UPDATE: Ecovacs Robotics now has a brand-new app to control its autonomous vacuums cleaners. Called EcovacsHome, it’s available for download from both the App Store and the Google Play Store. If you are an existing Ecovacs user, the original app will display a pop-up asking you to update to the new one. Head to page 3 of our review to find out more.
While cleaning sucks, vacuuming is one of the worst parts of it. That’s where robot vacuums roll in – and these little droids on wheels have come a long way since they first made an appearance in the late 1990s. No longer do they need you to be around to start them up.
All the latest models come with Wi-Fi connectivity, so control is done through a companion app and you can even set up tasks days ahead and forget all about them.
Admittedly robovacs don’t have the same suction power as standard corded vacuums, and that’s largely due to the limited physical size and the fact that they run off a battery and need to conserve power. Some models, like the Electrolux PUREi9, are however still powerful enough to do a very thorough job.
While there may be power aplenty to perform an efficient clean, most robot vacuums can only tackle half a household’s floor-cleaning requirements, as they can’t mop as well. That’s where the Deebot Ozmo 930 bucks the norm, with the ability to switch between vacuuming and mopping modes. It’s also Ecovacs Robotics’ most intelligent model to date and, as you’d expect, comes packed full of features.
Pricing and availability
The Deebot Ozmo 930 was first launched in a limited market, including the UK and Australia with a price tag of £549 / AU$1,299. However, it’s also now available in the US for about $600 a pop. The other Ecovacs model available in the US is the Deebot N79S, but it lacks the Ozmo’s wet-and-dry functionality.
Compared to the competition, the price of the Ozmo 930 is quite competitive, especially considering it will have you striking out both vacuuming and mopping from your to-do list. For comparison, iRobot’s flagship Roomba 980, which doesn’t have a mopping function, will set you back $900 / £800 / AU$1,499, while the premium Electrolux PUREi9 costs a whopping AU$1,699 (about $1,325 / £954) for a single-function droid.
Design and build
If first impressions count for anything, just opening the Ozmo 930’s outer packaging will be sufficient to bowl you over. The cardboard box is divided into neat compartments, into which all the paraphernalia and the main bot is stored, and each compartment labelled with graphics so you know instantly where to find everything.
That said, the Ozmo 930 itself isn’t much to look at; it’s not ugly by any means, but it sticks with a rather generic round robovac design.
It’s a tough little droid whose front bumper has a little give to absorb the force when knocking into walls and furniture. The back houses a removable clear plastic tank, which you fill with water when you want the Deebot to mop.
The top features a circular protrusion that houses the sensors the Ozmo 930 uses to map its environment. Also on the top is the lid, which covers the power and reset buttons, keeps the cleaning tool from falling out (yes, it comes with its own little cleaner) and protects the bin.
The bin box comes with a handle, so it’s easy to slip out and empty, and the filter is removable and washable as well.
A single button labeled ‘Auto’ begins a clean when pressed and next to this button is a Wi-Fi indicator LED. The dim blue light on both pulses slowly when the droid is charging and brightens when in use.
On the undercarriage you’ll find two detachable circular brushes which are meant to get to the edges and corners of rooms, and are particularly recommended for hard floors. If used on high-pile carpets, the long bristles on these brushes will likely bend, so it’ll be best to remove them — although we found they were fine on low-pile carpets and they’re worth keeping on if you have wall-to-wall carpets.
Also on the bottom is the long bar brush with its own protective, removable grill. There’s also just enough space to slide a mopping plate with an attached microfibre cloth under the water tank.
The reservoir itself has a small pump that allows water to trickle through a pipe and dampen the mop cloth.
Despite all the cleaning paraphernalia, the Deebot is pretty much the same size as most other round robot vacuums, measuring 10.2cm in height and 35.4cm in diameter, and weighing 4.6kg.
The only real downside to the Ozmo 930’s design is that it can only climb thresholds up to 10mm high. The Electrolux PUREi9, on the other hand, can get across obstacles as high as 22mm.
