Hi guys, after about 10 and a half seasons, my trusty Aquabot Turbo RC finally died. So after about 4 weeks of researching I decided on the Aquabot Viva. The other robots I considered were the Aquabot Turbo T4, the Polaris 9400, and the Water Tech Blue Diamond Remote. I didn't consider suction side or pressure side cleaners since my experience with my Aquabot Turbo RC was so positive. I know alot of folks complain about their robotic cleaners, but I really had no problems at all with mine, well, until it died.
My final 2 choices came down to the Viva and the T4, because I really needed that 75 foot cord that both of these cleaners have. Neither the Blue Diamond nor the Polaris had this length cord.
For me it was a toss up between the T4 and the Viva, and what swayed me in the end was the better warranty and better price of the Viva. The best price I was able to get on the Viva was about $200 less than the T4, and the Viva came with the caddy and 2 extra bags.
Upon unpacking the unit I was struck by how bright the colors of the plastic are, bright blue, neon yellow, and very bright red. My 20 year old son said it looks as if it was made by Little Tikes. I really like the looks of the T4 better, the Viva looks like a toy.
The caddy that came with the unit took about 5 minutes to assemble, and enables you to store the power supply, the cord, and the robot itself very conveniently. It has large wheels that work well on grass and the patio. Since the cord is so heavy you must take care not to remove the robot from the caddy before you remove the cord, or the caddy will fall over.
The instructions for the power supply as well as the robot look as if they were written by a 15 year old kid trying to finish a book report before going on Christmas vacation. There just isn't enough information there. For example, the handle of the Viva has to be oriented diagonally across the surface of the unit. It has five different slots you can place the handle in. The instructions recommend that you put each end of the handle in the next to last slot, but don't tell you why. It also doesn't give any explanation why the other slots are there, and how placing the handle in a different position might affect the behavior of the robot. Similarly, the separate instruction manual for the power supply gives you the minimum amount of information needed to get the gist of how it works. Just to be fair here, I must say that I really like in depth owner's manuals that explain in great detail not only how the product works but why it works the way it does, and the engineering that went into it. I realize that this is probably not important to many people, so just take this little rant with a grain of salt. The manual does give you enough information to properly operate the Viva.
The power supply is very different than that on my old unit, which was a metal box that looked very low tech. The Viva's is in a plastic, water resistant case that has an integral carrying handle. It allows you to control several parameters of the cleaning cycle.
1. There is an auto detect feature that when turned on prevents the Viva from getting hung up on certain obstacles, like pool ladders.
2. You can also adjust the rate of turns that the robot makes in the pool, the instructions neglect to explain this fully.
3. You can also tell the robot the shape of your pool, as long as that shape is an L, a rectangle, or a kidney shape.
4. You can also choose from three cleaning programs, a 1.5 hour floor only cleaning cycle, and a 2 and 2.5 hour wall and floor cycle.
5 You can also program the Viva to respond to an internal or an external timer.
6. It also has an indicator to tell you when the filter bag is full.
The Viva comes with the foam brushes on the rollers, instead of the rubber type, like my old Aquabot had. I think the foam rollers will be kinder to my vinyl liner, but may need more frequent replacement. It seems to be constructed of sturdy plastic.
Once dropping it in the pool and turning it on, the thing that struck me first was just how fast this thing moved. As a matter of fact I was concerned that it would miss alot of the fine debris on the bottom due to how quickly it moved. This did not prove to be the case however, as the Viva got everything that was on the pool bottom. The manufacturer claims that it can clean most pools in about an hour, and I think they are right.
My old Aquabot would get caught on my ladder so frequently that I just took it out before running the Aquabot. The obstacle detection feature works great on the Viva, as soon as it hits the ladder it reverses itself. It also runs right over the main drain. It climbs the walls well. It hits my stairs pretty hard, and I'm a little worried that the impact may cause premature failure of some parts of the robot.
The unit cleaned the pool perfectly, even cleaning most of my stairs, which are 16 feet long and covered with the liner. It got up the leaves, bugs, small sticks, and sand that had accumulated on the pool bottom. These robots really get everything. You just can't use them on a really dirty pool, they're not built for that type of clean up. The fact that the bags will filter down to 2 microns is a great feature, common to most Aquabot type units.
Unlike my old Aquabot, the Viva is very responsive to the remote control. It's alot of fun playing with it. I guess it will be useful for spot cleaning, but the Viva moves so fast, and covers the whole pool so well, I doubt I'll ever really need to use it, but I will use it, just cause it's fun.
The warranty on this unit is better than that of the T4. The motors (3) are covered for 4 years or 500 cycles. This is full coverage for parts (not labor) , it's not prorated as the T4 warranty is. The electronics are covered for 2 years. The belts and drive tracks are not covered, as they are considered wear items.
If this Viva lasts as long as my first robot did I'll be a very happy camper. All in all I give this robot a big Thumbs Up!
If you guys have any questions, ask away, I'll try to answer thenm as soon as possible.