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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on October 3, 2008
I have been dealing with iRobots customer service for 2 months now to fix a problem with my Roomba 580. It takes up to a week to get a simple answer from them and they don't seem to bother to even read my entire emails. I've never encountered customer service that's so incompetent. Here's an example of one of their replies:

"I am very sorry for inconvenienced caused.

what suggestion you try .and what error message the robot give.

please response to this information."

My guess is this was written by a five year old. They sent a replacement part to not to the address I gave them for shipping the part, not to my original shipping address, but to an old billing address, where I don't live anymore! I could go on and on.

Do yourself a favor and stay away from all of their products until they actually start taking care of their customers.

UPDATE: This is the latest response from iRobot:

"Thank you for contacting iRobot Customer Support.

Can you please tell me the problem you are having with your robot, so i can father assist you."

It seems like I've found my father. He works at iRobot! I didn't even know he was missing!

Note that this is the 3rd time they ask about the problem even though I very clearly stated my problem the first time I contacted them.

ANOTHER UPDATE:

I posted a 1 star review on the iRobot website a few days ago and it was never published! It seems they only publish the positive reviews. Perhaps the reviews are even written by iRobot employees? They are a company that does not care about their customers!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on June 13, 2008
Verified Purchase
This is an excellent little vacuum but do not think that it is totally automatic. You do need to put a little effort into it.

First, clean it up regularly! I run this vacuum every night. Each morning, I empty out the dust bin and clean the filter. You also need to clean the brushes - more often with carpet and pets than hardwood and no pets. You will have fibers and hair wrap around the rotation points. By cleaning these, you will extend the life of your Roomba considerably.

Our house has a large first floor. The Roomba runs around it every night and does a great job of cleaning. You can see the vacuum tracks across the carpet in the mornings showing where it has been. The amount it picks up is very impressive! Especially when you consider it is only as noisy as a blow dryer on low. Most of the time it finds it's way back to the charger, but on occasion, it will hang up somewhere (again, we do have a large first floor!). It is best for you to go around before it vacuums and pull cords out of the way and move items it may hang up on. The robot does a good job of figuring it's way out of a mess or tangle, but not always.

I give it four stars rather than five because there is still room for improvement, but would those things stop me from buying another? Not a chance! This is a great vacuum. I am anxious to see what the next evolution of this unit will do.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
We had a 560 for about a year now and, because we have a relatively large house, we recently decided to go for a second. The 2 are quite similar. In fact, they are very much the same product, the 580 being the 560 plus the 'command center'.

__________
Operation:

The robot itself does a pretty good job at fully covering the area and removing the dust. It is VERY good in a fully carpeted room or a bare-floor room. However, many times, it finds it difficult to climb from the floor onto the carpet. The side brush goes under the carpet and, eventually, the robot backs off and tries again later. It is usually successful, following several attempts but this may result in it over-cleaning one area and not spending too much on elsewhere. Our 560 actually ended up breaking the rotating brush following numerous under-the-rug incidents and we had to get a new rotating brush kit from Roomba.

Another, somewhat weird behavior has to do with dark objects that it should be avoiding. The Roomba seems to detect bright walls and objects and slows down and only touches them gently at the end of the approach, it usually slams into a dark wall or whatever dark object might be in its way. It seems unable to detect darker objects.

On the 580 you can schedule future jobs either on the main unit or from the control center. We did not find this capability very useful because we have more rooms than Roombas and we decided that we did not want to run our lives around the Roomba's cleaning schedule and move it around as expected. Whenever we want to clean a room, we take the Roomba there, set the virtual walls/lighthouses and push the 'clean' button.

The Command Center duplicates the buttons you find on the back on the main unit and it adds the ability to drive the robot through 3 'arrow' controls. We found that we don't use this capability. The Roomba seems smart enough to drive itself and the kids have their own remote-control toys. After a couple of 'gee-whiz' runs, we ended up not using the Command Center at all so, basically, we have 2 560's now.

The virtual walls/lighthouses are VERY useful. Each Roomba comes with 2. You would sometimes need more. While we were a one-Roomba household we manage to keep the robot within its designated area in our 'open floor' first floor by blocking it with various objects. Now that we have 2 units, we have 4 of these so all is perfect and easy downstairs.

While it's noted in the product description, I should mention that the 'going back to base' feature works VERY WELL. The Roombas almost always manage to find their base and go into the recharger when their batteries go low.

We had no problem with the battery life. Our one-year-old 560 seems to have as much stamina today as it had on day-one.

____________
Maintenance:

After every other cleaning run, you will have to empty the dust bins, clean the filter and clean the brushes.

Taking out the dust is easy. And so is the cleaning of the filter. Cleaning the brushes is another story and problem is 'hair'. It's not terribly difficult but... you will be dealing with 'dirt'. I found that with the help of a pair of scissors or a small (sharp) knife you can clean the brushes in a couple of minutes.

_________________
Customer support:

As I mentioned before, the little 'helicopter' brush unit had to be replaced. I did not find Roomba's off-shore based support team to be very helpful. It happened a long time ago so I don't recall of the details but I remember them first being unable to understand the nature of the problem. Then, some unfriendly foreigner told me that they are not obligated to send me a replacement immediately, given that there was some '5 business days' or '10 business days' in the warranty. Anyways, I eventually got my part but it happened after a relatively long wait and too many calls and too much time spent with these lovely people. The funny thing was that, as soon as I placed my first phone call, I received an email asking that I rate the quality of the 'service' provided. MANY such surveys followed.

