Xiaomi and Epson Take the Work Out of Work from Home

    If cleanliness is akin to godliness our office deserves a halo, especially with a new robot vacuum roaming around slurping up dirt as it travels.

    The new Dreame L10 Pro ($359) from Xiaomi is the latest entry in a long line of robot vacuum cleaners and – – – if the price stays at $359 – – – should give the competition a run for dominance. But, according to some reports we’ve seen while trolling the Internet, that price may increase to $549. This could prove to be detrimental, at best, due to its budget-sized list of features.

    On the plus side:

    • It uses two LiDAR lasers to scan its surroundings, which means it can quickly map out your rooms and avoids objects that may be in the way. Robots using older tech tend to bump into things such as chair legs and sofas.
    • It automatically senses deep drops, such as stairs and avoids them, eliminating the need for the old boundary markers or the inserting of so-called “no-go” lines on its maps.
    • It senses carpets and bare floors activating either the vacuum or mopping process. No more wet carpets!
    • The brush has a built-in comb that untangles dog hair etc. eliminating the most common brush tangles.
    • Its 270ml water tank automatically moistens the mop head.
    • Works with Amazon’s Alexa.
    • 150-minute runtime per charge, compared to about 100 minutes offered by the competition.
    • Four cleaning modes ranging from standard to turbo.

    On the minus side:

    • The dust bin is small – – – 570ml versus about 700ml offered by competitors.
    • Unlike Neato vacuums, it’s round (which is fairly common), which means it may have a problem cleaning near walls or other so-called “square corners”.
    • It doesn’t automatically empty its dust bin.
    • It did a decent job of vacuuming floors and carpets, but even when using the “turbo mode” it never really delivered what we’d call a “deep clean”.

    Overall, the Dreame L10 Pro is a good choice for those of us without deep pockets. But watch out for price increases, especially with the continuing trade dispute between the U.S. and China.

     

    Every year, the folks at Epson roll out a new line of printers, so it was inevitable we’d beg them to send us one to play with. Enter, stage right, the Epson Workforce Pro WF-7840 ($299).

    This huge beauty uses ink cartridges instead of ink tanks featured on many of their other printers, making it more affordable for those of us working at home.

    As with all Epson printers, it was easy to set up using the software included in the box and we had it up and running in about 15 minutes. But there is a caveat here: the printer often loses its WIFI connection, even if it’s in the same room as the modem/router. We were hoping that several firmware updates from the company would cure the problem, but, alas, they haven’t.

    On the plus side, when it’s connected, this is a 45-pound beast of a printer/scanner, etc. It never failed to deliver crisp, high-definition photos and documents.

    The printer we played with featured:

    • Two 500-sheet paper trays plus a 50-sheet rear feeder.
    • The ability to handle paper sizes from four-by-six inches to 13-by-19 inches.
    • A 50-page top-loading document feeder.
    • Blazing high speeds of 25 pages per minute (black) and 12 pages per minute (color).
    • A scan bed area of 11 inches by 17 inches.
    • A 4.3-inch color touchscreen.

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    • Michael L. Berman has more than 40 years' experience writing and editing for The Hartford Courant, The Norwich (CT) Bulletin, The Journal of Commerce and The Middletown (CT) Press. Mike's Techtalk column was syndicated by the Scripps Howard News Service from 1995 to 2000 and appeared as a computer and technology blog on www.shns.com until No. 19, 2013. You can also visit Mike's consumer technology website at www.jocgeek.com.

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