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Robot Vacuum Cleaners vs Handheld Vacuum Cleaners: Which Is Better for You?

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Robot Vacuum Cleaners vs Handheld Vacuum Cleaners: Which Is Better for You?


What is the best vacuum cleaner you should buy, and how do you choose the correct type? Increased focus on hygiene and cleanliness in recent times has made the idea of the vacuum cleaner attractive once again. Interestingly, the vacuum cleaner itself is a very different product today from what it once was; it’s no longer the bulky, clunky, and loud device that needs to be plugged in and strung along on a long power cable. Instead, modern vacuum cleaners slot into two popular form factors today – cord-free handheld devices, and automated robotic cleaners. Both of these form factors take the best of what technology has to offer right now, and combine it with the age-old idea of sucking dirt and impurities into a bin.

If you’re looking for a new vacuum cleaner right now, you’ve likely considered either of these two options. In this guide, we’ll try to help you figure out which of the two form factors suits you best, based on your usage and requirements. We’ve also recommended some options from leading brands in the segment, including Dyson, Xiaomi, Realme, and more.

Key differences between robot and handheld vacuum cleaners

The biggest and most important difference between robot and handheld vacuum cleaners is the way they are used; the former operates autonomously, while the latter has to be controlled and used by your hands. This means that robot cleaners are considerably easier to operate and don’t involve much effort from the user, while handheld vacuum cleaners offer better accuracy and a more comprehensive cleaning, guided by a real person rather than a computer algorithm.

Naturally, robot cleaners are limited to cleaning just the floor because of their form factor and size, while handheld devices can be used on furniture, table and counter tops, upholstery, and walls. However, most robot vacuum cleaners can also mop the floor, often simultaneously with vacuuming, which isn’t something you can do with a handheld vacuum cleaner.

How is a robot vacuum cleaner superior to a handheld device?

As mentioned, the biggest advantage of a robot vacuum cleaner is that it functions autonomously. Most devices are controlled using a smartphone app, and connect to your home’s Wi-Fi to receive the control commands and relay data such as cleaning statistics, map and location, and the condition of consumable parts such as brushes and air filters.

You can also control the device by pressing the buttons on the robot itself; either way, the robot will navigate itself around all accessible areas of your home and clean in a predetermined pattern without any further intervention from the user. Many robot vacuum cleaners also store home maps, and can then be set to clean specific rooms, in a specific order, or a particular spot. You can also set no-go zones, virtual wall barriers for areas you don’t want it to access, and more.

Once fully set up, the device only needs to be started up, and you can go back to doing whatever you were doing without needing to monitor the robot. Many such devices also have the ability to mop, with water reservoir tanks and mop cloth attachments that allow the devices to both vacuum and mop simultaneously. This means a robot cleaner can offer a comprehensive floor cleaning solution, with little manual effort on the part of the user.

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How is a handheld vacuum cleaner superior to a robot device?

Handheld vacuum cleaners slot into two general categories – corded and cord-free. The former, as the name suggests, must be connected to a power outlet to run and usually has a long cable to allow you to move around a room freely regardless of where the vacuum cleaner is plugged in. The latter has a built-in battery that allows it to be used wirelessly, making it much more convenient and easy to use.

The portability of a cord-free handheld vacuum cleaner means that you can access most areas of your home quickly and easily, including upholstery, counter-tops, and other furniture. You can also use it to clean areas that may not have easy access to an electrical socket nearby, such as a car, balcony, or terrace.

Handheld vacuum cleaners also have considerably more peak suction power than similarly priced robot devices. This, along with the precision that comes with a human operating the device, makes for much quicker and thorough cleaning. While a robot vacuum cleaner may take around an hour to fully clean a normal-sized urban apartment, a handheld vacuum cleaner in skilled hands could do the same job in a fraction of the time.

All vacuum cleaners, whether handheld or robotic, require periodic maintenance. With robot devices, there are more moving parts, including the sweeping brushes, the main vacuum brush, and the dustbin, all of which need to be regularly cleaned out for the device to continue functioning effectively. If the robot also has mopping functionality, you’ll have to regularly top up the water reservoir and wash the mop cloth as well.

In comparison, most handheld devices are a lot easier to clean out; you usually only need to empty out the dustbin, which is designed to be a simple process. Since handheld devices usually don’t have too many exposed moving parts, tangles and problematic jams happen less often, thus making these devices easier to maintain in the long run.

Our top picks for robot vacuum cleaners

Mi Robot Vacuum-Mop P: The product that arguably popularised the robot vacuum segment in India, the Mi Robot Vacuum-Mop P offers excellent value for money at its current price of Rs. 20,000. You get vacuum cleaning, mopping, laser navigation, and an excellent app in the form of Mi Home, all of which works very well.

