- D-shaped form factor for wide brush and thorough cleaning
- Maps your floor plan for optimal custom cleaning
- No-Go Lines in the smartphone app that eliminates need for strips
- Customizable iOS and Android smartphone control
- Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa control
- Large dust bin for multiple vacuum sessions
- Bit expensive
As my three daughters move out and my wife and I stay busy with work and other tasks, it's nice to find ways to reduce the amount of time spent on chores. A couple of weeks ago Neato announced the new Botvac D7 Connected and it has been cleaning my lower levels floors since then.
A couple of years ago I picked up a Neato Botvac D85 and we were very happy with its ability to thoroughly clean the floors. The only pain was having to place dense strips down in areas where we didn't want the vacuum to clean, especially since some of these area were circular while the strips are straight.
The Botvac D7 Connected solves that problem with floor mapping and virtual No-Go lines that you can place near the dog water bowl, thick carpeted areas, or other spots that you do not want the vacuum entering.
Hardware and box contents
The Neato Botvac D7 Connected is primarily black plastic on the sides with a brushed silver/platinum color on the top. It is a D-shaped robotic vacuum with a raised control unit on the back. The round control unit contains the Botvision technology to get a 360 view of your floor plan. The D shape design lets Neato use the widest brush possible while also vacuuming efficiently.
Speaking of technology, the Neato Botvac D7 Connected has LaserSmart mapping and navigation, CornerClever technology to track down dirt, hair, and allergens, SmartLife for Google, Amazon, IFTTT, and Neato Chatbot connectivity, SpinFlow technology to combine powerful suction and precision brushes for clean floors, and a new FloorPlanner feature.
There is a single start button on the top left near the front with four clear LED icons to the right of the single button. Between the sets of LED lights is an indented area where you place your fingers to lift the dirt bin up and out of the vacuum. The front of the vacuum consists of the plastic bumper that is very sensitive to objects.
There is a rotating side brush found under the left side of the vacuum, behind the main roller brush. The roller brush is made of silicone pieces that pick up efficiently, can be cleaned, and do not scratch floors.
There are two large wheels that move up and down to adjust automatically to the terrain of your house or office. The Botvac D7 Connected is 12.5 x 13.2 inches in length and width with a max height of 3.9 inches. It weighs in at 7.7 pounds
One reason I prefer Neato units over some others I have tested is the charging base design. The last vacuum I tested refuses to return properly to the base and is always dead, essentially making it a useless vacuum. The Neato charging base has two long contact strips and the Neato Botvac D7 returns to base and charges every single time.
The dust bin has proven to hold about one or two vacuum sessions for the approximate 700 square feet of coverage on my wood floors with a few raised area rugs. My floors look pretty clean, but it is stunning to everyone how much dog hair and other things are picked up by this vacuum.
Our new acacia hardwood floors are beautiful and well taken care of. My wife was concerned about the vacuum creating marks on the floors, but the soft silicone wheels turn and navigate around the floors with no trace of their passing.
The retail package includes the D7 Connected, a charging base and power cord, Quick Start Guide, spiral combo brush, ultra performance filter, side brush, 2 meters of boundary market (like the ones I use with my D85), and brush/filter cleaning tool.
Software and services
You can control the vacuum using the single start button, you get full control through the iOS and Android smartphone applications. Follow the simple quick start guide to charge up the vacuum and then follow the steps on your smartphone to connect to the vacuum and your WiFi network. You will then see the new application and can completely control the vacuum from your phone, even if you are away at the office or on the road.
In order to take full advantage of the D7 Connected, you should map your floor area so you can use the No-Go Lines feature. You should lift up all cables and move interferences out of the way. I set the vacuum to map my entire main floor, exclusing one large area where we have couches, chairs, and a very thick area rug. I did not have to setup No-Go Lines for this area as the vacuum recognized it could not vacuum such thick carpet and did not map this area.
After the floor was fully mapped, I gained full access to the power of the vacuum. It can be simple with a single tap to start the vacuum in one of three cleaning options and two cleaning profiles. Cleaning options include house, spot, and manual. Manual can be used if you have a multi-level home to clean. Setup and use the vacuum on a main level and then when you want to clean another level switch it to manual mode. Pick up and place the vacuum on another level or area you want clean and then hit start. The vacuum will return to the spot that you started it in manual mode.
The cleaning profiles are Eco (quieter, longer cleaning run) and Turbo (super powered cleaning with maximum pickup). With my hardwood floors, Eco does a perfectly fine job for regular cleaning. After parties though, Turbo mode is great to help clean things up.
There is also a navigation mode you can toggle on called Extra Care so that the sensitivity of the bumpers is adjusted so that more sensitive furniture is not impacted by the vacuum. Even in standard mode, the Neato D7 Connected does a great job of "seeing" walls and furniture.
Tap on the left menu icon to access My Robot, robot schedule, your floor plan, settings, and help. The My Robot page is the default launch page for the application. Tap on Robot Schedule to enable the schedule with start times, days to repeat the cleaning, and the profile you want to use.
Tap on the floor plan to see the floor plan saved for your vacuum. On the last vacuum I tested the floor plan was erased on a regular basis and I had to waste time recreating it way too often. The floor plan was collected once on the Neato and this feature has been flawless. Within the floor plan view, you can add No-Go Lines right on your phone and set exclusion zones for the vacuum. These are saved and then used for all future vacuuming. You can clear all No-Go Lines if you change your mind or even tap on each single line and edit or delete it. I have yet to see a better custom solution than this.
Neato uses a proprietary laser distance sensing (LDS) technology to use the top turret to create a 360-degree view of the room at floor level. This works in brightly lit and dark rooms too. It scans while cleaning to adjust to changes. The Neato SLAM technology uses the map to plan efficient vacuum routes that minimize path overlaps. In the past I have seen robot vacuums go over the same path multiple times, but notice that the Neato D7 Connected cleans in a shorter period of time and leaves things spotless.
On the main My Robot display, tap on the far right icon to access the cleaning summary. This shows you a graphical image of what was cleaned for each day, including the time and square feet cleaned by the vacuum. You can also tap on the upper right to view bar charts of this data.
In addition to manual button and smartphone control, you can also connect the Neato Botvac D7 Connected to Google Home or Amazon Alexa for fully hands-free operation. My home is now setup with Google Home devices and my wife loves the ability to just have the D7 start vacuuming with a key phrase spoken to a Google Home device.
Price and competition
The Neato Botvac D7 Connected has a MSRP of $799, which is similar to the prices of other flagship connected robot vacuums.
The Roomba iRobot 980 is $875 and it's Roomba 960 is $699. The Neato Botvac Connected vacuum is priced at $699.
Daily usage experiences and conclusion
I performed a lot of research before I bought the Neato Botvac D85 and am a huge fan of the D-shape form factor of the Neato vacuums. This form factor, with the CornerClever technology means that you get a 50 percent larger brush, a larger dirt bin, and the ability to get dirt out of corners and along walls where it hides away from main traffic areas.
The Neato Botvac D7 Connected fixes the issue I had with the D85, which was the requirement for laying down strips to create exclusionary zones. The additional capability to fully control the vacuum for your smartphone or Google Home takes the D7 Connected to the next level.
While the vacuum is expensive, it's comparable with other connected robot vacuums and if you total up the hours saved by letting it do the vacuum chore for you then it may pay for itself in short order. It runs from about 120 minutes between charges, which should be enough to clean most floors.
The Botvac D7 Connected has performed flawlessly over the past three weeks with cleaning quality, coverage, smartphone connectivity, and notifications for dust bin emptying. It is the best robot vacuum I have experienced and I could not find anything that disappointed me.