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CNET First Look
iRobot Roomba 790iRobot's flagship robot vacuum is loaded with accessories, charm.
Hi. I'm Katie Pilkington for CNET.com and in front of me is the iRobot Roomba 790. This is the latest model of robot vacuums from iRobot. One of the first things you'll notice when you take this robot vacuum out of the box is that it's a very aesthetically pleasing piece of machinery. It's got really smooth edges and it's shiny and with bright blue colors. It's very nice looking, not that its appearance matters in terms of performance, but if you're gonna watch it track back and forth across your room a thousand times, you definitely want something that's nice to look at. The Roomba features a rotating brush wheel and then a sweeping wheel that kind of pushes debris in towards the suction area. It also features 2 heavy duty wheels with rubber grips on the bottom that make it easy for the Roomba to navigate over rugs and on to different flooring surfaces. The Roomba is fully programmable either through the touchscreen on the device itself or through this fully-digital remote. You can program the Roomba to turn on at different times of the day, 7 days a week ahead of time and it will leave its docking station automatically at the time you've set it and return back when it's cleaned your room. The Roomba 790 also features a spot-clean mode where it will circle in a spiral fashion around the spot which you would like for it to clean effectively picking up all of the debris. The Roomba 790 is a really meticulous machine, so if you're looking for something that will clean your room in a really short amount of time, this is probably not the machine for you. When we set the robot vacuums loose in our living room set here with rice scattered all over it to see what they would pick up and what they wouldn't, the Roomba picked up considerably more than any of the other robot vacuums. However it also took twice as long. So while the Roomba may not be efficient, it's definitely effective as a robot vacuum. While it wasn't the top performer in our pet hair test, it was a close second. So if you have pets and want something that can move around daily at a scheduled time and kind of do that routine maintenance for the pet hair that sheds and falls, this is definitely a good option for you. The Roomba features a large dust bin that is easy to remove, empty, and reinstall once this is done. This is an excellent feature because it means that you will have to empty the dust bin far less often than with certain other models. The Roomba won't replace a traditional standout vacuum. However it does do an excellent job of keeping your floors clean and helping with that day-to-day maintenance. At $699 this is definitely not a casual purchase, but if you like the idea of a robot vacuum, this is one that we would definitely recommend because of its high performance in both our debris and our agility tests. With the iRobot Roomba 790, I'm Katie Pilkington for CNET.com.