Pet owners will know that the joys of having a furry friend around the house can be offset somewhat by the mess they make - particularly come molting season. Such pet owners, as well as allergy sufferers, are who Neato Robotics is targeting with its latest automatic vacuum cleaner, the XV-21.

Following the same floor-crawling, semi-circular form factor of Neato's previous models - such as the XV-11 - the XV-21 boasts a new bristled brush designed to better pick up pet hair, dander and fibers on a variety of floor types. And as an added bonus for pet owners, your pet will get something to play with when you're out.

Neato says the XV-21 also runs much quieter than previous models - particularly on hardwood floors - and packs a new cleanable filter that provides increased airflow and suction power to pick up and retain more than three times the fine dust particles when compared to the company's standard filter. Neato says the new filter and brush will also work with all its existing models, so existing owners can upgrade without having to buy a new unit.

Like Neato's previous models, the XV-21 boasts smart path planning that follows a methodical back-and-forth cleaning pattern, so users can set a cleaning schedule and leave the vacuum to do its job. Once it's done, it will automatically return to the base station to recharge.

The XV-21 comes in "Misty White" with purple highlights and will be available from the end of April 2012 for US$429. Owner of previous Neato models can upgrade to the new pet and allergy filter for $29.99, or to the new filter and bristled brush for $59.99. Those upgrading will need to download a free firmware upgrade from the company website.

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