One thing does appear to be missing and that’s the ability to tell the difference between when high power suction is needed. As such, the level of suction you pick using either the remote or the app will stay that way through its entire operation.
While there’s apparently an algorithm to determine the shape of the room and the path to take, there’s no such algorithm for switching on high power compared to low power.
Ignoring this, however, the cyclonic motor doesn’t do a bad job, and the charting algorithm will still manage to find its way around your home before needing to go back to base when the PowerBot has completed its cycle.
That is probably the most interesting thing about the Samsung PowerBot, as watching it navigate obstacles is very interesting, especially when it nails it.
That said, if you’re sitting there waiting for the PowerBot vacuum to do its thing, you might feel a little silly in the waiting.
In fact, it would be prudent to take your cables off the ground, much like you would with a toddler, because every so often, the vacuum tries to suck them up, causes sparks. That happened to us at least once, and was followed by shouting.
Pick the unit up, put it down somewhere else, hit play, and it will continue about its business, finishing its mapping of the roof and its subsequent cleaning, with the entire process done in a good 15 or 20 minutes depending on how much space there is to cover.
Overall, the sensors of the PowerBot appear to do a decent job working out where the stairs were, and when it realised there was a wall or a chair blocking it, the robotic vacuum found ways around the obstacles, with objects even acting as low-overhead bridges at points, taking routes we didn’t expect the vacuum to opt for.
But when you really need something vacuumed, waiting for the cleaner to do its thing just doesn’t cut it.
No, for that, you need to take control, and fortunately, Samsung makes that a possibility with the “Point and Clean” button on the remote.
For this to work, simply grab the remote, and then press the down arrow on the directional pad while you’re aiming the remote somewhere on the ground.
You’ll see a little red target aim at the ground, and the vacuum will spring to life to clean up that spot.
This is actually the fastest way to the get the PowerBot to do its thing properly, and we found the vacuum was quite responsive when we were doing this, so much so that all we had to do was keep pointing and holding that button down and we could control the vacuum efficiently, as if we were holding a piece of food in front of an animal.
At this moment, the PowerBot would keep responding to the command of eating that dust, of sucking it up and getting rid of it, even if there was nothing to remove.
And like that, we had found the most efficient way to control the Samsung PowerBot.
Efficiency is part of the problem with Samsung’s PowerBot, because for a good two minutes while I watched the machine do its thing and try to clean the ground, I thought I could do this better myself with a vacuum and it would still take less time.
Seriously, it’s not as if vacuuming is such a serious chore that a robot is required when a mess needs to be cleaned up.
Rather, the robotic vacuum serves more an ongoing logic, whereby it can clean your house in the background, doing things while you’re not there, such as every time you leave the house.
You can also control the robotic vacuum cleaner using the directional pad on the remote, and you can even connect up your iPhone or Android device to the vacuum via Samsung’s Smart Home app whereby you’ll be given a directional pad and control for the settings, as well as for scheduling.
We need to note that Samsung should probably spend more time on its app as while operation is easy enough, connection is a little more complicated than it needs to be, with the setup asking you to jump through a few networking steps and enter a password in order to get the vacuum and your network talking to each other.
Once connected, though, you’ll find control is easy, and you no longer have to worry about losing that remote (we know you were concerned). And hey, there are even some custom settings to kickstart the VR9000 vacuum, such as it’s morning so the vacuum should come in, or you’re leaving so the vacuum can come out and play.
The biggest dilemma for us with the Samsung PowerBot robotic vacuum isn’t from trying to work out if or when we should use it in exchange from doing it ourselves, but rather the price associated with it.
With a recommended retail price of $1799, it is very hard to justify whether the Samsung PowerBot VR9200 is worth it. Sure it’s app connected and it can stop for obstacles, and sure you can point to what you want cleaned and it will do it, but so can you.
In essence, you’re paying a thousand dollars more for a small vacuum that does what you want without you needing to get up, and honestly, you’ll probably have to get up and point to the dust if you want it done quickly.
It doesn’t help that the tank for your dust and other assorted particles isn’t terribly large, but really, that time factor plays a bigger part because if you just grabbed a stick or ball vac — any really, forget about the brands — you’ll still get the job done faster.
We’re not sure if the price is totally justified on Samsung’s PowerBot VR9200, but if you really don’t like vacuuming and would prefer to be doing anything else, it’s definitely worth a look, if only because it will constantly be doing it even while you’re not there.
Value for money
Ease of Use
An actual vacuum cleaner in a robotic vacuum cleaner, and not just another sweeper; Obstacle detection works pretty well; Can be controlled using an app; Supports scheduling; Finds its own way home (eventually); Point and clean is one of the coolest features, and probably the reason to buy it;
Slower than you when it comes to taking out a vacuum and doing the chores; Quiet isn’t quiet at all, and the other modes; No ability to determine when stubborn particles need different speeds of suction; App needs work; Virtual guard relies on D batteries; Expensive;