All the components of this system work well together. The smart gates successfully kept the NaviBot at bay, the remote worked exactly as you'd hope, and the robot made its way back to the charging station with ease.
Dishing the dirt
But, alas, the bath-water of our admiration quickly drained into the plughole of discontent -- the otherwise charming NaviBot just isn't a very effective vacuum cleaner. The main problem isn't so much the fact that it's fairly slow to clean a room, or that you'll only get a couple of goes out of it before you'll need to empty its dustbin. Nor is it that you'll have to carry it up and down the stairs yourself. It's not even that you'll need a screwdriver to be able to remove long hairs wrapped around the axles of the two sweepers that direct detritus into the vacuum system.
Rather, the issue is that the NaviBot simply can't reach into nooks -- or crannies for that matter. It won't be able to cope with dust on skirting boards, TVs or hi-fis either, or get under furniture that sits close to the floor.
The result is that, although the NaviBot did a generally impressive job on the wooden flooring of our London garret, we still ended up with select pockets of filth all over the place. Consequently, we had to whip out a conventional vacuum cleaner after the NaviBot had finished, which made us think we might as well have done it all ourselves in the first place.
The NaviBot doesn't perform as well on carpets as it does on hard surfaces. We mashed a custard cream into the carpet at the office and had to pass the NaviBot over the area seven times before we were happy that nobody would notice what we'd done.
We're not entirely convinced that leaving the NaviBot to its own devices while you're out at the pool is a barnstormingly good idea either. We've seen the NaviBot completely fail to navigate past the leg of our couch, get trapped on a 15mm-high section of raised flooring, and drag around a loose cable for sufficiently long that we thought it might try and eat it. The thought of the NaviBot causing mayhem in our home while we're away is too much for our paranoid minds to bear.
The Samsung NaviBot is a highly appealing gadget with the noblest of ambitions. But it doesn't clean sufficiently well for us to recommend it at this price. If you're feeling flush, love robots and absolutely detest vacuum cleaning, it could fit the bill. For everyone else, we'd advise keeping your money, gritting your teeth and getting on with the housework as usual, or putting the money towards a cleaner.