iRobot Roomba 610 Professional Series Review

The Gadget: The Roomba Professional 610—the most powerful Roomba EVER—is made for large areas like offices, businesses, and big homes. It comes with two interchangeable bins, extra brushes and filters, and two virtual walls.

The Price: $US549

The Verdict: Although the Roomba Pro—which we lovingly dubbed "Calculon Jr."—is meant to be the tough, industrial one of the Roomba series, there are times it acted less like a machine, and more like a rebellious child with ADD. This would be a good cleaning device for industrial sized rooms despite its drawbacks, but it's too big and too loud for apartments.

The Pro is supposed to run on four different cleaning paterns: spiralling, wall following, room crossing, and dirt detection—all seemingly random unless you're familiar with the paths and AI its creators programmed for it.

After directing Calculon Jr. to find his "home," he only managed to dock himself—even when physically placed next to the docking station—twice out of five tries. Moreover, the Roomba is extremely loud, so I wouldn't bother trying to watch TV when the Roomba Pro is running—(unless he's cleaning a different room, which can be sanctioned off using the two included virtual walls, which worked fine with two C batteries).

One cool feature about the Roomba Pro is how simple it is to schedule a cleaning time—which can be set up to once a day, seven times a week—by using the built-in display that also tells the time and day. However, the display can only be seen if you keep the "clock" button held down.

When trying to clean up cookie crumbs and sunflower seeds, Calculon Jr.'s side brush would scatter the mess in different directions instead of sweeping it up into his vacuum. However, if you let your Roomba Pro run around for quite some time—or if you place him directly on top of the mess—he does a quite thorough job of cleaning up the dirt and debris on the floor, as long as it is an open space.

Here's where the Roomba Pro differentiates itself from its smaller brothers. Because of the Pro's larger size, it is unable to get to the dirt under smaller areas—such as the spaces under counters and couches. Similarly, when Calculon Jr. was placed under a table, it took him a while to manoeuvre around/between the chairs, and try to find his way out from under. When it is unable to do so, the Roomba Pro will automatically shut itself off.

Because it's a Pro model designed for offices and bed & breakfasts, it comes with various spare parts that owners can use to self-repair. It would've been nice if the Roomba Pro came with a remote, but in addition to what comes already attached, the box has two brushes, a high capacity sweeper bin (which, according to the instruction manual, you're still instructed to clean out after every use), two filters, a mini screwdriver, two brushes, two virtual walls and an extra side sweeper. But it's still a Roomba, so its AI is not going to be dramatically smarter than other models.

For example, when it comes to sensor detection, Calculon Jr. is smarter than a baby, but dumber than a five year old. With our smaller Roomba (4220), whenever it hit an object such as a PS3 controller or my foot, it would immediately turn around and go in a different direction. With the Roomba Pro, however, Calculon Jr. painfully ran over my toes, attempted to crawl up a Rock Band drum set, and knocked over three (toy) guitars.

Many of the problems that we encountered could have been because we tested the Roomba Pro in a (carpeted) medium sized living/dining room and a (tiled) family-sized kitchen. If this apartment were a mansion with large rooms and minimal clutter, the Roomba Pro would be an ideal vacuuming device for everyday housekeeping. But if you're looking for a gadget that'll routinely clean your cozy apartment, we recommend going with one of Calculon Jr.'s smaller and cheaper brothers. [Product Page]


Comments

    I'd like to say that we obtained a Roomba 530 a couple of weeks back for a 3 bedroom, wooden floor + 1 room carpet split level home and it is a fantastic device.

    Our floors have never been cleaner, its easy to maintain, and it takes alot of effort out of keeping the house tidy.

    This is in a house with a toddler and a large dog.

    Thoroughly recommended.

    I just bought the roomba 530 for an open plan appartment and after a bit of fine tuning of the husband and child (haven't seen the cat since however). Ie all wires off floor, and anything lower than 2" and lighter than 3kgs off floor the roomba is brilliant - wanders amongst the maze and offen ends up in the more inaccessible parts of the (read boys warren)appartment and still finds its way back to dock after about 1hour 20 mins. It was so good I thought I better clean its brushes - big mistake - it now stops after 2mins and keeps asking for a brush clean - what part of I have already done that and its perfect doesnt it understand? The instructions show a brush cap - this is not present on this machine - Yep I read the instructions the first time I decided to reward its efforts and it/they weren't there then and I cannot see where it is?
    Can anyone tell me how the brush clean sensor works and more importantly how I convince the Bot that it is actually clean and it should get on with its business and leave me to the other stuff?
    Thanks

    Would love to know where the heck I buy a 610 nmodel, as everywhere (including peter's of Kensington, NSW) has only the 'old' models 530 560. I'm in Brisbane. When I have it, I'll get my engineer husband to have a look at why you are asked to clean the brushes all the timel

      We bought the 610 from a website called Relax At Home it is a NSW company

    Thanks for your review. I have 4 Roomba's all up, couple of 530's, a Dirt Dog and a Scooba. Been a Roomba owner since they came out. They are excellent machines which do everything required for the area they are designed for.

    I suggest that you purchase as long a warranty as possible,I loved my roomba530, but it died after about 1.5 years..Have just bought a Rooba577 with a 4 year warranty

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