Neato XV-11 Robotic All-Floor vacuum Cleaner. Smart. Powerful. Methodical.
Neato robotics is based out in California's Silicon Valley. Neato Robotics was founded on the idea that it's possible to create robots that are smart enough to perform household chores as intelligently as a human would. Their engineers and scientists dream big and innovate tirelessly with the promise of making all of our lives clean and simple. Their goal is to free everyone from the drudgery of household cleaning. Make sure to check out the Interview with Max Safai, Neato Robotics CEO: http://www.robotreviews.com/news/interview-max-safai-neato-robotics-ceo
Neato XV-11 comes with a 30 day, money back guarantee and a one year limited warranty from the manufacturer. It is recommended to purchase from a reseller that offers an extended/lifetime warranty like Hammacher Schlemmer: http://www.hammacher.com
Before I start, I want to thank you for reading this review. If this is your first time reading one of my reviews, I am 100% unbiased! This Neato XV-11 wasn’t given to me as a “Present” or a “Review” unit from Neato. This is off the main production line so rest assured that mine is not “beefed” up in any way, shape, or form. I am very harsh on all of my reviews. I am for the members of http://www.robotreviews.com/chat, and for other people who read my reviews. My thoughts/views might be different than what you experience. There are way too many variables that unfortunately I can’t test in my home.
Un-boxing Neato XV-11:
Unboxing the Neato was a pleasure. Hammacher-Schlemmer used an oversized box, with plenty of air-pillows to protect the Neato’s box from any harm. They provided a return sticker (Pre-paid shipping), so it’s good to keep all of the packaging in the case that you need to get it exchanged/returned at any time.
The Neato box is very sturdy. Once I started unpacking the robot, they took pride in how it was packaged to keep the contents protected. They did a very good job and I am impressed.
The package contains: Neato XV-11, charging base w/power adapter, Dust Bin (Which is installed), a 15’ roll of boundary marker (Which is a magnet), the user guide, Quick Start Card, and an extra filter.
Owner’s Manual/Quick Start Guide:
The Quick Start guide was easy to follow and gives the new owner information to get their Neato charging. The Owner’s Manual covers the different aspects of the XV-11, and is a good read while you’re letting your Neato charge. It says to charge it until the green light goes solid, which I did. It was unclear as to how long one should charge it for the first time. The members who own a Roomba would say for 16 hours. I would suggest charging it at least for 10 hours. It is not documented as of yet. Hopefully we will get that information soon.
The base houses the charger brick, and has a compartment to store the extra cord if it’s not needed. You can also route the cord on either side of the charging base. If someone needs to, they can remove the cord and brick and plug it directly into the Neato. The base has a transparent window and 2 long horizontal contacts located on a spring. I’m sure the longer contacts help aid the successful docking rate. I actually didn’t have to move the docking base around like I did with their competitor.
The dimensions of the robot are: 12.5” x 13” x 4”. The buttons on the robot are very easy to press and are understandable in what they do. There is a status light (Around the Power button), which lets you know the current status of the XV-11.
Solid green - The vacuum is fully charged and is ready to clean.
Pulsing green – The XV-11 is almost fully charged. If needed, the robot can start a cleaning cycle.
Pulsing amber - The XV-11 is currently charging. During this status, the robot can’t start a cleaning cycle until it turns to pulsing green or solid green. IF a cleaning cycle starts during this status, the robot will start after it turns to pulsing green
Solid amber - When the XV-11 shows this color, the robot is telling you something to perform before it can start its next cleaning cycle. The XV-11 needs attention.
There is a button right under the LCD window which serves as a multi-function button. The functions of that button changes depending on which screen you are in. You have the big orange power on/off/start button, an up arrow button, a down arrow button, and a button in which takes you to the previous screen.
The dust bin is very easy to get to, and is easy to empty out. If you turn over the XV-11, you can easily remove the brush guard with the clips, and remove the brush to clean the debris out if needed. There are 2 cliff sensors which you might need to wipe with a cloth every once in a while (If the Neato warns you about it).
Programming the XV-11:
Programming the Neato XV-11 is very easy. First off, you will want to set the time. You need to press the Menu button, and scroll to select “Set Clock”. After you follow the easy prompts to set the clock, you can navigate to “Schedule” to start scheduling the Neato with your preference. You can program the Neato to start one time per day for 7 days. Unfortunately you can’t have the Neato start automatically twice a day. You could manually start the Neato one time and let it start automatically for the second time.
Navigating the home:
The Neato XV-11 is equipped with onboard Room Positioning System (RPS) technology, a revolutionary system developed by Neato Robotics that combines laser vision with mapping. With RPS technology, the robot uses laser light to see its surroundings and create accurate maps of areas to be cleaned - including furniture, objects and doorways. The robot constantly updates its map of the room, so if a new object is added into the room during a cleaning run, the robot will add it to the map.
