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Neato VX12 Robot Vacuum

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      04.01.2012 23:11
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      An excellent robotic vacuum cleaner that I would happily buy again!

      If there is anyone reading this that is unsure of what this very strange looking piece of technology does then you probably desperately need one in your household. How many people actually really enjoy doing the vacuuming? In all honesty I do not mind vacuuming at all but I can certainly think of better things to be doing with my time. Robot vacuums have developed quite quickly over the years with many companies putting their robot and vacuuming skills together to create these wonderful time saving machines and the 'Neato' cleaner is one of the newest designs and kids on the block. >>> A little info on the Neato robot <<< The Neato is designed by the Neato Robotics Company of California and they are assembled in China. They are advertised to be a powerful robot vacuum that methodically cleans your home with a press of a button. The robot apparently knows exactly where it has been in the house and cleans every area once avoiding the normal robot technology in other machines that just bash around hoping that they've covered it all. The Neato has a very powerful vacuum and brush bar system that is meant to be comparable to a normal upright vacuum cleaner. A recent trip to the USA had us drooling over the new robot cleaner as it was in most supermarkets and shops that we entered and it looked a dream come true. We have owned quite a few robot cleaners and have been impressed with them all - mainly the iRobot Roomba that had recently died before going on holiday after entering a flooded bathroom but that's another story! I had seen the Neato working on a few YouTube videos before we travelled and with our Roomba cleaner breaking before leaving we just had to buy it. We picked it up for a rather reasonable $399 which was rather good considering the can cost up to £399 in the UK - Obviously its difference varies with the pound to dollar exchange but we saved roughly £150 than buying it from Amazon UK. To be honest we would have happily paid much more for it after using it in our home, it's worth every penny! >>> In the Box <<< Inside you find the slightly classic looking robot* **A charging station **3 x Spare filters **Magnetic tape to stop the robot entering areas that you don't want it to And the usual paperwork associated with electrical devices of this kind. Setting the robot up for the first use was very simple and the instruction manual was very easy to understand. The Neato comes with a charging station that it actually returns to itself for a battery recharge between cleans, how cool is that? This charging station has to be located preferably in the centre of the home on a totally flat wall without too many surrounding objects so that the robot can navigate with ease. Once that was sorted the robot needed to be charged before the first run, in all honesty I thought it would take ages to charge it fully and it did seem a while before the magic green light came on but we were just desperate to run our new machine, turned out that it only took just over two hours to fully charge! Considering it cleans about 5 rooms on a charge I think that is excellent. >>>Time for the magic! The first cleaning run<<< Everything was ready, the room was cleared of all stuff that could possibly clog our new baby now called 'Bobby' and the carpet was dirty so perfect conditions to press the special start button. The robot played a little song and reversed off its charging stand, spun round and started up. Wow! You could hear the suction straight away and the robot got to work, it first started by working its way around all of the edges and corners of the room and once complete it started crossing the room in straight lines leaving beautifully clean straight lines - the carpet looked like a freshly cut lawn with lines comparable to what you see with those roller lawn mowers. Now the Neato Company advertise that the robot knows exactly where it has cleaned in the room and works its way around the home methodically without just bashing around hoping it's got everything like most other robots. I can confirm that this is true! Once our living room was done we watched the machine charge across the room towards the slightly open door (It was only open about the width of the robot itself) it went through the gap and continued cleaning the rest of the house. We sat in amazement and continued watching the TV leaving the robot to work, Corination Street had just finished and to my amazement in drove the robot and it went straight back to its charging station for a battery recharge! After a quick walk around the house it was obvious that choosing the Neato robot was the right thing to do, the floors were spotless. The robot had already impressed us and we were even more impressed when we emptied it. The robot has a sizeable dust container that is quite similar to the small stick vacuums that you can buy. On our first run of the cleaner the dust compartment was full to the top, you literally could not fit much more in it and the dirt looked different to the stuff our other robot used to collect, it looked just like the dirt you find in the Dyson which tells me this cleaner is actually vacuuming and not sweeping like other robots. The dirt compartment is not huge but big enough but the idea is to run the robot daily