(Pocket-lint) - The world of robot vacuum cleaners is a mixed bag of similar-looking devices with a varying appeal and abilities. Choosing the right one can be tough - as not only are they expensive luxury items, their cleaning potential often isn't ample to negate the need for a standard vacuum cleaner.
The Samsung VR7000 Powerbot, as its name suggests, looks to stand out from the crowd by delivering suction power that's above and beyond. Having let one loose in the house we can genuinely say, in the best possible way, that this robo-vac truly sucks.
- Removable and replaceable Li-ion battery (21.6V / 38.8Wh)
- Large wheels with good ground clearance
- 'Self-cleaning' brush system
- Remote control included
- Washable filter
- LED display
- 479 x 171 x 497mm; 4.3kgs
The design of the Samsung VR7000 Powerbot robot vacuum cleaner is striking. It's a smart-looking robot cleaner with almost painfully shiny surfaces which look great when you first get it out of the box, but soon become a magnet for dust and dirt particles as it goes about its chores. But at least you won't have to get mucky, eh?
This robot vacuum includes a flat-nosed front which allows it to get close to edges and clean as closely as it can to the walls. Unlike other robot vacuum cleaners we've seen, this one doesn't include any front or edge brushes, but instead employs an "auto shutter tool" which runs along the flat front and sucks neatly at anything it comes into contact with.
The underneath of the VR7000 Powerbot boasts a "self-cleaning" brush system. While most other robot vacuums (and standard vacuum cleaners for that matter) employ a bristled brush, this Samsung robot uses a rubberised brush system that pushes hair into little grooves along its length. This means the sweeping action isn't impacted as it cleans and it gets a better clean constantly without the need for regular maintenance or hair-pulling. We've been impressed with how well this system works and how little the brush needs to be freed of debris.
Design highlights don't stop there either. The VR7000 also includes a washable filter built into the easily-removable dust tray - which means you don't need to fork out extra for spare or replacement filters. The transparent top also allows you to see right into the dust tray and easily spot when it needs emptying, and it's easy to remove the tray and clean it out when necessary.
The battery is also removable and replaceable, which theoretically adds greater longevity to this robo-vac should the battery wear down over months and years of use. That's a reassuring feature when you're spending a fair amount of money to purchase in the first place.
Also in the box is a remote control, giving you the physical option to control the cleaner, otherwise you can download the app (for iOS and Android) or even control the bot using your voice. Usually, we'd argue there's little point in a remote control in something you'd setup for automated and scheduled cleaning - but this one is multi-functional and useful too.
Setup, cleaning cycles and settings
- Auto, spot, manual, repeat and point cleaning modes
- Custom cleaning schedules
- 0.32m/sec cleaning speed
The Samsung VR7000 Powerbot is generally easy to setup. Get it out of the box, charge, connect to Wi-Fi so the robo-vac can pair with the Samsung connect app (available for iOS and Android devices) and it's good to go. Well, it should be: we struggled initially with pairing to the app, as it requires the use of the Samsung Internet Browser before it would accept the connection and recognise the device.
There are a number of different cleaning modes as well as the standard modes you'd expect to see from a robotic vacuum, including automatic, manual and spot cleaning modes. Auto goes from room to room cleaning until the robot has either finished or run out of juice, when it will then return to its charger. Spot cleans a smaller localised area (approximately 1.5m x 1.5m) and will do so intensively, so is great for cleaning up small spills or crumbs. Manual can be carried out either using the remote or app and allows you to direct the robot around, pushing it in the directions you want it to go.
Where the Samsung Powerbot shines is with its other included cleaning modes. Repeat clean, for example, sends the robot vacuum on an intense cleaning spree, where it will carry on cleaning until the battery is completely depleted and it needs to dock to recharge.
Point cleaning mode is certainly our favourite. Using this mode, the remote control beams a light onto the floor that the robot's sensors can detect and it will simply follow the light around the house. This allows you to lead the robot around like a puppy. There's certainly something pleasing about having a robot doing your bidding this way, but it's also an effective way to clean specific spots of the house that have been missed.
Within the app or via the remote, you can also set a specific cleaning schedule that the robot will follow each day. This is the most common use for any robot vacuum cleaner, as a daily clean will bring the best results - even if it's just to top-up what your upright manual vac has managed.
We set the cleaner to come out at lunchtime each day with a max power automated clean of the house. We were disappointed with the lack of flexibility here, as you can only set the same time for every day of the week. With other robot vacuum cleaners we've tested you can choose a different schedule for weekends, for example, but you can't do that with the Samsung.
Obstacle detection and floor mapping
- FullView Sensor 2.0 for scanning surrounding areas
- In-app mapping (iOS & Android)
The Samsung VR7000 Powerbot uses a high-performance sensor system and a digital camera to map the house as it cleans. This allows it to work out the optimal route for cleaning as it goes about its daily routine.
We found this led to both regimented and illogical cleaning patterns - which seemed confusing yet effective, so we didn't question its thinking. Sometimes the bot went up and down the room with a back-and-forth pattern. Other times it seemed to have a mind of its own, cleaning half the room before leaving that room to do another, then coming back to do the other half later on.
