iRobot’s Braava 320: The Automaton Swiffer 2022

iRobot’s Braava 320: In 2010, Evolution Robotics introduced a new floor cleaning robot called Mint to compete with iRobot’s popular Rumba and Scooba devices. At the time, it seemed like a great alternative (at least we thought so). At $ 250, the mint was cheaper than iRobot’s robotic vacuum and mopping machines.

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It was simple too – no virtual walls, no special mopping solutions – and a machine could dust and shake the floor. The killer advantage was that the Mint could work using Procter & Gamble’s ubiquitous and inexpensive swiper pads, both wet and dry, making the setup an image.

Mint seemed so good that, in 2012, iRobot bought Evolution Robotics and added Mint to its product line. The device is now called Brava, and iRobot sells two models, starting at $ 200. It’s too cheap for a tool that cleans up after you independently, right?

Well, yes and no. We’ve been testing the entry-level Braava 320 for a few weeks now, and we have two minds about it.

First of all, the good news is: this is a really sophisticated and easy-to-use machine. Just charge it, attach a cleaning sheet, place its North Star navigation cube somewhere in the room, then set Brava down and select Sweep or Mopping mode. The battery-powered North Star Cube emits an invisible infrared signal that bounces off the ceiling and provides Brava with a reference point as it rotates around and maps the room. Brava is extraordinarily quiet in its operation – in dusting mode, it moves back and forth in the room, in straight lines, and when mopping, it moves back and forth in small Y patterns. It is so quiet that it can hide in another room or surprise you by unexpectedly popping out from under the furniture.

iRobot's Braava 320: The Automaton Swiffer 2022

It is designed to gently bump into obstacles, as the entire front of the device has a soft-touch bumper. Brava finds his way around the corners and furniture: bumping, backing up, then hitting again from a slightly different angle until he finally finds his way around the obstacle. This is a completely different strategy from Roomba’s, which goes far behind walls and barriers and goes in another direction, randomly cleaning a room. Seeing Brava at work is like seeing an old, blind house pet sniffing around a newly furnished room. It is slow and hard and it does not stop until it finds its way to where it is going.

Although it is a small machine, Brava is not a Rumba. Because it is not a real vacuum (no suction, no rotating brush) Brava is naturally limited in its ability to clean. The hair and dust cling well to the sweater sheets, yet the pieces, socks, and toys are pushed into the corners. And Brava isn’t smart enough to know when a sweeper sheet has become too dirty or too dry to keep it working – it’s up to you to check the device at all times to see how it works. (The more expensive $ 300 Brava 380 comes with a reservoir cleaning pad that can automatically carry water in Brava’s wet microfiber fabric for longer, uninterrupted cleaning cycles.) In addition, its careful navigational feel Regardless of the procedure, Brava may have trouble. Small obstacles such as legs of tables and chairs and under a piece of furniture can get stuck for a long time as it tries to find their way.

So we’re left with the question of where exactly Brava fits into iRobot’s line of cleaning bots. The purchase proposal behind the Roomba is basically served by a robotic maid – never empty your floor again, just let the machine do it. Brava isn’t really designed to handle your entire floor cleaning job. You can’t program it to follow a regular cleaning schedule, and it’s not even designed to go on raised carpets and rugs – it deliberately avoids anything raised. Instead, Brava has a common mission for Swiffer products that she works with; managing the middle moments between full vacuuming jobs. The question you have to ask yourself is: do I need a robot to handle it?

Truth be told, it seems very cheap to hire a machine to spend half an hour, otherwise what would happen if you swept for 10 minutes. Still, there are 10 more minutes of football that you can watch, or 10 minutes extra to play with your kids. We were amazed at how ready we were to sweep Brava around the house, and he honestly did a great job of picking up dirt and dust. But if you really want to hand over your floor cleaning to an automaton, get Rumba.

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