Roborock has been the brand to watch in the world of robot vacuum cleaners for several years now. We’ve been consistently spotlighting it in our Just Fun Tech series since the E25 more than two years ago. The company just released its latest and greatest model, the S7, and we’ve spent two weeks putting it through its paces. Is it time to upgrade to your robot future?
(Hint: It’s ALWAYS time to upgrade to your robot future).
- Current Price: $649 (Amazon)
- Model: Roborock S7
- Key Features:
- 2500pa HyperForce Suction
- Intelligent Mop Lifting
- Ultrasonic Carpet Recognition
- New All-Rubber Brush
- Upgraded Floating Brush
- Precision Mapping with Real Time Route Tracking
- App Control
- Advanced Scheduling
- Voice Control Via Siri, Alexa, Google Home
- Child Lock
- Navigation: LiDar
- Suction: 2500pa
- Mopping: Yes, with water pump
- Water Tank: 300mL
- Dust Bin: 470mL
- Dimensions: 353×350×96.5mm
- Battery: 14.4V/5200mAh lithium battery
- Weight: Approx. 4.7kg
- Wireless Connection: WiFi Smart Connect
- Rated Input: 20VDC 1.2A
- Charging Time: < 6 hours
Before receiving the S7 for review, I had made daily use of the company’s prior S5 Max robot vacuum. As I noted in my review at the time, that vacuum was an excellent value compared to other leading brands in the United States and offered a great feature set and vacuum ability for the cost. It even compared favorably to its successor, the S6 Pure, but in truth these are things that could be said about the whole Roborock line-up thus far. For the money, they’ve been impressive vacuums that perform reliably and remove an otherwise frequent chore from the user’s life: the need to vacuum by hand. I missed Roborock’s last release, the S6 MaxV, so when the opportunity came around to check out its latest model, I jumped at the chance.
Like its predecessors, the S7 features an impressive feature set. You have powerful 2500pa suction, exceeding the power of most competing brands, laser-guided navigation, an array of sensors to protect not only the vacuum but also your furniture and toes as it does its duty. You also have app control, complete with intelligent mapping of your home that can then be used to designate “no-go” zones or advanced scheduling features to clean different sections of your home automatically. This is also useful for using the vacuum’s mopping features so you don’t need to worry about a wet streak somewhere it doesn’t belong. Automatic carpet detection is back, which ramps up the speed when the sensors detect fabric underfoot (or wheel, as it were). When it’s time for maintenance, the app alerts you and every piece is easily swapped out without the need for a trip to the repair shop.
The S7 brings a few major feature upgrades with it. The biggest is the improved sonic mopping functionality. Rather than just raise and lower the mop cloth, the S7 will now send sonic vibrations to the surface of the floor to break up sticky dirt and debris up to 3000 times a minute. The water pump will also intelligently disperse water according to the intensity you choose in the app. All told, it’s a much more effective solution that worked well for our family. We have a family of six with four kids under eight, a dog, and three cats. There are times when keeping the kitchen floor clean is a challenge but the S7 got the job done with aplomb.
While that may be the highlight feature, it’s certainly not the only one. The S7 also features upgraded rollers for longevity and effectiveness. Rather than use brushes, both are made of rubber and do an excellent job capturing debris. The rubber main roller is much less likely to grab hair than normal bristles and just in the last two weeks, we’ve noticed a big improvement into the amount of cleaning and maintenance it requires. It does appear harder to find a replacement on Amazon, however.
Usage Impressions After Two Weeks
We’ve been using Roborock vacuums consistently for two years, so I was keen to see if there would be any noticeable improvements coming from the S5 Max.
Setup is virtually identical between the two. After downloading the Roborock app, it was able to quickly find the device and guide me through adding it to my WiFi network. This is an important step because much of the control and advanced features of the device are controlled through the app, including restricting room access, scheduling, and controlling the suction power. Once it’s on your network, it can also be controlled via Alexa, Siri, or Google smart home services.
Visually, Roborock robot vacuums have more in common than they have different. I do like the look over the S7 more, though. Externally, they are quite similar but the S7 brings back the spot cleaning button that was app-only on the S5 Max. That’s a nice touch for quickly cleaning up messes without needing to pull out your phone and it’s in the small touches that you can see how the company has refined the model over the last several releases. Take, for example, the placement of the dustbin. The S7 features a much nicer-looking internal panel without as many tiny trenches to hold dirt.
Functionally, it worked very well. It was able to clean up the crumbs my young children left under the dining room table, navigating around chairs and table legs. Most of our home is hardwood and vinyl flooring and, with it being the squishy season, dirt often gets tracked in by the doors. No problem for the S7. Even in artificial tests, which I would drop debris on the floor and hit the spot clean button, it performed very, very well, leaving nothing behind. We were also routinely surprised at the amount of pet fur it pulled out of our area rugs, even when there was very little visible to the naked eye.
Spot cleaning is quite a useful feature and I’m happy to see the dedicated button make its return. Unlike its traditional cleaning operation, spot cleaning mode traces a square around the area the button was pressed in and then traces inside of that smaller zone performing multiple passes to clean the messy area. For spills, it’s much more efficient than needing to navigate an app.
One of the aspects I was most impressed by was the S7’s improved navigation. Like the S5 Max and earlier Roborock vacuums, the S7 uses an intelligent navigation system that traces the interior of rooms in straight paths and then performs a circuit of the edges to pick up dirt that was blown to the side. It’s an effective, efficient system. What’s impressive about the S7 is that it is more reactive to objects that may be in the way. The S5 Max was already good, often slowing and turning before bumping into feet, for example, but would regularly get confused about whether it could fit under certain pieces of furniture like a bookshelf.
The S7 is much more cautious about what it bumps and when it does seems more tentative and gentle. It doesn’t get stuck under the bookshelf and also seems more responsive to small obstacles that might be in its path, like children’s toys. It will still suck up wires, so don’t go leaving those about, but it’s a definitely improvement over the S5 Max.
Finally, we have the mopping functionality. Simply put: this is the best hybrid vacuum mop for the price right now. The sonic vibrations work very well. Our kitchen often gets small drops of juice or other drinks dropped on the floor without our noticing. Before long, they turn into small black patches from the caught dirt. The S7 is able to clean our kitchen with ease, removing a second chore from our family routine.
Automating life with robot assistants is an inherently geeky concept, which is what drew me to it in the first place. The addition of a Roborock to our household has been one of the biggest changes to our daily chore routine we could have made. The Roborock S7 continues the trend of excellent vacuuming performance we’ve seen thus far and one-ups it with better navigation features and much-improved mopping. As has been the case for some time now, Roborock is the company to watch in the robotic vacuum space.