Can a square robot vacuum clean better than a round one? Ecovacs thinks it can and introduced a square new flagship, the Deebot X2 Omni, at an event in NYC this week.
In addition to changing the shape of the previous X1 Omni robot, which ranks as one of my faves, Ecovacs redesigned the self-cleaning dock, making it smaller and sleeker, increased the suction power to 8,000Pa, and added retractable mop heads to keep carpets from accidentally getting wet.
New square shape
The most significant change you’ll notice on the new Deebot X2 Omni is the square shape of the robot. It’s not entirely new – I’ve reviewed robot vacuums long enough to remember the Neato Botvac, which had a unique D-shape design, round in the back and square in the front to bring the robot closer to edges while allowing it to get into corners. But, companies like iRobot, Roborock, and even Ecovacs, until now, have stuck to the more traditional round design, which minimizes the chances of the robot getting stuck in a corner.
Ecovacs says the X2 Omni’s square shape (technically square with rounded edges) makes for easier navigation while letting the brushes get right up to the edge of the walls. It also creates room for a longer and wider roller brush on the bottom. I saw a demo of the robot in action, and it got quite close to the walls, but I’ll reserve judgment until I get it home and test it out for myself.
Retractable mop pads
The X2 Omni uses dual spinning mops like the ones on the X1 Omni. But now, instead of seeing and avoiding carpeting as it vacuums, the mop pads retract 15mm inside the robot when it detects carpeting to avoid getting the rug wet. This way, the robot can clean hardwood floors and vacuum carpets at the same time, saving you the time and hassle of sending it on separate cleaning runs.
Slightly smaller docking station
When I reviewed the X1 Omni last year, I noted the auto-empty docking station was relatively massive. While the X2’s docking station is still pretty big, Ecovacs managed to trim it down slightly, making it smaller and slimmer. But these self-cleaning docks need to be large because they hold and do so much. In addition to a dustbin that holds up to 60 days of dirt before needing to be emptied, there’s a clean water tank to wash the mop heads and fill the robot’s water tank and a dirty water tank to hold the grungy water that’s extracted during the cleaning process. Though the robot cleans itself, you’ll still need to dump that dirty water yourself.
Lower profile design
Ecovacs switched its navigation system to a dual-laser Lidar system, improving the robot’s ability to see and avoid obstacles in its way (now including pet waste) and giving the robot a lower profile design. The Lidar hump at the top of the robot is gone, so it will now fit under even more couches and dressers. According to Ecovacs, moving the Lidar also enables more precise 3D mapping of the home.
I’ll know more about the navigation and mapping upgrades and how close the new square design lets the robot get to baseboards and edges when I do a full review next month. For now, if a self-cleaning robot mop/vacuum with 8,000Pa of suction power and a low profile sounds good to you, you can pre-order the Ecovacs Deebot X2 Omni for $1,499 (check price on Amazon), and it will ship on October 3rd.
[Image credit: Techlicious]