Neato BOTVAC D7 Connect review: strong suction with an intuitive app

Neato Robotics Botvac D7 robot vacuum cleaner
(Image: © Bryan M. Wolfe / iMore)

Back in February, I called the ECOVACS Deebot OZMO 930 the best smart vacuum robot to date. Soon after, I was asked to review Neato's top-of-the-line Botvac D7 Connected. Though a year older than Deebot's machine, the D7 offers many of the same features, making a comparison and review necessary. Here's what I thought of the Neato Botvac D7 Connected.

The Good

  • Extra large bin
  • Awesome suction
  • Speedy operation
  • Intuitive app

The Bad

  • Price
  • Loud

Neato's best

What is the Neauto Botvac D7 Connected?

Officially released in March 2018, the Neato Botvac D7 was the first of three so-called "Connected" robots released last year and the most expensive. Unlike the later released Botvac D6 (around $730 at Amazon) and Botvac D4 (around $530 at Amazon), the D7 offers so-called Zone Cleaning, which you'll learn more about below.

As I noted in my OZMO 930 review, there are a few things I look for when reviewing a robot vacuum.

First, a robot in 2019 needs to know the difference between surfaces automatically and adjust its settings accordingly. When it comes to suction, vacuums need to react differently on carpets and bare floors, after all. A good vacuum cleaner is also able to detect obstacles with ease and change its path on the fly. I also appreciate vacuum robots that can work past strands of hair and pet fur without having a malfunction. It's also essential for a vacuum to have long running time and the intelligence to get back to its base for charging before the battery runs dry. Readily available replacement parts for your vacuum robot is also essential.

Extra features such as voice control and an enlarged dirt bin are just that, extra. These features are nice add-ons to have. However, I don't think they are deal breakers for most folks. The latter just means having to clean your robot bin more often.

Lots of features

Botvac D7 Connected: What I like

Neato Botvac d7 robot vacuum

Having tested a Botvac D7 Connected review unit for a few weeks, it's clear what I like (and don't like) about this product. First, let's start with the good stuff.

Weighing in at just 7.5 pounds, this robot is among the lightest on the market, which comes in handy if you have more than one floor in your home. It's also one of the easiest to set up thanks to its intuitive quick guide and app.

Speaking of the app, it's perhaps the best I've seen for a robot vacuum. From here, you can assign profiles, establish a cleaning schedule, and determine whether to have your robot clean an entire floor in your home or do spot cleaning. Through Neato's LaserSmart technology, the robot can map and navigate your home to make each subsequent job more efficient than the last. After each task completes, the results are shown as a map in the app. The floorplan comes in handy when using the robot's Zone Cleaning feature, which you'll learn more about below.

Offering a suction power of 2,000 pa, the D7 has had no problem picking up the dirt on my floors and carpet. With double the suction power of my favorite robot vacuum, it's truly a beast, whether you're using the Eco or Turbo cleaning profile. The former provides a "quieter, longer cleaning run" while the latter is "super-powered cleaning with maximum pickup." The spot cleaning tool allows the robot to clean a random 13-by-13 foot location and is ideally suited for after a party or other gathering when foot traffic has occurred in one large area.

Better than spot cleaning is the all-new Zone Cleaning feature which takes advantage of the device's mapping tool. To get started, the robot must complete one special cleaning run to create a floor plan. Once this is done, you can use your finger to add no-go lines directly to the map on the smartphone app. From there, the robot will clean specific areas only by avoiding the physical locations you indicated with those digital lines. The tool works as advertised and is suited for large homes with many rooms. For this feature, you'll pay a premium since it's only currently available on the Botvac D7 Connected.

Beyond this, I was impressed with the machine's ability to avoid obstacles such as electrical cords, shoes, and dog toys. There's also no denying this robot vacuum is quick at getting its work done. During comparison tests in the same locations, the D7 always cleaned quicker than the OZMO 930. I remain skeptical whether this truly matters, especially if your cleaning jobs are performed during a period when no one is home.

Finally, if you want to use Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant to start, pause, or end a cleaning task, you're in luck. Both work with the D7.

Sound and price

Deebot OZMO 930: What I don't like

On paper, the Botvac D7 Connected has a noise level of 64 dB versus the 65 dB for the OZMO 930. In reality, I found the Neato model much louder, no matter the profile setting. It's also the only one between the two where I can hear the sucking sound when it picks up something. Keep in mind both of these dB levels are considered only slightly higher than normal conversation and both are lower than the sound that emits from traditional vacuum cleaners. In other words, even though I found the noise from the D7 somewhat louder than the OZMO 930, in neither case would I consider it annoying or unsettling. Like with most sounds, you eventually get used to it, and it fades into the background.

More than anything, the price difference between the Botvoc D7 and OZMO 930 is what's keeping me from recommending the former over the latter. At the time of this writing, the D7 is around $300 more than the other model. With this savings, you might have to put up with more run time and a smaller dust bin. However, you'll gain a mopping feature when choosing the OZMO 930.

Neato Botvac d7 robot vacuum

Neato D7 Robot Vacuum (Image credit: iMore)

My advice: If you're looking for a robot vacuum with all of the modern day bells and whistles, go with the Deebot OZMO 930, which offers similar features for much less. If your mind is set on buying a Neato product, wait for a sale on D7 which brings the price closer in line to the Deebot model.

Featured packed

Neato Botvac D7 Connected

If it weren't for the price, this robot vacuum would be at least four stars out of five!

See Botvac D7 Connected at Amazon

Have any questions?

If you have any questions or concerns about the D7 or vacuum robots in general, let us know below.

Bryan M Wolfe
Staff Writer

Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education. He’s currently iMore’s lead on all things Mac and macOS, although he also loves covering iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Bryan enjoys watching his favorite sports teams, traveling, and driving around his teenage daughter to her latest stage show, audition, or school event in his spare time. He also keeps busy walking his black and white cocker spaniel, Izzy, and trying new coffees and liquid grapes.