There are big differences between the vacuum robots iRobot sells in the market. Roomba i3 is a more affordable option than others like s9, j7, and i7 Roombas, which is why it is widely welcomed by most consumers. The caveat, however, about this model is its limited set of features. It doesn’t have a camera and other functions that its higher-end cousins possess. That changed this week when iRobot announced a firmware update for Roomba i3.
According to iRobot, the new update will include the Smart Mapping feature, giving the model a “new life” without any additional cost. This new capability for i3 that was only available in s9, j7, and i7 Roombas will now allow users to specify to the robot the exact room or rooms to clean. This is a giant leap of improvement compared to its performance before the update, where it could only report the areas cleaned without being to remember and use the reported map for its following cleaning tasks.
Despite not having a camera, the i3 will do it by learning your home’s floor plan as it cleans. After that, you can use the iRobot Home app or a voice assistant device like Alexa and Google Assistant to give you commands.
On the other hand, the update doesn’t include the Keep Out Zones and Clean Zones that can enable the Roomba i3 to clean specific areas within rooms. This means users can’t still instruct the robots to clean dirt-prone areas like spaces near trash bins or avoid certain rooms. For those who want an alternative for the latter, nonetheless, iRobot sells Virtual Wall Barriers iRobot that can prevent the i3 from entering a particular area. But if you want a more practical option, closing doors would be better.
This update can elevate the value of the Roomba i3, especially since it works with iRobot’s Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal technology that can automatically empty the vacuum bin. You can purchase the Roomba i3 Plus, which includes the auto disposal tech for just an additional $200.