Review: ECOVACS DEEBOT X1 TURBO

I’m sure there are people out there that love cleaning, but I’m certainly not one of them. Where technology can assist in performing these mundane maintenance tasks, it frees us to spend more time doing the things we love.

One fantastic example of this is robot vacuum cleaners that can be scheduled to clean your house while you’re out of the house. It’s awfully nice to imagine that when you return from a day at the office, your home is magically cleaned while you’re gone.

Thankfully this can be a reality with the purchase of a smart robot vacuum cleaner. In recent years, the competition in this space has really picked up and that has led to increased expectations of consumers has also grown.

In what is definitely a first-world problem, the early days of robot vacuum cleaners were plagued by the robot getting stuck. Frankly, it was a miracle they worked at all, while they had the necessary mechanics to move around your floors, they lacked the intelligence to do this and avoid objects in their path.

These issues often meant that while the robot would do the cleaning fairly well, you were often left with the challenge of finding your robot stuck somewhere in your house.

Today’s robots like the X1 TURBO is a connected robot and with WiFi, can be controlled by your smartphone. In the unlikely event, it did get stuck, you can check the virtual map of your home and immediately find the robot.

Thanks to an on-board camera system, this robot takes in the visual input of the environment ahead of it and uses AI to make inferences about objects it sees. If can understand objects like chair legs, surface changes and obstacles like socks etc that may be left on the floor.

Another common issue is the different floor surfaces found in our homes. While vacuuming is fine, on hard surfaces like floorboards or tiles, you’d really like mopping, along with vacuuming to be done.

The X1 TURBO features intelligent cleaning modes that automatically detects the surface type and adapt accordingly, ensuring you don’t end up with wet carpets while leaving your hard surfaces, much cleaner than they would be with just sweeping.

When you’re dealing with water, you have a need to clean that water between runs. Vacuum cleaners have been able to return to a dock and recharge for many years, but now we see that charging dock transform into a much bigger facility.

In the case of the X1 TURBO, the dock now also houses two generous water canisters. One is filled with clean water and the second fills up with dirty water as the mopping discs are rinsed between uses.

Given the size of these water canisters, you could easily have your house mopped a couple of times per week, for a couple of weeks before needing to attend to these.

What is interesting in the X1 TURBO model, is that there is no dust bin to extract the dust between cleaning cycles. When you remove the top cover, you find a relatively small dust bin in the vacuum body.

This could mean that if your house is moderately direct, you may find yourself getting an alert to empty this bin fairly regularly. If you want solution to this, you can consider buying the flagship X1 OMNI that also features a large dust bin the robot can empty into after each run, providing you as much as a couple of weeks between emptying.

Design

The design of the X1 TURBO includes a familiar circular design for the robot, but the lighter exterior on the top surface. The surround barrier is still finished black, which I’d expect is to hide scuffs as the robot bumps into objects, with a lighter finish, this would likely mark the robot.

The black/silver finish of the robot and charging dock looks clean and modern and at home together. The dock has some curves to make the device more welcoming than harsh rectangular edges.

That top surface is actually removable to access the on/off switch and the dustbin. What’s great about this is the magnetic points around the surface that help it snap back into place perfectly every time.

When it comes to the body of the robot, the top features a raised circle that looks a little strange at first, but hiding inside that puck, is a lidar sensor that enables TrueMapping Direct time-of-flight (DTOF) that measures the distance between the robot and the objects in your environment. This helps the robot build a map of your home which can be used later to define virtual boundaries.

The front of the robot also features a camera which is used to deliver a live video feed from the robot to your smartphone. This camera array also powers the object detection of the robot.

When it comes to cleaning, the robot features two brushes to sweep dust and debris into the vacuum’s intake to deliver that to the internal dustbin. On the rear, you have two mopping pads that release just enough water to clean the surface. This cleans the hard surface below, while not leaving it saturated, meaning drying time is quite quick.

Features

There’s a lot to love about the feature list on offer with the DEEBOT X1 TURBO. The DEEBOT X1 TURBO. It shares many features with the big brother DEEBOT X1 OMNI including AIVI 3D and TrueMapping 2.0 obstacle detection and mapping, 5000Pa strong suction power and YIKO voice assistant.

It comes with an alternative docking station that focuses on its mopping effectiveness – ideal for homes with tiles and floorboards. Given much of our house is covered with engineered timber flooring in living areas, and tiled flooring in wet areas (bathrooms and laundry), it’s ultimately just the carpeted bedrooms and rumpus that aren’t. On paper, this makes my house a perfect candidate to test this.

The DEEBOT X1 TURBO’s recharging station is smaller in size than the OMNI station, mainly due to the fact it doesn’t feature first and dust extraction, instead focuses on exceptional mopping, and auto-cleaning the mopping pads.

