A week with: Bosch Indego lawnmower
Say hello to my clippy little friend
Battery: Lithium-ion 32.4V 3Ah
Battery charge time: 50 mins
Battery run time: 50 mins
Slopes (max): 35 per cent
Cutting width: 26cm
Height of cut: 20-60 mm
What is it?
This little green goblin is the Bosch Indego, an automatic lawnmower. Robochop, if you will. It pootles around your garden cutting the grass, then when it's done it tootles back to its docking station (or nest, as I like to think of it) and recharges itself. If it bumps into anything on its way, it will stop, then chart another course away from the branch/barbecue/bird bath in its path.
I can't help thinking of it as some sort of creature, not least because it looks as though it has nostrils, and during its stay in my backyard, it's been all I can do not to stick a pair of eyes on its froggy face. You can programme it to mow at certain times and off it will go, happily munching the lawn and leaving the clippings behind as mulch.
Does it work?
Yes it does, though it takes a bit of setting up. Thankfully, as well as a rather daunting manual, Bosch has a series of brilliantly simple instruction videos on its website (bosch-indego.com/gb/en). In order for Robochop to work, you need to peg out the perimeter of the area it will be mowing using the cable and plastic pins required. This acts as a boundary that the mower can't cross, and needs to be positioned 35 centimetres from the edge of the lawn. Although the box comes with a handy pop-out cardboard ruler, I was glad that my garden is about the size of two double duvets laid side to side since you have to peg the cable at regular intervals.
Once you've marked its territory, the Indego sniffs around to learn the lay of the land. Once it's scanned the garden (each time it mows, it updates its map of its realm, meaning it cuts more efficiently), it starts mowing, though don't be surprised, as I was, to see that it doesn't take much off the lawn – it's a nibbler rather than a nosher, thanks to its three mini blades, which trim the grass, but that's because a) it leaves the cuttings behind to rot away, and b) you can programme it to cut as often as you like (as well as to different lengths).
It's also way more quiet than any mower I've used, so much so that I've happily let it go about its business fairly late in the evening. While my backyard hasn't given it much trouble in terms of scale, the Indego can cover up to 200 sq m on its 50-minute charge life. What has been more of a challenge is the fact that I'm shed-less, and far too fond of my new buddy to leave it outside (even though it comes with an alarm and a PIN to keep it safe) in my 'hood. So to prevent any garden gangsters from having a go at my mower, I've been keeping it in at night. It's all I can do not to buy it a little lockable kennel.
Is it worth the money?
The only thing that isn't adorable about the Indego is the price – my nibbly friend costs a rather un-cute £1,299. But as robomowers go, the Indego certainly isn't one of the most expensive, and Bosch has included features that make it more appealing than its rivals (including a system that sees it stop cutting when it goes over bits of the lawn it's already done, thereby saving power). As enchanted as I am with it, I can't justify spending a grand and a bit on a mower with my paltry patch of grass, but if I had a megalawn to mow, and/or much deeper pockets, I'd be erecting Robochop's new kennel in a flash.
The Bosch Indego lawnmover is available to buy from B&Q for £1,299
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