29 April 2017

REVIEW: McCulloch ROB R600

Good Mow-ning!

Test Pit Towers has been the site of many robotic interventions. We’ve previously sat back and let the carpets be vacuum cleaned by a robot, and also the kitchen floor be mopped by a robot. But the lawn… well, that has always been our job to trim. Which is why it’s a %$£&ing disgrace. Fortunately McCulloch sent something to help us, and very grateful we were too. We review the McCulloch ROB R600.

Just like with the many robots we’ve had through from iRobot, the ROB R600 is a self-guiding automaton that will happily drive around – in this case your garden – chopping the grass as it goes. It is about the same size as a regular lawn mower, but missing the handles and cuttings-collector.

The idea here is to set ROB going while you put your feet up. The mower features an adjustable blade unit so you can select how much of a trim it gives to your lawn, using small razor blade-like tools on the underside to do the job. They spin pretty quick, and as they are so sharp, unlike more conventional mowers with larger blades, the clippings are very small. This is good as there is no collector on the McCulloch ROB R600, so whatever it cuts, it leaves behind; so the smaller the better.

ROB has his own charging dock which is designed to be left outside and connected to a power source with the fairly long lead included in the box. It will self-guide back to the dock when it needs a juice up, which is both a tremendously handy thing, and also a fun thing to watch happen. However, there is a bit of prep you need to do before you can switch the McCulloch ROB R600 on.

Included in the box is huge length of wire. This needs to be pinned down around the outside edge of your lawn, and around features in the garden you want ROB to stay away from – such as a pond. You need to do this, because the McCulloch ROB R600 will refuse to start up unless it can detect the electrical signal generated by this wire barrier. To be fair to McCulloch the task of doing so isn’t too tricky, and they do include lots of pegs to secure the wire to the ground, below the level of the grass. Once installed, you can barely see it at all.  

With that done, you switch the McCulloch ROB R600 on, enter your pin code (for security reasons, to stop unwanted hands from turning it on), and either set a timer so it will spring to life at the designated time, or start it right away. After that, you truly do just sit back and chill out. Oh, and just in case, there is a great big red button on top that says STOP. Hit it, and it will.

So… is it any good? Well, just like with the robotic vacuum cleaners and mop, this isn’t something you’ll be using to clear an overgrown area. As you might have guessed, this kind of thing is perfect for maintaining a lawn that is in pretty good condition already, free of thick brush and huge weeds. If you buy one, first make sure that your lawn is mowed to how you want it, then let ROB give it a once over every few days (during the summer) to keep it at the desired length. And because you can programme it to do so whenever you want, you’ll never actually have to set it going yourself.

That is the really impressive part, and the only true reason for buying one. Like a robot vacuum cleaner you programme to whizz around your living room at 2am each morning, so you can set the McCulloch ROB R600 to trim the lawn while you’re at work. And if you’re worried about thieves, ROB will wail like a banshee if he’s picked up without you having first typed in your pin code.

So if you love having an immaculate lawn, without the hassle of having to mow it all the time, this is a definite buy. The quality of the cut, and the self-recharging function, is great, so the only thing you’ll have to overcome is the price.

Around £800

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