Step into a world where you are surrounded by droids that take care of your typical repetitive daily needs, like cooking, cleaning, answering the door and more. Kind of sounds like a popular movie franchise (given the use of the word droid might have given that away in itself). Today’s technology is getting there and companies like ECOVACS Robotics is one of the many companies helping to make it possible.
For over a week, we have been playing with their top model of robot vacuums, the Deebot Ozmo 930. By now, we have all been exposed to robot vacuums in the market, so the idea is nothing new. However, companies like ECOVACS continue to find new ways to improve on what’s out there to make sure the topic stays alive and at a comfortable peak. They do this by throwing in multiple options in a single unit, like vacuuming as well as mopping and more. The ability to detect the type of surface it is on, and even adding in neat features like LiDAR (you know, the technology autonomous cars use to pull off their magic with). Hey look, we just described some of the many features of the Ozmo 930!
The overall design of the vacuum is quite a bit similar to many other models/options out there in the market, outside of a few things. the construction and quality of materials seems to be on top with the rest of your top brands/solutions, with a durable shell and parts that don’t feel like they are going to give from normal wear scenarios. The bottom features a modular design that allows you to replace individual pieces easily as well as swap out or install certain parts that allow you to switch between modes (vacuum vs vacuum+mopping).
One of those few things that does make its design different is the cool little control tower you see on top, which houses it’s awesome LiDAR skills. This helps the vacuum map its environment out accurately and avoid scary things like stairs and other forms of “oh, where did the floor go!” (nobody wants to see their $600 robot fall down the stairs).
For everything that it does, it is mighty compact, as well as the charging base. The base is small compared to some we have seen or played with (tested). The base sits on the floor and against a wall, as you’d expect it to. The back of it features an area to hide some of the cable you don’t need (for shorter distances to a plug), and the bottom has a sticky pad texture to make sure it doesn’t slide around on hard surfaces (similar to those sticky pads you place on the dashboard of your car to rest your smartphone on). The base is quite light in weight and stays put well.
The pieces that can be removed or replaced are all easy to get to and manage. They provide and extra set of brushes, an extra filter, as well as two of the pads for mopping scenarios. So you already start off with replacement parts, which delays the moment on the calendar where you might find yourself having to buy into more. Their app breaks down the life of the replaceable parts and recommends to you when it is time to replace each one (each part seems to have a different life expectancy).
This does take a few minutes to get everything up and running. You start off by downloading their app which you use to control everything with. Once you have done this, you need to register with an account. It then runs you through the process of adding your new vacuum to the app. The process where it begins to sync with it might take a number of seconds, so don’t worry. As soon as it is finished, it will tell you and then take you to the main page that lists all of your robots (in case you do want to surround yourself with a bunch of droids).
When you click on the vacuum in the list, it will take you to the page where all of the details and settings happen. The main page for the vacuum itself contains some statistics about usage, as well as an area where the floorplan of your home will be displayed once it has ran for the first time and mapped everything out. You can manage the map or manually tell it to clean or go home.
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The app allows you to modify all sorts of details when it comes to your map, including breaking down the rooms (which it already does a fantastic job automatically breaking the areas down into what it thinks are separate areas), setting virtual boundaries for it to avoid crossing, or completely resetting it. You can tell it to simply clean one area and that’s it, and it will avoid the rest, or even select a specific area that is even more particular than the room itself (let’s see your kid just spilled flour all over a certain portion of the kitchen).
You can name the bot, update its firmware, see the WiFi coverage map, adjust various settings like voice announcements, cleaning log, set a schedule for cleaning to automate things with, do not disturb mode and more.
This of course is the most entertaining part of the story. At least it is for us since we have been playing with it all this time. Knowing how well it works means the world when it comes to spending this kind of money. You want to make sure it actually doesn’t its job. No point it buying a vacuum that doesn’t suck (a joke/pun that has lasted throughout many decades). Well, this one really does suck in all the right ways. We could go on forever with everything it does, but we promise to try to keep this simple and straight to the point.
For one, it is pretty quiet when it is running its course. The only time it makes any noise that is noticable is hollow floors. So if it is cleaning upstairs, and it is running across a hard surface floor, you are going to hear everything that it rolls over (ie, every line of grout). It won’t bother you most likely (unless you are extremely OCD about little noises), but just something to keep in mind. If all you have is carpet, then you probably won’t notice anything outside of when it bumps into certain objects.
It does a great job of switching between surfaces, including carpets, various hard surfaces and even area rugs. Thin bathroom rugs are an exception as it may suck them up or at least drag them around with it. So if you have enough issues with your rugs moving around on you by simply walking on them, you may want to close the bathroom door while the bot cleans. That was the only thing we were able to get the vacuum caught on surface-wise.
Suction power is great, as with a single run it was able to completely fill its little compartment (and yes, the compartment is big enough for you to ponder how your floors even got that dirty to begin with). Given, we did throw down a lot of random stuff on the floors to simulate a dirty area. It seems to get almost all of it, comparing its performance to a normal vacuum easily.