Like all robot vacuums available today, the Deebot Ozmo 930 also comes with a charging dock that you’ll need to place against a wall near a power socket. It’s a simple dock with two charging plates, with cable management hidden behind the front wall that keeps the robovac’s bumper in place.
Out of the box, the Ozmo 930 will first need to be charged. This can take up to four hours, depending on how much juice the battery already has. The charging dock will need to be in an open area, with half a metre of free space on either side and about a metre in front.
While the bot is charging, you can download the Ecovacs companion app available for both Android and iOS, and the app will lead you through the step-by-step process of connecting the Ozmo 930 to your home’s Wi-Fi network and, then, to the app itself.
Connecting to a Wi-Fi network, however, isn’t quite as easy as the app makes it out to be. In testing, we had to reset the device a few times before we were able to connect. A scouting mission online has revealed that we weren’t the only ones to have this little hiccup, but solutions seem to vary. For us, the trick was to not press down on the reset button too long. It needed to be exactly a second, otherwise the Deebot’s Wi-Fi setup network wouldn’t appear on our phone’s list of wireless networks.
Once it’s connected and fully charged, the Deebot is ready to run around your home – and be prepared for a chatty little bot. You can press either the Auto button on the top of the vacuum or the Auto button on the app’s home page and let the Ozmo 930 begin mapping your home while doing its first clean, which starts as soon as the Deebot says, “I’m starting to clean.”
Where the Electrolux PUREi9 moved around a bit like a lost puppy, the Ozmo 930 was systematic to a fault. From the start, the Deebot moved as indicated in the manual, trundling along in a straight line until it encountered an obstacle, then made a small adjustments to either the left or the right and moved in the opposite direction. Over time it covered practically every inch of space available.
The first cleaning run was enough for the Deebot to almost completely map our test space – an apartment consisting of two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a study and an open-plan combined kitchen, dining and living area, most of which have wall-to-wall carpet. While it did map most of the house accurately, it was unable to enter the two bathrooms, as the threshold was too high for it climb over. That said, it recognised there were rooms in those spaces, as evident in the partial map it created for each room. The map is viewable within the app.
We did get some annoying warnings on the app, however, which asked us to change the brushes… even though we had brand-new ones attached. These warnings didn’t seem to affect the robot vacuum’s performance however, and could be handy down the track, reminding you when your accessories need changing.
While it can’t be compared to a corded vacuum, or even the Electrolux PUREi9, the Deebot Ozmo 930 has sufficient suction power to perform an efficient clean, especially on hard floors.
Carpets can be more of a challenge for the lower suction of robovacs in general, as hair and dust get caught up in fibres. Yet the Deebot did an impressive job here, too. If, however, you have pets, don’t expect the bot to get all the fluff off the rugs. We’ve still got a ways to go before robovacs have enough power to do justice to some of these tougher jobs.
Before a clean, you’ll also need to give your home a quick once-over. You can’t have socks lying around, or leave charging cables on the floor – and the Ozmo 930 does not like getting tangled. Our review unit got caught up in a laptop charger’s cable and ended up needing some help getting loose again. We instantly heard a spoken “I am suspended” message coming from under the table where it was cleaning, and received a warning on the app as well.
The sensors on the Ozmo 930 detect obstacles well enough, but the droid does travel faster than the PUREi9, which causes it to bump into things rather hard – although it was never hard enough to damage anything (or even leave a mark) in our testing.
It’s quite dexterous and able to manoeuvre around furniture and get under anything that will allow it to pass through. So, depending on your furniture, the spaces between dining table chairs should also get cleaned.
The Deebot doesn’t like being picked up and placed elsewhere – even if it’s just sitting idly in standby mode and not actively cleaning. The moment its wheels are off the ground, you will hear the “I am suspended” warning.
Moreover, if you’re trying to get a new space cleaned and properly mapped (like the two bathrooms in our test space), the Deebot is seemingly a bit too smart for its own good. When set down in either new space, the robot vacuum promptly turned around and made its way back to the space it already knew.
