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Performance & Battery Life

Gordon Kelly

By Gordon Kelly



  • Recommended by TR


Our Score:


Like previous Roombas, the 780 doesn't miss out on other core features like 'Cliff detect' which senses stairs or drop offs, 'auto docking' which sees the 780 return to its charge station when low on power and anti-tangle safeguards which stop the Roomba from munching its way through cables. Like all Roombas, the 780 retains an extremely low profile measuring less than 10cm tall allowing it to pass under beds, coffee tables and even open cupboard drawers. Meanwhile the two supplied Lighthouses make their usual appearance and can be placed anywhere to cast a beam the Roomba will not cross (illustration with a Roomba 560 below). Lastly a flexible 'soft touch bumpers' stop it damaging objects should contact be made.


So does all this tech stand up in practice? Happily yes, with some inevitable caveats. Most obvious is that while the 780 may look like past Roombas this is the first model which truly does an excellent job of vacuuming dirty floors. We do think you will want to keep your existing vacuum for particularly tough jobs, but the 780 has remarkably impressive suction for its size and we found it had no problem lifting debris up to the size of a marble or in pulling tangled hair ground into the carpet. Similarly the 780 lives up to its claim of being a genuine multi-floor model happily detecting a switch in surface and adjusting its suction and cleaning patterns to suit.

The other major factor in the success of the 780 is the improved battery life. While a conventional vacuum will clean faster and offer greater suction than the Roomba, the vast majority of us don't have the patience to vacuum for the circa 90 minutes it does on a single charge. As such part of the success of the 780 is its attrition, removing dirt through multiple passes (the dirty spot indicator is particularly sensitive) and going over each room again and again before returning to charge.


Schedule the 780 to clean daily and this affect is cumulative. It may have its work cut out the first time it enters a new owner's propety, but a few days worth of cleaning and the amount of dirt is reduced to a level the Roomba can manage in a single session with ease. Another nice improvement is the volume level in operation. iRobot hasn't stated the exact decibels, but we found it possible to still work in the same room (even if it has a mesmerising quality in action) and with a door closed it is possible to have telephone conversations. Could the 780 be scheduled to run during the night? It depends on how deeply you sleep, but we suspect the occasional bumps into your door would wake most.


March 22, 2012, 4:07 pm

Would love to know where the £449 price is at - irobot's UK store is listing £549


March 26, 2012, 7:46 am

This looks awesome. Bit pricey though... it's going to take some skilled negotiation to get this one passed Mrs Stripy but it'll be worth it!


May 10, 2012, 10:40 pm

My girlfriend has this automatic vacuum cleaner. All the time it got stuck under the wardrobe. For that money we expected a bit better kind of sensory system. There is no problem with suction power, its good enough. Also not too much dirt fits in the tank, but it's not a problem also, because we vacuum only one room with it all the time. Recently we found ourselves to use it less and less often, because we bought a real vacuum cleaner a Dyson DC 25 ( review: http://review-home.com/vacu... ) which makes vacuuming almost enjoyable. Its a design masterpiece, can say no bad words about it. Can finish vacuuming a medium large room in about 3-5 minutes, no need to keep a robotic vacuum running for hours.


July 25, 2012, 12:28 am

Interesting, I have found exactly the opposite. I have a DC 18 (http://www.trustedreviews.c... and now barely use it.

Sarah Shepherd

March 15, 2013, 5:26 am

I have only paid the postage on mine. I bought it on impulse less than a week ago & received it late this morning. I accidently let it run without reading manuals or anything but in the short 10 or so minutes it was running before it died...I ended up emptying the full bin; mind you I'd vacuumed 3 times in 5 days so I'm feeling pretty impressed. I set the dock up & left it to charge. Not sure how long it took to charge but would like to know. After it finished charging, I clicked clean & let it go, 2-3 hours later, I've cleaned it out twice & it's wonderful. It's currently on charge again. Will see how it goes for a few days than post again. So far, flaming love it. Gona try it at my parents house when I visit. They use an old Vax, wonderful machine but this might help.


April 3, 2013, 6:17 pm

It seems like a lazy solution, but when you have pets, this is damn tempting.

Jess Green

April 11, 2013, 12:29 pm

or kids :)


May 31, 2013, 1:36 am

Turned out much easier than I thought to get this approved by my wife. The little fellow arrived a week ago and he does a really good job, better than expected actually so a hearty thank you to TR for the recommendation!

I'd categorise these in the same vein as dishwashers - you definitely don't need them but once you have them you wouldn't want to give them up.

Michael Moser

June 19, 2013, 6:36 am

Alas, when it runs out of power (e.g. when cleaning a room where there is no docking station) then it also forgets/resets the clock and all programmed schedules. And THAT I find pretty annoying, esp. given the stiff price of this beast!

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