The sensors work well though. This robot vacuum moves at surprising speed around the room as it cleans, but it also easily detects obstacles as it moves and slows as it nears them to avoid nasty bumps that might damage it or other precious items.
We didn't see any troubles with obstacle detection, especially stairs, steps and edges. The flat-fronted design allows it to get really close to the very edges of rooms and obstacles, ensuring a thorough clean (it proudly displays "EDGE" on its display when doing so, as if boasting about its detection powers).
The mapping is also visible within the app and shows where the robot has been and how it's viewed the cleaning paths it has taken while moving about the house. It's just for show, however, as you cannot use the map to send the bot out again to clean an area it's already been over or pick an area for spot cleaning. Therefore this mapping system isn't quite as impressive or as useful as we saw with the Ecovacs Deebot R95 MKII, which offers exactly these absent features.
The design of the Samsung VR7000 Powerbot includes large toothed wheels that are capable of lifting the robot up and over obstacles in its path, so it doesn't have problems with rugs, thresholds or other small items that might get in its way. We found this robot vacuum was more than capable of moving about the house on its own with very little intervention from us, which is an important part of owning and using a robot cleaner. There's no point in using something that's meant to be automated if you constantly have to get involved to support it doing its job.
If required, Samsung also offers the additional purchase of a "virtual guard", which can be used to create virtual barriers that would stop the vacuum getting too close to precious items or going underneath furniture or into areas you wouldn't want.
Cleaning performance and sucking power
- 77 dBA maximum noise level
- Self-cleaning brush
- Edge cleaning system
- Intelligent power control (for different surfaces)
- 30/60/90 minute cleaning times (depending on suction power)
Cleaning performance is the Samsung VR7000 Powerbot's real sell, though. We found this little robot vacuum cleaner to be one of the best we've tested. After its first run - and this is after another robot vacuum cleaner had been cleaning the house daily for a week - the Samsung had to be emptied immediately afterwards, because that's how much dirt it picked up. Now that's testament to this bot's cleaning power.
The Powerbot employs a "CycloneForce" suction design, which uses a spinning cyclone system in the dust tray to suck in the dirt with surprising ease. This system is incredibly good at preventing clogs and works really well during cleaning cycles - but it does mean you need to empty the robot regularly to get the best results. You can't leave it for a whole week, otherwise it'll be full up in a couple of days.
This robot vacuum uses three different suction levels - quiet, normal and max - which not only affects the noise emitting from the bot, but how well and for how long cleaning will take place. If you're working in the house or using the phone when the robot starts to clean you'll soon find yourself needing to pause it in order to think clearly.
This robot also employs an intelligent suction system which means it recognises the surfaces it's cleaning. It'll apply more suction power when on carpet compared to hard floors, such as tiled or laminated surfaces.
App functionality and connectivity with voice assistants
- Compatible with Google Home, Amazon Alexa and Bixby voice assistants
- Works with Samsung SmartThings
To get this robot vacuum to work with Alexa, you need to connect to the Samsung Smart Home skill and discover the device under Alexa's Smart Home abilities. You can then say "Alexa, turn on robot vacuum" and "Alexa, turn off robot vacuum". These are some pretty basic commands, but they work well.
Using Google Home requires you to link your Samsung account via the home control services with "Samsung Smart Home", which then allows you to add the vacuum to your devices and assign it a room. You can then control it in the same way as you would with Alexa, by simply saying "Ok Google, turn on the robot vacuum" and "Ok Google, turn off the robot vacuum".
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This robot vacuum also works with Bixby and Samsung SmartThings - so there's plenty of flexibility whatever your smart home setup happens to be.
The Samsung VR7000 Powerbot is one of very best robot vacuum cleaners we've tested. It may have a fairly high price point, but it's worth every penny because it's just so good at cleaning.
With a compatible app, remote control and voice-control capabilities, it's also highly flexible and easy to use. We rarely found this robot vacuum would get stuck or have problems navigating the house, managing daily cleaning cycles with ease.
However, it is one of the noisest robot vacuums we've tested, but that's part and parcel of such significant suction power. Besides, you can set it to run at one of three power levels when you're not around the house.
If you're weighing up your robot vacuum cleaner options then the Samsung VR7000 Powerbot should be high on your wishlist. It truly sucks in the best possible way, whereas so many other robo-vacs just plain suck.
Alternatives to consider
Ecovacs Deebot R95 MKII
If you're looking for a capable robot vacuum cleaner with all the bells and whistles then the Ecovacs Deebot R95 MKII is certainly one to consider. We really liked the app that came with this robot vacuum and the usability it delivered. This robot not only maps out the house as it cleans but offers an interactive map within the app that you can use to control the bot for spot cleaning and more. It's also powerful and does a fantastic clean much like the Samsung though with a little less suction power. It is a touch cheaper too though.
Read the full article: Ecovacs Deebot R95 MKII robot vacuum cleaner review
Dyson 360 Eye
The Dyson 360 Eye is one of the best robotic vacuum cleaners we've tested. We were mighty impressed with its abilities including the excellent mapping and control system built into the app. It's a bit tall for our liking, so struggles getting under some furniture, but is bursting with features and is a really capable cleaning machine. It is a tad more expensive than the Samsung Powerbot VR7000, but you do get what you pay for.
Read the full article: Dyson 360 Eye review