It’s been over five years since iRobot released the Roomba 560 cleaning bot. During that time the autonomous cleaner saw a number of new firmware revisions but no significant changes (unless if you purchased the AeroVac upgrade kit). Even so, up until recently it remained a highly recommended option and the most practical choice in the iRobot’s lineup. Then, in August, the Roomba 650 was announced as the successor to the 560 (or, more accurately, the 600 series was replacing the 500 series) and finally fans of home-cleaning robots has something to look forward to.Since 2007 new Roombas have gotten wireless controls, a slick new design, and better cleaning patterns, but not all of those features made their way to the Roomba 650. In fact, the 600 series lacks the wireless controls of the Roomba 790 Best Price at Amazon and does not have the sharp-edged design found in the 700 series. The 650 is essentially a 560 with an improved cleaning head module (what holds the rotating beaters), a dustbin with better airflow, and a nearly-all-black design. All of the 600 series models have a lively bit of color found in a ring on the top, with the 650’s being yellow. It’s purely aesthetic, but it looks better than the previous generation if that matters much to you (it’ll be covered in cat hair and dust in a matter of days anyway).The 650’s set of sensors, which help tell the vacuuming bot where to go and what to clean, are essentially the same as the 500 series and didn’t see any of the minor improvements that are in the 700s. The new model did gen an updated firmware though, so it’s slightly smarter than before and presumably was able to learn the lessons of five years of iRobot’s R&D.During usage the 650 does its job and it does it well. The bot bobs and weaves around the floor, not caring if it’s on hardwood, a rug, or tile. It’s able to get between chairs, under couches, and recognize if the object in front of it is solid or something it can pass under, like a tablecloth. Of course, all of iRobot’s previous bots could do the same, so the question for me became, is the 650 any better?The cleaning head module (CHM) and new dust bin are definite improvements. The 500 series’ CHM was imperfect (bordering on faulty) and the new one is rock solid. This means the Roomba won’t start clunking, and stop cleaning, when it hits an uneven surface or a similar obstacle. And the new bin means improved suction, more debris crammed inside, and a vacuum that is better able to deal with hair. The bot does not have the 700 series’ dual HEPA filters, Dirt Detect Series 2 debris sensing, or “Persistent Pass” back-and-forth cleaning action for problem areas. So, yes, it’s an improvement on the 500 series, but the 700 series retains its premium title.Roomba 650 and Roomba 560Like the 560 before it, the 650 has scheduling. This is the only notable perk of the higher end model compared to the $350 Roomba 630, though some people will also prefer the 650’s black-on-black to the 630’s silver-on-black (the color being the only other difference). So if you don’t plan on using the 7-day schedule feature then you should save yourself the $50 and go with the 630. That said, the scheduling is one of the Roomba’s most useful functions and it shows off the robot’s clever ability to find it’s way home when it needs to be recharged. (Seriously, every time I run my Roomba and it is back on its charging station when I get home, I’m quite proud of it.)Ultimately the Roomba 650 is a very good cleaning bot. And it does have a few improvements over the 500 series, but these aren’t nearly as major as you might expect given the length of time since the 560 came out. And bear in mind, if you have replaced your 500’s cleaning head module and you upgraded to the Aerovac bin, than you pretty much have a 600 series bot already, less the new firmware and that cute yellow ring.I would have really liked to see the 600 series integrate a USB port or some other easy way to upgrade the firmware, as well as upgraded sensors and quieter operation. Seeing a product come out that’s no quieter than my 560 and that still bounces too hard into the leg of my couch is a bit disappointing, even if the 650 is a good all-around performer. The facts of the matter are that the 700 series isn’t worth the extra money, the 600 series gets the job done but is a minor evolution, and the Roomba’s probably won’t see any major changes until we see some serious competition in the market. With Samsung and LG having no presence in the US market, and iRobot having just bought it’s biggest competitor (Evolution Robotics) it might be some time before that happens.The Roomba 650 is currently available for $400.Roomba 650 – topRoomba 650 – topRoomba 650 – scheduleRoomba 650 – Roomba 560Roomba 650 and Roomba 560Roomba 650 – bottomThis review was based on a retail version of the Roomba 650, provided to Geek.com by iRobot.
TRAINER Aidan O’Brien claimed the 1,000 Guineas for the fourth time in five years as Love won the second British Classic of the year at Newmarket.The 4-1 shot charged through the centre to finish four and a quarter lengths clear of 12-1 chance Cloak of Spirits.Unbeaten 11-4 favourite Quadrilateral, daughter of the iconic Frankel, finished third.Love, O’Brien’s sole entry, secured the Irishman’s sixth 1,000 Guineas and 36th British Classic.O’Brien took three of the five Classics last year and, after finishing second with Wichita in Saturday’s 2,000 Guineas, his filly was in sublime form on another overcast day in Suffolk, where the going was good.Celebrating a fourth 1,000 Guineas, jockey Ryan Moore said: “She’s a very uncomplicated filly and we’ve always thought a lot of her. She was in control of the race from a long way out.”Quadrilateral won a Group One over the same course and distance on her last outing, when Love was a length and three quarters back in third. Ridden by 20-year-old Jason Watson, Quadrilateral could not find a finishing burst on the inside as she was beaten into third by a head.Champion jockey Oisin Murphy, who claimed the 2,000 Guineas on Kameko, rode 4-1 shot Millisle, trained by Jessica Harrington.Millisle won the Group One Cheveley Park over six furlongs at Newmarket last time out in September but was 10 lengths adrift in seventh on this occasion.Frankie Dettori’s mount Shimmering, owned by Lord Lloyd-Webber and a winner over a mile at Lingfield in December with Robert Havlin on board, finished 10th.(BBC Sport)
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<< Previous PostNext Post >> The Canadian Press Posted by Thursday, August 25, 2016 Share PARIS — Fewer foreign tourists are visiting the Paris region after deadly attacks last year and a season of strikes, violent labour action and exceptional floods.The regional tourism office reported figures for the first half of 2016 this week showing that the drop was especially high among Japanese, Russian and Chinese visitors.Spending on hotels fell particularly sharply, but was partially compensated by a rise in the number of people staying in private apartment offerings.Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has called a meeting for early September to find ways to revive tourism, which represents about 7 per cent of the French economy.Other French regions have not been as hard hit as Paris, though French Riviera tourism was shaken by a truck attack in Nice last month that killed 86. Tourism to Paris slumps after attacks, strikes, floods