It might not be cheap, but Dyson's 360 Eye robot vacuum cleaner will keep your house clean with minimum effort
- Fantastic 'fire and forget' vacuum
- Powerful and picks up plenty of dust
- A great time saver
- Incredibly expensive
Dimensions (HxWxD): 120x242x230mm, Weight: 2.4kg, Bin capacity: 0.33L, Vacuum Type: Robot, Bagless: Yes, Vacuum power – stated (W): 20 air watts
Nobody likes vacuuming the house. You’re telling fibs if you say you do: the whole process is time-consuming and back-breaking, and I’m sure you’d rather just be sat down watching the telly – or spending time in the sun. That’s why the idea of a robot vacuum cleaner is such an appealing one. Just turn it on, and it’ll do all that hard work for you.
The whole prospect is still very much science fiction, and in practicality, these robot vacuum cleaners never live up to their un-autonomous counterparts. The robot vacuum cleaners we’ve seen pop up on store shelves thus far, have been little more than moving dusters if anything else. Dyson’s 360 Eye however, looks to buck that trend.
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The firm says they’ve created a device that combines the best of both worlds – a robot vacuum cleaner that puts power first, and should be a worthy replacement for your tired old vacuum cleaner that lives in your under-stairs cupboard.
Dyson 360 Eye review: Build quality and size
One of the first things that I noticed about the 360 Eye is that it’s a little taller than most other robot vacuums, but has a smaller overall footprint. The added height gives it a more optimised shape for Dyson’s cyclone technology, while the smaller size makes it easier for the 360 Eye to get into tight gaps and spaces.
The other big change over other robotic cleaners I’ve seen is that it has tank track treads at the front, making it much less likely to get trapped on a bit of furniture than its wheel-based rivals. The track treads also helps it cope with a wider variety of surfaces, as my review sample had no problems whatsoever moving between carpet and bare floorboards.
Build quality is everything that I’ve come to expect from Dyson, as the 360 Eye feels tough and rugged. Everything from its sleek body to the neat white power supply oozes quality: this is certainly a robot that means business.
Setting it up is incredibly easy. If you really just want to get going, you just fold down the A4-sized docking station, plug in the power (which, quite neatly, can connect to either side of the dock), drop your robot on it and, once it’s charged, hit the big Go button on top. It really is as simple as that.
If you want a bit more intelligence and see what your robot has been up to, you need to install the Dyson Link App and follow the simple on-screen instructions to create a free online account and link it with your robot. Of course, the first step is to name your robot, so pick something good (I called mine Bishop, after the android in Aliens). Within a couple of minutes, you’re ready to go and can use the app to start a clean.
Dyson 360 Eye review: Cleaning restrictions
Before you start a clean, you may need to do a little bit of tidying up, as the 360 Eye has all of the same limitations as a regular vacuum cleaner. That means thin rugs, discarded clothing and thin wires can all get sucked up, blocking the vacuum cleaner and stopping it from doing its job. Additionally, the cleaner needs light to see where it’s going and a clean run out of where it’s stored to start cleaning, so it’s best to operate it during the day and think carefully about where you put the dock.
With my first attempt, I had the dock between a sofa and a chair, which meant that the 360 Eye couldn’t make its way into the middle of the living room and only ended up cleaning a tiny portion of the room. Moving the dock into a less cluttered area fixed these issues. If these things feel a little restrictive, they’re really not – it can’t work miracles, after all, and the essential rule is that whatever you’d have to move when doing a manual clean has to be moved for the robot to do its job.
Of course, the robot can’t climb stairs, so you’ll need to carry it to different locations if your accommodation is on multiple levels. Fortunately, its small size and the lightweight dock makes this easy: if you’re cleaning a small-ish room, you can just ditch the dock and carry the vacuum on its own.
Dyson 360 Eye review: Cleaning performance
Fortunately, once you’ve worked out the best place to put the 360 Eye, there’s really not much more you need to do, as the little robot will set off and thoroughly clean. As the name suggests, the Eye 360 navigates by using a 360-degree camera to see where it is, while IR sensors in the side let it detect objects and get close-up to walls, chair legs and other bits of furniture.
It cleans by using an outwards spiral pattern divided into blocks, ensuring that it can cover every bit of floor surface it has access to. Random bounce patterns used by other cleaners aren’t guaranteed to give such good coverage. The Eye 360’s navigation is so advanced that it can even move from room to room provided you leave doors open, but it’s also smart enough to avoid falling into pitfalls such as tumbling down a set of stairs.
As I said at the start of this article, the 360 Eye is a vacuum cleaner first and foremost, producing 20 air watts of suction power. Other robot vacuum cleaners only produce a fraction of this, choosing to conserve energy for moving, rather than actually sucking up dirt.
