The iLife A7 fell pretty flat in our suction tests but it was good in some ways. It made its way through most of the obstacles around my home and was easy to use. It was not great at its main job, though, cleaning floors. That's a problem.
When we sprinkled Cheerios on our hardwood floors and let it run its course it left quite a few behind -- more than any of the other robot vacuums in this round of testing. It was equally disappointing on the kitty litter and dog hair tests, leaving large quantities of both behind. We used the default cleaning mode on all of our laboratory tests so it is possible it cleans better with more specific instructions. All others did fine using default settings; the A7 struggled.
It was much more impressive in my home, though. It was fast, quiet and smooth as it sailed over large transitions from one type of flooring to another, even really dramatic ones. My home has border between hardwood and tile that is over an inch tall and this vacuum got over it just fine. It struggled some with other obstacles. It could not figure out the couch with the dust ruffle. Most of them went right under and kept cleaning under the couch. This one treated it like a wall and turned away every time.
Any struggles in the movement department mean it is less self-sufficient. Cleaning without human help is what makes a robot vacuum worth having so if the A7 avoids areas that you want it to clean or gets stuck too often it is not a great investment.
This unit has the longest run time of any in our most recent comparison, with more than two hours of consecutive cleaning. It also takes a long time to recharge, though, so that is less favorable.
The iLife A7 is one of the few to have more than one year for warranty coverage. That is something we expected to see with the more expensive units but this one is reasonably priced and has a good long warranty.
The iLife A7 had much less cleaning power than the other machines we tested and that is a shame because it is reasonably-priced, quiet, easy to use and relatively self-sufficient. If it cleaned better it would make the perfect addition to any home. As it is, we can't really recommend it.
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