After a very successful first Roomba i7+, iRobot releases its new flagship, the J7+. Like its predecessor, this robot vacuum cleaner is full of technology and benefits from an automatic emptying system for easy maintenance.
The Roomba J7+ from iRobot is located between the i7+ and the S9+. Launched at $1000, it gathers all the elements that make a good robot vacuum cleaner. It has a camera with a wide-angle lens to map the space around it and detect obstacles, but also... animal droppings. In addition, it has a new "evolving" mapping system and an automatic emptying system for the collector. Connected by wifi, it is controlled with the dedicated iRobot app.
Convenience of use
Unlike the S9+, the Roomba J7+ adopts a very classic round format for a robot vacuum cleaner. On closer inspection, we notice that the manufacturer has made a considerable effort on the aesthetics. The shell is covered with a matt plastic that looks very good.
The J7+ is only 8.7 cm high and will therefore fit under low furniture without too much difficulty. Instead of a rangefinder - which always adds a little height to the devices - this Roomba integrates a front camera with a wide-angle lens that should allow it to navigate methodically and avoid obstacles.
The Roomba J7+ comes with a charging base on top of which sits a 2L bag. This automatic system facilitates maintenance, but is also more hygienic since the mouth of the bag closes as soon as it is removed from its place. No more contact with dust! More compact than its predecessor, this charging station has a compartment to store the second cloth bag that comes with the robot.
On the cover of the Roomba J7+, there is only one button to start or stop the device. A light ring turns red if the battery is discharged and turns blue when it is charging. The rest of the time, white indicates that the device is well charged and ready to vacuum.
Connectivity and app
Other operations are accessible from the iRobot app, but it hasn't made any revolutionary changes since our test of the Roomba S9+.
Pairing takes only a few minutes: you simply need to enter the home's wifi so that the robot can be connected to it. It is then possible to start or stop the device remotely, to consult the history of passages, to program time slots for cleaning or to select one of the three modes of vacuuming: Room Cleaning, Daily Cleaning or Deep Cleaning.
The novelty lies in the mapping system: the J7+ makes the map evolve according to the obstacles encountered on its path. In fact, it is not necessary to launch the robot the first time for it to map the room, because the maps are enriched according to the cleaning cycles. If Roomba encounters new obstacles, it takes a picture of them to inform the user. If the user wishes, he can also name them and save them on the map if they are to remain.
The mapping system of the Roomba J7+ is one of the most advanced we've seen to date. Users can customize their maps from start to finish. It is possible to divide a room into several zones, create new rooms, rename them or add cleaning zones. In short, this map allows for ultra-customized cleaning by going to the New Task tab and selecting specific vacuum areas. Note that unlike many applications, the iRobot application does not offer real-time mapping.
The Roomba J7+ follows the codes of the Roomba i7+ and S9+, and that's good news. The small 0.4-liter collector located at the back is easily removed by pressing the appropriate button.
While it is of course possible to empty the collector manually, the major asset of this Roomba is its automatic emptying station. Indeed, the J7+ comes with a charging base that sucks the waste from the collector and stores it in a 2L bag located at the top of the station. This frees the user from the chore of emptying, which is very quick on a robot vacuum cleaner (after each pass in principle).
Like many Roomba's before it, the J7+ has a HEPA filter that, according to our tests, tends to clog up quite quickly. After having our robot suck up 20g of cocoa, we found that the filter had retained 0.5g of the material. While this may seem like a small amount, in the long run it means that the filter will need to be dusted from time to time so that it doesn't affect the robot's suction qualities.
The J7+ retains the two soft plastic rollers of its predecessors. To release them, simply lift the latch on each side of the rollers. Cleaning is easy and much easier than with nylon brushes, which tend to tangle hair.
The Roomba J7+ moves thanks to a wide-angle camera that helps it find its way around space and obstacles in its path, including your pets' droppings. We were not able to test this last point in order to preserve the home lab, but we observed our test model during its various movements.
At first glance, we notice that it occasionally bumps into objects it meets on its way. According to the manufacturer, the J7+ is supposed to bump into certain obstacles that have not been previously recorded on the map to ensure that it is not a curtain. Nothing to worry about, then. Speaking of curtains, the Roomba J7+ has no trouble getting under them to vacuum up the detritus that hides there.
As for the rest, the Roomba J7+ navigates methodically, going back and forth to make sure it doesn't miss any nooks and crannies. It manages to suck up the sawdust spilled in the lab without a hitch (76% exactly). Nevertheless, the robot's only side brush can hardly pick up sawdust placed along the wall, leaving trails behind. On the plus side, it manages to get up and down on thick carpets without a problem.
Once the cleaning is over, the Roomba J7+ returns to its charging base without hesitation.
"Good, but can do better", we could say about the vacuuming performance of the Roomba J7+. Note that we conducted our tests on the Daily Cleaning and Deep Cleaning modes.
On hard floors, the J7+ vacuumed 84% of the waste in 5 min 30 sec when set to Daily Cleaning mode, and all the material in the same time in Deep Cleaning.
On fine carpets, the robot swallowed 80% in Daily Cleaning and in 7 minutes, and 96% in 7 minutes 34 seconds in Deep Cleaning mode.
Finally, it is on thick carpet that the J7+ has the most difficulty in recovering waste since it only sucks up 64% in 10 min 15 s on the Daily Cleaning mode, and 75% in 10 min 39 s on the more advanced mode. For comparison, the Roomba S9+ collected 92% of the material in 10 minutes on the same surface.
Our sound level meter found a noise level of 54 dB (A) regardless of the mode used, which is quiet compared to the other devices tested. In comparison, the Rowenta Serie Xplorer-95 emits 74 dB (A) on Boost mode.
When the charging base is in action, the noise level can then climb to 84 dB (A), which is very deafening. Fortunately, the automatic emptying process does not take more than 10 seconds.
This Roomba J7+ runs out of steam after 1 hour and 50 minutes, a rather comfortable endurance even if the Rowenta Serie Xplorer-95 remains the most autonomous of our comparison, lasting 3 hours and 15 minutes (normal mode) without stopping. The complete recharge of the batteries takes a little less than 3 hours.
Let's face it, the Roomba J7+ doesn't have any revolutionary changes compared to the S9+, except for a new, even more customizable mapping and a more compact charging base. In this respect, it is an interesting alternative to the elitist iRobot model. A few small weaknesses are to be expected, among which a rather disappointing suction on thick carpet.