In addition, the 360 Eye has a rotating brush with both nylon and carbon fibre filaments. The nylon filaments are for carpet, dislodging dirt, and sucking it up, while the carbon fibre filaments are for hard floors, disturbing dirt and preventing static from letting it stick to the floor. It’s a similar brush to that used on the Dyson V8 Absolute cordless vacuum cleaner. Importantly, the brush head is wider than the 360 Eye and is pulled behind the cleaner: this means you get cleaning as wide as the robot and its wheels can’t distribute dust.
So, is it any good? Well, the simple answer is yes and it coped remarkably well in all our tests. My first bit of testing was on polished black tiles to see how well it coped picking up baking powder. With one sweep through the middle, it picked up the vast majority of without smudging or swirling it over the floor.
Then, I put it through a series of real-world tests. In my house, the 360 Eye worked its way around a couple of bedrooms, diving under the beds, around and under chairs, and successfully navigated from bare floorboards onto carpet. At the end, the bin was rather full of fluff, and bits that rarely get vacuumed had been thoroughly cleaned.
As a tougher test, I also cleaned a bathroom that we currently have a set of foster kittens in. Thanks to their mad haring around, the floor was rather dirty with bits of cat litter. With everything out of the way, the 360 Eye took around five minutes to sweep through the room. It picked up the vast majority of the mess, aside from a couple of the bigger bits of litter at the edges of the room. Likewise, in a bathroom, the 360 Eye left a couple of little bits of fluff stuck to the tiles. In both cases, though, a quick go round with a cordless cleaner soon grabbed these last remaining bits.
Ultimately, the 360 Eye isn’t going to replace the need for a traditional or cordless vacuum cleaner, and there are some situations where a regular model is better, such as cleaning stairs, very tight gaps and bigger spills, such as after cooking. However, the 360 Eye fits in perfectly as a maintenance cleaner, doing most of the heavy lifting and keeping your home tidy with very little effort, and dramatically reducing the number of times that you’ll have to do a full sweep with a regular cleaner.
Dyson 360 Eye review: Battery life
On full suction, you get around 30 to 40 minutes per charge out of the 360 Eye. Suction doesn’t die as the battery starts to drain or as the bin gets full, either, and the cleaner is smart enough to return to its docking station and recharge itself before carrying on. Cleaning times can obviously vary massively by the size of your house and the area you need to clean, but it managed to do a couple of bedrooms in less than an hour. Really, as a convenience device, it’s something you set going when you go out, so you can return to a clean house later.
Dyson 360 Eye review: Maintenance
There’s very little maintenance to do with the 360 Eye aside from emptying the 0.33L bin when it’s full. This doesn’t sound like a particularly large bin, but it proved more than enough for my entire downstairs, and the more you use it the less dust you’ll have on each use. Aside from that, the pre- and post-motor filters need to be cleaned regularly using water once a month. They’re easy to get to and don’t require a lot of maintenance.
Finally, the brush can be removed by unlocking it using a coin in the side-slot. This is handy if something’s got tangled in the machine, such as a cable, or if you notice that it’s a little clogged with dirt and want to clean it up. Dyson also does its own maintenance, regularly updating the firmware to make the robot better. Since the cleaner launched in Japan, updates have improved edge cleaning and reduced the amount of time that the cleaner spends thinking about its next move.
Dyson 360 Eye review: App
I recommend using the Dyson Link app to control your robot. As well as letting you start a clean from anywhere in the world, the app also lets you schedule one-off or permanent cleans. It will also pop-up a notification if there’s something wrong: my cleaner sucked up a headphone cable at one point and I got the chance to fix the problem straight away when the app warned me about it. As the manual is built into the app, it could also tell me how to fix the issue there and then without having to look it up elsewhere online.
The app also shows you the area the 360 Eye covered on a clean. From my house, I could see that it had done under the bed and had covered a lot more ground than I normally would, so it’s also useful for tracking just how efficient it’s being when you’re not there to keep an eye on it.
Dyson 360 Eye review: Conclusion
As this is Dyson, the Eye 360 certainly isn’t cheap. At £800, it’s very expensive, particularly as you’ll still need a regular vacuum cleaner (see the Expert Reviews guide to the best vacuum cleaners to buy) to finish off the bits the 360 Eye didn’t manage. However, you have to also think about how much time you spend cleaning and how much time a robot can give you back. If your time’s worth at least £10 an hour, say, and you spend an hour a week vacuuming, it only takes just over 18 months for the 360 Eye to pay for itself.
Truthfully, this is a robot vacuum cleaner that can largely replace regular vacuuming. It’s certainly powerful enough and picks up enough dust, and will most likely visit areas that you generally don’t clean as thoroughly. That makes it a first for robot vacuum cleaners, so if you want to save time on one of the most annoying household jobs and reclaim some of your life back, the Dyson 360 Eye is worth every penny.
|Noise – Stated
|Carpet and hard floors via integrated brush
|Power and capacity
|Vacuum power – stated (W)
|20 air watts
|Suction – empty (kPa)
|Suction – half full (kPa)
|Suction – full (kPa)
|Five years RTB