There are robot vacuums and then there are robot vacuums. The Ecovacs Deebot X1 Omni has taken the most recent and largest dive to the future of smart home robotics – giving us an even smarter robot with an all inclusive clean, wash, dry and fill Omni Station.
Major wins for the X1
The most striking thing about the X1 Omni is it’s design – it looks very sleek and cool. We finally we have a robot vacuum that looks like it’s price tag – luxury. The ‘aluminium’ brush finish and dual tone grey design is eye catching and makes you want to display this gadget in a prominent part of the house (unlike some of the other plastic-ridden robots on the market). Robot vacuum brands are usually guilty of making appliances that look like toys, however the X1 will blend into a designer home. It was designed by Jacob Jensen Design, a Danish firm who specialise in luxury accessories, such as watches.
2. Quick Mapping
The quick mapping function is a game changer. Any one with a robot vacuum will know that mapping a house can be time consuming and tedious (the Ecovacs T9+ could be known for taking up half of your Saturday by the time it finally made a workable map). Quick mapping just means that the robot quickly drives into each room and takes a scan, without attempting to clean the entire room and therefore house. This is a huge step up on other models, as houses that would normally take hours to map can be completed in ~20 minutes.
3. The Omni Station
The Omni Station brings a new meaning to the concept of ‘hands-free cleaning’. Not only can it empty the dust-bin (which is almost expected of robot vacuums these days) it can clean the mopping pads, refill the water, and you can even adjust the drying period of the mopping pads after a clean so that they don’t sit there damp and start to smell. I was dubious about its ability to actually clean its mopping pads well, but the X1 definitely exceeded my expectations. The only thing you have to do is make sure the “clean” water tank is filled and empty the “dirty” water tank. When you see how gross the dirty water container is, you’ll be very pleased that its contents are no longer on your floor.
4. Suction Power / Vacuuming Performance
Right now, the X1 has the highest amount of suction power available in the NZ market – its over double most Roombas and triple what the T8 had. With 5,000 pascals of suction, there is potential that the X1 may be the first robot vacuum to clean as well as a cordless vacuum in a single pass. While some cordless vacuums have higher suction ratings, the X1 doesn’t have to suck debris up a long tube and it also has a thick, motor-driven roller brush. As a result, the X1 is definitely the best robot vacuum we have ever tested at removing pet hair.
5. Inbuilt Voice Assistant – Yiko
Initially I thought the built-in voice assistant ‘Yiko’ would be pretty useless. It turns out that once you’ve adjusted to talking to your vacuum and telling it where to clean, you can get a bit addicted to yelling out orders. “OK Yiko, clean the kitchen” is all you need to say to wake up the X1 and watch it head off to clean the kitchen. You don’t even need to touch your phone! This feature is an easy way to feel like you’ve cracked the “smart-home” code.
6. Dual Rotating Mopping Pads
The mopping pads rotate, similar to on a polishing gun. This means that it scrubs the floor while mopping instead of just dragging a wet cloth around. It also returns to base regularly to clean the mop, so it isn’t just smearing dirt around the floor. This is not only a useful feature but seriously satisfying to watch.
7. LiDAR and VSLAM navigation
Some other premium robot vacuums have object detection which is a secondary system that helps the robot avoid things below the line of sight of the main laser sensor. In most cases, they either use a laser or camera system, however there are limitations to both methods. The X1 has both. While it still will occasionally get stuck, it is the best we have tested at avoiding socks, cables… and pet messes.
A few 'L's' for the X1
The price – this robot is over double the price of it’s predecessor – the Ecovacs T9+.
The size – while the Omni base looks fantastic, it is quite large and finding a spot for it in a smaller home may be difficult. In saying that, it may look quite good as a kitchen appliance (like a futuristic rubbish bin).
Again, Ecovacs have kept us busy by making us manually putting the mop attachments on and off. Carpet detection in the robot means it won’t drive over carpet if the mop attachment is on. This means if you want to mop hard-floor areas in your home that are surrounded by carpet (e.g. an ensuite bathroom) you need to lift the robot up and place it in that area. The good news is, we’re seeing a lot of new homes with a higher percentage of hard-floor to carpet – so if that’s you, this ‘manual mop’ issue won’t be a problem.
It’s LiDAR, overall a massive pro, but it does see through glass and the Ecovacs app is prone to adding phantom rooms in the backyard. Not really a big deal, but kind of annoying if the rest of the map is perfect.
They should add a section to hold the mopping pads in the Omni Station when they’re not being used on the robot itself.
So, who should buy it?
If you want the best money can buy and want some sleek technology to fit into your home – this is the robot for you. Also, if you’ve got a large home with lots of hard flooring – again this is the people’s choice. The X1 really stands out in open plan, minimalistic homes. The X1 Omni will be equally suited to pet-owners, parents, or people who just want spotless floors.