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Neato's new robot vacuum adds in app-enabled smarts (pictures)

With a Wi-Fi radio built right in, you'll be able to start, schedule and steer the Neato Botvac Connected right from your phone.

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Ryan_Crist2.jpg

Ry Crist

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1 of 11 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Neato Botvac Connected

The newest robot vacuum from California-based Neato Robotics is the Neato Botvac Connected, a cleaner with built-in Wi-Fi and its own, dedicated control app for Android and iOS devices. Click through to see how it works.

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2 of 11 Screenshots by Ry Crist/CNET

There's an app for that

You'll start by pairing the Neato with your home's Wi-Fi network, and with your phone. Once everything's synced up, you'll give your vacuum a name.

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3 of 11 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

New battery and cleaning modes

Along with the app, the new Neato adds in an improved battery, along with a new choice between two cleaning modes. There's a full-powered "Turbo" mode and a battery-saving "Eco" mode that also runs a little quieter.

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4 of 11 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Navigational smarts

The new Neato navigates just like the old ones, using its laser-guided mapping system to find its way around the perimeter of the room and around your furniture. Once it has the lay of the land, it'll begin covering the floor in rows and columns.

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5 of 11 Screenshots by Ry Crist/CNET

App controls

You can start or pause those cleaning runs from the app, or set up an automated cleaning schedule. You can also launch a manual cleaning mode that'll let you steer the thing around like a toy car.

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6 of 11 Screenshot by Ry Crist/CNET

A vacuum that checks in

When the Neato is finished with a cleaning run, it'll send a notification to your phone.

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7 of 11 Ry Crist/CNET

Pet hair performance

Like previous Neato robot vacuums, the Botvac Connected performs particularly well with pet hair. We put it through its paces by spreading a fifth of an ounce of the stuff across each of our test floors.

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A full bin

As you can see, the Neato did a great job at sweeping it all up.

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9 of 11 Ry Crist/CNET

A tangled brushroll

One caveat: in Eco mode, the brushroll had trouble passing pet hair up and into the bin.

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The rice test

We also tested its ability to clean up sand and also rice, a good analogue for the kinds of crumbs you might find in a carpet in need of a clean. In the rice test, the Botvac Connected outperformed every other robot vacuum we've ever tested across all of our test surfaces.

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11 of 11 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The bottom line

With impressive performance and a handy app, the new Neato looks to be a legitimate contender for the housecleaning crown. Is it worth the $700 you'll need to spend in order to get one? Check out our full review to see what we think.

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