Robotic Vacuums

Review Dyson 360 Eye Robot Vacuum Cleaner

Judy D. Evans
Written by Judy D. Evans

In addition to its digital V2 motor that Dyson says “spins at up to 78,000 revolutions per minute,” the way a robot vacuum sees rooms has a huge impact on its ability to clean. The Dyson 360 Eye relies on infrared sensors and a 360-degree standard-definition camera that sits on the top of the vacuum to interpret its surroundings. Dyson’s bot is very systematic about its movements, as it travels out from the dock in concentric squares throughout your entire house.

While it doesn’t follow the same parallel path as Neato and Roomba vacuums (iRobot’s older models followed a more random pattern, but the Roomba 980 is much more methodical), the 360 Eye still maps out a path that gives it a good chance of covering as much of the floor as possible.

It doesn’t actually store and remember routes, though, since furniture and other obstacles can move between runs. Instead, it adapts to the environment on the fly.

With one or two exceptions, robot vacs rely on a “bump and move” approach to get around: they bump into things, then find a way around them. Sensors detect steps and some models, such as the Roomba 880, employ acoustic sensors to detect the dirtiest areas. However, they’re essentially blind mice sporting digital whiskers and pre-programmed behaviour.

The Eye 360 isn’t blind. In fact, it sees in every direction simultaneously, which helps it to not only map out where it’s going, but also to avoid obstacles. It still bumps into things now and again, particularly items below its eye line, but the Dyson knows where it’s going in relation to where it’s been.

Even when the Dyson bumps into objects, it’s less aggressive and less likely to damage your furniture as a result. It’s more a very British nudge or polite prod than a bump: “Awfully sorry, don’t mind me.”Yet there’s nothing British about its approach to cleaning. It’s methodical, calculating and efficient – more D-Day landing than Brexit. It picks its starting point and slowly works its way outwards in squares, each time overlapping a little with its previous path so it doesn’t miss anything. Those wanting to keep an eye on what area it’s covered and how far it’s travelled can do so via the Dyson Link app.

The 360 Eye is impressively rugged and tenacious, too. Rather than wheels, it has two tilting tank tracks that tackle elevation changes with ease. It navigates my deep pile – and exceedingly cheap – Ikea rug with ease; my Roomba 880 often treats it like an obstacle and makes its way around it. It’s the Land Rover of robot vacs, but modern and reliable.

Setting up the Dyson 360 Eye is easy. Just plug in the pleasingly discreet A4-size charging dock, drop in the already assembled robot vac and, when it’s charged, hit the button on its top to start cleaning.

Okay, there’s a little more to it than that. You’ll need to make your home robot-proof first, by which I mean “tidy”, but the instructions are excellent. Things become marginally more complicated when you setup the Dyson Link app – more on that later – but first, let’s take a closer look at the robot itself.

The Dyson 360 Eye is a neat little unit: smaller, yet taller, than rivals. It’s slightly narrower than an iPad Air and about as tall as seven DVD cases stacked on top of one another; it’s small enough to go places that most robot vacs can’t. On the flip side, it’s too tall to fit under the majority of sofas and beds – it managed to get under my bed, but sofas are out of the question.

Sand is our robot vacuum torture test. We don’t expect any model to clean up everything, but the 360 Eye did the worst here with 0.27 ounces collected on the mid-pile carpet, 0.26 ounces collected on the low-pile carpet, and just 1.06 ounces collected on the hardwood floor. This isn’t too damning, though, since sand isn’t a very common household debris (unless you’re lucky enough to live near a beach).

The 360 Eye picked up a lot of the pet hair, but the rest was stuck along the side of the test pen.
Megan Wollerton/CNET
Dyson touts its carbon fiber and nylon brush that’s roughly as wide as the 360 Eye itself, but a lot of the stuff the 360 Eye struggled to collect was hiding in corners or up against the side of the test pens.

Product Specification:

  • Color : blue/nickel
  • Dust Capacity : 0.3 gal
  • Cleaning Method : Dry
  • Cleaner Type : Robotic
  • Dust Collection : Bagless
  • Manufacturer : Dyson
  • Width : 9.1 in
  • Depth : 9.4 in
  • Height : 4.7 in
  • Weight : 5.29 lbs
  • MISCELLANEOUS
  • Included Accessories : Self-charging base
  • Exterior Color : blue/nickel
  • Color Category : blue, gray
  • Included Tools : rotary brush
  • Power Type : rechargeable batteries
  • Operating : Autonomy 45 min
  • Brand : Dyson
  • Product Line : Dyson
  • Model 360 : EYE
  • Product Type : vacuum cleaner
  • Vacuum Cleaner : Type general purpose
  • Cleaner Type : robotic
  • Cleaning Method : dry
  • Dust Collection : bagless
  • Cyclonic Technology : Yes
  • Dust Capacity : 0.3
  • Maximum Suction Power (Air Watts) : 20

Whats in the Box?

We got the Docking Station which looks really cool, put that up there. And we’ve got a Power Pack which obviously we need to power docking station in the robot. Also in here, we have the manuals, how to use your robot, remember to connect to your robot, Dyson apps, how to use the app and how to use it with your robot. So that’s all we’ve got from the box, nothing else in there let’s throw it over here as well. Let’s see what we got, this is fresh out of the box guys, so it is putting on charge up, we have a separate video for that. So first impression, it looks really really good, really really new, really really interesting in some degree. So put that there and I’ll put it facing you guys actually, so here is your Dyson, there’s the power and here is the docking station. So believe with the power that you can plug it in either in, it got a port here and a port here which ever your plug is facing, so this can go in the left hand side or right hand side.

 

Pros:

 

Dyson’s 360 Eye robot vacuum systematically maps out floors, has a simple companion app for remote access, and is powerful enough to collect a lot of unwanted dirt and grime.

Cons:

didn’t perform as well

Conclusion:

The Dyson 360 Eye is the best performing robot vacuum available. It’s simply better at cleaning than all the others, but it also has its downsides. It can’t get under as many things as a Roomba, it still bumps into thin things and it still can’t clean everything, meaning it’s not the only vacuum you need to own.

Its smaller footprint makes a difference in its ability to get in and around table and chair legs, and it takes up less space when sat on its dock, which makes it a lot easier to live with in cramped flats and terraces.

Robot vacuum cleaners are designed to vacuum everyday or at least several times a week, which means that out-and-out cleaning power doesn’t matter as much. The regular cleaning never lets it get to particularly bad levels, and if you spill something you’re more likely to get out a vacuum then and there and clear it up rather than leave it for the robot.

You could therefore argue that a less capable robot could do the job just as well, but the 360 Eye also doesn’t need to run as frequently as some others to maintain a perceivable level of clean, precisely because it gets more on its first sweep. It’s also easy to transfer between floors to cover different areas on different days.

It costs a lot, it isn’t perfect and it certainly isn’t a must-buy for everyone. But it is the best robot vacuum right now.

About the author

Judy D. Evans

Judy D. Evans

Spent 2001-2005 developing strategies for cleaning company formation in Tampa, FL. Spent college summers lecturing about marketing with no outside help. Spent childhood building my own cleaning company in Pensacola, FL.

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