I confess it: here at Latest Gadgets.co.uk, we’re not always interested in domestic appliances. I mean, until someone put an internet connection in a toaster, I’d never cooked bread. So when we go out of our way to visit the launch party of a vacuum cleaner – the Samsung Navibot – it had better be a really special one.
And it was. The Navibot is the most technologically advanced robot vacuum in the world, boasting 36 sensors, a camera capable of capturing 30 frames a second (or 110,000 an hour) and a 167 degree viewing angle. And with a small form and cute circular case, the device impresses aesthetically as well as on paper. It was almost like meeting Wall-E’s great-great-grandfather.
All that technology is squeezed into the Navibot’s small shell so that the device can be packed with more features than some computers. For instance, the device boasts six cleaning modes – Automatic, where on the touch of a button (or a touchscreen, on the premium model) the device sets about vacuuming the room. Set it to Max, and the little dirt-warrior will begin cleaning your house non-stop until it runs out of battery – perfect for those of us with mansions or neuroses.
However, a dead battery is a rarity, because the device boasts a range of 100 square metres before needing a recharge. Even if it does need to recharge, it will return to the docking station, charge up, and then start cleaning from where it left off. According to Samsung’s tests, it finds its way home 99% of the time – better than most pets.
Other modes include Schedule, in which you can programme the Navibot to carry out your cleaning bidding at set times, Spot Clean, where the device cleans the nearest 1.5m, Edge, where small brushes come out the side and sweep dust towards the main suction unit, and my favourite, Manual, where you can control the toy vacuum from a supplied remote control.
The Navibot achieves these feats of cleanliness due to Samsung’s “Visionary Mapping System” which dynamically maps your room, allowing the little beast to work out where it is, where it has been, where it needs to go and what it needs to drive around. This system is powered by IR sensors that detect near-by bumps, and a camera aimed at the ceiling, used to work out how much space it has to clean.
As far as sucking-up dust goes, the unit picked up everything I saw it roll over, has a HEPA filter, a bagless 0.6 litre capacity with quick-empty (you can suck out the dirt using another hoover, but only on the premium model), the ability to detect edges and avoid falling down the stairs, and, in an example of supreme innovation, an anti-tangle technology, so if the device picks up a trailing cable, it will reverse until the cable has unwound itself, and then avoid that location.
At £399 and £449 for the basic and premium models, the unit itself isn’t super cheap – but it does undercut existing remote vacuums as well as boasting a whole lot more features. However, if you feel that isn’t enough of an expense, opulent buyers can purchase the optional “Virtual Guard” add-on, which is two mini-towers that send an anti-Navibot signal between them, creating an invisible wall that the device will never pass.