Realme Techlife Robot Vacuum Cleaner: Much like the Xiaomi option, Realme’s robot vacuum cleaner can also mop, works with the Realme Link app, has laser navigation and mapping, and works well for the most part. However, it is a bit buggy in function, and needs regular maintenance and care.

iRobot Roomba i3+ and Braava Jet M6: Priced at Rs. 44,900 each, the iRobot Roomba i3+ only vacuums comes with the Clean Base automatic dirt disposal system, while the Braava Jet M6 only mops. Together, these two devices offer a comprehensive home cleaning solution, but are held back a bit by navigation issues, slow cleaning speed, and the high combined price of Rs. 90,000.

360 S7: Although a bit more expensive than options from Xiaomi and Realme at around Rs. 27,500, the 360 S7 is usually available on major e-commerce stores, has a very good app and laser navigation system, and offers both vacuuming and mopping functionality. While vacuuming is very effective, mopping is a bit basic because of the small mop fitting.

ILife A10s: Priced at Rs. 34,900, the ILife A10s is a bit expensive compared to the competition, has some issues with navigation, and needs to vacuum and mop separately. However, it’s very effective at cleaning, and has a useful remote which you can control the device with.

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Our top picks for handheld vacuum cleaners

Dyson V11 Absolute Pro: Although expensive at Rs. 52,900, the Dyson V11 Absolute Pro is among the most powerful handheld vacuum cleaners you can buy right now. It comes with plenty of attachments, adding versatility and the ability to clean just about any household surface.

Realme Techlife Handheld Vacuum Cleaner: Promising the same level of convenience as a Dyson, but at a fraction of the price, the Realme Techlife Handheld Vacuum Cleaner promises easy cord-free household cleaning with a decent range of attachments, priced at Rs. 7,499.

Dyson Omni-glide: At Rs. 19,900, the Omni-glide is among Dyson’s more affordable cord-free handheld vacuum cleaners, and is very light and easy to use. The omni-directional roller attachment allows for quick and easy manoeuvrability when cleaning floors.

Kent Zoom Vacuum Cleaner: Similar in form, function, and pricing to the Realme handheld vacuum cleaner, the Kent Zoom has a HEPA filter and is said to run for around 30 minutes per full charge. It weighs around 3.15kg, making it easy to handle as well.


Realme India CEO Madhav Sheth joins Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast for an exclusive wide-ranging interview, as he talks about the 5G push, Make in India, Realme GT series and Book Slim, and how stores can improve their standing. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.
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Wakefit Brings Temperature-Control Mattress, Contactless Sleep Tracker

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Wakefit Brings Temperature-Control Mattress, Contactless Sleep Tracker


Wakefit unveiled its AI-powered sleep solution suite dubbed Wakefit Zense on Wednesday. The Zense range features Regul8, a temperature-adjustable mattress, and Track8, an artificial intelligence (AI) contactless sleep-tracking device. With these, the company said it aims to integrate technology into the sleep environment to help users optimise sleep quality and improve sleep health. Both devices come with dual-zone sensors to create a custom sleep environment on each side of the bed. The Wakefit Zense range of sleep solutions is currently available for pre-booking.

Wakefit Zense Regul8, Track8 price and availability

Regul8, under the Wakefit Zense range, can be purchased at the price of Rs. 44,999. The mattress is available in Queen (78×60 inch) and King (78×72 inch) sizes. Track8, the sleep tracking sheet, is priced at Rs. 10,499. Both devices can currently be pre-booked on the official website for Rs. 499 each, or Rs. 899 combined.

Wakefit Zense Regul8 features

According to the company, the Regul8 mattress features a water-based system to control the temperature of the mattress surface. The mattress’ temperature can be set between 15-degree and 40-degree Celsius using the companion app. Regul8 has a dual-zone temperature controller, which allows the user to set different temperatures for each side of the bed.

Regul8 also comes with integrated temperature sensors that can monitor the temperature of the mattress surface and make real-time adjustments to keep it consistent throughout the night. It also features five different presets — Neutral, Cold, Warm, Ice, and Fire — to easily set the desired temperature. Wakefit claims that the Regul8 mattress consumes 60 percent less energy than a 1.5-ton AC.

Wakefit Zense Tack8 features

Track8 is a sleep solution under the Wakefit Zense range, which can track users’ sleeping patterns and other metrics without any contact. The device, which is a thin rectangular sheet of fabric with two sheet sensors, is placed under the mattress. It has dual-zone sensors, one for each side of the bed, and can track two users at the same time. The device directly sends the collected data to the companion app, which then processes the information to present a detailed sleep report.

