Why mow your own lawn when you could get a robot slave to do it for you? That's the intriguing premise behind the Worx Landroid; an unmanned mowing vehicle that is smart enough to trim your lawn and return to its charging base unattended. We recently put the device through its paces and were pretty impressed with the results.
The Worx Landroid takes the concept of the robot vacuum cleaner and applies it outdoors. Instead of hoovering up dust, it cuts unruly grass down to a length of 2mm. This is achieved via a trio of revolving razor blades and an assortment of sensors that steer the Landroid's wheels in the right direction. The system is sophisticated enough to handle specific lawn areas (avoiding flower gardens or herb patches, for example) and will dutifully return to its charging base when its battery runs low.
Setting up the device is significantly more complex than a robot vacuum cleaner: before you can use the Landroid you need to map out a perimeter using the electrical wire supplied in the box. (You can also use the wire to highlight areas inside the boundary that you want to avoid.) Worx recommends burying the wire under the earth, but the supplied plastic pegs seemed to get the job done well enough -- just be sure to keep the wire tight or the Landroid might get accidentally run over it, cutting the wire in the process.
Once the wire boundary is in place, things become a lot simpler. You basically just switch the Landroid on, select a preferred grass length and sit back while it gets to work. It took around an hour to cut my large lawn and the results were surprisingly good. There were no ugly tell-tale trails left in its wake and it managed to traverse the steep, uneven slopes in my backyard without issue.
Best of all, the electric motor is extremely quiet compared to a normal mower. You could even run this thing at night or early Sunday morning without disturbing the neighbours. The inbuilt scheduling system means you don't even have to be there to switch it on. Here's a quick clip of the Landroid in action:
There are a few caveats, however. The mower has navigational issues when it comes to fences: on multiple occasions our Landroid overshot its boundary and attempted to drive up a fence. This caused it to get confused and switch itself off.
Now normally this won't be much of an issue: you just lift it off the fence and switch it back on. However, we imagine it would be pretty frustrating if you left the mower to its own devices only to discover that hardly any of the lawn has been mowed. (i.e. -- Despite being automated, you still need to keep an eye on it.)
Dog owners will also need to be mindful of the electrical wire: while they are unlikely to receive a serious shock, the temptation to dig up the wire could lead to frequent headaches. On the plus side, the mower itself is pretty safe: it knows when an object is in its path and will automatically switch off whenever its blades become exposed.
At $1119, the Worx Landroid is pretty expensive for something that's basically an unnecessary convenience. Still, if you're sick of cutting the lawn and are in the market for a new mower, we reckon it's definitely worth a look.