My best new home assistant.

One of the best things about technology is the developments that lead to automation of everyday tasks. Even if you don’t mind doing household chores, there is at least one project that everyone winches at. For me, it’s window cleaning. Maybe it’s the fact that you can never get them ‘just right’ or maybe it’s that as soon as you clean them, nature has a way of messing them up again. Whatever the reason, window cleaning is just not my favorite chore to work on. We recently added a robot vacuum to our home to help us with that daily task so we thought, “Why not add a robot window cleaner to our cleaning assistant army?” You may not think it’s a real product, but it is. The Hobot 388 Window Cleaning Robot is quite real – and it’s quite easy to fall in love with, too. 

DETAILS

The Hobot 388 Window Cleaning Robot takes the chore out of cleaning windows. This robot automates the process and uses an Ultrasonic Spray to make sure that windows are cleaned efficiently. The robot is equipped with AI in order to create smart routes for itself so that it can find the best route to clean the window. It is made to clean every part of the glass – without forgetting anything. The robot operates by utilizing a vacuum to suction itself to the window’s surface and then the cleaning cloths rotate to both move the robot around the window surface and clean it simultaneously. The robot has a secured DC power connector that screws into the body of the device so that there is no way it can disconnect. The Hobot does have a built-in UPS battery, but it’s only designed to work for power outages. The robot must be plugged in to external power before it will operate. Several accessories come with the robot including: remote control, AC power cord, DC power extension cord (13 feet), adapter (100-240VAC/50-60Hz), safety rope, Hobot window detergent, user manual, and a quick start guide.

Dimensions (LWH):
295×148×95 mm
Weight:
915g
Color:
Black
Adhesive type:
Vacuum, Round
Software:
AI Technology V4.0
Cleaning pattern:
Rotating, Zigzag
Nozzle type:
Ultrasonic
Water particle size:
15 μm (Micrometer)
Noise/dB:
64 dB @1 m
Workable window size:
>40×40 cm
Cleaning speed:
4min/m2
Power range:
100~240V, 50~60Hz
Power consumption:
90 W
Cleaning cloth:
Micro-fiber
Un-interrupt Power System(UPS):
20 mins
Additional features:
3 kinds of automatic operation modes for cleaning the entire window
Anti-falling control algorithm
High sensitivity pressure sensor
Auto-detects edges of the window
Extra secure DC power connector
Remote/APP control

USER EXPERIENCE

The user experience of this little robot is an interesting one from my perspective. For starters, it is ready to clean out of the box. The only set-up that’s really required is putting the batteries in the remote and adding the detergent to the reservoir. You are also instructed to make sure the battery is fully charged before using the robot. The truth is that since the device has to be plugged into power to operate, the only thing you gain from the battery being charged is that it won’t automatically fall off the window if its wired power gets cut. I can attest to this fact because at one point when I was cleaning a window the DC cable got disconnected from the power brick. The robot beeped to indicate that it wasn’t connected to power. So, we were able to figure out the problem and reconnect the power. Fortunately, since the battery had a charge the robot didn’t fall off the window.

While I’m on that topic, I was surprised to discover that the robot has to be connected to wired power in order to operate. I thought that it would work either with a battery or connected to power. But, when you really consider the operation/expense of the device, if it were to lose power and therefore its suction to the window it’s cleaning, the robot would simply plummet to the ground below. This would probably damage the robot. So, the power design – cable required for operation and built-in backup battery – makes logical sense in order to protect the robot.

So, while the robot is actually very easy to operate, the instructions end up confusing the process a bit. First of all, it is suggested that users only operate the Hobot on sunny days that have low humidity and no rain. The reasoning is sound – humidity can cause too much moisture for the cleaning process to be successful. That said, the user manual could be simplified a bit to make the cleaning process less intimidating. Here’s how the basic process breaks down. 

  1. Make sure the weather conditions are optimal – sunny with low humidity. 
  2. Fill the tank with detergent or water. 
  3. Connect the power cable/adapter. 
  4. Place the robot on the window. 
  5. Flip the power switch. This will activate the vacuum suction and attach the robot to the window. 
  6. Press one of the auto cleaning buttons on the remote or in the app. 
  7. Once the cleaning cycle is complete, turn the robot off and pull it off of the window. 

That’s pretty much it. The user manual does suggest that if the window area is very soiled, then you will want to pre-clean it. There are instructions on how to use the robot for a dry cleaning prior to the standard cleaning cycle with detergent. You can either use the robot to do this pre-cleaning or do it manually. The perk to completing this step manually is that you don’t have to worry about replacing the cleaning cloths on the robot before the standard cleaning cycle. However you choose to complete this step, I do suggest that if it’s been a while since your last window cleaning that you take the time to do it. If there is excess dirt on the surface of the window, Hobot cannot clean it very well. 

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As a test, we used the Hobot to clean both the outside and inside of our sliding glass door. It’s been quite some time – years even – since that door has received a good cleaning. Therefore, there was a lot of standing dirt on it. I made the choice to not pre-clean it simply to test how strong the cleaning capabilities of the Hobot were. You will see from the before and after photos included in this article that while the robot did clean the window, it wasn’t a perfect cleaning job. I don’t blame the robot for this – I think the door was just that dirty. The Hobot definitely made an improvement though as you will observe. It took approximately 6 minutes to complete the cleaning cycle for one side of the door.

CONCLUSION

While the initial investment of this handy little robot is quite costly ($399 USD – at the time of publishing), the equipment is solid. It does have a companion app, but it’s essentially a mobile version of the remote control that comes with the robot. That said, it was very responsive and I did receive notifications when the robot was finished with its cycle. The robot does a good job of getting the glass clean efficiently as long as there is not standing dirt on the window. This robot is particularly helpful if you have very tall or otherwise difficult to reach windows. You can place the Hobot anywhere on the window and then direct it where it needs to clean. In that respect, it’s a very useful gadget.

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