ECOVACS took a pretty daring approach with the DEEBOT X2 Omni. It’s rectangular. This might seem like a frivolous decision, but this is not one that’s made lightly for the simple reason that in doing so, the robot vacuum has far less forgiving pathways to work with.
There are some clear benefits from the outset: the rectangular design means that the X2 Omni is slimmer than the average robot vacuum. On top of that, it also has a lower height profile, thanks to the use of a semi-solid state LiDAR similar to that used in autonomous cars. While a conventional LiDAR sticks out like a stubby periscope, the module used in the X2 Omni is incorporated into the body and has a 210-degree field of view.
The result is a more compact robot vacuum measuring 320 x 353 x 95 mm that can traverse tighter spaces and clean closer to the wall. But how does it actually fare in real life?
Full cream robot vacuum goodness
The X2 Omni has a pretty comprehensive feature set. While this is often an experience that is available only if you pay a thousand bucks minimum, I feel strongly that it doesn’t make sense to get a robot vacuum if the device doesn’t do some degree of self-cleaning. In effect, you should only do a thorough clean of your house occasionally, while cleaning the vacuum itself becomes a monthly or bi-monthly affair. Otherwise, it defeats the purpose of having an autonomous cleaning device if you have to clean up the trash bag and mop (and dry it as well) every single time.
The X2 Omni has this covered. It has a clean and dirty water tank for wetting the mop as well as washing it–heat drying included as well–and a dustbag that’s easily replaceable. As such, you only need to replace and top up water every couple of days, depending on your cleaning schedule, along with the occasional maintenance on the weekends or monthly. It’s very easy to dismantle parts for cleaning; no need for a screwdriver or wrench.
Easy setup, but worth taking time
Setting up via the ECOVACS HOME app is easy as well, and once it takes a preliminary scan, you can start to cordon off areas and demarcate carpets, etc. You might also want to spend some time using the 3D layout to mark your furniture layout for the convenience of using them as a reference point should you want localised cleaning (i.e. cleaning around the dinner table). There are some limitations in how you
Ecovacs offers plenty of cleaning options in the app, and it might be overwhelming for those using it for the first time–in which case, just start with the default preset options first before slowly tweaking the settings to taste.
Power with control
The X2 Omni offers you a variety of ways to clean. You can vacuum everything first before mopping or decide on separate passes. The 8,000pa (max) of vacuum power is a little overkill for level floors, but the extra power might be useful for uneven tiles and light cleaning for carpets, depending on the scale of the task. That said, you always want a standalone vacuum if you want thorough cleaning. The X2 Omni also has the ability to raise its mops by 15mm (to avoid staining carpets), which is pretty high, if not the highest, amongst its peers. Of course, depending on how thick your carpets are, there is always a chance for the carpet to catch a little bit of water. If that worries you, you can easily remove the mops just to be sure and set the robot to vacuum first before making a second pass to mop, for example.
Navigation pros and cons
ECOVACS says the navigation system is what makes it possible for the designers to use a rectangular shape. True enough, with a more compact form factor, the X2 Omni glides easily into smaller spaces and with confidence–sometimes a little too much, as it can be a little aggressive when bumping into objects (inevitable for robot vacuums). Given what was teased and what was delivered, I think it’s slightly disappointing that the navigation tech feels pretty much ‘normal’. It’s less of a deal breaker only because we still need to apply best practices and the usual precautions: chair leg socks, etc, don’t have anything delicate that will topple easily as cheap insurance, just to name a few.
However, the X2 Omni redeems itself by how closely it can hug the walls. As an aside, it does not have the luxury of simply rotating and making its way out, which is why the X2 Omni is pretty cool when you watch it operate like a smooth parallel parker. It’s able to clean corners noticeably better than regular robot vacuums, but it’s not a night-and-day improvement. I honestly feel that it’s purely for OCD people, but that said, I’m certainly glad to have this feature–why not?