Navigating throughout the home the first time went ok. I decided to not vacuum for a couple of days while the cats decided to bring in leaves/etc from the outside. This is truly a test to see how close the Neato can vacuum close to the walls/objects without having a side spinning brush. They claim this is not necessary due to the suction Neato creates. I have noticed that I need to Neato-Proof the house like the competitor. The Neato likes to climb onto things. It did back off of the cat condo well, but it got stuck on the treadmill legs (Folded up). It is really cool to see how it navigates the home. It first starts out by vacuuming the perimeter first, and then works on the middle of the room. It navigated underneath my kitchen table and chair legs nicely.
The second run went much better. I used up the entire included boundary marker to keep Neato away from a few problem areas (cat condo, and entry way).
The XV-11 stays in the first room and does detect the hallway and the doorways precisely. It stayed in the Living Room for ~30 minutes, and moved onto the hallway. I decided to use the boundary marker strip to block the kitchen (Temporarily). We have a small rug laid down on the kitchen/dining room threshold, which I ‘hid’ the strip. The XV-11 went to the (hidden) strip and backed away. This is great for people who don’t want to see the strip(s) they use throughout their home. I really like how the Neato XV-11 handles the different rooms. No need for extra devices with batteries needing to be replaced every now and then to handle a large home.
RPS Infrared Laser Sensor data:
Neato claims that the vacuum is much stronger than their competitor, iRobot. They are right. When it first starts up, it sounds like a jet is getting ready for ‘take off’. Putting my hand close to the exhaust, it really moves the air. I believe that the vacuum is part of the key to keep the brush free from debris. I don’t have a meter, so I can’t run any tests as to how much flow it produces.
The LCD display is very easy to read under all light conditions due to it being backlit.
The dust bin is very easy to empty. The size of the dust bin is 660cc. You lift the dust bin which is housed on the top of Neato, pull out the filter and gently tap the contents into a trashcan. Replace the filter and place the dust bin back in the vacuum. Neato recommends that the dust bin is emptied out every run which is a good idea. I swap the filters out every run. When I take the dirty filter out, I clean it with soap/water, and place the clean (Dry) filter in the Neato. When it was about ½ done with the living room/dining room, I felt the exhaust, and it seemed like it was blocked. I decided to empty out the dust bin. There was a lot of junk in there. No wonder why I couldn’t feel any exhaust coming out of the robot. Once I emptied it I sent the robot back on its way cleaning. I would recommend emptying out the Neato ½ way through the first few runs so it can get your home clean and it is able to keep up on the debris on the floor. Notice how much dirt/debris was collected on its first run!! How nasty!
Finding the home base:
The XV-11 found the home base the first time with ease. It finished about ½ of the master bedroom, and the second bathroom. It still needed to finish the bedroom and the master bathroom. I noticed that the vacuum motor turned off. I went to the bedroom, and the XV-11 said it was looking for the home base. It found the home base with no issues at all and started charging. Once it was finished charging, it went right back to the master bedroom and finished the home. It took 2 runs to cover the whole house the first run. The second day it ran once and covered the whole house. I’m guessing that the battery was not at its peak performance. So far the XV-11 has found the base 100% of the time. I’m not sure if other people will have this 100% success rate that I’m having, but if it’s anything like their competitor, all they need to do is to move the base around to find the ‘sweet spot’.
Roomba 560 vs. XV-11:
I’m dubbing the Neato XV-11 “The Roomba Killer”. The XV-11 is designed to cover larger homes efficiently, and is smart enough that it actually maps your home (and can retain it if it needs to return to the base to recharge before it finishes your home). It is very easy to maintain between runs. Just empty out the dust bin and when the Neato asks, clean the drop sensor(s) with a dry cloth. The price is comparable to the Roomba, and actually costs less than the model which contains the lighthouses. Granted, it’s unknown how long the components will last, but I’m all for trying out a new robot to clean my floor. So far, it looks very promising. My floors are clean; I’m doing less in maintaining the Neato. I’m sure your mileage may vary due to the different environment. Please take this review as a basic “Guide”, and use your best judgment to see if the Neato would work in your environment. For me, I’m totally pleased.
I plan on revising this review down the road to include any new information that appeared after writing this review. Hopefully they will all be positive with a long life span, but if they are negative, I will post them also.
EDIT: (09/17/10) My XV-11 has been plagued with the Clock reset, as well as the thumping on hard floor. I am sending my XV-11 in for them to check it out, and they will send me a new one with these issues fixed. Hopefully these are the only issues the XV-11 has. I will keep updating this review.