empty itself into some sort of collection bucket, because it doesn't have a very large collection area you really need to empty after every clean. And because of this I believe stops it been something you can set and forget. If Roomba came out with another model that could empty itself, I'd certainly buy another. :)
I really ought to proof read my posts.
I am glad I didn't read your review when I bought my Roomba 520 in June 2010. I love my Roomba and it cleans my house - carpets and hard floors better than me. When I got it I first vacuumed with the Dyson and then let Roomba loose a room at a time - well he found a whole lot more dust. He does need to be managed. I put him into a room with the door shut having first picked up clothes etc off the floor so that he just has to work his way around. When he has finished I just put him in the next room that I want him to clean. I have an open dining room and sitting room so as I did not buy the lighthouse I put some obstacles to divide the room into 2 ie chair with a book under it to stop him going under the chair. He does get a little confused with the legs of the chairs so I either put one or two of the chairs in the kitchen and shut the door or put one on the table as I feel he has an easier job. One of the best household labour saving devices I have ever bought.
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