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iRobot’s budget Roomba can now be controlled through Alexa

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The Roomba 690, now quite affordable, will heed your calls for Alexa to clean.

Still undecided when it comes to robot vacuums? Perhaps the iRobot Roomba 690 will finally convince you – it’s currently retailing at $375 (£290 in the UK, approximately AU$498 in Australia.) This seems to be the most affordable machine that can automatically clean floors, as well as feature app-connected smarts. Thanks to a recent Alexa skill, the Roomba 690 joins only 3 other iRobot devices that you can now boss around using Amazon’s Alexa.

The other Roombas now able to work alongside Alexa are the upcoming Roomba 890, and the current iRobot models, the Roomba 960 and Roomba 980. Although iRobot haven’t released pricing for the Roomba 890 as of yet, they have confirmed it will ultimately replace their Roomba 860, which was priced at $500. Similarly, the Roomba 690 will bump the Roomba 650 from the lineup.

Give Alexa Roomba powers

iRobot says that to enable Alexa’s control over (compatible) Roombas, users will simply need to say “Alexa, open Roomba.” If within earshot of an Amazon device such as the Echo or Echo Dot, this phrase will activate the Alexa skill within the iRobot Home app. With this done, you’ll then be able to ask Alexa to start, stop, or even dock the robot vacuum.

However, the Roomba 690 isn’t the only budget-friendly smart robot vacuum cleaner out there. For $400 (£310 UK, ~AU$531 Aus) we have the Neato Botvac D3 Connected which Is able to communicate with its companion mobile app over Wi-Fi.

Alexa can be used to control the D3, and can even be commanded through Facebook Chatbox text message. The D3 will also work with any Google Home voice-activated speakers, as well as the Google Assistant virtual helper. These two tricks are still lacking from Roomba’s bag of tricks.

In a nutsheel: iRobot Roomba 690

  • Based on basic Roomba 650
  • Connect to home Wi-Fi, and linked via companion mobile app
  • Voice control through Alexa virtual assistant
  • $375 (£290 UK, ~AU$498 Aus)
  • Preorder available now, shipping to retail stores 2017 Q2