Until this year, upstart smart home manufacturer Amarey only had two robotic vacuums available on the market: the A800, and the beefier A900. Both of these vacuums got great reviews, and offered some of the best value in their respective price ranges. Still, it had been a while since we’d heard anything from Amarey, and we were started to get worried that the company was content to rest on their laurels.
This summer, Amarey released the new A980. While similar in many respects to the original A900, the A980 has been upgraded with advanced air filtration technology, which keeps both your motor and your lungs safe from fine dust. But what else does the A980 have to offer? We’ve put Amarey’s latest offering to the test, to see how well the battery, suction, and AI features stacked up to the rest of what’s on the market.
Design and Construction
The Amarey A980 is similar in size to the original A800 and A900. It has the same 12.7-inch diameter, although it’s a bit thicker, measuring 3 inches in thickness instead of 2.7. This is still slim enough to fit under just about any sofa and many dressers, although you should definitely take out a tape measure to verify this before you buy.
This taller profile accommodates a large, 500ml dust bin, which is enough for cleaning a substantial amount of dirt, dust, and debris. This dust bin, as well as the motor and filters, are housed in an attractive black ABS plastic case with a glossy outer edge. The top of the case has a honeycombed pattern, interrupted only by the manual power button and the fisheye navigation camera.
This navigation camera is part of one of the A980’s most impressive features. Most “smart” robotic vacuums aren’t really that smart. They just bounce around the room, zig-zagging randomly until they decide they’ve been at it long enough. If you’re lucky, they’ll avoid furniture, or they’ll come with magnetic strips to trap them in a particular room.
The A980, though, is actually smart, much like the A900 that preceded it. It utilizes a software called Visual Simultaneous Localization and Mapping “Visual SLAM”. Basically, how this works is that the first time you run your A980, it zig-zags like a normal floor vacuum. However, as it does so, its fisheye camera forms a 3D map of the room, much the same way you form a mental image of someone’s house when you visit it for the first time.
From then on, the A980 will run in a straight line. It will also follow the most efficient possible path when transiting the room. For example, if you’re cleaning a long hallway, it will run up and down the length of the hallway instead of bouncing from side to side like an caffeinated five-year-old. The end result is a cleaning process that’s more efficient than your average robotic vacuum, so your A980 will get more space cleaned in less time.
The A980’s Visual SLAM technology also allows it to avoid drops and bumps. It will automatically avoid furniture legs and stairs. And the camera is always active, so the vacuum will even avoid furniture that’s just been moved, as well as people, children, and pets. All in all, it’s an impressive piece of technology, so it’s understandable that Amarey is charging a bit of a premium for the A980.
In addition to the power button on top of the vacuum itself, there are two other ways to control the A980. The first is to use the small remote control that’s included in the box. This is a line of sight remote, and it offers a few basic functions like the ability to switch vacuum modes. Finally, you can use Amarey’s companion app. This allows for more advanced controls, such as the ability to schedule cleaning sessions and even voice controls. We’ll talk more about the app later on.
While the A980 can clean up a wet spill, it’s not designed as a mop. If you want a robotic mop that’s as easy to use as a robotic vacuum, the Narwal Self-Cleaning Robot Mop & Vacuum would be a great choice. It uses actual mop pads, not brushes, so it’s a safe way to clean porcelain and other delicate floors.
Have you ever run your vacuum, only to find yourself having a sneezing fit? This is because mold spores, pollen, and pet dander can become trapped in your carpet fibers. And when they’re sucked up into your vacuum, many of the smaller particles are able to pass through the filter and bag, and end up getting kicked back out into the air.
The A980 excels in this regard. It utilizes a three-stage filter to remove 99.97 percent of particles, all the way down to tiny mold spores that are 0.3 microns in diameter. This is good enough to earn this Amarey robotic vacuum a HEPA certification, which is a pretty impressive feat for anything short of an upright vac. The outer pre-filter is washable, but the middle sponge filter and inner HEPA filter will need to be replaced periodically. Keep this in mind before you buy.
