iRobot i3+ Review: Good performance at a budget price

Here we review the iRobot i3+ roomba. Market leader iRobot offers a robot with good suction power and a large suction station at an affordable price. The only disadvantage: You have to do without many gimmicks.

Always better, more brilliant, and always more expensive. That is the motto of iRobot, the market leader in vacuum robots. This has led to the company’s flagship, including a suction station reaching around 1400 dollars.

And even if you can list reasons why the price is justified, it is very expensive. And a knockout criterion for many interested parties. So far, it has been pointed out that the company’s older models are still on the market and will then become quite affordable. But now Roomba has brought a brand new device onto the market for the first time. Which ranks in the solid mid-range in terms of price. The i3. It is available as a solo device or as a combination – i3+ – with the large suction station. There is a second vacuum cleaner in the station, which powerfully sucks the dirt out of the robot’s container and places it in a bag. Provided the apartment is not set up too complicated, it can mean that you don’t have to look after the Robbi for weeks. Above all, you don’t come into contact with dust.

iRobot i3+ roomba

iRobot Robot Vacuum Cleaner Roomba® i3+

Not smart but powerful

At first glance, the i3 hardly differs from the expensive i7 models and s9. The + suction station is identical anyway. The i3 is round like the i7 and has neither the horseshoe shape nor the structure of the s9. Roomba’s devices always look restrained and valuable. The dark surface is also more forgiving in the long run than the snow white from other manufacturers. The top of the i3 is covered with plastic in a three-dimensional textile look. That also looks appealing and will forgive scratches.

iRobot i3+ back part

So, where was the savings made? As for the sensors, the i3 has neither a camera nor lidar radar to orient itself. He is kind of blind, but the device is “smarter” than previous generations. In this way, the i3 manages to complete straight lanes despite the lack of sensors and not rush through the apartment in a chaotic zigzag. The drive and suction technology correspond to the more expensive i7 – so you are well served when it comes to dust pick-up.

As expected, the cleaning works well. The i3 is almost never left lying around in its own extremely demanding test apartment, and other vacuum cleaners with lidar radar have not done better either. Even iRobot’s flagships were shipwrecked. The i3 robot perceives the room via its distance sensors and then drives in very neat lanes. The only unique feature: when changing from hard floors to very high carpets, the i3 divides the room into individual zones. In terms of suction, I can say the same performance for half the Roomba price.

Not for play children 

However, the I3 cannot do many of the gimmicks that the larger models can do. Background: Roomba is working on building extremely clever household robots. The goal is not just simple vacuuming but also a platform, which a robot can become a personal household assistant. The prerequisite for this is that the robot must learn to “understand” both the household and the people. There is still a long way to go, but i7 and s9 have begun to tread it. The i3 can’t do that.

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The i3 can be controlled with Alexa and via the app, but the possibilities are few. With him, you can’t name the kitchen table on a plan and then explicitly send the vacuum cleaner there. The i3 can be controlled, and a cleaning schedule can easily be set up using the app. And it can be synchronized with the Roomba floor mopping robots. But that’s about it – even restricted areas are not included.

Everyone here needs to know how big the disadvantage is for them. Anyone who loves to control their machine around using voice control will be disappointed. “Hey Saugi, go into the living room and vacuum the couch area” – that just doesn’t work. But many users – including myself – try out such features a few times and then leave it. If the vacuum cleaner is supposed to clean our bedroom, you need to take it there in your own hands. Because even the smartest machine cannot open its doors at the moment.

A cheap offer with a station

The i3 makes perfect sense within the Roomba universe if you don’t use the more far-reaching features anyway. The pricing is attractive. The sucker alone costs $349 in a bundle with the suction station $549 – official. Other manufacturers now offer similar stations, but these station wagons aren’t cheaper either. If you want the large station’s convenience, the i3 should be one of the most affordable branded devices.

“Naked” vacuum robots, on the other hand, are offered in abundance for 400 euros. Why should you take the i3, where competing products offer lidar location and clever maps? One reason has already been mentioned: Many do not use the advanced features. There is also another argument for data protection fans. It comes from military technology and promises absolute data discretion. The iRobot i3 also knows a little about its surroundings without a camera and lidar.

iRobot i3+ roomba

iRobot Robot Vacuum Cleaner Roomba® i3

Pay attention to market prices

Also, there is good suction power; the i7 was certified by the Stiftung Warentest. Plus, there are the advantages that the market leader offers. Getting replacement parts for a Roomba is no problem. For example, a drive wheel with a motor that you can replace yourself. This is not guaranteed with an imported product with a fantasy name. I am aware of cases in which Roomba vacuums have been in daily use for five years without complaints, which is impressive.

Own opinion: I think the docking station is a great relief; I wouldn’t want to do without it. In combination, the i3 + is very attractively priced. The expensive s9 + is only for people with a very bulky wallet. In terms of price-performance ratio, the i3 + is right. You should definitely compare the current market prices in practice because there are also special offers for Roomba vacuum cleaners. At the time of this writing, the i3+ with Clean Station is being offered as low as 599. The i7+ must have a certain price difference; if the devices are at a lower price or at the same price, the clever i7 is of course a better choice.

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