Kyodo America LawnBott LB85EL

New LawnBott robo-mower gets smarter with an app

Most people will walk away when they find out the LawnBott LB85EL costs $2,799. If you don't want to spend your time mowing, that upfront cost is huge compared with what you'll pay a human to mow for you (especially if that human happens to be your financially dependent offspring).

And yet. Similar to the Roomba, there's something transfixing about the little LawnBott and the way it bops around your yard. During a demo here in Louisville, I found the LawnBott quiet and unobtrusive. The sculpted, cherry red cover has a Ferrari-style flair (Kyodo America only distributes LawnBott in the US, but the originating company is Italian firm Zucchetti Centro Sistemi). The fact that this new model gives you control via iOS or Andriod app rather than a clunky onboard LED screen makes programming LawnBott that much more convenient.

The move to app-based controls and scheduling in the new LB85EL is perhaps remarkable only because it happened in a robot lawn mower before it came to a robot vacuum, by far the more popular kind of home maintenance bot. New features beyond the app include three rows of the the cog-style wheels (up from two rows), which reduce slipping and let the LawnBott maintain traction on inclines up to 25 degrees. You can also assign the new LawnBott to cover up to four different zones in your yard, compared with three zones from last year's LB75DX.

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