Over the years I’ve tested a huge amount of gadgetry and in all honesty, there are very few that I still use after the exciting ‘honeymoon period’. Yeah, it’s nice to have a cool piece of hardware, all shiny and full of the latest technology and show it to friends and family but eventually the shine will fade and it’ll be used less and less.
Robotic vacuum cleaners have been around for quite some time and to be brutally frank, I’d always dismissed them as being a bit of a gimmick; after all, how much dirt and dust can such a dinky gizmo pick up? When Kobolt approached me about taking a look at their VR100, I wasn’t expecting much; hell I even warned them about how much fur my family’s beloved Basset Hound drops and was told that it’d not be a problem. Seriously, that dog can drop a huge amount of fur and trying to keep up with the barrage is quite the chore.
So the VR100 turned up and after 5 minutes it was out of its box and charging on itself nestled up against its base and yes, I was dubious as to how effective it’d be. My living room is laminated with a rug in the middle which seems to be like magnet for any manner of four legged critter that wanders in and as you’d expect, being a critter magnet it attracts a huge amount of fur. Our Henry’s good at what he does and he’s a fine vacuum cleaner but there are some days when I’m either too busy to run around or I’m simply not in the house. This is where the beauty of the robotic vacuum cleaner lies is that, generally speaking, you’re able to set a pre-defined routine for them to follow; so for example, you can have them set to clean the room(s) Monday to Friday at 10am and on the weekends at 11am. The first thing I noticed about the Koboto VR100 is the noise, compared to a vacuum of the traditional style, is quiet and doesn’t stand in front of the television. With a roar, the Kobolt VR100 flies into action, zipping around the room sucking up any dirt and dust particles it comes across. First time the VR100 set off, I wasn’t overly impressed with how much the cleaner left behind on the rug and around the skirting boards of the room but as the initial week went on, it was clear that the little vacuum has determination and it’s funny that even though its initial clean it didn’t seem to pick up much, with it being set to go off at defined times throughout the day and week, it makes a HUGE impact on the overall cleanliness level. Just remember that the capacity of the bin that catches the dirt isn’t very big and that you will need to empty it every other day in order for your VR100 to be at its best.
As with other robotic vacuum cleaners, the Kobold VR100 has a spatial recognition laser which means that it’ll seamlessly navigate its way around your room without physically bumping into tables and chairs whilst it cleans, it’ll zip under sofas, cabinets and beds with ease and clean under those too and it’ll also cope with corners of rooms and will remove the dust and dirt thanks to a special corner brush. Interestingly, the cleaner also has quite a powerful four wheel drive system, which basically means that should it find itself stuck on something as it’s cleaning (like my dog’s toys), it’ll boost itself up and drive right on over and carry on with its routine and once it’s finished, it’ll navigate its way back to the charging point ready for the next day.
If you’re wanting to use the cleaner upstairs, it’s not a problem and all you do is use some of the provided magnetic strip tape across the lip of the top step and the VR100 will go no further, meaning that your expensive gadget won’t take a tumble. The lithium-ion battery means that not only will it recharge quickly, but will always have enough power to complete the job (and spot cleans) and if it doesn’t, the cleaner will take itself back to the charging point, charge itself up and then navigate its way back to the area where it left off, brilliant!
After a few weeks with the VR100, I’m left thinking about how much I adore it. It’s lessened my day to day work load somewhat, it’s helping me keep on top of the overall cleanliness of the house and not worry about the place not being clean when I’m out. Yes, the capacity of the bin is rather small but it’s easily emptied, you don’t get instant gratification but you do notice the difference after a period of time and in all honesty, I wouldn’t be without it. With an RRP of £650, it’s a huge expense to outlay and that’s a huge negative factor against what’s otherwise an amazing piece of technology.
Available from Amazon for £649.99. Kobolt VR100