Hands on: Vorwerk’s Kobold VR100 robotic vacuum

Being gadget-obsessed, we jumped at the chance to get ‘hands on’ with the VR100 – a robotic vacuum that uses laser technology to automatically clean your house. The VR100 is an improved version of the Neato XV-15 that we reviewed last summer. Changes include a new motor with almost twice the suction power, a side brush for edges/corners and a long-lasting lithium-ion battery rather than the NiMH (which suffers from memory loss effect) in the Neato.

The VR100 uses laser technology to map its surroundings and to then automatically and systematically clean your house, even when there’s no-one at home. The vacuum can be programmed to clean at a certain time of day or to combat a specific zone, such as a room you use most often. Other ‘smart’ technology in the VR100 includes the ability, when at low battery, to return to its base for charging. It will then go back to its previous position to continue cleaning where it left off.

The VR100 is a bag-less device with 0.6 litre capacity for dust collection. The quick-charging 64Wh lithium-ion battery has a reported battery life of 90 minutes. The unit comes in at around 5kg in weight with dimensions of 32.5 x 31 x 10cm. Check out this video of us unboxing the VR100:

After a week using the VR100 to clean our test living room (which the dog ‘re-furs’ every night!) we were pleased with the results. We used the supplied zoning tape to stop the device from mounting the fire hearth and only once, while under a table, did it stop with a ‘could not navigate’ error message.

We were also pleasantly surprised by the vacuum’s ability to pick up the aforementioned dog hair – something which other, more powerful, stand-up vacuums have failed to do. The VR100 is easy to use, being very much plug-and-play with a big a green button to get it started. We also tested the scheduled clean which took place without incident – apart from scaring the unsuspecting dog! Here’s some video of the device cleaning our test living room:

The VR100 costs £649 and is available exclusively from VK Direct.