- Very quiet
- Impressive cleaning and sweeping
- Highly intelligent mapping and problem solving
- Does double duty as a security robot
- A little pricey but top quality
- Base station too big for very small apartments
My assumption before I ever saw or used a robot vacuum was that they were all the same technology and quality and nothing much to choose between them. During my review of the ECOVACS DEEBOT X1 OMNI Robot Vacuum, I learned they are not all created equal. While some might have all the new features that people think they crave, sometimes they can fall down on the build quality or reliability – but not in this case. The X-1 OMNI has so many features that it’s hard to list them all.
This is a sponsored article and was made possible by ECOVACS. The actual contents and opinions are the sole views of the author who maintains editorial independence, even when a post is sponsored.
Introducing the X1 OMNI
The ECOVACS DEEBOT X1 OMNI Robot Vacuum is the brand’s flagship vacuum with the largest base station I’ve ever seen: 57cm tall and called the OMNI base – not without reason. Omni means “all,” and it truly does it all. While being a top-of-the-line robot vac with laser mapping and self cleaning, it also mops, then cleans and dries the mop heads inside the base without any interference from you. Both the base and the robot are really sturdy and well built.
The robot maps your home in both 2D and 3D as it goes, then returns itself automatically to the base station for emptying its internal bag and discharging dirty water from the mopping system. There is an onboard camera that can be used as an IP camera to check on your house when you’re not home. You can even talk to the dog through it.
Separate dirty and clean water tanks are in the base, and housed behind a hatch in the front is a waste bag for the robot to empty its internal dust storage into. The device also features a voice assistant called YIKO, allowing you to talk to it and issue OK YIKO commands to the vac without rising from your comfy chair. It’s 10/10 for convenience but not going to contribute to my weight loss.
Truly a Robot Maid
Firstly, the base station of the ECOVACS DEEBOT X1 OMNI Robot Vacuum is heavy and bulky, and you have to find room for that. It needs half a meter (about 19 inches) on either side and a meter and a half (about 60 inches) in front. Of course, it also needs to be against a wall, and you’ll need to check whether this large vac station will fit into your life.
Setup is easy. Find the ECOVACS Home app to download it by either searching for it on Google Play or the App Store or simply scanning the QR code inside the lid of the base station. Once installed, you will be prompted step by step to activate the software and connect the robot vac to your network. This can be a bit fiddly. It took me two or three tries, mostly because I was pressing the discovery button too long and resetting the robot, then starting over.
All your controls for the vac are contained in the app, but there are some limited controls on the base for recall, pause and self cleaning. Once connected, the robot will find its way back to the base, which is an amusing and entertaining little show all on its own. Once it’s located the base, it will start charging.
In this instance, the unit already had sufficient charge, so I could send it out immediately to do simple mapping. I used the voice commands for the onboard AI voice assistant by saying “OK YIKO,” to which it responds “I’m here.” Very reassuring. I started it off by saying “simple mapping.” The robot dutifully traveled around the bottom floor of my house and mapped the layout using its little turret mounted laser TrueMapping 2.0 system.
As it moves about, you can see it creating the map on your smartphone screen. You can also access the camera on the front of the unit so that you can monitor its progress without getting out of your chair. You can even speak through the unit to tell your dog (or stray child) to get out of the way.
While it maps or cleans, you can record through the camera and save the videos. Use the unit as an additional level of home security if you’d like, as it can work as an IP cam, setting waypoints on the map and asking the robot to do a “home patrol.”
Remote manual driving of the unit around the house is possible, too, using the cameras to guide you and an onscreen d-pad for steering. You can take pictures and videos in this mode too.
Once you’ve mapped the layout of your house, you can go for a full clean, which you can kick off either by touch controls on your smartphone or by voice commands. This is a much more detailed pass, and the unit works really hard to get every little nook and cranny, sometimes going back to a spot from a different angle to get its brushes into the corners.
It did a fantastic job of sweeping my floors, and I was impressed by how quiet it was even on standard clean – only around 66db. (To give you some idea, that’s about the ambient noise level of a calm conversation.) You can lower the volume a bit by cleaning at a slightly lower rate, but I found the volume of standard mode totally acceptable. You can easily watch TV or listen to music or make phone calls with it right there in the room. It’s as beautifully quiet as you’d expect for a deluxe item.
In mopping mode, a pair of little mops are affixed to the back of the unit. Before it sends the robot out, the base fills up the 80ml water reservoir in the robot, which wets its absorbant little mops, then sends it out for mopping up sticky messes. When it returns, the mops are cleaned and spruced up automatically, then dried with little hot air blowers so that they don’t grow mold.
While you are supposed to tidy up a bit so that there’s no obstructions in the vacuum’s way, I left a few things lying around to see how it dealt with them. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.) Its problem-solving intelligence seems quite remarkable.
On the first pass through the door into the hallway, it couldn’t get up a slight step in the transition from hallway to carpet. On the second pass, it approached it at an angle and shot straight over it. I don’t know if this was luck or intelligence, but it was impressive, and I might add very entertaining.
Another obstacle was the curved legs of a large leather swivel chair that it seemed determined to get into every crevice of. It mounted the part of the leg lying on the floor, and I thought it might tip itself up, but it surfed over the leg and landed on the other side. Really fun to watch.
Finally, as a bonus, there’s a stylish little cleaning brush stored between the water tanks in the base and also some replacement mops.
The ECOVACS DEEBOT X1 OMNI Robot Vacuum is a truly top-of-the-line device with many superb features and very few downsides, if any. It is on the pricey side, at about £1499, but there’s a special offer that allows you to pay just £1099. But given how much fun it is to use and how well it cleans, the price is really fair for this kind of leading edge tech.
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