Legee-668 intelligently cleans hard floors across four steps and two stages at the touch of a button.
There are quite a few robotic vacuum cleaners on the market and even a few non-carpet entries but HOBOT Technology Inc. takes things a bit further by including both in a single unit with its Legee-668. Although the company does say that it isn't intended to vacuum carpeted areas, the Legee-668's four-step process makes it a worthy competitor at a price of $599. There are, of course, a few caveats that don't necessarily come with other, more automated cleaning appliances. However, the biggest of those may be the amount of space it requires to function properly and that really isn't much of a deal-breaker except in homes on the smaller end of the spectrum. Specifically, 5-feet of clear space is required in front of and to either side of the charging dock where the Legee-668 will start and end its journey. However, there are also plenty of reasons to love the Legee-668, from its ability to both vacuum flooring and mop it one go to the intelligent navigation system from which it gets its name and its general ease of maintenance. HOBOT's newest cleaner is a winner in many regards.
In The Box
Cracking open the box HOBOT's latest creation ships in reveals quite a few inclusions that go far beyond a typical floor cleaning robot. That's largely due to the number of tasks this little cleaner is intended to accomplish, rather than being because there's a lot of maintenance. Instead, the company has obviously put an emphasis on helping users maintain the robot for as long as possible without needing to buy new pieces. A user manual, single spin brush, a sealed bag with two extra cleaning pads of each type, and plastic-wrapped Legee-668 are housed in the primary compartment. The spin brush is the only piece that requires any assembly out of the box since it comes with cleaning pads and a screen and HEPA filter already installed. Three spares pieces of each of those are also included. Setting those aside, a remote control with two triple-A batteries, charging dock and 19V/1A adapter, water bottle for filling the built-in mopping reservoir, a filter cleaning brush, and spare sprayer nozzles are included as well.
So the only real assembly required is placing the spin brush over its square bracket, filling up the water reservoir – which can be left until later – and plugging in the dock. The latter process is straightforward with a wall adapter connecting via DC port to the dock and that being placed on the floor, up against a wall, with 5-feet of clearance to either side and the front. The robot will need to be placed at the dock for a minimum of four hours before running. Meanwhile, there's no need to lose all of the accessories or to have to leave them floating in a drawer. The box is also compartmentalized so as to allow storage of those and with a handle to ensure easy moving if the Legee-668 needs to be stored and set aside for moving, remodeling, or whatever other reason.
Hardware and Design
On the hardware front, this is not at all a small device, measuring 340 x 330 x 95 mm and weighing in at 7lbs. However, it is well built and has a lot of features which make it very accurate and very easy to use. Its name derives from the inclusion of five laser sensors, an encoder for angle sensing, gyroscope, electronic compass, and estimated positioning from an intelligent room-mapping system. Two of the lasers in the Legee-668 are at the front and face downward for edge and cliff detection. The others allow parallel wall and object detection that, in conjunction with the front bumper, works to continually update its position and the room map. Rubber treads propel the bot forward at 8-inches per second. The body is black with a slight honeycomb pattern and plastics are used throughout. Charging contacts line the rounded, rear portion and are bumped up against the dock for charging its 3,000 mAh battery.
However, nothing about the HOBOT Legee-668 feels cheaply made or as though it will break easily either. The weakest part appears to be the door for accessing the filter, trash receptacle, and water reservoir but even that feels like it has plenty of flexibility to prevent breakage. Meanwhile, the buttons on the top of the device are somewhat squishy but very responsive and the pads on the bottom are very easy to line up thanks to their unique shapes. The remote control is equally well made and works at a decent range so there's no need to walk right up to get cleaning started. LEDs surround the buttons to give a clear indication of cleaning status. A white light indicates that dry mopping mode has been activated while blue lighting means that wet mode is engaged. Both blink when the two bottom nozzles underneath are spraying water. Six other status indicators are able to be shown as well. Those include warning and fault, low battery and dock searching, full charge, and charging indicators. Each is very easy to read, with important indicators having unique colors that are easy to see.
