Wi-Fi connectivity has become a major robot vacuum feature over the last couple of years, and the Roomba has been a big part of that. iRobot stuck Wi-Fi connectivity on their 960 and 980 models, allowing users to create schedules and stop and start their robot vacuums remotely using their smartphones. That modern convenience layer cake is now being served at lower prices, with iRobot announcing the connected 890 and 690 models.
It’s big news for anyone considering a Roomba, because while the 980 and 960 are impressive, they’re very expensive — $900 and $700, respectively. The new 890 and 690 models are much cheaper, but of course, there are trade-offs. The new bots don’t have as advanced suction or mapping technologies, but they should work for anyone who just wants to start delegating chores to the robots at the lowest cost possible.
The 890 is the more expensive and advanced of the two. Its big selling point is getting rid of the great inconvenience of robot vacuums — hair getting stuck in the brushes. The 890 has iRobot’s Tangle-Free Extractors, or rubber treads that pick up hair without that hair getting wrapped around a bar or a brush. It’s also more adept at jostling dirt free from carpets and sucking it up.
The 690 is pretty bare bones in comparison. You get the Wi-Fi connectivity, but even a generous reading indicates that this bot is probably going to have some bad hair days. No special sensors outside of the basics for obstacle detection, so don’t expect the 690 to be the most efficient cleaner, either.
Both the 890 and 690 will also work with the Roomba Alexa skill, which isn’t too big of a deal — like we mentioned before, the skill basically lets you tell a robot to tell another robot to start doing your chores for you. The 690 is available online starting today for $375. The 890 will be out in late Q2, but there’s no price tag yet — with the 960 priced at $700, we’d guess it’ll be somewhere between $500 and $600. Both models will be in stores later this year.