When it came to mopping, we dripped juices and other liquids, in which some we let sit until it created a dried spot on the floor and some we kept wet to make sure it got both types. The wet spots were eliminated every time and a decent amount of the dry spots were removed (so it looks like a steam or normal manual mop is still needed for the dried up, harder to get spots).
Both modes had enough effect to justify trusting a majority of the cleaning to the bot. Which is great if you have pets or young kids that like to make a mess of the place. You do have to do some manual converting of the vacuum to get it to mop mode and back, but it is worth it. You are going to have to keep the tank filled with water anyway, so some manual isn’t avoidable no matter what. You can also control the amount of water it uses during the clean via the app, so that it lasts longer, or puts the drop on harder to get to messes.
It also avoids carpet when mopping so that you don’t dump water all over the areas you clearly don’t want getting wet. So it will keep to the hard surfaces that need water and not soak up carpets or rugs. The only disadvantage to this is your layout between these areas. If two hard surface areas are separated by carpet or a rug, it won’t get to the other area since it will stop at the rug. We didn’t test this out, but you can clearly picture the scenario based on it avoiding carpet all together when mopping. It would be nice if it stopped mopping and moved across the carpet/rug sections to get to the other area if it knows a hard surface is over there. Maybe on the next model (or a future firmware update depending on if that would be possible).
Another great thing it is good at is stair detection. One of the things they brag about on their site, the box and just about everywhere else. It seems they have the right to brag as it keeps itself from falling down the stairs, even when it is moving full speed ahead. Its ability to detect the drop in floor, stop and back away is amazing. You can rest comfortably knowing you won’t find this in pieces at the bottom of the stairs. It even knows to include this while mapping everything out, showing the space beyond that first drop is a whole other area.
When it is done cleaning, it will automatically return to the dock and park itself so it can start charging again. It even verbally announces it if you have the voice option set in the app. So the when used in vacuum mode and with an active schedule, the only maintenance you have to worry about is keeping an eye on the container inside that fills up with all the dust and gunk it collects.
You can also tell it to go home from the app, or by pressing the button on the top to pause it, and then long pressing it around 3 seconds to trigger the end and return home feature. As mentioned, the app allows you to do all sorts of things, like customizing the room breakdown (areas), as well as selecting a specific area for it to run off and clean, or designate borders for areas you don’t want it to go (say, where you have young kids or animals, or small items and cords (or bathroom rugs) for it to either suck up or get caught into. It works quite well with this too. If you set a border, it will respond as if there was a physical wall right there. It doesn’t a fantastic job at tracking itself throughout the areas, and you can even follow it live on the map within the app, showing you exactly where it is live.
To layer on some more icing, you can control it using Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant as well. To test this out we connected it with Alexa ourselves. You start off by searching “ECOVACS” in the Alexa skill area and enabling the skill. It will ask for your ECOVACS login information, and then it will ask which bot would you like to control with Alexa. You are done, and you can then say things like “Alexa, ask DEEBOT to start cleaning”, and it will trigger the bot to do its thing. You can tell it to stop cleaning or to start charging. You may not even have to say “DEEBOT” depending on your situation. The commands seem to register in as little as 1-2 seconds before the vacuum responds. So just in case it wasn’t already easy to work with.
Depending on how comfortable with Alexa you are, you may even be able to integrate the Deebot into various scenes you setup, allowing its cleaning process to be a part of a “Goodbye” scene or similar, for when you leave the house. I mean, once you get a device to support Alexa and Google, your options begin to grow pretty quickly.
It isn’t 100% perfect. Beyond the thin rug I brought up above, we were able to get it caught within a complexity of various legs and feet of furniture and other equipment stacked all together. Eventually it turned off. No “help me” message or anything from the app occured–at least that we heard. The rug incident did cause it to call out that it was hung up (so we might have missed it the other time).
It can be a little strong with items it bumps into at times. It doesn’t cause any damage of course, but it can slide things around on the ground slightly if the objects are light enough, and that includes chairs and plants. It really does have a lot of power to it. On a positive note, this helps it get out of areas where it might temporarily get stuck on something.
So far, we can’t find much to complain about. That is a good thing. I mean, it does bump into certain things which can move them around. So you have to consider that, but you can also set a border so it doesn’t get close enough to bother those items. Mop mode might not hit everything depending on carpet/hard surface layout. Beyond that, it’s quiet, and quite effective at picking stuff up and mopping up messes. It can be fully automated for the most part vacuum-wise, outside of having to keep the dust container empty, and mopping doesn’t take that much time to setup and send it on its way. The app gives you all the options you need, and it even comes with replacement parts. So far we have been quite happy with its performance and will continue to test it out and let you know anything we have missed. Maybe through a few more scenarios at it. Now we just need a Rosie the Robot Maid from Jetsons, so that we can take care of all the dusting required around the house as well.
An added bonus, if you click the button just below this, you will find that it is currently on sale (at the time of this story going live at least), for less than $500, plus maybe even a coupon to clip and drop it further.
|Buy from Amazon | Buy from ECOVACS|
*Average price is based on the time this article was published
|Anti-Collision||Infrared Anti-Collision Sensor Bumper Rail|
|Machine Weight (kg)||3.49|
|Noise Level (db.)(Standard/ Max, Intensive)||69.5|
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