The company claims the device uses AI and machine learning algorithms to capture data around sleep stages, respiratory rate, movement, sleep and wake up time, on and off bed time, and snoring. Once analysed, it also offers an aggregated sleep score.



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Apple’s tvOS 18 Gets InSight, Automatic Subtitles and Other New Features

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Apple’s tvOS 18 Gets InSight, Automatic Subtitles and Other New Features


Apple announced several new features for tvOS 18 – the latest operating system for Apple TV devices, at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2024 on Monday. One of the key highlights is a new feature known as InSight, which provides the user with information about the content that is currently being played. In addition to InSight, Apple announced improvements to existing Apple TV features such as a smarter Enhanced Dialogue, automatic subtitles and support for a new aspect ratio. Apple said that new screensavers will also be available to users soon.

tvOS 18 Updates

At its developer conference, Apple announced InSight – a feature which displays real-time information about the currently playing content, such as the characters, cast and the music playing. To get further information, users can select a specific actor and bring up their background and filmography page, the iPhone maker revealed.

Moreover, tvOS 18 is also said to offer the ability to add the currently playing music to the user’s Apple Music library. The Cupertino-based tech giant also announced that the InSight information can now be accessed on the iPhone while using it as an Apple TV remote.

Stan Ng, Vice President of Apple Watch, Audio, Health, and Home Product Marketing, said, “This fall, tvOS 18 and our services take entertainment in the home to the next level by bringing timely information to fans about their favourite characters and scenes.”

With tvOS, the Enhanced Dialogue feature is claimed to have become smarter, leveraging machine learning (ML) and computational audio to provide better vocal clarity. This feature can now be taken advantage of when playing supported content through the TV’s in-built speakers, Bluetooth-connected audio devices and AirPods, Apple said.

Subtitles are also said to receive improvements, with Apple claiming they now automatically appear in places where the audio does not match the device language. In addition to new screensavers such as films, TV shows, portraits and even Snoopy, Apple is also introducing support for a wider 21:9 aspect ratio for video playback on projectors.

Apple also announced updates to the Home interface, with users now able to share control when playing music through HomePod and HomePod mini using SharePlay and Apple Music. Furthermore, Live Captions will be coming to the US and Canada to read what others say during FaceTime calls when using the iPhone as a Continuity Camera on Apple TV.

The iPhone maker claims to have also introduced a new look for the Apple Fitness+ app to “help users make the most of its robust library, stay motivated, and keep consistent with their fitness routine.”


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Siri May Soon Be Able to Control Robot Vacuum Cleaners for You

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Siri May Soon Be Able to Control Robot Vacuum Cleaners for You


Apple Home will gain support for robot vacuum cleaners with the upcoming iOS 18 update, the company announced at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2024 keynote on Monday. The app enables users to control their smart home accessories such as lights and security devices, using a HomePod or Apple TV as a smart hub. When the iOS 18 update arrives, the Cupertino-based tech giant will also introduce a new a guest access feature, granting users temporary access to smart home devices located in a household.

Apple Home App Updates

At WWDC 2024, Apple announced that it will soon allow users to control their robot vacuum cleaners via the Home app. After the functionality is rolled out later this year, commands may be relayed to the vacuum cleaners via Siri. These include commands to clean floors, change cleaning modes, or check the battery status.

The core functionality of robot vacuum cleaners will be supported via the Apple Home app, according to the company. These include managing power controls, setting the cleaning mode, and performing vacuum and mop cleaning, and checking charge status.”

Guest Access on Apple Home

Device owners will be also able to provide guest access to smart home devices to those people who don’t visit their homes too often. In addition to that, they can also set schedules for when guests can access their homes with smart home keys utilising the ultra wide-band (UWB) technology, it further added.

This functionality will be rolled out when iOS 18 is released to the public, which Apple says will happen in the Fall. As per the previous trends, this might coincide with the launch of the upcoming iPhone 16 series in September.

iOS 18 Eligible Devices

While iOS 18 is bringing upgrades to existing features in addition to new ones, not all iPhones will be eligible. As per the company, only the iPhone XR and newer models up to the iPhone 15 Pro Max (as of now) will receive the update. This means the iPhone models that received the iOS 17 update last year will also be updated to iOS 18.

However, the newly announced features powered by Apple Intelligence (or artificial intelligence) will only be available on handsets running on the A17 Pro SoC, which means the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max, according to the company.


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