Navigation and Cleaning
In terms of cleaning, the Legee-668 does not start up and go automatically. It's run by an remote control instead. There are several operating modes available, with the added ability to directly control the device if a specific bit of cleaning needs to be accomplished that it somehow missed. We didn't notice any missed spots in our test, even when the robot had to navigate around the legs of tripods or lighting stands. Around 90 minutes of cleaning can be accomplished – or around 1600 square feet – and the Legee-668 uses much less water than traditional mopping at around 320ml over that area. Interestingly, as mentioned above, this is not recommended for carpeted areas or rugs. That's because although there is a dry mode, the robot is primarily a mop. So the removable trash receptacle only holds approximately 500ml of material. With that said, it does do a very good job of cleaning, as long as there's no liquid or severely stuck on material on the floor. This should definitely not be used to clean up spilled liquid since it vacuums up material first before dry or wet mopping. Cleaning is relatively quiet at around 68dB from a meter away – substantially quieter than almost any traditional vacuum cleaner.
That's in large part due to the 4-step cleaning process which includes 2 stages in one pass. The bot's designers modeled the process after traditional cleaning methods. So, it begins by vacuuming a hard surface, while a spinning brush at the leading edge extends by 40mm and can squeeze itself under narrow edges with nearly an inch of penetration. That helps it reach spots a traditional broom or mop would miss and places it very close to the wall. Corner cleaning is not a problem for this robot. That brush, meanwhile, also wraps hair underneath its connector and comes apart very easily for convenient cleaning with no hassle. There's no spinning brush on the vacuum so hair doesn't get snagged where it's difficult to get out. A great deal of work seems to have been put in place to ensure that the design of that brush doesn't create hair that gets stuck and it is very easy to remove if need be. All debris is simply sucked into the holding take and expelled air is filtered. The second step is a dry mop, just behind the vacuum portion. The cleaning pad picks up any and all dust that may have been missed in vacuuming. That's followed by a spray down at the center and a second, wet mop cycle. The mop head moves back and forth, scrubbing the floor at ten scrubs per second.
Four modes are available for that process. That includes a dry-mop mode for each and manual controls via an arrow pad on the remote, as alluded to above. The first button is a play/pause button which starts and stops auto cleaning. That will start the Legee-668 from the dock and automatically detect and clean the room or rooms in question while mapping the rooms for more efficient cleaning in subsequent sessions. The second is a spot cleaning mode, which can be useful for tough dirt and grime but should probably not be expected to clean up anything too drastic as we discovered in our own tests. It will clean up quite a lot but of messes but really stuck on materials or stains should probably be cleaned before using the Legee-668. Then there is a perimeter mode that will simply follow the wall for easier maintenance of those areas and a parallel mode which simply navigates back and forth in rows. A home button can be used to return the bot to its dock or it will do so on its own when its battery gets to a predetermined level or it's finished the job.
Maintenance and Battery Life
Maintenance is relatively simple. There aren't a lot of parts to care for and the robot will simply need to have trash emptied and be filled via the included fine-tip bottle when that gets low. It's recommended that no chemicals are used in the cleaning process and that doing so will likely cause damage to the robot but pure water for cleaning means that the reservoir shouldn't ever require removal and cleaning. As to the cleaning pads, those are machine washable on cold settings but should never be dried in a machine. Those attach to the bottom via velcro-like structures and are easy to pull off and put on.
They should probably be changed every few times the robot is used for the best results. Aside from that, there isn't much by way of product care and even the removable water tank and spray nozzles are held on by Phillips-type screws for easy access and maintenance. Filters are changed in the trash receptacle and can be cleaned with an included brush many times before being replaced. The spin brush is replaceable and cleanable as well – simply popping off or clicking on and only requiring one hand to remove or place. Battery life, as shown in our tests, is close enough to the claimed figure as to make no difference and is rated to continue at that rate consistently for a full year.
The HOBOT Legee-668 effectively serves as a great robotic daily dust maintenance and mopping tool for those who just don't have the time to clean their hard floors all the time by hand. It won't handle spills and shouldn't be used on carpet or rugs but that also doesn't seem to be what the company was going for. Maintenance is fairly light, although perhaps a bit higher than typical vacuum devices due to the need to refill a water reservoir and clean scrubbing pads. However, the debris collection tank is fairly standard in size for these kinds of technology and none of those caveats are necessarily dealbreakers with consideration for what this robot is intended to do. For those who have hardwood floors, tile, linoleum, or similar laminates, this is one robotic helper that's well worth the cash.