Deal Review: $688 for a Smart Vacuum Robot from Groupon

$688 for a Smart Vacuum Robot from Groupon

Groupon’s redemption centre in Hong Kong is located at 38 Russell street, right across from Times Square in the Causeway Bay (near MTR exit A). Soundwill Plaza is a large commercial building and its entrance between TAG Hauer and Swarovski is not hard to miss.

Easy to find Groupon Concept Store entrance (across from Times Square)

Easy to find Groupon Concept Store entrance (across from Times Square)

Upon entering the lobby, you will be ushered into a lineup to take a service lift up to the Groupon store on the third floor… Probably not the best way for Groupon to make a impression.

When you reach the third floor you will finally see the recognizable Groupon green colours with multiple employees ready to redeem your stash.  You are presented with a service ticket upon entering the store and with so many staff on hand, the wait was not long even though streams of customers were coming in by the tens.

The vacuum packaging, Panda faces all over it...

The vacuum packaging, Panda faces all over it…

The service that the Groupon employee gave me was mediocre.  I wanted to ensure that the robot vacuum I bought did not have a panda face on it.  I thought that was a fair question since there were panda faces plastered all over the box and I did not recall seeing even ONE panda face during my whole ordering process.  He tried many times to persuade me that the vacuum inside was one without a panda face without opening the box to show me.  All I wanted him to do was take 1 minute to open the box and the problem would be resolved!  After much bantering and him going to the back to “check” he finally agreed to open the box… with a sour face but I didn’t care because I was finally satisfied, no panda face!

I didn’t feel like being squished in a service elevator again so I took the stairs down.  I felt like I was doing a fire drill as the stairs leading down actually doubles as a fire escape.  Overall the redemption process wasn’t as grand as one would expect after seeing photos of the Groupon Concept store, however I give the entire process a pass due to the ease of redemption, and it’s accessible location.

Now onto the actual product, Miss C has always wanted a smart robot vacuum but truth be told, there’s really never enough space in HK to warrant getting one.  However to satisfy her undying fetish for cleaning, we decided that $999 was a fair price to try out a budget model.  Worst case if I accidentally stomp on and break it, we won’t feel as bad at this price point.

Contents of the box

Contents of the box

Upon opening the box, we found that the robot vacuum comes with the following items.  The robot itself, instructional manual in English (no Chinese), barrier beam, remote control, brush cleaner, some blue cloths, and a filter replacement.  You can see a video unboxing of the Groupon Good Robot vacuum cleaner here.

Now for $999 I would say that the vacuum (let’s name him Panda, and it’s a boy) is probably worth its value.  When you put Panda on automatic mode, he really doesn’t have any idea or plan on how he’s going to clean your room.  He just kind of bumbles around like a drunken idiot, and when he hits an obstacle, he will randomly pick another direction to go without really giving thought to its current relative location.  The result is that some parts of your room may be cleaned repeated, while others are never touched.  However the battery life is strong so this drunken cleaning act can go on for a few hours and hopefully all spots are covered.  Click here for a video of Panda vacuum robot live and in action.

 

The barrier beam

The barrier beam

The package includes an instrument that I have dubbed the “barrier beam”.  What it does is that you put 2x D cell batteries in there, and place it somewhere to act as an invisible barrier where Panda cannot cross.  Say you don’t want to vacuum the bathroom, then you would put this white box at the bathroom doorway, and Panda will not cross that line.

One thing to note is that Panda does not work well on carpet.  Actually it doesn’t work at all on carpet.  The carpet that we tested has longer tufts than usual, but every time Panda went on it he immediately got stuck and threw and error code.  What did impress me however was how Panda was able to find his way back to the charging station with pinpoint accuracy.  Once he’s low on energy or you press “stop” on the remote, he thinks for a couple seconds then makes a bee-line for his home, which is actually quite entertaining to watch.  See the Groupon smart robot vacuum in action.

Relatively compact and small

Relatively compact and small

Overall I would say that this robot vacuum is good value for those who want to give it a try, but don’t want to shell out $3,000+ for a Roomba, LG, or major brand.  This appliance was obviously made in China but it doesn’t seem very tacky at all.  Most importantly I think it adequately minimizes the number of times that you actually need to manually clean or vacuum the floor in your home.  Just preset it to run while you are out of the house, and you’ve saved yourself lots of time.

 

Sleeping on his charging dock

Sleeping on his charging dock

Overall Rating: 3.5/5

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