This Ecovacs robot has a battery life of 110 minutes and, if you have a large home, will return to its charging station unaided and resume cleaning when it has refuelled again, picking up again from pretty much from where it left off. That said, our review unit was barely half-drained after cleaning around 50 square metres.
UPDATE: Ecovacs has a new app that will control your Deebot from now on. It’s available for both iOS and Android and will need to be downloaded and set up from scratch. That means your Ecovacs robot vacuum will need to be reset and you will lose all data saved on the app, including maps, schedules and accessory usage.
Pairing the droid is exactly the same process as before, but the app’s user interface has been given a small makeover. The new app also adds a firmware update that improves edge cleaning, virtual boundaries and navigation. Like the original app, the EcovacsHome app is also easy to use and gives you full control of the droid.
With only an Auto button available on the device itself, you’ll need the app to use all the Deebot Ozmo 930’s functions.
It’s a very well designed app with plenty of useful features. As soon as you open it, you’ll see the list of Ecovacs Robotic vacuums you’ve linked to the app which, for most people, will admittedly be just the one. Select your vacuum and you’ll see all the options available to you on the homepage.
There are four options on the app:
- Auto mode cleans the entire home
- Area mode allows you to select a portion on the map, and the Ozmo 930 will clean only that area
- Custom mode allows you to select a portion of a room that you want cleaned
- The Charge button sends the bot back to its base station
Once a map has been created, you can rename the areas. Just tap ‘Map Management’ on the homepage and you’ll be shown the floor map with each room color-coded and labeled. You can rename the areas by tapping on ‘Area name’, set virtual boundaries to block of areas you don’t want the bot to clean or even reset the map so you can start from scratch.
On the homepage of the app is also a battery level indicator, the size of the area cleaned and the vacuum’s status (ie. on standby or cleaning).
There are, of course, a lot more options within the app. You can set the amount of water you want pumping into the cloth while the bot is mopping, for example. A low setting is usually sufficient to get a decent mop, but if you want the cloth sopping wet, just choose one of the other options.
Like most other robot vacuums, you can set up scheduled cleaning cycles and keep track of the bot’s cleaning log.
A handy feature is the ability to track an accessory’s life. If one of your brushes, or the mop cloth, needs changing, you’ll know when.
There’s even a Do Not Disturb option which prevents the Deebot from starting a cleaning cycle (even a Resume Cleaning task) during the period you choose. This can be handy when you’ve mistakenly added a schedule clean for 11pm instead of 11am.
Space mapping is near perfect. As the robot vacuum begins its cleaning cycle, you’ll be able to track its progress by following it on the in-app map, with a lag that’s barely a second behind. As the vacuum cleans, the grey map slowly becomes white, showing you where the robot has already been. If it’s missed a spot, you’ll know instantly.
The Deebot’s sensors are capable of distinguishing the difference between a hard floor and a carpet. On the map, the difference is identified as textured (for carpets and rugs) and non-textured (for hard floors) areas.
The biggest caveat with the Ozmo 930 is that it’s unable to map – and therefore clean – an area if there’s no accessible charging base. So, if you happen to have a two-level home, you can’t simply pick up the droid and place it on another level. It will try to return to its base or, if does begin mapping anew, it won’t be able to save the new map.
And, as we mentioned in the bathrooms example earlier, a similar situation arises if the Deebot hasn’t been able to enter a space due to a high threshold on its first run. But if you physically place it there, it will let you know, “I am relocating,” and try to get back to a spot it recognises on the map. The possible solution to this problem could be the ability to save multiple maps on the app – if Ecovacs Robotics can find a way to do so.
The Deebot can theoretically do a combined mop and vacuum at the same time – the specific cleaning components are completely separate – and it automatically recognises that you want it to mop as soon as it detects water in the reservoir. You’ll still need to make sure you attach the mopping plate with the cloth to the bottom, though, and that cloth does slightly impede the Deebot’s ability to move around on carpet, although it doesn’t interfere with motion on hard floors.
