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iRobot shows off improved Scooba mop 'bot, still not ready to tackle the Las Vegas Convention Center

Brian Heater

Nothing particularly earth-shattering out of iRobot this CES. A couple of months after dropping a souped-up Roomba in our laps, the company's ready to do the same for its floor-mopping Scooba. iRobot's promising "three-times better performance," on the 450, thanks to a 600RPM brush and improved navigation. The company demoed the 'bot for us ahead of CES in a pretty tight space. It's tough to say definitively how well the 450 actually works based on limited time with it (all the more reason to get one for Engadget HQ). But it seemed to do a pretty good job picking up muddy water and spilled Cheerios, combining them into the world's grossest breakfast cocktail in its tank -- which, it turns out, is actually slightly smaller than its predecessor's.

The device's Three-Cycle Cleaning Process promises to kill up to 99.3 percent of bacteria (there's always something, right?), sweeping, soaking and then scrubbing your floor. The 'bot's got two cleaning modes: a 40-minute cycle for up to 300 square feet and a 20-minute version for 150 square feet and smaller. That means, interestingly, that no matter how large or small the room is, it'll spend that much time cleaning things. Also, for the first time, the Scooba plays nicely with Roomba's Virtual Walls, so you don't have to run out and pick up a proprietary set, if you've got the vacuuming robot sitting around your house. The new Scooba is available today through iRobot's site for a cool $600. There's also an upright charging station, so you can dry it out while it charges. That's gonna run you $80.

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