Vacuum cleaner robot April 21, 2013 9:43 am

Review of the Kolbold VR100 vacuum cleaner. An off the mark Vorwerk.

28 comments

The German brand Vorwerk is worth 2.3 billion euros of CA in 2011 and is also one of the principal shareholders of Neato Robotics, sell there newly marketed the robot vacuum cleaner Kobold VR100, an improved version of the Neato XV-25.

The Neato XV-25 is already an excellent model.

The Kobold VR100 has been sold in Germany since June 2012 and provides the following improvements:

  • Emergence of a small side brush to improve the cleaning of the borders
  • The NiMH battery of the Neato has been replaced by a lithium battery improving the autonomy and the recharge time
  • The VR100 is draped in bench and green

Another difference in size is the price. The Neato XV-25 is sold for 499 euros while the Kobold VR100 will be marketed almost 649 euros which would make it one of the most expensive on the market!

Is the price difference is justified?

The robot is shipped with

  • A database reload
  • A magnetic tape which allows you to create a wall that the robot not to breach.
  • A side brush

Kobold VR100 Vorwerck

For the price of the robot, one may regret the lack of accessories. I would have appreciated a filter or a brush additional side. I also regret that the robot is not sold with the brush of central Neato XV-15.

Neato and Kobold VR100 are very similar as you can see:

neato kobold vr100

Upper part

kobold vr100 aspirateur robot

  • The green button activates or pause the robot.
  • The LCD screen allows you to access the various options.
  • The status light (just above the green button) shows 4 different states:
    • Solid green: fully charged and ready for use
    • Flashing green: during loading, but ready to use
    • Flashing orange: Charging in progress, is not ready for use
    • Solid Orange: the vacuum cleaner encounters an error
  • A bumper in the front.
  • The inside of the turret next to the LCD is located near the laser of the robot vacuum cleaner, this is the eye of the robot which allows it to work better in a room.
  • §Amazingly, the home of the menu is remains under the trademark Neato Robotics.

menu neato vorwerck

The LCD screen of the command center is the interface to communicate with the vacuum cleaner. It is the only robot to propose this type command. Very intuitive, operating this is child’s play. To get started and understand the user options, it is not necessary to read the instruction manual.

Through the menu it is possible to:

  • Schedule the cleaning (a different schedule each day is possible)
  • Choose the language
  • Use the spot mode
  • Set the clock
  • Obtain information on the status of the robot
  • Put the vacuum cleaner in pause or cancel the cleaning
  • Return the vacuum cleaner to its charging station

Here is a demo of the command center (achieved with the Neato but strictly identical to the Kobold) in which i program a cleaning cycle on Monday :

The tray to dust from the vacuum cleaner

The dust trap has a capacity of 0.66 L, which is average. The filter of the Kobold VR100 is identical to the filter on the Neato XV-25 though it does show a significant improvement in the circulation of air and suction when compared against the Neato XV-15.

Empty the dust tray may take a little practice. You need to pull out the filter which invariably frees the dust in the air as I have shown with the Neato XV-15 :

A convenient carrying handle

DSC07669

Lower part

sous le robot kobold vr100

detail: the ability to add on the top left a side brush!

Very simple to mount thanks to a magnet system ingenious.

Brosse laterale Kobold VR100 aspirateur robot

The side brush improves the cleaning of borders but not the corners

The hairs are very short, and so much the better! 2.5 cm, is more than sufficient to reach the borders as we have seen in the previous video. I had already noticed in previous tests of vacuum cleaners robots that the side brushes could throw dirt in inaccessible places or disperse the dust in the air.

A brush with short hair significantly restricts these effects.

I tested the effectiveness of the Kobold in the corners with the new side brush. To share its position under the robot and the length of its hairs, cleaning the corners hasn’t improved, though you can still admire the cleaning almost perfect along the wall right side.

The central brush

The central brush is identical to that of the Neato XV-25. It is composed of alternating hairs and plastic slats. It is rather efficient on carpets and rugs but less on hard floors. What a pity that Vorwerk have not included this brush with the Neato XV-15.

Brosse Kobold VR100

The other drawback of this brush compared to that of the Neato XV-15 is its maintenance. In effect after a week of use, many hair wrapped around the brush as you can see on these photos:

Has the rear of the robot

It is to the rear of the robot that we find the loading and contact points as well as the air outlet.

Composed of cells, the air output of the Kobold VR100 is slightly different from that of the Neato:

DSC07604

Looking at it more closely I noticed that a plastic had been added on half of the surface area, thereby concentrating the output of the air flow.

