The Roomba 500 Series is dead. Long live the 600 Series! iRobot is giving some products a very nice upgrade today, starting with its entry-level robotic floor vacuums. The Looj, its rain gutter cleaning bot, is getting the treatment, too.
Roomba 600 Series
The 600 Series is going to pick up where the 500 Series left off, or rather, it will replace the 500 Series entirely. The 600 Series is now iRobot's lower price-point series of floor-cleaners, but it's got some enhancements over the previous generation. It sports AeroVac technology (a version of what the high-end 700 Series uses), which distributes the flow of air more evenly. That causes the bin to fill up more evenly, enabling it to fit more, so you have to change it out less often. It also has a redesigned brush that is designed to keep hair from getting caught in it. This gives you been cleaning efficiency, and less nasty, hair-pulling maintenance.
They're also, y'know, just better-looking. There's nothing ground-breaking here, but these are all welcome improvements to the entry level line. The 600 Series starts at $330 for the 620, and goes up, if you want to add features like scheduling, which you'll find in the 650. This is about the same price-point as the 500 Series was before it got marked down to $300 (and up) for inventory liquidation.
Cleaning rain gutters is a dangerous job. Why risk your neck when you can have a robot risk its for you? The new Looj now has a 4-stage auger head with exchangeable breaker ends. The old NiCad battery has been replaced with a Lithium Ion, giving it a much longer shelf life. The remote control has been improved and now works up to 50 feet away, and it can work even when submerged in eight inches of water.
It has a low profile so it can fit under most gutter straps, and it comes with a belt hook, so you can climb your ladder with two hands. The new Looj has also been redesigned to make it entirely operable by one hand, so your other hand can stay on the ladder. Definitely some nice improvements.
So, y'know, we're not exactly making history here. Neither of these robots will cook you dinner or organize your office, but both of these bots are respectable improvements on their previous generations. The Looj 330 is available in North America and the Roomba 600 Series is available globally. [iRobot]