Ecovacs Deebot X1 Plus robot vacuum review
Our first look at the Ecovacs Deebot X1 Plus to find out if this robot vacuum is worth it.
Ecovacs claim it’s making “tomorrow’s robots, today”, so we trialled in-home the Deebot X1 Plus, a mid to high-end model to see if its tech is really from the future.
- Stylish design
- Compact auto-empty dock
- Mops and vacuums
- Quick map option
- Camera for object avoidance and viewing
- Polished feature-rich, intuitive app
- Furniture mapping feature for targeted cleaning
- Built-in voice assistant
- Can store up to three maps for separate floors or areas
- Built-in air freshener
- Temperamental mapping that relies on a particular dock placement
- Can’t add room to existing map
- Won’t cross carpet with mop head installed
- Mopping unit vibrates a lot
Deebot X1 Plus first impressions: a feature-packed robot
The X1 Plus is a hybrid vacuum and mopping robot with an auto-empty dock to reduce the number of times you have to empty the bin.
It’s a mapping robot, so it uses a smartphone app paired with what Ecovacs call “AIVI 3d and TrueMapping technology”. AIVI stands for Artificial Intelligence and Visual Interpretation Technology, and there is a very Tron-like video on their website that shows it’s all about object recognition and avoidance, much like iRobot’s vSlam system. Over time, the robot will use its camera to learn what objects are in your house and which ones to avoid. Yep, big brother is watching you from his robot lair.
The X1 Plus can be connected to Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa for voice control, but this model also has its own built-in voice assistant called Yiko.
A feature that sets it apart from the other robot vacuums I’ve reviewed is its built-in air freshener capsule. A bit of a gimmick I feel, but if you like the smell of wild bluebell in your home this is the bot for you.
Setup and design
The X1 Plus is a stylish, low profile, brushed silver and black disc. The dock is a simple and compact unit that won’t look too out of place in your home.
The robot has two brushes that need to be clipped into either side before it can start mapping and cleaning. You also need to charge it first, which can take up to 6 hours so be prepared to wait for your bot’s first outing. The power switch is under the magnetic top cover, and when you switch it on you are greeted with a somewhat screechy and tinny female voice, I’m guessing this is Yiko. My eldest son commented, “the speakers are terrible!”.
The X1 Plus was then connected to the Ecovacs Home app and given the birth name “Jeffery” by the children.
Mapping: temperamental and space dependent
Troubles with dock placement
I had major problems getting the X1 Plus to map correctly. With all my other robot vacuum trials, I have put the dock in the same place in the lounge and sent the bots out to map with no real issues. However, the X1 Plus kept mapping everything on a 45-degree angle, despite trying numerous times.
A quick google and I found that the AIVI system doesn’t like starting mapping near walls or corners; there needs to be at least 0.5 metres around the dock on both sides. So, I moved the dock to fulfil these requirements, but I still had the same issue.
Eventually, I recalled that James, our product test team leader at Consumer NZ, had an Ecovacs unit that docks in his hallway, so I moved the dock into my hallway and finally got a proper map!
James didn’t have the mapping issues I did, but it’s worth being aware of the limitations. Personally, I would not want the dock in my hallway (indeed, my Roborock who lives behind a chair and scuttles out from underneath it when called upon for its cleaning duty, has no mapping issues), and moving the dock to a new position afterwards just confused the bot as it thought it was still in the hallway and would only clean a metre in front before returning to its den.
Hungry for cables
Ecovacs says its AIVI system includes obstacle avoidance, but the X1 Plus was still hungry for cables and the kids’ card game on its initial map. I’m assuming in time it would learn not to eat these items, although if it wants to eat the kids I don’t really mind.
A good thing about the Deebot X1 Plus is that you don’t have to perform a full clean to do the mapping. There is a “quick map” option where the bot will just run around the perimeters of your rooms and create a map, ready for cleaning later. It’s a reasonably rough map, but subsequent cleaning runs will improve the detail.
Adding rooms to an existing map
With every mapping robot I test, I like to see how easy it is to add a room to an existing map. Say you left a door shut during the initial map and subsequently want to add that room, how easy is it to do? Well, for the X1 Plus, it’s not.
If you send the bot out to clean, it will see and show the extra space on the map, but you cannot add it as an extra room or join it to an existing space using the app’s tools. You can, however, do an area clean of this new space, but if you want it to be part of the map, the only option I could find was to delete the current map and remap the whole floor again. Not too big a deal with the quick map option, but it does mean setting up rooms, names and no-go zones again. The moral of this story: make sure all your rooms are accessible before you do the first map.