What the X2 Omni does very well is object avoidance, especially when people are moving around. The X2 Omni has a bit of a swagger in which it traverses tricky terrain (imagine a tight parking lot with an obnoxious number of pillars), but it can get stuck on occasion, and it has a tendency to bump into stuff hard. While it can avoid tricky things like wires on the floor, there’s a chance it might still roll over it despite moving out of the way. I’d be wary if I have a pet at home–exercise your usual precautions to avoid the robot vacuum picking up poop and making a mess.
There’s a tendency for the X2 Omni to go straight into error mode rather than try to extricate itself first before waving the white flag, so it’s advisable to monitor the X2 Omni for the first few uses so you can familiarise yourself with how it works. I’m not so keen on AI Navigation, as I find little benefit in having it enabled at this point in time (in my case), but your mileage may vary.
An interesting thing about the X2 Omni is that it takes diagonal paths, and in my case, where I have uneven floor heights, traversing rooms can be a noisy affair as it enters the new room at an angle, causing the sweeper to rub against the protrusion on the floor, causing a squeaky noise. Otherwise, the X2 Omni is relatively silent on its default settings.
Despite the more sophisticated navigation system, it doesn’t seem like the X2 Omni is significantly smarter; if anything, it seems as if it’s designed around the radical redesign, which makes it more nimble and manoeuvrable. So you still need to exercise discretion in how your furniture is arranged and what you leave on the floor. This is something that applies to all robot vacuums–to various degrees–regardless of cost.
The X2 Omni can be set up to support Alexa and Google Assistant, but I feel it’s more effective just to use YIKO 2.0, the onboard assistant, to ask it to clean specific rooms or spots–it’s pretty handy for simple, specific instructions. But! I’m out of earshot most of the time, so the app is far more useful; plus, it’s easier to adjust cleaning settings.
The X2 Omni also has a front camera (part of the AIVI 3D navigation system) that it uses to identify and detect objects. It has a secondary purpose as well–you can use it to survey your house, and there’s the added flexibility of giving you the ability to control the vacuum manually with on-screen controls like a remote-controlled car (just because). The cynical among us will rightfully question the issue of privacy in this case, and Robovacs’ public response is that privacy will not be violated and they will put the privacy of customers first, which is the equivalent of ‘trust me bro’. The reality is it’s no different from any other device with the ability to capture sight and sound, so the risk is, in reality, no more so than the average device with a camera, terms & conditions notwithstanding.
Aye or nay
If you take the Roborock Q Revo as a reference, the X2 Omni has more power and is physically more compact and flexible in terms of managing carpets and terrain. It also has a more sophisticated navigation system that’s great at avoiding people even when moving at speed, though admittedly, I do not think it offers a breakthrough-level kind of performance despite what the list of features states, and I’m not quite certain about the benefits of AI Navigation. Hopefully, future updates will sort this out. As mentioned previously, I suspect the tech makes it possible for the Ecovacs to manifest their vision of a more nimble robot vacuum that can traverse tighter spots and clean wall edges better.
The price difference feels par for the course; the truth is it really depends on whether you need its more compact form (height and width, mostly) for those hard-to-reach spaces and the additional bells and whistles, which I suspect most people do not.
That said, the X2 Omni is a decent representation of what robot vacuums can do right now and to an extent, it’s a bit like a cutting-edge flagship smartphone with a myriad of features that you may or may not use. For some, it solves their highly exacting needs, but for the rest of us, you’re paying for specs and the thrill of ownership.
- ECOVACS DEEBOT X2 Omni - 7.6/107.6/10
ECOVACS DEEBOT X2 Omni
Price SGD1,799 (now retailing SGD1,559)/ MYR5,799
Value Proposition ✅✅✅✅✅✅✅☐☐☐
Design & Build Quality ✅✅✅✅✅✅✅½☐☐
The X2 Omni offers best-of-class specs (or near to it) and is reasonable for the offer price. Navigation-wise, it’s reasonably decent but isn’t mind-blowingly fantastic, and could use a software update for refinement. But generally, this represents what robot vacuums can offer if money is no object. If you have tight spaces around the house, this is worth consideration.