One feature I’m not sure I’d go looking for, is the ability to control the robot using voice commands. The X1 TURBO features the YIKO Voice Assistant. This means you can initiate cleaning by saying ‘OK YIKO, start cleaning’, or specific locations like ‘OK YIKO, cleaning around the kitchen table’.

This area-specific cleaning is enabled naming your room, but if you want to command the robot to clean around specific objects, you may like to spend the time to enter the 3D House Map. This enables you to add furniture to your rooms and the system then knows where items like your couch (living room) or dining table (dining room) are. This is perhaps a bit more work than most people are prepared to do, but if you spend the time, it does unlock another neat piece of functionality.

Typically the rooms of our homes don’t get dirty and an equal rate. Having the ability to schedule cleaning jobs more frequently in different parts of your house, can more accurately address the cleaning demands of your high-traffic areas.

Imagine you have a rumpus, but only use it on weekends, well it wouldn’t make sense to deploy the robot throughout your entire house on Tuesday and Thursday if the room is clean from a run on Sunday night. In cheaper robots, you don’t have this configurability and options like this that can help justify the price.

Other features include:

  • Fully automated cleaning solution
  • Powerful AIVI™ 3D and TrueMapping technology
  • Leverages advanced AIVI 3D and TrueMapping technology
  • An exquisite customized design by JACOB JENSEN DESIGN crafted with precision

Issues

Obviously, there is still room for improvement in future models and the biggest opportunity to improve this product is the size of the dust bin. With the amount of technology in this vacuum, it is impressive it can still fit in the same, standard diameter form factor, but the 400ml dustbin does feel tiny.

In my experience, this regularly fills up every 1-2x times the vacuum runs. I do have a larger 4 bedroom home, but that’s not an unreasonable coverage area to clean. For those with smaller homes, this may not be an issue, but you do need to be prepared to empty the bin more often than those buying an X1 OMNI.

On the top of the charging dock, I was experimenting with the buttons and at one stage pressed the cleaning button when the robot was not on the dock. I was surprised to learn it didn’t first do a check if the robot was docked before attempting to release clean water into the dock housing (where the robot would normally be).

It is possible this oversight could be resolved with a software update, otherwise should be something addressed in the next model.

Pricing and Availability

The DEEBOT X1 TURBO is available now via Amazon.com.au and eBay.com.au and costs A$2,099.

By comparison, the flagship model, the DEEBOT X1 OMNI (Black) is available at Bing Lee, Godfreys, JB Hi-Fi, The Good Guys and ECOVACS.com/au and costs A$2,499.

Overall

As we add to our demands of what our home cleaning robots should do for us, the feature list, technology and therefore the price tag also continues to grow. When I bought my first robot vacuum cleaner, I did so for around A$800. With the X1 TURBO, we’re talking about a figure that is more than double that price.

At A$2k, this is a substantial investment, but for those with the budgets to support it, I suspect is still a price many are willing to pay for the luxury of getting back the time you would have otherwise spent vacuuming and mopping.

I really love the idea of the OMNI model that features the dust extraction into a larger bin in the charging dock, so this too can be an occasional task for you to empty, rather than a majority of times you run the robot on schedule.

The technology has certainly made a considerable improvement to its ability to detect objects and avoid them, reducing the chance it’ll get stuck. One a normal day a stuck robot is inconvenient, but if you’re depending on the house being clean when you arrive home, so you can have guests over, then this is far more critical.

My experience was really positive with many runs flawless and even had the robot return to base to clean the mopping pads, and then continued its work. This doesn’t mean it’s impossible to get stuck, it can, but in the unlikely event, you can find the robot immediately using the mobile app.

That mobile app is really quite advanced, not only does the map get automatically built as the robot transits your house, but you can then label the room and ask the robot to clean just that room (like your living room or kitchen that needs cleaning more regularly).

Our homes are really dynamic places and there may be times when you need to create virtual barriers to avoid cleaning a specific room, like a kids bedroom that has a project or puzzle laid out on the floor. This feature is quick and easy to use and a real asset to the practical usability of the X1 TURBO.

Ultimately I think my pick would be the X1 OMNI, despite the extra A$500 price tag, but the X1 TURBO is a seriously great option to automate two of your home maintenance tasks.

Overall I was incredibly impressed with the cleaning performance of this vacuum and anyone with hard floors should definitely consider as the mopping leaves the floor cleaner than a standard dust collection.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Design
9.0
Features
9.5
Value
8.8
Posted in:
Jason Cartwright
Jason Cartwrighthttp://techau.com.au/author/jason/
Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021

1 COMMENT

  1. I have the Omni and its great.

    I can’t believe you need to empty the vacuum bin 2 times when cleaning your home. Presumably there is a LOT of dust there and hopefully the amount will decrease with regular use.

    fwiw, I have a large 4 bedroom house too, no carpet, and the bin (which auto empties anyway) rarely gets much dust at all in it…

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