Samsung Powerbot heats up robot vacuum battle in Canada

Prices could ultimately head downward as Dyson and iRobot get new competition.

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Samsung Powerbot:

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It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of robot vacuums. As the saying goes, once you go robot, you never go back.

Of course, the big problem with robot vacuums is that they’re damn expensive. A good-quality Roomba from iRobot costs upwards of $849 in Canada, while Dyson’s 360 Eye is a whopping $1,299.

There are a few off-brand options for less, but for the most part it’s been a two-horse race – and that’s only a recent development, since Dyson’s vacuum only became available to Canadian buyers this past summer.

That’s why the news from Samsung at last week’s Consumer Electronics Show – that its robovac is coming to Canada – is so welcome.

The company is bringing its Powerbot VR7000 to Canada in April at a price tag somewhere between $649 and $899. That’s competitive with the other two big names, which is good news. The only thing that’s going to bring prices down is competition between reputable brands.

The Powerbot has advantages over both its competitors, according to Samsung. It’s only 10 centimetres high, so it has better clearance than the taller 360 Eye, and it packs 10 watts of power, which gives it 20 times the suction of the Roomba.

“It’s a vacuum, not a sweeper, so it actually has suction that’s pulling stuff in versus spinning stuff [around],” said Samsung Electronics spokesman Brian Flood, a clear shot at the Roomba and its twirling corner brush.

Like its competitors, the Powerbot also integrates with a smartphone and tablet app, so users can remotely activate it and see how long it took to do its job. Samsung’s vacuum also has Amazon Echo compatibility, which means users can activate it with their voice.

That means little to Canadians, unfortunately, since the Echo isn’t yet officially available here. It looks like we’ll have to settle for starting our vacuums the old-fashioned way: with a smartphone app.

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