Hobot 298 robot review: Automated window cleaning for the office

Hobot 298 window cleaning robot automated window cleaning for the office zdnet
  • Editors' rating
    8.4 Excellent

Pros

  • 20 minute UPS
  • Long power cord
  • Safety cord

Cons

  • Can leave smears on filthy windows
  • Slow in use

The Hobot 298 is an impressive-looking window cleaning robot designed for small to medium offices that may not have the budget for regular window cleaning services. It is a compact cleaning device unit under 9 inches square and 4 inches high (240 x 240 x 100mm).

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It sticks to your window by suction and will clean your windows using an ultra-fine mist -- without any intervention from you.

Inside the box is the robot, three cleaning cloths, a bottle of window detergent, a remote control, and the power adapter. The robot has a safety cord that you attach to a point on your window frame.

This is so that if the robot falls off the window, it does not fall onto the ground. The power adaptor has a 4m long cord so you can clean the furthest reaches of the window pane. There is also a spare electrostatic water nozzle.

The robot has a detachable water tank for water for the supplied window detergent. Plug the power adapter in with the extension, hold the robot against the window, and use the onboard switch to start the vacuum suction.

The remote control lets you manually control the direction of the robot, or select the mode of direction. There is also a power switch on the robot itself if you do not like using the remote control.

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You do need to fully charge the battery on the robot before using it. The battery is a UPS so that if the power fails, the robot will not immediately fall off the window, but will stay attached to the pane for up to 20 minutes. If the power is interrupted, the robot will stop and beep, and red and blue lights will flash.

The Hobot 298 is easy to set up and use. Fix the safety cord carabineer to a safe place to ensure the robot will not be damaged if it falls.

Fill the water tank up with water, fix the cleaning cloth onto the cleaner, place the Hobot onto the window, and switch on the power. Hobot recommends that you dry clean the windows first using the cloth, before using water, to prevent any smears as the water mixes with the dirt.

The wet clean uses the ultrasonic spray to intermittently spray a tiny amount of fluid onto the glass ahead of the robot. Hobot says that the robot will clean up to one square meter using one milliliter of water.

The 298 follows a structured zig-zag path across the window spraying ahead of it as it goes. It takes about 2 minutes, 24 seconds to clean a square meter of glass.

If your windows are really dusty or dirty, then I would recommend doing the dry cleaning several times before using the wet clean to make sure that there are no streaks or smears.

In use, the robot prefers larger window panes. It struggles if it does not have much space to maneuver. However, on large expanses, the robot is superb, albeit slow. On very dirty windows with traffic grime, it does leave smears -- even after dry wiping first.

Does it save any time? I am not sure. I was mesmerized watching how it mapped out its path across the windows and how it managed to clean dirty marks off the windows.

I am sure that in time, it would just become another office task that needed to be done. But, at the moment, I love how efficiently it cleans the window pane and never falls off. Genius.

All in all, this is a great solution for the small office/home office and for someone who finds the costs of regular window cleaning prohibitive. At under $500, it will pay for itself in no time.

If you have large expanses of glass in your house or office and hate cleaning your windows, the Hobot 298 could be the solution for your window washing woes.

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