The Samsung POWERbot VR9000 is one of the newest entrants to the robotic vacuum market, and there is a huge number of noticeable differences between it and the Roomba or Neato models. The first, and arguably the most obvious difference is how the POWERbot looks compared to the other models. It is substantially taller, and looks much more like what you would expect a robot to look like, rather than the "hockey puck" design favored by the other manufacturers.
Performance Comparison of the 2017 VR9000
The Samsung POWERbot VR9000, poised to use its Cyclone Force technology on some helpless Mini-Wheats.
In our experience, the Samsung was a robot of extremes when it came to navigating itself reliably through a room. It seemed to map the layout of the room the most effectively, and appears to have the most sophisticated of the obstacle avoidance sensors, but we found it to be the least capable at navigating out of tight spaces, like the legs of a dining room chair. It did exceptionally well with really wide open spaces, and with our empty multiple rooms tests, but, In our experience, it became stuck easily in more confined areas, and would stop cleaning if a clear path out of the situation was not quickly evident.
We also noticed that the Samsung can have an extremely hard time docking if the base is not perfectly set up, or if the robot starts to return home when it is a long distance from the base. The other models were much less picky about docking in our tests, and required less precision to set up.
The Samsung thoroughly blew us away in this category, and was by far the top performer. The manufacturer claims substantially increased suction, and uses a much different design than its competitors. We lightly pressed 2 tablespoons of flour into a marked off section of low-pile carpet, and the results speak for themselves.
Hard Surface Cleaning
The POWERBot did an above average job with the hard floor surfaces, coming in a tie for second place with the Neato D75. It did excel at picking up flour from the floor, but fell short when it came to larger particles. This highlights, in our opinion, that the Samsung really relies heavily on its vacuum motor to pick up debris, while its main extractor brush might not be quite as powerful as some of its competitors, like the Neato Connected or the Roomba 650
The Samsung in the middle of cleaning some flour from a hard floor.
Corners and Edges
Our corners and edge test was sprinkling flour along the border of our robot pen, and the Samsung performed well. It doesn't handle the corners quite as well as the Neato vacuum, but it does substantially better than the Roombas. You can see the comparison between the Samsung and our Editor's Choice award winner, the Neato Connected.
The POWERbot did well with sucking up pet hair, following closely behind the Connected. It has a similar design, with the wide combination bristle and rubber blade extractor brush. It did seem that the bristles on the Samsung didn't penetrate quite as deeply into the medium pile carpet as the Connected did.
Ease of Use
The Samsung was our lowest scorer in the ease of use category. We found the touch buttons to be annoying and unresponsive throughout our testing. Scheduling can only be completed through a dedicated remote, and it offered limited options for setting schedules, allowing only 1 day a week, or daily cleanings. The remote also had a bullseye pointer that could be used to direct the robot to clean a specific spot. While an interesting feature, we didn't find ourselves using it much throughout testing.
It is a little difficult to talk about the value of this model, as it can vary wildly depending on your home. This can quickly turn into a frustrating waste of money if the spaces in your home are too small, constantly requiring you to go free the robot. Conversely, this would be well worth the additional money if you have lots of large areas, specifically carpet, that require cleaning.
The Samsung does an excellent job of cleaning, but does make sacrifices in other ways. We found that the robot would have difficulty docking, and could be very frustrating to manually place on the charging base. If you are looking at purchasing this, then there is really one important thing to consider: Can you honestly say that you keep your home essentially clutter-free? Including minimal furniture and nothing on the floor? If the answer is a definite yes, then the Samsung is well worth the purchase.