In my opinion, it is certainly this which improves suction by 12% when compared to the Neato XV-25. What do you think?

In the video below, I tested the power of the air flow between the VR100 and the Neato XV-15 reconfigured in XV-25 in y one by taping a sheet of A4.

We can see very clearly that the air outlet is more powerful on the VR100, the sheet is constantly blown horizontally.

It has a remarkable suction. The engine allows a suction of 8 liters/seconds.

As for the Neato, you can update the navigation software of the Kobold thanks to a USB connection. These updates are rarly found with the others vacuum robots and will offer you improvements in navigation. The previous update has improved the cleaning of corners.

port USB Kobold VR100 aspirateur robot

Intelligent navigation to the laser !

Thanks to its advanced system of laser sensor at 360 degrees (RPS = Room Positioning System), the Kobold VR100 scans continuously and maps and view obstacles in a room. Very logical, it moves line by line to clean all surfaces that it can access.

Thanks to the technology of ‘Software Contact’, it will slow down when approaching obstacles stopping a few millimeters before contact, thus protecting your the most valuable objects.

You can also put this robot to work when your not at home. Its programming very mature. It allows you to set the day and time of its implementation (a different programming each day of the week is possible).

The Kobold VR100 has a battery life of 1h20 against 1h for the Neato thanks to a new lithium-ion battery. The charging time has decreased considerably. There should be no more than one hour to recharge the VR100 against 3h for the Neato.

With one hour of autonomy the Neato is able to cover 100 m2 but a lot depends of the kind of floor in the house. On carpets and rugs, the robot will exhaust itself much faster. With a battery life of 80 min, The Kobold VR100 should be able to cover approximately 130m2 in a cycle.

If your area is larger don’t worry, the robot automatically returns to its base to recharge, and then resumed its work where it is stopped thanks to its built-in memory.

As for the Neato, the Kobold VR100 is designed to adapt to all types of surfaces. It has a central brush multi-soil composed of strips in plastic and hairs that rotate at 1450 revolutions/minute.

Here is a video of the robot in a space of 30 m2

The Kobold VR100 will almost never get jammed. It always happens to get out of the most difficult of places.

It also started to clean the borders on the side where is located the side brush, clever!

It can maneuver over thresholds and carpet up to 2cm, making it one of its best strong points.

Test of suget : new record !

The addition of the side brush has enabled the robot to syphon 42 grams or 84% of the sugar. That is the best result so far. The side brush therefore allows the robot to effectively clean the borders.

Better, if I replace the central brush from the Neato, the results are stunning with 47 grams sucked 94% of the sugar! It will be difficult to do better. What a pity that Vorwerk didn’t included this brush in accessory! But of course, you can purchase it separately, it is sold around 34 euros.

On the other hand the small disappointment with the carpet test, shows a result that hardly improved compared to the XV-25. The Kobold has in effect draws 32 grams compared to 31 for the Neato XV-25. The 12% extra power therefore have little impact on rugs and carpets. But the brush is still more efficient for the hair.

In conclusion

The strong points.

  • Navigation very intelligent, its laser technology is remarkable
  • Possible programming each day
  • Suction power (further improved with the Kobold)
  • Crossing the bars of threshold
  • USB Connection allows updating the navigation software
  • The side brush (to share the size of its hairs).
  • Lithium Battery which is loaded in just 1h

The weak points

  • Its price ( 649 €)
  • His appearance
  • Dust tray little practice to empty
  • No remote control
  • Few accessories

Mounted with the brush of the Neato XV-15 this robot is close to perfection. The side brush cleans borders properly and the new battery allows for record time recharging while improving the autonomy of 20 min. If your budget is not limited, you can buy this robot the eyes closed, but I would advise you to acquire also the central brush the Neato particularly if you have hard floors.

Whichrobot rating : 15.3/20 (how we rate)

With the brush of the Neato XV-15 it is even better with the improved suction on hard surfaces and the easier maintenance of the brush.

Whichrobot rating with the Neato XV-15 brush: 16.3/20

——–

Now you know a little bit more on the Kobold VR100 of Vorwerk. tests are in preparation, this affects other robots: trimmer, vacuum cleaner and robot scrubber. Stay connected.

In fact, you should be aware that the best way to be kept informed on the latest news from Kelrobot is to click i love on our Facebook page

28 Commentaires

  • Quenn Fonchey

    Thanks for this excellent review and comparison.

    • you are welcome

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  • Vacuum cleaner looks good. But design not good

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