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Best Overall: Suitable Technologies Inc. Beam Enhanced at Amazon
"With four microphones and two wide-angle cameras, you also get a good view of the space you’re navigating and who you’re talking to, as well as clear audio."
Best Budget: PadBot P1 at DHgate
"The PadBot P1 can cruise along at up to 1.64 MPH, and a crash avoidance system will help keep you clear of obstacles."
Runner-Up, Best Budget: Ohmni Labs Supercam at Ohmni Labs
"Comes in multiple sizes and colors, with white, black, and red available in either 48-inch or 56-inch heights."
Best Budget Video-Only: Appbot Riley at Amazon
"The Appbot Riley features a 5 megapixel, 720p camera with infrared night vision mode, so you can see your environment clearly whether it’s light or dark."
Best Stationary: KuBi Classic Telepresence Robot at Amazon
"It can rotate 300 degrees, and it has a tilt control for up to 90 degrees of angle adjustment."
Best Mini: PadBot T1 at DHgate
"Thanks to a battery that can last up to 12 hours, the PadBot T1 is ready for lengthy use."
Best Self-Balancing: Double 2 at B&H Photo Video
"Double 2 is a self-balancing machine with a lot of customization options you can curate to your needs."
Best Splurge: Suitable Technologies BeamPro at Newegg
"Features a 17-inch display mounted above a large loudspeaker, so you can be seen and heard."
Courtesy of Amazon
For a competent telepresence robot that can do a bit of everything, Beam has a winner. The Beam Enhanced stands just over four feet tall, with a stable, four-wheeled base. It’s a capable traveler, able to navigate offices or give you a way to pop in at home even if you’re on a vacation.
The Beam Enhanced has a major advantage over the standard model for workplace use in that it includes a more powerful battery capable of up to eight hours of use. This lets you run the Beam Enhanced for a full workday. And, if you take a lunch break to charge, you can manage an extended workday.
The Beam Enhanced includes a 10-inch screen and a speaker so people can see and hear you clearly. With four microphones and two wide-angle cameras, you also get a good view of the space you’re navigating and who you’re talking to, as well as clear audio. The price of the Beam Enhanced also includes a three-year subscription to Beam’s required service.
Courtesy of DHGate
Telepresence robots are generally a professional product, meant for business purposes, and are thus often priced quite high. But, the PadBot P1 offers a fully kitted-out telepresence robot at a price well below much of the competition, and it’s not short on features either.
The PadBot P1 comes with a stable, three-wheeled base. Extending from the base is a short neck with a built-in display measuring 10.1 inches and offering 1280 x 800 resolution. While the PadBot P1 is only a touch over three feet tall, the head with the combined display and camera can be tilted to look up or down. The camera included on the PadBot P1 offers 720p HD resolution for clear video.
The PadBot P1 can cruise along at up to 1.64 MPH, and a crash avoidance system will help keep you clear of obstacles. Rounding out the package, the PadBot P1 boasts up to 10 hours of battery life, making it suitable for long workdays and even lengthy virtual home visits.
Courtesy of Ohmni
The Ohmni Supercam may not be cheap, but as far as fully featured telepresence robots go, it still leans towards the budget side of the spectrum. The Omhni Supercam comes in multiple sizes and colors, with white, black, and red available in either 48-inch or 56-inch heights.
With this model, you get a full monitor, a large speaker, and a capable camera. The monitor measures 10.1 inches, and has an HD resolution and IPS panel, giving others a clear view of you. The camera supports Full HD, and it can take 13MP snapshots, so if you need to get a closer look at something, you’ll be able to zoom in on the still photos.
The unit moves on a large, three-wheeled base. It can reach about 3 MPH and offers about six hours of battery life. While the battery may not be enough to make it through a full day, it will likely be sufficient where you just need to pop into a meeting or drop in on distant family for an evening. And, when it’s time to charge, the Omhni Supercam can automatically dock to its the charger as long as it's nearby.
If you don’t need a tall telepresence robot that will offer others a way to see and interact with you, there’s a much more affordable solution. You can get the Appbot Riley, which will give you a way to move around a remote location while seeing your surroundings.
