While everyone was dreaming that one day the world would have flying cars and hoverboards, I dreamed of being able to pass off all the drudge work of living onto robots. Not in a terrifying dystopian way, like in Detroit: Become Human. But more like a robot Beauty and the Beast (without people having to be cursed). Or a tech utopia where all the menial tasks are passed off onto robots, and people are left to enjoy their new-found free time because people were valued for who they are and able to live without needing to justify their existence with a job. But I digress.
The new Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo T8 AIVI ($1299) brings us one step closer to the non-creepy version of the Beauty and the Beast world. It’s a robot vacuum cleaner with advanced mapping capabilities, powerful suction, reasonable mopping function, and (with the purchase of an extra accessory) empty itself.
The T8 AIVI has the best mapping capabilities of any robot vacuum cleaner I’ve ever tried. It was able to identify on the map where we have cables running on the ground, and where I’ve accidentally left my shoes. This is because the T8 has a little camera as well as a sensor, so it’s better able to see what’s going on.
If you choose to activate the camera (the app doesn’t force you to, and it’s an entirely optional feature) you can use it to see what the robot sees. There’s even a feature where you can speak into your phone and have it broadcast through the vacuum cleaner, which is a delightful way to freak out not only your housemates, but any privacy and security nerds.
Of course, the most important part of any vacuum cleaner is the vacuuming, and the T8 did a great job. It has a fairly small dustbin, so even though I vacuum my apartment once a week (or so) with my Dyson V11, it got full a quarter of the way through the clean. Once we got it going around the place once every two days, though, it would easily get through a whole clean before it needed to be emptied.
The T8 also does a better job of mopping than any other robot vacuum I’ve tried. Now, that’s not a high bar, since most ‘mopping’ is more ‘lightly running a damp cloth across the floor’. But this model oscillates the damp cloth a bit more to pick up more dirt. It’s far from perfect, but it’s still better than nothing.
Unfortunately, due to some shipping issues, I wasn’t able to try the auto empty station, which is an optional accessory. But it’s a large-ish unit that replaces the charging dock, and sucks the dust and dirt out of the vacuum cleaner into a bag that needs to be changed once a month. It’s much, much more sanitary than manually emptying the bin every time, and makes vacuuming more of a set and forget activity, which, afterall, is the dream.
On the negative front, this is one of the loudest robot vacuums I’ve ever had, and part of that is down to the bad design of the brushes. They keep flicking into the wheels on every spin. There has to have been a better way to do that.
But, if those things aren’t a problem for you, this is a really great robot vacuum cleaner. Its battery runs for a long time, it’s the first robot vacuum cleaner I’ve had that wasn’t constantly tangled up in my cables, and it does a good job of keeping my floor clean. What more could you want?