Dyson 360 Eye review:

Dyson's first robot vacuum is good, but not quite good enough

Dyson's 0.33-liter bin is small, too, especially compared to the Roomba 980's 0.6-liter bin and the Neato Botvac Connected's 0.7-liter bin. The 360 Eye's bin isn't especially easy to reach, either, because it butts up against the dock. That means you have to either turn the vacuum around or pick it up completely to remove the bin. Both the Roomba 980 and the Botvac Connected have very accessible bins that you can reach when they're docked.

The 360 Eye's filter is located on the front of the vacuum underneath a flimsy-feeling sliver of plastic. It's easy enough to remove, but tougher to get back on. The trick is to slide the cover down from the top, very close to the vacuum, but it takes some getting used to.

I was impressed with the 360 Eye's tread-like wheels, though; they raise up when needed so the vacuum could travel over large power cords and transitions between hardwood floors and carpet.

Software stuff

Like the Roomba 980 and the Neato Botvac Connected, the 360 Eye is app-enabled. Dyson told me it was trying to steer clear of any software gimmicks, so the app is very basic. You won't be able to drive your robot on-demand from your phone, for instance.

But, you can start, pause, and stop cleaning runs from your local Wi-Fi network or a reliable cellular connection. You can also set schedules and view a custom map of the cleaning route your bot took.

Configuring it is simple, too. Download the Dyson Link app on your Android or iPhone and follow the steps to connect.

  • Create an account -- enter your name, email address, and a password
  • Dyson will then ask to send you notifications, I opted-in to this feature and it was very responsive
  • The app will search for your machine, select robot vacuum from the list of options
  • Enter the credentials for your Wi-Fi network
  • Plug in the charging dock and begin charging your 360 Eye (this activates Dyson's built-in Wi-Fi module)
  • Select the 360EYE network from your Wi-Fi options

That's it. Now you just have to wait for it to connect. The app will ask you when you bought your 360 Eye and to give it a name. Now you're ready to take it on its inaugural run. Here's mine:

And here's a peek at the app:

Press the circle on the home screen to start, pause, and stop a cycle. Dyson will send you an alert when a cycle ends and make a map of your route. You can also set custom schedules based on your routine.

Screenshots by CNET

Cleaning up

Dyson's website says the 360 Eye has, "Twice the suction of any robot vacuum" with the caveat that, "Suction testing based on ASTM F558, dust-loaded against robot market."

We ran the 360 Eye through a series of tests on plush mid-pile carpet, thinner berber carpet, and hardwood floors. On each surface we scored its ability to pick up 2.5 ounces of rice, 0.2 ounces of pet hair, and 1.25 ounces of sand. Over two dozen test runs later and the 360 Eye ended up scoring well compared to many of the non-smart robot vacuums we've reviewed, but not as well as either the Roomba 980 or the Neato Botvac Connected overall.

RICE (OUT OF 2.5 OZ.)

Neato Botvac Connected
2.48
2.45
2.5
iRobot Roomba 980
2.42
2.29
2.13
Dyson 360 Eye
2.18
1.85
2.13

Legend:

Mid-pile carpet
Low-pile carpet
Hardwood floor

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

The 360 Eye came in last place on the rice test, picking up just 2.18 ounces on the plush carpet, 1.85 ounces on the berber-style carpet, and 2.13 ounces on the hardwood floor. This certainly isn't a terrible score. At the same time, the Neato Botvac Connected picked up significantly more rice on each flooring surface.

PET HAIR (OUT OF 0.2 OZ.)

Neato Botvac Connected
0.2
0.18
0.2
Dyson 360 Eye
0.17
0.19
0.19
iRobot Roomba 980
0.18
0.19
0.16

Legend:

Mid-pile carpet
Low-pile carpet
Hardwood floor

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

The 360 Eye narrowed the gap a bit when it came to pet hair. Out of the 0.2 ounces of pet hair, it collected 0.17 ounces on the mid-pile carpet, 0.19 ounces on the low-pile carpet, and 0.19 ounces on the hardwood floor. Since we're talking about 0.01 differences in some cases, this result is still excellent. And it came in second place, beating the Roomba 980.

SAND (OUT OF 1.25 OZ.)

Neato Botvac Connected
0.47
0.33
1.22
iRobot Roomba 980
0.28
0.37
1.16
Dyson 360 Eye
0.27
0.26
1.06

Legend:

Mid-pile carpet
Low-pile carpet
Hardwood floor

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

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.

Conclusion

Dyson's 360 Eye gets a lot of things right. But when it comes down to comparing this bot with other smart models, it ultimately falls short. Like some other Dyson products, the 360 Eye's value is also questionable. Sure, I like 360 Eye's app and the way it navigates around a room, but the Neato Botvac Connected has similar features, performs better in every category and costs $300 less. That doesn't mean you won't like Dyson's Wi-Fi model, just be sure to weigh it against the competition before you buy.

Best vacuum cleaners of 2017 See All

 

Discuss: Dyson 360 Eye

Conversation powered by Livefyre