For about two months now I’ve had the LG R9 CordZero robotic vacuum. Before I continue, I’ll be straight up front about this, I get to keep this little beauty. So, take it or leave it if you think the ensuing review is biased, but I’m endeavouring to be as honest as possible.
The R9 is by far and away the most advanced and effective robot vacuum I’ve ever encountered. Having said that you’ll need to fork out $1599 for it at Harvey Norman, but more on that later.
This machine features artificial intelligence (AI) machine learning, part of LG’s ‘Deep ThinQ’ technology. Via an onboard camera, the R9 can see with its own eye’s objects and room layouts in 3D. It also uses an onboard laser sensor to help further map its path. Over time it literally learns more and more about your home.
At my house when I first got it up and running it did seem a little lost for a number of days. I’d come home and find in languishing in my toddler’s room, or randomly in the corner of the bathroom. I’ve placed the charging station out of my son’s reach, at the very front of my house in a TV room. As a result, it has to overcome a pretty complicated path to successfully navigate from one end of the house through a door and into a smallish room to find its power dock.
But after a few days it started to work seamlessly, returning each time without a drama. The power of the R9 is what really impresses me. Much like Dyson products, mini whirlwinds of air are created inside a chamber to separate dirt and dust. A five-step HEPA filtration process ensures the expelled air is very clean. All the filters are washable and easy to remove.
The R9 has a Smart Inverter Motor that can really ramp up the RPM’s. A smart turbo mode automatically detects carpet types, walls or high levels of dust and will quite loudly ramp up the action. For example, you can place it in Edge to Edge mode, this means that as it approaches a skirting board it spools up madly in an attempt to drag dust from where the wall meets the floor.
I also applaud the fact it has a real brush head or belt-driven Power Drive Nozzle. This is where it eclipses other robot vacs such as the flagship Ecovacs Deebot 900. The latter is excellent on hard floors, trust me I know. But on carpet I just don’t believe it can emulate the sheer thoroughness of the R9.
It’s also forthright, with a female voice that will literally tell you to get out of the way. Speaking of getting out of the way, I’m amazed by its ability to not get tangled in things which is usually the Achilles heel of most vacuums. I’ve seen the R9 run over typical power cables with no issue at all, I haven’t set up any exclusion zones at all because I’m completely confident it just won’t go where it shouldn’t. Even socks or other clothing left on the floor, 95 per cent of the time, don’t present a tangle hazard. Smaller cables such as those to charge smartphones will pose a risk but aside from that the R9 just goes about its duty incredibly effectively.
The intelligence is so good that when I let it loose in the EFTM office it managed to navigate what is essentially a minefield. To be honest you don’t even need to connect to a Wi-Fi network or even use the app. The included remote control does all you need anyway.
As you’d expect there is smart connectivity via the SmartTHINQ app. A MyZone feature can be used to clean certain rooms of the house via the established maps. I must say I’m yet to fully comprehend the app itself. The maps it creates seem vague and don’t make a whole lot of sense to me.
Ecovacs really excel in this department, their app creates almost a blueprint of your house. It also shows exactly where the vacuum is at all times, I don’t believe that’s a feature within the SmartThinQ app. But I’m happy to be corrected by the good people at LG.
I’m also yet to successfully connect it to the Google Assistant for voice activated commands, another issue I’m happy to take advice on.
Further features include HomeView, now this is something I’ll never use and I’m tipping nor will anyone else. You can open up the app and drive the R9 around the house manually using controls on the screen like it’s a remote-control car. Chasing the cat around while I’m sitting at work was a hoot, but really, it’s a question of why?
Remarkably the R9 can also act as a watchdog. Via a HomeGuard feature it can take five pictures when it detects unexpected movement and send them to you. The very last thing a burglar would be expecting is to have his mug exposed by a vacuum!
Now back to the price, would I fork out $1599 for this? Absolutely not. But I can assure you the R9 CordZero Robotic Vacuum comes very close to replacing my Dyson V10 stick vacuum.