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Published on April 28th, 2017 | by Greg


Neato’s Botvac D3 Connected: An Affordable Robo-Vac

Women spend less than half the amount of time on housework than they used to, and men spend quite a bit more. But overall, the numbers in most households have come down significantly, and they are unlikely to increase anytime soon. There are plenty of factors that have gone into these changes, but one of the biggest is mechanization and automation- appliances like washers and dryers have cut laundry time greatly. And while most of the low-hanging fruit is picked, and thus the biggest changes likely have already happened, there are still plenty of ways for technology to make a difference in your home.

Take the Neato Botvac D3 Connected- one of the first robotic vacuum cleaners we’ve seen that comes in under $400, and one that still offers a pretty complete feature set. Certainly it’s at the top of the pack when it comes to smart connectivity, offering built-in wi-fi, an excellent app, and even Google Home and Alexa integration- so you can talk to your vacuum and order it around, with or without a cat rider. As with others in the family, there is smart laser navigation, and it can even alert you when the bin needs to be emptied or if there is an issue. And yes, it works with most all floor types, including tile, hardwood, and carpet, though thick pile carpets can prove a little tough for all but the most powerful corded vacuums. The free app is available for both Android and iOS devices, and ran well, connecting easily.

Now for some of the downsides- the D3 Connected is a little loud, and like most robotic vacuums, the dustbin is fairly small and needs regular attention. Compared with, say, the original Botvac Connected that was on our gift guide list last year, this guy is a little slower, has a smaller battery, and lacks a screen- though that last change likely won’t bug anyone. In fact, operation is a little simpler, with fewer options, but more clearly laid out. We tested it out in an apartment with a cat to somewhat mixed results- loose dander wasn’t much of an issue, though it could be pushed to corners rather than picked up, and carpets would be occasionally left hairy, plus the unit would need manual brush cleaning. Sand and dirt were no problem though, across multiple types of flooring.

Some of the competition can move about randomly, but the Neatos use a clear, direct, efficient pattern to make their way around the room, mapping it first. The D3 avoided objects deftly, managing to navigate smoothly, and we rarely had issues with it being unable to make it back to the base station for recharging. Capable of cleaning up to 1800 square feet, it’s perfect for apartments or homes on a single-level or you’ll need to think about multiple units. Those with multiple pets or the desire for additional control may want to opt for the larger D5, which can cover more than double the space and offers better filters, boundary markers, and even a record of cleaning history. It’s not the fastest or most powerful, but the Neato D3 Connected is one of the smartest, and it’s certainly easy on the wallet- expect to spend around $399 online and in stores.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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