Dyson's 360 Eye robot vacuum can suck up the stuff on your floors, but it'll cost ya.
Like Dyson's other small appliances, its first foray into the robot cleaner category is expensive...$1,000 or £800 expensive. It's not available in Australia yet, but that price converts to about AU$1,4000. So since Neato's $700 Botvac Connected and iRobot's $900 Roomba 980 cost less and perform slightly better, the 360 Eye loses some of its initial appeal.
Get it, by all means. You'll have a compact cleaning powerhouse full of sensors with a 360-degree standard-definition camera that smartly navigates a room. You'll also have an app that lets you access your Wi-Fi-outfitted vacuum from anywhere. Just be sure to look at the competition before you buy, because other brands offer more impressive bots for less.
The first thing I noticed when I saw Dyson's 360 Eye was that it was ridiculously tall. Shaped more like a dense 3-layer cake than its wider-flatter counterparts from iRobot and Neato, I assumed it would never clear coffee tables, chairs and other low-profile furniture.
I was wrong.
Yes, the 4.72-inch-high 360 Eye is 1.12 inches taller than the Roomba 980 and 0.82 inches taller than the Neato Botvac Connected -- its two main competitors in the Wi-Fi-enabled robo-vac market. And that will certainly stop Dyson's vacuum short in some cases. But for the most part, I had no issues with it clearing the same furniture as the other bots.
It also has that classic Dyson aesthetic going on, even though this is the brand's first robot vacuum. Since I tend to like Dyson products from a pure design-appreciation standpoint, I like the 360 Eye's looks, too. Specifically, it's swathed in a glossy gray finish with bright blue accents. It even has a mini cyclone packed inside, a (revamped) legacy from its line of upright and stick vacs.
I doubly enjoyed the compact and foldable charging dock that comes with this bot, although I occasionally had to wiggle the vacuum around for its contact sensors to correctly line up with the dock so it would charge.
Check out the chart below to compare the 360 Eye's specs against the Roomba 980 and the Neato Botvac Connected:
|Dyson 360 Eye||iRobot Roomba 980||Neato Botvac Connected|
|Weight||5.4 pounds||8.7 pounds||9 pounds|
|Dimensions||9 x 4.72 x 9.5 inches (width, height, length)||13.8 x 3.6 inches (diameter, height)||13.2 x 3.9 x 12.7 inches (width, height, length)|
|Bin capacity||0.33 liters||0.6 liters||0.7 liters|
|App||Yes, Android and iPhone||Yes, Android and iPhone||Yes, Android and iPhone|
|Expected run time||45 minutes||2 hours||2 hours in Eco mode and 90 minutes in Turbo mode|
|Expected charge time||2 hours 30 minutes||3 hours||3 hours|
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 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.
Its 45-minute run time is a bit of bummer since competitors claim to run for roughly 2 hours before needing a charge, but it will dutifully return to its base station to charge and continue to clean the remaining rooms when it's ready. It's also on the loud side, so don't expect to have a conversation in the same room where this thing is running.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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 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).
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.
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.