I watched with anticipation to see if the path being tracked would put the vacuum in line with my intentional dust, and yet wasn’t surprised when the unit tracked left and right, bumping into chairs before eventually wedging itself under a piece of furniture.
“Beep, beep, beep,” it cried, realising it couldn’t go any further, and it did this until I came over and picked it up, telling it that it would be ok, before hitting play and letting it go on its merry way, cleaning again.
That’s the first thing you learn about PowerBot, because while it does its own thing in the background, the mapping doesn’t quite make sense to a human.
We — as humans and operators of the vacuum — want it to clean everything we can see, but it — as a robot with a camera up top and an algorithm designed to put everything together working alongside distance sensors on its body — is doing it in its own way.
Provided you let it do its thing, the Samsung PowerBot will get to it, eventually, even if it doesn’t make a lot of sense to you, and operating as a vacuum, PowerBot actually does do a commendable job cleaning the dust and dirt and flecks of rice cracker you’ve intentionally left on the carpet.
Three modes are available, and you’ll find even the lowest power of these — quiet — can pick up quite a few particles, from the errant here to the crumb baked goods that shouldn’t be lying on the ground.
We’re not going to say that the quiet mode is actually quiet, because it makes more of a high pitched whine if you’re in the same room with it, but it’s nowhere near as loud as a high pitched whirring sucking sound like other vacuums, and since the PowerBot will do its own thing, eventually it will make its way to another room and not bother you.
Occasionally you’ll here a thump as it bumps into something, and that will give you a slight giggle, but other times, it’s quite interesting to watch the PowerBot miss things as its obstacle sensor kicks in and does the math ahead of that “thump” noise.
You can also set up a virtual guard to create a sort of boundary line to stop the PowerBot from going into rooms you don’t want it to. This comes in the box, and relies on similar technology to what is in the base station, but it does the opposite, stopping the vacuum.
It’s a useful inclusion, though we’d have preferred a battery being built into the unit rather than needing two D batteries, clunkers that are not only a little harder to find but fairly costly.
Samsung is one of the kings of mobile batteries, so it’s surprising that the company has opted for D batteries instead of something rechargeable with a microUSB charge port.