Unveiled at IFA 2018, the Botvac D4 Connected is one of the latest innovations launched by the American brand Neato. The objective? Compete with the more expensive iRobot Roomba vacuum cleaners and stand out from the cheap Xiaomi vacuum cleaners. After more than a week with this thing cleaning my apartment, the time has come to take stock.
- ✓The app
- ✓Suction power
- ✓Complete mapping
- ✓Ease of use
- ✕Turbo mode is uneccessary
- ✕Random obstacle management
- ✕No screen
- ✕Limited autonomy
A mid-range robot vacuum cleaner
If the world of vacuum cleaner robots is still new to you, you should know that Neato is one of the main players in this market. The Botvac D4 Connected is one of the new products presented by the manufacturer at the latest Berlin Motor Show to expand its catalog. Thus, the D4 Connected is positioned as a complete mid-range vacuum cleaner, with a more affordable price than the D6 and D7 Connected. You can pick one up for around $500. Interestingly, this robot vacuum cleaner is also compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant and can, therefore, be operated with voice commands.
A D-shape that means D4
Like the entire range of Neato vacuum cleaners, the D4 Connected has a traditional D-shape. According to some manufacturers, this is the most suitable form for cleaning. In reality, performance is not much different from a circular vacuum cleaner in my opinion.
At the top of the vacuum cleaner is the rangefinder (which is difficult to miss) to measure distances and map the rooms in which the D4 Connected works. I must admit that if the size of the rangefinder is an asset to better locate its path, it is also a great disadvantage because the vacuum cleaner cannot glide under many pieces of furniture, or worse, it sometimes gets stuck.
Unlike its older brother, the D6, the D4 is covered entirely with a plastic (not metal) shell that is of good quality. The finishes are also excellent and the craftsmanship is of high quality.
In terms of controls, there is a single button on the device that allows normal cleaning to start. By double-clicking, you can tell it to return to the base because, yes, the vacuum cleaner does not come alone either: its loading base is also included. This must be positioned in a sufficiently wide space (one meter on each side) to allow the vacuum cleaner to return without difficulty.
Finally, the only downside of this vacuum cleaner is the absence of a screen. Almost everything happens on your smartphone. Even when the light to indicate a problem is illuminated on the device, it is always still necessary to refer to the app to find out the problem.
A classic cleaning system
The D4 Connected is equipped with a simple central brush . There is no brushing system on the sides but Neato provides a small brush to help clean or remove some cables. As with the other models of the brand, the collector has a wide opening and a capacity of 0.7 liters. It can be emptied by lifting the cover on the upper part using a small mechanism.
As with any vacuum cleaner, maintenance is very important in order to maintain optimum suction power at all times. To do this, the companion app of the vacuum cleaner can offer you reminders to empty the collector or change the filters or brushes.
A simple but effective app
One of the strong points of this D4 Connected is clearly the companion app. It allows you to configure your vacuum cleaner quite simply the first time you use it, it is fluid and easy to use and links to your device via Wi-Fi. In case of problems during cleaning, the app alerts you and informs you about the status of the problem.
Of course, it is also possible to schedule your cleaning and start all operations from your smartphone.
Very good suction
In this respect, the D4 Connected is a device that does not disappoint. No floor or carpet scares it! The device perfectly moves around on carpets and rugs while providing powerful cleaning. Like all vacuum cleaners, the robot uses the rangefinder and its sensors to analyze everything nearby at a 360-degree angle in order to best "map" your home. The D4 Connected does very well in this aspect.
As is normal, the vacuum cleaner's movement pattern seems quite strange at first but the D4 Connected does not forget any part of your apartment. The quality of the suction is remarkable. Dust and hair are vacuumed without any problems. Its obstacle management is also mostly correct but I must admit a very strong disappointment with its ability to navigate cables or high obstacles. For example, during my test, the D4 Connected jammed countless times under my sofa. Despite my interventions, the vacuum cleaner always persisted in wanting to come back to the same place for the same result: a call for help! As always, it is advisable to tidy up your home properly before launching it in order to minimize problems.
In terms of noise, the robot is quite average and about as loud as most other robot vacuum cleaners.
Average battery life
The D4 Connected has a battery life in the low average range of the vacuum robots available today. After a good hour, Neato's device displays an empty battery. In automatic cleaning mode, this is not really a problem because the D4 Connected will recharge itself before completing its mission. Obviously, the turbo mode negatively impacts the autonomy of the beast leaving you with enough juice for barely 45 minutes. I also advise against using it turbo mode completely because, in addition to its mixed results, endurance is poor.
Unlike with smartphones, there is no question of fast charging either. So allow a good two hours to recharge the robot cleaner. If you want a more durable model, you will have to upgrade to the D6 or D7 Connected.
The D4 Connected is one of the best value for money robot vacuum cleaners at the moment. Its suction power, ease of use and app make it an excellent companion to help you clean up. The vacuum cleaner is resistant to all types of soil and is clearly one of the best mid-range units. Compared to some models (D6 Connected, iRobot Roomba E5), the D4 Connected has little (or nothing) to envy. In the end, the only downsides to this are the maintenance, that is not necessarily easy, a fairly low battery life and its difficulty in overcoming certain obstacles.