App: polished and intuitive
The Ecovacs Home app is an eye-pleasing and polished affair and has all the features you would expect for this level of robot. Despite my difficulties adding rooms to an existing map, it was easy to name and edit rooms already mapped; for example, I could divide and combine rooms, plus create no-go zones. The X1 Plus also allows you to view maps in 3D and rotate them!
Standard app features
The app includes all the expected standard features such as scheduled cleaning, area cleaning, the ability to adjust vacuum power and mopping water flow, and to clean a room twice (you have to swipe up on the tab on the cleaning screen to find this option though). You can also specify a cleaning sequence order for the rooms when doing a full auto clean.
Cleaning under furniture
A neat feature is the ability to add furniture to the map, resizing and positioning to match your home layout. The X1 Plus can then perform “furniture area cleaning”, which means cleaning under and around your furnishings- a great feature for getting rid of dust under your bed or all the snack detritus around your chair after a movie night.
Guides and maintenance
The accessories and parts section in the app settings will tell you how much life is left in the replaceable components of the robot, such as the mopping pads, rollers and dust bags. It also has handy guides to how to replace these items, saving you googling or trying to find the instruction manual. A nice touch.
The best part of the app for me was the Yiko voice assistant. You have to say “ok Yiko” to wake Yiko up. She responds through the tinny cacophonous speakers, “I’m here”, and then you can tell the robot to go and clean. James had an issue with his bot understanding his accent, but it seemed to understand my hybrid cockney/kiwi/yokel accent with no real trouble. I loved that I didn’t have to get my phone out to start a clean or have to setup any kind of voice assistant. Yiko works out of the box perfectly.
Vacuuming and mopping: multi-surface cleaning
The Deebot X1 Plus has recently been put through our full lab test for vacuuming, so head over to our test results page to see how well it performed.
In my home trial it performed as well as any other unit I have trialled on hard floor, but it’s difficult to tell how well it’s sucked up dust from the carpet.
The two side brushes were better at scooping debris into the vacuum’s underbelly mouth than other robots with only one brush, and the bot can also sense if it’s on carpet and increase suction accordingly. It was quite amusing when the vac first returned to the dock to empty itself – Yiko tries to tell you that the vacuum is being emptied, but her voice is drowned out by the suction noise!
A very shaky mopping bot
To mop with the X1 Plus, remove the air freshener unit and slot in the “OZMO Pro 3.0” oscillating mopping system once it’s filled with water. And boy, does the OZMO know how to oscillate! On the first mopping excursion, I thought I had installed it incorrectly as it shook so wildly.
Being used to the Roborock’s subtle sonic vibrating mop, I was surprised by how much the X1 shakes when it’s mopping. It does a good job though and, judging by the wetness of my floors, uses more water than other systems I’ve trialled.
The lab doesn’t currently test mopping, but we hope to be able to in future.
Practicality in a home with multiple flooring types
To stop your rugs and carpets from getting wet, the X1 Plus will avoid going onto any of these surfaces whilst the OZMO mop unit is installed. This will be a good thing for many people, but it might prove problematic for those of you with multiple flooring surfaces across rooms, as it did for us.
We have wooden floors in our kitchen and lounge but a carpeted hallway in between, so the X1 Plus couldn’t cross from the lounge (where the dock was) into the kitchen as the carpet “moat” was barring its way. It would keep approaching the threshold and nudging the edge of the carpet and then turning away, only to approach from a different angle and repeat over and over. It didn’t seem to have the intelligence to work out that it couldn’t get over. A simple alert on the app for the bot to be carried to the kitchen would have been good, as I think otherwise it would just persist until the battery ran out.
You can store up to three separate maps with the X1 Plus, so homes with multiple floors are not an issue. Just take the robot down or upstairs and set it to clean and it will map and clean the new space and add it as a new map. Of course, you will need to manually take the unit to the other floor every time you want to clean and return it to the dock afterwards. It’s not ideal having to do this, so unless you can afford to purchase an extra robot, we’d recommend keeping the X1 Plus on your main living floor for the majority of its cleaning routines.
The verdict: Should you buy a Ecovacs Deebot X1 Plus?
The X1 Plus is an expensive but great looking robot vac with a host of features including the voice assistant and fun (if not particularly useful) remote control camera. We did find some issues with the mapping, but once you’ve sorted your maps, you should find it’s a very capable unit. If you have multiple types of floor surfaces, you may want to look elsewhere though.