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While robot floor cleaners do a pretty good job of vacuuming, mopping remains a work in progress. The bulk of these smart appliances don’t really “mop” in the same sense humans do—by applying elbow grease and scrubbing in a back-and-forth motion to loosen and lift the grime that gets embedded in hard floors. Rather, they drag a dampened cloth across the floor, which removes surface dirt and leaves a sheen of moisture behind, but typically leaves stubborn stains in place.
There are exceptions, of course, and the Deebot X1 Omni is the latest and greatest of these. It employs a pair of mopping pads that use a scrubbing motion to get rid of deep-down dirt similar to the way you would with a stick mop. It also ships with a docking station that cleans and dries the mopping pads and manages the clean and dirty water, so you don’t have to. That alone makes it a vast improvement over 90 percent of the mopping robots on the market. But there’s also the added convenience of Ecovacs’ YIKO technology, which uses natural language processing technology to enable voice commands without the need for a third-party smart device.
This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best robot vacuums, where you’ll find reviews of the competition’s offerings, plus a buyer’s guide to the features you should consider when shopping for this type of product.
The X1 Omni comes in a huge box, largely to accommodate the almost 2-foot-tall, 2.5-foot wide and deep “Omni station.” This station functions as both the robot’s charging dock and the housing for two 4-liter water tanks and a 2.5-liter disposable dust bag that collects the debris from the robot’s 400ml dustbin when it auto empties. Slipped between the two water tanks is an apparatus that holds two additional mopping pads and a brush to clean the “cleaning sink”—the part of the dock that cleans the mopping pads after each job.
The robot itself is more conventionally sized and features an onboard LIDAR sensor and an HD camera to help it navigate. Curiously, the camera also provides a live video feed you can view in the app to keep tabs on your home and its occupants; more on that in a bit. The robot has four suction levels and three saturation levels, so you can customize your vacuuming and mopping to the job at hand.
Finding space for the Omni station might be the most challenging part of setting up the X1 Omni. Once that’s sorted out, it’s a straightforward and quick process. You download the Ecovacs Home app and create an account, scan the QR code under the robot’s lid, switch the robot on, enter your Wi-Fi credentials when prompted, and wait for it to connect. The whole thing took less than five minutes for me, and that included a firmware update.
It takes around six hours for the robot to fully charge. While you’re waiting, you can fill the clean water tank with tap water—Ecovacs also offers a cleaning solution you can add, which is sold separately—and attach the two spinning edge brushes and mopping pads to the bottom of the robot.
You can start and stop a cleaning job in four ways: by pressing the “clean” button on top of the Omni station or the one on the robot, tapping the Auto button in the app, or using YIKO voice control. I opted for the last. You can find a comprehensive list of voice commands in the app; each one starts with the phrase “OK, YIKO” (pronounced Ee-koh) to wake the robot up and is followed by a direction, such as “start cleaning,” “make a new map,” or “mop the kitchen.”
The X1 Omni will map your space during its first cleaning job, or you can use the quick mapping function which does the same without cleaning in a fraction of the time. I did this with a simple “OK, Yiko, start quick mapping” command and the robot made a quick trip through my downstairs level, producing a fairly complete map that included the living room, kitchen, entryway, and bathroom. Once you have a map, you can divide or merge spaces, add virtual barriers, and label rooms from within the app. You can also set cleaning sequences, schedule jobs, and set preferences for individual cleaning areas.
The X1 Omni easily sucked up small and large debris from my hard-surface floors on the lowest suction setting. Higher suction levels were required to do the same on carpet, but you can configure the robot to boost suction automatically when it detects carpeting. The mopping results were excellent, as well. The twin mopping pads spin at 180 rpm, and that provided enough agitation to remove dry stains almost as easily as fresh ones.
The robot navigated methodically around furniture during cleaning jobs. However, avoidance of obstacles in its path was hit and miss. Instead of skirting around a power cable I purposely left draped across the floor, it simply rolled over it, so it’s important to declutter before you dispatch the robot to clean. On the other hand, it had no problem transitioning from hard floor to carpet and vice versa.
As mentioned, the built-in HD camera can provide a live video feed of the robot’s surroundings. Ostensibly, this is to help capture images to help troubleshoot areas where the robot might be getting stuck during cleaning. But it’s important to note, however, that it captures a floor-to-ceiling view of the room the robot is in; as such it might record video and audio of intimate family moments. This is by design. There is a whole separate set of camera controls in the Ecovacs app for recording and viewing video, similar to what you find with home security cameras, and there’s even a “home patrol” function that lets you get a quick visual survey of the room when you’re away. You must turn this feature on and enter a password in the app each time you want to use it, and Ecovacs assures the X1 Omni’s hardware and software have met TÜV Rheinland privacy and security certification, which helps reduce the likelihood that hackers could get access to devices that are compliant with the standard. Still, this feature might give privacy-conscious users pause.
It’s also worth mentioning that the X1 Omni requires a greater degree of maintenance than the average robot vacuum. In addition to keeping the brushes, dustbin, and filter clear of debris that could impair cleaning performance, you must regularly empty and clean the dirty water tank, drain and clean the cleaning sink, clean the clean water filter, and clean the dust collection drawer in the Omni station.
That said, the X1 Omni is an innovative and impressive combo cleaner. If you have the space to house it and the means to afford it—it lists for $1,549, though its introductory price is $1,399 on Amazon and directly from Ecovacs—you won’t be disappointed.