The Appbot Riley is effectively a Wi-Fi-connected, remote control robot with a camera on top. Using the linked app, you can drive the Appbot Riley around your home or office and check in on everything — it's basically like a security camera that can move. The Appbot Riley features a 5 megapixel, 720p camera with infrared night vision mode, so you can see your environment clearly whether it’s light or dark. There’s also a microphone and speaker, so you can communicate with anyone present.
As long as the Appbot Riley is connected to the internet through your home or office Wi-Fi connection, you can access it. It even allows you to access the video stream while it’s docked and charging, so your ability to check in won’t be limited by battery life.
Another option that blends modest affordability with simplicity comes from KuBi. This isn’t a telepresence robot that can navigate around an office building, but when you just need to virtually sit in on a meeting, or check in at home, the KuBi can do the job.
The KuBi is effectively a motorized tablet stand. It does not come with a tablet but supports a range of iOS and Android tablets, including Apple’s iPad Air and Air 2, and Samsung’s 10-inch Galaxy Note tablet. While the need for an additional tablet does drive the total price up a bit, it also gives you the option for a higher screen and camera resolution than some of the other telepresence solutions.
The KuBi offers four to six hours of battery life and gives you a way to look around a remote location and interact with the people there, almost like you’re seated at the table with them. It can rotate 300 degrees, and it has a tilt control for up to 90 degrees of angle adjustment.
PadBot has a large variety of telepresence solutions, from large and expensive models to small and affordable. The PadBot T1 squarely fits in the latter camp. This telepresence robot fits a small tablet or smartphone onto a mount and then lets you drive the robot around, having a virtual presence and seeing what the connected device’s camera sees. This is a highly affordable option for full video conferencing, though the added cost of a connected device does raise the total price some.
The PadBot T1 is like a little tank for a phone or tablet. It may be too small to roam an office, as it might be hard to see and can easily be stepped on, but it can patrol your home or mount a conference table. Thanks to its sensors, it can also avoid falling off tables.
This model can connect to iOS and Android devices, with an interchangeable connector that allows for the mobile device to be charged while mounted on the T1. Thanks to a battery that can last up to 12 hours, the PadBot T1 is also ready for lengthy use.
Courtesy of B&H Photo
A futuristic-looking telepresence robot, Double Robotics’ Double 2 is a self-balancing machine with a lot of customization options you can curate to your needs. The Double 2 drives on two wheels, but with stability controls for both front-and-back and lateral movement, it can remain upright as it navigates office spaces. Kickstands can help it stand in place when not driving.
The base kit of the Double 2 requires an additional tablet, with the iPad Air 2 and iPad Pro supported. The company also sells additional modules, including a camera kit, an audio kit, and a dock for simpler charging. However, just attaching a supported iPad is all that’s needed to get the Double 2 up and running.
The Double 2 uses the iPad’s screen and cameras to offer full telepresence. And, a cleverly placed mirror near the tablet’s rear camera allows for easier navigation by providing a clear view of the floor around the Double 2. With a battery that lasts six to eight hours, telepresence is possible for the bulk of a workday.
Courtesy of Newegg
For a high-end, all-in-one solution, Suitable Technologies Inc.'s BeamPro is a solid bet. This telepresence robot has a large stand for high stability, and its commanding size will make it easier to notice in the workspace, at trade shows, or wherever else you might make use of it.
The BeamPro features a 17-inch display mounted above a large loudspeaker, so you can be seen and heard. Two wide-angle HDR cameras with digital zoom will let you see the world around the BeamPro, and an array of six microphones will help you hear everything as well.
With up to eight hours of battery life and a top speed of 2 MPH, you’ll be able to get around and remain present through busy days. Automatic docking will help get it charged up and ready for the next day. Dual-band Wi-Fi will also help keep the BeamPro connected, as can the optional LTE connectivity via USB. This premium telepresence robot comes at a high price, but the rate includes a three-year subscription to Beam’s service and support. The company also offers a test drive for its products for prospective buyers.