Robotic vacuum cleaners aren't new. But how about one that you can control remotely using your smartphone?
The new LG Hom-Bot Turbo+ lets you do just that.
The Hom-Bot is equipped with three cameras. The upper camera creates a map of the house during vacuuming, while the lower camera reads the floor pattern and measures distance. It also has a front camera that works as a security camera as well as a viewfinder when you navigate the Hom-Bot around your house remotely.
To do so, you need to register the Hom-Bot using LG's Smart ThinQ app (Android and iOS). If you use an Android smartphone, the registration process is easier as you can use Near Field Communication (NFC).
Otherwise, the steps are the same, starting with getting an LG account, then tapping to register the product and selecting the robot cleaner.
For Android users with NFC-enabled smartphones, the next step is to just tap your smartphone on top of the Hom-Bot and follow the on-screen instructions.
VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5
iPhone users will need to enter the network ID and password to connect to the Hom-Bot.
Next, press the Turbo button on top of the Hom-Bot for 3sec until it is turned on. Go to Wi-Fi settings in the iPhone and connect to the Hom-Bot Wi-Fi.
I had to repeat these steps a few times before I was finally able to register the Hom-Bot.
It is all worth it when you are able to remotely control the Hom-Bot using the joystick in the app.
The front camera provides a dog's eye view when you move the Hom-Bot around to help clean the spaces you normally cannot see. It is like controlling a drone to clean up the house.
This is especially useful when you want to clean up only certain areas in your house.
The Hom-Bot also offers the HomeGuard mode whereby it works like a security camera. It will snap and send five photos of preset areas to you when motion is detected.
These great features would be useless if Hom-Bot does not perform its primary function - vacuum. In my tests, I found that the Hom-Bot did a pretty decent job in cleaning up my four-room HDB flat. There are little bits of dirt and hair left behind after each clean-up, but I think it is still acceptable.
Unlike many robotic vacuum cleaners that tend to be round, the 8.9cm tall Hom-Bot has a more squarish design for more effective reach of room corners.
The edges of the Hom-Bot are curved, so there is no risk of scratching walls or furniture. Plus, it has ultrasonic sensors to recognise obstacles to prevent collisions. Two brushes in front help to pick up dust from the corners.
The only downer about the Hom-Bot is its rather hefty $1,599 price tag, considering that there are some robotic vacuum cleaners available for less than $400.
Granted that those vacuum cleaners do not have the smart capabilities of the Hom-Bot, the price is still too steep for many households.
•Verdict: If you want to remotely control a robotic vacuum cleaner and don't mind its price, the LG Hom-Bot Turbo+ is definitely the one for you.