For mopping jobs, the 930 will first vacuum the space, then switch to the wet function once the dry job is done. The mopping will also stop if the bot accidentally strays onto a rug or carpet, and if it does so, it’ll turn around and return to finish its mopping.
It must be noted that while the mop function works fine to remove footprints and dust, crusted stains are a no-go. While you can put pressure on a mop if you’re doing the job the old fashioned way, you can’t expect a robot vacuum to do the same – well, not yet at least. But the way we see it, it does a passable job and just needs a bit of help with the tough spots.
And to its enormous credit, whatever kind of cleaning job the Deebot is performing, it does so quietly. You could well be watching some telly during a cleaning cycle and you won’t bat an eyelash when the Ozmo 930 goes humming past.
When it’s ready for a charge, it finds the path of least resistance and makes a beeline for the charging dock with no hiccups whatsoever.
Smart home integration
The Deebot Ozmo 930’s second biggest selling point might be its integration with both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
While ‘Ecovacs’ or ‘Deebot’ is not yet visible in Google Assistant’s Actions directory or under Alexa’s Skills in Australia (where we tested for this review), you can still link the Deebot Ozmo 930 to either (or both if you want) by asking Alexa or Google Assistant to “talk to Deebot”. Make sure you’re signed into your Ecovacs account and you’ll be able to link your Google Home or Alexa app to the Ozmo 930 by choosing ‘United Kingdom’ as a country option for now.
Onced linked, you’ll be ready to “talk to Deebot” to issue commands – but, as a quick word of warning, you should also be prepared to be called “Master” when you do.
For the now, the only voice commands available to you are for starting and stopping an Auto cleaning cycle or sending the Ozmo 930 back to the charger. We tested our review unit with a Google Home smart speaker and the vacuum responded immediately to all three of those commands.
We hope more functions will be added in the future and we’ve also asked Ecovacs Robotics to let us know when the Ecovacs Deebot Action/Skill will become visible in Australia; we’ll update this review as soon as we have confirmation.
The bin in the Ozmo 930 is smaller than the one in the Electrolux PUREi9, so you might need to clean it out after two cycles, depending on the size of your home and the floor area covered by carpets.
Emptying the bin is easy, though: just open up the vacuum’s top lid, pull out the handle and lift it out. The side of the bin opens up, so make sure you turn it over before opening it. To replace the empty bin, align the handle to the notch in the vacuum and fold back.
Before you replace it, however, you may need to clean the bin space within the bot. You’ll occasionally find a tiny amount of dust falls out as you’re removing the bin, as the mouth is large, but it’s not a cause for concern.
To keep the undercarriage clean, you can use the multipurpose cleaning tool we mentioned earlier. You’ll find it sitting in a spot just in front of the bin. This nifty little thing has a soft bristle brush on one end and a small blade on the other. The brush can be used to clean the filter or dust off the body of the bot, while the blade is handy if you want to get hair off the wheels and the bar brush. It’s a nice thoughtful addition.
The main reason to get yourself a robot vacuum cleaner is so you can either put your feet up and get something else to do all the hard work for you, or so you get more time to do more important things – or perhaps both. The Deebot Ozmo 930 will do just that for you and goes further than most other robovacs.
There’s not much we can fault with this little droid: it vacuums, it mops and it does so quite well: Ecovacs Robotics has pretty much aced it with both hardware and software. It’s already a must-have in our books, and if there was a way to increase suction power in these robot vacuums, the Deebot Ozmo 930 would be the perfect helper, no matter what type of floor you have at home. Add to that the ability to control it remotely and the addition of voice control makes this robot worth every penny.
However, if you’re someone that has a split-level home, the 930’s stubborn insistence on mapping means you’ll either need to buy two units – one for each level – or to wait until Ecovacs can figure out how to allow multiple maps on the app.