PadBot U1 - Version 2 Reviews
positive: hardware, video quality, flexible speed, auto-answer, tilt adjustment,
negative: the video and motion are not exactly in sync; I presume that it may be fixed as a software update.
easy of use0255075100
Things I like? Looks good, simple app to drive it around, not noisy, light, auto-charge of the tablet.
Things that could be improved? The automatic return to charger feature (usually just tell people to end the call and put it back on the charger manually). A 'quick tips' section at the front of the manual would be brilliant, and also in the app itself. You can send pics through the app and swipe to tilt the camera, but it is hard to find that info.
The padBot, while having some problems like the automatic return to charger feature (gave a 4 for features and reliability just cuz of this), it still works quite well. Far better than I expected. It looks good, not like some of the other annoying appliances I have around my house (*cough-cough-vacuum-cleaner*cough-cough), so it fits in well. It moves smoothly even on low carpet and rugs. I do think the app needs work though to become more intuitive, I didn't know you could swipe the screen to tilt the head of the robot until a month or two after first using it.
I have a nice tablet on it so there have been no problems with friend and family and I hearing each other. Hmm..what else... The steering has lagged from time to time (as in you hit the button and it doesn't turn for a second or two and runs a second or two longer after letting go) but this hasn't caused any problems. The noise is not a problem, which was one of my greater worries, that it would be annoying if someone was driving it around.
So, the million dollar question..Would I recommend it to other people? Yes. Even if you don't use it all the time it is super easy to use and really fun for having family and friends check out the place and have more exciting chats.
easy of use0255075100
Overall, I enjoyed using the PadBot, although it sometimes got laggy, which made controlling it pretty hard (that's why it it gets only 4 stars for Reliability). In order to drive the robot, you need to place an Android or iOS pad on the adjustable stand. Naturally, it’s possible to put the pad upside-down, which is a non-existent problem if you use robots with static head. However, the PadBot has a pretty great feature – you can connect your device to the power source of the robot via a USB port, so that the battery won’t die in the middle of your conversation. Again, this isn’t a problem you would encounter with most of the other robots, but on the other hand, you get to use your personal pad, which saves you money and allows you to choose specific parameters for the camera. PadBot will automatically return to its docking station to charge itself, if its power runs low.
You control the telepresence robot via an app, installed on your pad or phone. It’s not possible to use the PadBot from a computer yet, although Inbot Tech are planning to change that. For the moment, the PadBot works only with Apple and Google products, which wasn't a problem for me, but I guess could be a drawback for some. Moving around was very intuitive and easy, you can also tilt the head of the robot up and down. Steering away from obstacles wasn’t hard either, as you get a visual representation on where an object is, thanks to the multiple sensors. I like that the app allows the user to choose the video clarity and robot speed, as my internet connection is not always great and these options helped me better control the PadBot. Other settings include Collision-Avoidance, USB Smart Charging and Robot Self Charging – you can toggle them on and off. The feature that I liked the most was the “auto-answer account”, that allows you to access the robot without the need of human interaction.
To sum it up, here are the pros and cons of the PadBot:
+ Elegant Design
+ You use your own pad - you get to choose the camera
+ Cheap (because you use your own pad)
+ The software is easy to use
+ Intuitive controll
+ You can choose the video clarity and robot speed (great for a slower internet connection)
+ There're sensors that help you navigate around obstacles
+ Cool features - USB charger for the pad, auto-answer and attachable lens for better view
+ Automatic docking
- You need to buy a pad, if you don't own one
- The app runs only on Android and Apple devices
- You can't controll the PadBot from a computer
- You could place the pad upside-down by accident
- There could be lag
- If the battery of the pad dies, it's impossible to use the PadBot
- You may encounter a language barrier when you reach out to Customer Service
easy of use0255075100
The Padbot is a simple, easily navigable robot that uses a tablet as its eyes and ears. Remotely controllable through an app on your smart phone or tablet (but, curiously, not by desktop computer), the robot is easily directed by means of a vertical slider (up means forward, down means reverse) and a horizontal slider allowing you to pivot the robot right or left through a full 360 degrees. You can also adjust the Padbot view up or down by swiping up or down, in addition to also being able to pivot the robot right or left through swipes in those directions.
The Padbot's built-in sensors detect when it is in close proximity to an obstacle and warn you via a graphic showing a miniature Padbot and a red dot marking the approximate location of the obstacle relative to the robot. One nice feature is that you can send the Padbot back to its charger base if the battery is running low; I tapped the phone once to obtain the recharge button, tapped the button, and the Padbot navigated its way back to the charger. Another useful feature is the option to allow automatic answering, great for if the call receiver's hands are literally full, or if the receiver is unfamiliar with touchscreen or computer technology and might have difficulty responding manually.
I have to offer the disclaimer that my own test drive occurred under less than optimal circumstances. I was using an unfamiliar phone with a slow local DSL wireless connection to operate a Padbot in China from the West Coast of the USA, operating the robot in a cramped office space loaded with obstacles. Consequently, I experienced significant latency and had some resulting maneuverability problems and screen lag. Even so, I could get a good sense of the ease of operating the Padbot and was impressed with its smooth movement and simple but pleasing design. I could easily envision the Padbot becoming the general purpose telepresence robot of choice, useful for business teams and families alike.