The motor on the A980 offers 14 kPa of power, which is strong enough to pick up bits of gravel, pet food, and other larger pieces of debris you’re liable to find on your living room or kitchen floor. An average upright vacuum will provide around 20 kPa, about 50 percent more. However, that requires a large motor and case that would be impractical on a robotic vacuum.
But suppose you want the absolute most powerful robotic vacuum on the market? In that case, the Dser RoboGeek 20T might be a better choice. It offers an impressive 14 kPa of suction, enough to clean up just about any mess, but it doesn’t have as many smart features as the A980.
Setup and Use
To use the Amarey A980, you’ll first need to choose a location for the charging dock. This will be your vacuum’s home base, so choose a spot that’s out of the way, where you won’t easily trip over the A980 while it’s in its dock. In theory, it should arrive with the battery fully charged, but we’d recommend leaving it plugged in until the charging light changes color.
From this point, you’ll have a couple of options. If you don’t care about the smartphone app, simply press the power button and the A980 will begin the setup process we’ve already described, building a map of your floor so it knows the most efficient path.
However, if you’re not using the app, you’re missing out on some of the Armarey’s best features. The app is available for free both on Google Play and the Apple App Store, so there’s really no reason not to use it. Once you’ve downloaded the app, turn on your A980, and follow the prompts in the wizard to pair your vacuum with your phone. There’s even an option to name your vacuum, so if you have multiple A980s on multiple floors, you can easily control them separately.
Once inside the app, you can watch your A980 build its map of your home in real time. When the map is completed, you’ll have the ability to choose between different cleaning modes. For example, if you’ve just spilled a bag of rice in the kitchen, you can use the directional pad in the app to find your kitchen on the map. Then tap the spot of the spill and activate spot mode, and the A980 will automatically clean that area. In edge mode, the vacuum will focus on the edges of rooms, and in auto mode it will clean the entire floor. Through the app, you can also schedule regular cleanings for specific times and days of the week, and you can even integrate the A980 with Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri.
The A980’s standard mode is called “auto” mode because it will automatically vary speed and intensity based on the type of floor its on. So it will run more gently on tile, while applying more speed and pressure when it hits a deep carpet. It will also automatically return to the charging dock when the battery gets low. Not that that’s a major concern. The A980’s internal battery carries a charge of 2,600mAh, and is rated to clean 1,400 square feet of floor space between charges. Obviously, this will vary depending on the type of flooring and the layout of your rooms, but it’s still a significant amount of power.
One option the A980 doesn’t offer is the ability to limit it to a certain room. So if, for example, you want to clean your living room, you’ll have to clean your entire lower floor. And while you can technically just do a spot clean, sometimes cleaning the entire room is better. If this is an important feature for you, the Bagotte BG700 might be more your speed. It has a low profile, a reasonable capacity, and it comes with magnetic room divider strips.
What’s in the Box?
Before we wrap up, let’s take a quick look at the accessories that flesh out the A980’s kit. These will give you a better idea of the overall quality and value.
- A980 unit
- Charging station
- Remote control
- AC/DC adapter
- Owner’s Manual
If you’re looking for a robotic vacuum with all possible features, the Amarey A980 is tough to beat. It does just about everything you can ask for. Automatic charging? Absolutely. An integrated smartphone app? Check. Smart, automated pathing? You’ve got it. And with a respectable battery life and the ability to handle wet and dry spills, this little robot can handle just about any mess.
That said, for half the price, you could get a robotic vacuum that’s almost as good. Many slightly less “smart” vacuums retail for significantly less cost. The only real downside is that they have to run for longer to get the job done. On the other hand, dodging a robotic vacuum can be an inconvenience if you need to use your space, and you don’t always want to skip a day. The A980’s efficiency will get your floor cleaned quickly and effortlessly.