__________________
My rating: 4 stars

We are actually using these and they do a good job for us. The fact that we now have 2 of these, shows that we find them worth the expense. The Roombas do what we expect them to do - which is clean the room without us having to watch them doing it. They are well-built, durable and efficient. For all of the above, they get a 5-STAR PLUS rating. I am taking out 2 stars for the not so good customer support and for the little problems the Roomba seems to have climbing on carpets. Therefore, the fair rating is a 4-STAR.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2008
Verified Purchase
I love this little guy. Keep him clean and well-charged and he will give you all he's got. Be forewarned. He can't do corners well so be prepared to dry mop corners and other areas he can't get under. All in all, my family really enjoys watching Isaac the Robot work.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on August 22, 2008
Verified Purchase
Used our 580 for approx 2 weeks and very, very satisfied except for major hair buildup on sides of both beater and brush. (Two shorthair cats and a longhaired doxie allow us to live with them, in case you wonder.) Ran unit everyday most of time and it worked perfectly - much improved pickup over our old Discovery unit including better obstacle avoidance and, especially, its ability to maneuver over throw rugs, etc.

BUT even though there would be very little hair on the brush itself, it would stop at least once during each cleaning and ask to have ts "brushes cleaned." I soon realized this only meant hair had wound tightly around both sides of the beater/brush assemblies. This continued for the entire two weeks and was a problem for which iRobot customer service offered no advice nor the possibility of a fix in the near future.

Anyway, if you have NO pets (with hair) you'll probably love this thing. I would have gladly kept ours but returned it simply because of what I feel is a show stopping design problem. (FYI, our Discovery "Pet Edition" ran fine for well over two years without this problem.) I would gladly purchase again if they fix this "kink" maybe with another pet edition? For now the old Discovery comes back downstairs. Let me know iRobot...
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 13, 2008
Verified Purchase
I am a single guy and my house keeper only comes twice a month. I needed a little help with the vacuuming. At first, I thought this product would be more like a toy...it isn't. I have only had the product for about a month, but I can say this about it...it does what it is supposed to do.

I have a fairly large tile floor in my kitchen. I am always dropping something on the floor from coffee beans to cracker crumbs. When the floor gets where it needs debris removal, I just hit the romote control and the Roomba does the rest. In 15-20 minutes it is done and back in its charging unit. Once you see how the unit operates/navagates you can adjust the chairs in the room to get maximun effectiveness.

I especially like the little sweeping fingers that get right up next to the base boards. For now I just use the Roomba in the kitchen, but I am considering using it in the living room on the wooden floors. The lighthouse units that came with the unit are very effective at keeping the units within a defined area.

While the product is a little expensive, it is well worth the money.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2008
Buying the IRobot Roomba 580 was the best thing my husband and I ever did! I had a surgery few weeks ago and I was worried about who was going to take care of my house while Im recovering. We have 2 cats and Im pretty high standard about cleaning. Anyways...I did some research online, read some reviews about the IRobot Roomba 580 and gave it a try. If I just knew this before... The Roomba cleans very well and pick up all the dirty and hair on the floor..I highly recommend!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on April 6, 2008
I had some difficulty with my order of the iRobot Roomba 580 but Amazon came through with a settlement.
I really love my Roomba. I set it to run every day. With two young cats it's a lifesaver. I'm 70 yrs. old and running regular vacuum cleaner is very painful for my back. With Roomba there is no worries.
I've demonstrated my Roomba to a friend and she is seriously thinking of getting a Roomba now.
Thank you.
Martha
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on March 6, 2008
My Roomba, which we named Rosie (after the Jetson's robot), does not pick-up dog poop!! Rosie has been a great addition to our family. She has been doing an amazing job in keeping the dog hair from our carpets and kitchen floor. My carpets never looked better!! Last week, we had a little predicament! My friend brought their dog over while we all went to a birthday dinner. When we got back, their dog pooped on my carpet! The bad thing is Rosie started her daily afternoon cleaning while we were gone. Rosie mud bogged in the poop pretty dang good! She spread that crap all over my carpets and the side cleaning brush was nice enough to smear poop on my molding!! I thought Rosie was a gonner after this. All she told me was to clean her wheels. I had to take her completely apart and clean poop from every inner surface. That's not my feeling of fun! I didn't think she would work again! I just let her finish drying for the past two days and started her back up. She was a total champ! She's working perfect like usual. As for the poop, we did the best that we could to get it all out of the carpet. The carpet cleaners will be here tomorrow to get the rest of the job done.

I guess the morale of the story is your Roomba may enjoy mud bogging as a side from always having to clean the house, but it's like a kid and doesn't like cleaning up the mess when it's done!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 23, 2009
After doing some research I requested the 580 for Christmas from my staff. My wife thought I was ridiculous for being so excited as I set roomba up for charging and programming. The next morning the alarm went off, signaling roomba's maiden voyage.

So we are watching this thing scoot around the first floor, me following every turn like a seven year-old, urging my wife to be excited too. Well this thing breezes by her and as she watches it turn the corner, she says, "well I guess we ought to name it". I agreed and asked if she had any suggestions. She said "How about M.J.?"

I said "M.J., what does that stand for?"

And she flatly said "More Junk".

The name stuck, and since then, M.J. has grown on her, since we only have to vacuum the steps now! This thing is way cool. Get one.

I read that the roomba breaks off the side brush, but at 8 months, it's still fine. I also read that they just die sometimes, so I purchased from Hammacher Schlemmer because they offer a lifetime guarantee.

You do need to learn the places where roomba gets stuck, and make sure curtains and hanging plants don't quite reach the floor, as he will suck the leaves off your spider plants.

11/7/11: As warned M.J. did just break down and die. But Hammacher Schlemmer promply replaced with a brand new one...no questions asked. Still happy.
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