lint). It does manage to toss about
particles as large as cat litter, however.
It is the carpets that I am most
concerned with, and the Roomba’s
random pattern eventually covers the
whole floor of a room — except for
tiny corner ‘triangles’ of missed carpet
areas. It moves a bit faster than the
Neato and bangs into walls a bit more
than I’d like — especially chair and
table legs that are difficult for the
sensors to detect.
Roomba is quieter than Neato.
Figure 7 shows a particular problem
with a rocking chair’s rockers that
both robots found to be difficult.
Figure 8 shows the two ‘lighthouses’
set up to restrict the Roomba to a
single area. (Keep in mind here that I
am testing a five year old Roomba
against a new Neato, although I have
also tested with a newer Roomba 770
and I personally saw little difference
between that one and my old 560.)
Neato XV Signature
Pro Cleans Up
The new Neato XV Signature Pro
shown in Figure 9 is not as pricey as
the top-end Roombas and is a bit
heavier than my 560, but is about the
same as the 770. Both use 14. 4 NiMH
battery power, but Neato’s batteries
divide that into two 7. 2 volt packs
(Figure 10) that end up costing more
for the pair of replacements than
Roomba’s single battery (Figure 11).
Online replacement battery costs for
both robots vary greatly as does the
mAh capacity (from 3,000 to 3,500).
The battery life for my Neato demo
model was quite a bit lower than I
expected at 27 minutes.
Some reviewers have commented
that the Neato is a bit ‘plain Jane’ in
that it doesn’t have all the bells and
whistles with its controls like the top
line Roombas. I personally do not feel
that way. I found that the five
buttons, the LCD display, and the
audible sounds gave me all the
information that I needed to program
and operate the XV Signature Pro to
perform all the cleaning tasks that I
desired (as did my wife).
It smoothly transitioned
from my carpeted areas to
hardwood floors with ease,
adjusting sweeping height in
the process. I really don’t like
having the magnetic strips laid
down on the floor to constrict
the Neato to a specific area,
but they do work. Maybe robot
vacuum manufacturers can
arrive at a better solution other
than these strips or IR
lighthouses. Maybe some sort
of IR-activated invisible line
drawn on the floor with a
special ink would work.
I also noticed the Neato
didn’t seem to knock cat litter
particles across the floor as the
Roomba did, but actually swept them
up. It is a bit noisier than the Roomba,
but I like the sound. The high-suction
fan sounds cool as it spools up like a
jet fighter, ready for a catapult launch.
The rotating LIDAR, brush motor,
and wheel motors all add their
SERVO 01.2014 77
Figure 8. Lighthouses set boundaries
for the Roomba's cleaning space.
Figure 9. Neato XV Signature Pro.
Figure 10. Pair of Neato
3,200 mAh 7. 2 volt
Figure 11. iRobot Roomba 3,000 mAh
14. 4 volt battery.
Figure 6. Improved brush
bearing protection from hair
buildup with a steel shaft.
Figure 7. My Roomba got hung up on
rocking chair rockers.