and it will keep on top of the dirt and fill up less often and that is what we have eventually found out. We now run the machine daily and the house has never been so clean! >>>Scheduling the robot to clean by itself <<< The Neato is very clever and has a built in schedule meaning you don't actually have to press the start button manually. You can tell the robot to clean every day of the week and you can even tell it what time to set off each day! We do not use this as it is not very hard to press a button when passing but if you are out or even in work the machine will do the cleaning while you are out. We actually enjoy watching it work around things - sad I know! The magnetic tape that is included in the box is used to stop the robot from entering rooms and areas that you don't want it to enter. We obviously used this by our bathroom door to prevent what happened to our last robot happening again and now we do not have to worry too much about closing the door when the cleaner is running. There was about 2 metres of this magnetic tape in the box and that is enough in my opinion, I'm sure more could be purchased from Neato if need be. It works very well and fits nicely under the carpet so you cannot actually see it. >>> Maintenance and quality <<< There really is minimal maintenance needed to keep your Neato robot working. Obviously the dust container needs emptying usually every use of two. There is a filter inside the dust container as with most vacuums that needs cleaning, they are good quality and should last a while - We've been using the same one for about 3 months and there's not much sign of wear. There are a few spare included so I think they should last the life of the robot. The brush bar underneath needs cleaning about once every 2 weeks with daily use, obviously this depends totally on what sort of dirt your robot is dealing with and varies per household. What I did notice when cleaning the brush bar last time was the quality of every component. The brush bar is actually made of metal and is rather heavy which speaks quality and after almost 3 months of daily use there is no sign of wear to any part of the robot and accessories. In fact the whole robot is of an excellent quality and everything is strong and robust. >>> Other Features <<< Nick, what if I have a small mess I want to clean up and I don't want to run a full cycle? Simples! The Neato robot has a 'Spot' mode that can be used for cleaning small areas. Just click the spot mode on the robots display screen and the cleaner will clean an area roughly 4 foot squared. This works very well and we use it very often. No touch technology is built into this robot, other machines tend to bash into furniture and can cause damage. The Neato has sensors and just works its way around the house without any damages, it's very gentle. It does now and again touch the odd thing but it's very soft and instantly backs away. It even cleans under all furniture that it can physically fit under; this is perfect for allergy sufferers as the cleaner keeps on top of all of the dust bunnies lurking in places that other cleaners cannot get with ease. Pet hair, yep the cleaner is designed to pick this up and it does a very good job at it. The spinning brush roll is not like a normal one, it does not have bristles but has rubber squeegees. These work fantastically at pulling up pet hair and big objects like Smarties, ball bearings etc. We have found some pretty interesting objects in our Neato dust bin! This is perfect for people with pets, we have two big dogs and a cat and the Neato works just perfectly without scaring them too much. Our cat has been known to sit on the cleaner as it drives around and Neato goes no slower with our fat ginger tomcat on top which shows the strength of this robots wheels. >>> My Overall opinion <<< We all love our Neato in this household; it saves so much time and is such a cool looking machine. Everyone who sees it working wants one and it is great for entertaining people - obviously not its purpose but it does. It really cleans fantastically well and the only reason we still have the Dyson in the cupboard is because the Neato does not have an edge cleaning brush and obviously cannot do stairs but I'm sure one day that Neato robotics will invent a stair cleaning robot, they've definitely built this one to perfection! This machine would be perfect for the elderly or disabled and would most probably be a blessing! It does a perfect job and honesty is a true vacuum cleaner with a brain. You do not need to be elderly or disabled to own one of these though, they are extremely handy and would be great for a busy family who have better things to do than vacuum daily. Would I recommend this to a friend? - I most certainly would, we have used this so much now that we swear by its reliability and its cleaning ability. It really does know where it's going in the house and the cleaning power is unbeatable in any other robot vacuum that I know of. You probably cannot compare the power to a Dyson but in one pass the Neato picks up everything, I've tried that with the Dyson and it certainly does not! So maybe it's better than a Dyson? Who knows but the Neato is extremely good and congratulations to Neato robotics for making such a wonderful device available to the public, after all their slogan is 'Your future is neat' and I believe it will only get neater! Thanks for reading and please ask if you have any questions that need answering. ©Nickbrown60

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