Review: Dyson 360 Eye – robot vacuum cleaner with hefty price

Tech Tools: Dyson’s device can be controlled remotely via app and has 360-degree camera

Product name: Dyson 360 Eye

Price: €999.99

Where to buy: dyson.ie

Website: dyson.ie

Thu, Nov 3, 2016, 05:34

   

I’ve long been a fan of robot vacuum cleaners. It just seems to make sense. Next to ironing, it’s my most hated household chore. I keep hoping that if I ignore it for long enough, someone else will do it. There is only so long that tactic works though, especially when you have a walking mess-creator and crumb-shedder (known around these parts as a toddler), that has the uncanny ability to turn a previously spotless room into a hazard zone in a matter of minutes. And no one likes crunchy floors.

The solution? The robot cleaner. We’ve had a Roomba for a couple of years. It has seen us through the lazy days (pre-baby), the weaning days (when most of the food winds up on the floor) and those days when you’re expecting visitors and know the floor needs a good clean, but you really don’t have the time to push the vacuum cleaner around because you’re busy shoving the rest of the mess into a cupboard somewhere.

Selling points

So when Dyson announced the 360 Eye, it piqued my interest. The device has a couple of selling points. First, it uses Dyson’s digital motor and cyclone technology, which is a good start. Second, it has a full brush bar, with the carbon fibre brushes you find on regular vacuum cleaners. Third, you can control it remotely via an app. And finally – and by no means least – it has a 360-degree camera mounted on top that maps your room in real time every time it starts to clean, so you can move furniture or leave the odd obstacle in place. Hence the name.

The brush bar means it has a fairly wide area of suction, unlike my Roomba, which relies on small brushes that whisk the dirt in front of the device to suck it up. But, on the other hand, it is not that great at getting into corners, simply due to its shape. The Roomba wasn’t exactly built for corners either, but those “whisker” brushes mean it can often reach into places where the rest of its body can’t follow and whether by accident or design, the corners got a bit of a clean.

Shape isn’t something you think about when it comes to your vacuum cleaner. One issue I’ve had in the past is with the Roomba fitting between our kitchen chairs. I’ve watched it get stuck under the table, desperately trying to bash its way out – and failing.

The Dyson machine, on the other hand, is a lot thinner, which means it can easily go between the chair legs, and the location of its sensors means it won’t have to fling itself against the chair legs to try to smash its way out.

But here’s the tradeoff: it’s taller. That means it won’t fit under the sofa, for example, although if your sofa is too near the floor you’ll have lost out on nothing there.

The most useful thing of all is the app. Not only can you control your vacuum and schedule cleans on a daily basis, but it also has a battery gauge and will show you your cleaner’s progress around your home. On more than one occasion, I discovered the 360 Eye had stopped under the kitchen table, where it had inevitably eaten a sock and come off the worst for it.

And there’s the one thing the Dyson can’t do: it can’t circumvent human behaviour. You still have to pick up after yourself – it won’t do everything for you.

The good:

The tracks instead of wheels means it goes places the Roomba won’t. Though it also meant a few “error” warnings, because the cleaner had managed to heft itself up on the corner of the fireplace. So Dyson giveth and Dyson taketh away.

If you have a mix of hard floors and carpet, the 360 Eye will handle both with relative ease. A satisfying amount of fluff and dust – if that can ever be satisfying – came out of the carpets using the 360 Eye, so it seems to do a decent job on that front.

You shouldn’t underestimate the usefulness of the app control either. While it probably adds a bit to the price, it means you can not only start the device from outside the house, but you can also get alerts if there are any problems – for example, if the Dyson gets stuck and can’t continue, or fails to complete a clean, you can see all that on the app.

The not so good:

The price. At just under €1,000, it is a lot to spend on a device that – as of now at least – will still baulk at the stairs. That’s about on a par with the most expensive Roomba though.

As with every robot cleaner I’ve come across, the bin is tiny and needs regular emptying. If you are using the device on hardwood floors, it won’t affect you too much, but carpets will fill it alarmingly quickly. Also, there’s no spot cleaning mode, unlike its rivals

The rest:

The Dyson 360 Eye has a battery life of about 45 minutes if you are using it on regular mode and not max, and when that’s done, it returns to its (slim) charging dock, ready to pick up where it left off once it has enough power for another run.

The verdict:

How much is cutting down on vacuuming worth to you? €1,000 is steep, but the Dyson 360 Eye certainly pulls its weight. See Dyson.ie